BJ had some unpleasant strike calls in the Giants series, and it even sparked some theories that because B.J. Upton has been less than stellar offensively over the last 12 months, he has an expanded strike zone and umps will call it a little less fairly.
Luckily, this isn’t something we have to guess at. Thanks to Pitch F/X and the fantastic work done at texasleaguers.com (seriously, go check them out), we can see for ourselves.
First off, were the calls in the Giants series bad?
Yeah, he had a right to a little bit of frustration: Upton had only 1 clear strike called a ball in his favor, as well as just one borderline pitch. Compare that with 3 balls called strikes, as well as 2 borderline pitches. Considering that several of those calls came with 2 strikes (2 of the borderline strikes, one of the incorrect strikes, and none of the favorable calls), his frustration was justified.
But is it a trend? Let’s look at his entire season’s worth of taken pitches:
Here we see that Upton’s strike zone hasn’t really been unfair at all this year. In fact, I count more favorable calls than unfavorable ones. The bad calls from the Giants series stick out, but for the most part home plate umps have been kind to BJ Upton this year.