This article is part of our Umpire Analysis series.
Before delving into our selections, I would like to remind readers that Week 3 of the RotoWire Fantasy Baseball Championship will take place Friday at 7:05 PM on FanDuel. Enter now for your share of the individual prize pool, plus a chance to compete in the Final on July 10 if you finish any qualifying round within the Top-50, excluding RotoWire experts. I have participated in the contest for the last two weeks and have found it to be a lot of fun going up against our readers. I look forward to seeing you all there.
Umpire Brian O'Nora
Player Recommendation: Trevor Cahill, RHP: 2.1 IP 5 H 4 R 3 BB 2 K
Unfortunately, this wasn't quite our week for pitchers. The hurlers involved in this matchup carried certain risks, but I was a bit surprised to see neither man complete six innings, as we had an umpire who was one of the friendliest in the league to pitchers in 2014 and a ballpark that can suppress offense. I will still look to target games that O'Nora umps going forward, as I expect him to even out after seeing a 5.14 ERA in his two appearances this season.
Umpire: Alfonso Marquez
Player Recommendation: Lucas Duda, 1B: 2-for-4, 2 2B BB 3 RBI R
This game yielded 11 runs, with Duda leading the charge in the Mets victory. Marquez looks to be a nice target ump against a soft-tossing hurler like Buchannan, as he is once again showing a high walk rate in 2015, which could lend itself to lots of traffic on the basepaths.
Umpire: Tim Welke
Player Recommendation: Drew Pomeranz, LHP: 5 IP 6 H 4 R 5 K BB
Welke was our most favorable umpire based on last year's K/BB ratio, but Pomeranz couldn't deliver, leaving the game after needing 81 pitches to make it through five innings. Despite the rough outing from our hurler, Welke looks primed to be a pitcher-friendly face once again in 2015, as he has tallied a 2.77 ERA and a 10.6 K/9 in his first three games.
Umpire: Adrian Johnson
Player Recommendation: Yonder Alonso, 1B: 1-for-3, 2B BB RBI
Johnson kept his strikeout rate low in his first outing of the season behind the plate, tallying a 6.9 K/9 in his contest. The game yielded six runs, and while we need to see a bit more from him this season before drawing any conclusions, he could shape up to once again be someone to target if we are looking for offensive options.
Umpire Dana DeMuth
Player Recommendation: Jason Vargas, LHP: 3 IP 10 H 5 R (4 ER) BB K
Demuth's low ERA last season didn't translate well to this one, as both starters struggled early in an 8-5 Twins victory. As his line would indicate, Vargas was in trouble for most of the outing, but Demuth's walk rate has remained low in his three contests in 2015, which could make him worth a look in future games.
Picks For This Week
Umpire: Will Little
Player Recommendation: Nathan Eovaldi, RHP
The Tigers are off to a hot start this season, but our umpire selection could go a long way for a guy like Eovaldi, as Little saw just 2.6 BB/9 and 7.9 K/9 in 590 innings in 2014.
Umpire: Ted Barrett
Player Recommendation: Adam Lind, 1B
Barrett has tallied just a 0.88 ERA in his first two games in 2015 but has kept the high walk rate he showed in 2014, when he saw 3.2 BB/9. Jason Marquis is a contact pitcher in a hitter's environment, which could lead to problems if he doesn't get the calls at the plate.
Umpire: Sean Barber
Player Recommendation: Joey Votto, 1B
Nelson had a tremendous first start to begin the season, but I would still bet against him Wednesday, as our umpire saw a 4.25 ERA, 3.0 BB/9 and 7.3 K/9 in 2014. It will be interesting to see how a disciplined hitter like Votto meshes with Barber's tight strike zone.
Umpire: Kerwin Danley
Player Recommendation: Kyle Hendricks, RHP
Danley came through for us the last time we targeted him, and his strong 2014 numbers are hard to ignore in a pitcher's park Thursday, particularly against a Pirates team that is off to a slow start offensively.
Umpire: Greg Gibson
Player Recommendation: Charlie Blackmon, OF
I like Tyson Ross as much as the next fantasy owner, but his problems with the free pass seem to have followed him into 2015, which could spell trouble with Greg Gibson behind the plate, as he notched a 3.2 BB/9 rate in 564.7 innings last season.
That wraps up the selections for this week. I plan on primarily using 2014 numbers for a while longer, as the small sample of the season has led to some wonky looking numbers for our friends behind the catcher so far in 2015. We will gradually move towards current data as the season progresses. As always, you can post your questions and comments below, or find me via the "Ask An Expert" feature on RotoWire.com.