This article is part of our Umpire Analysis series.
Beginning this week, I will no longer be referencing umpire statistics from last season, as most officials now have at least 100 innings behind the plate. While stats will, of course, continue to fluctuate based on a number of factors, it seems likely that enough time has passed for zones to be clearly defined. Readers will also note that there are no Thursday options, as Memorial Day on Monday resulted in a full slate of contests, but we should be back to our regular allotment of selections next week.
Last Week's Picks
Game: MIL at DET
Umpire: Tripp Gibson
Player Recommendation:Anibal Sanchez, RHP: 3.2 IP, 7 R, 7 H, 2 BB, 2 K
Jimmy Nelson got a better result for the Brewers in the game, allowing just one run en route to a victory, but he still walked four batters in eight innings. Though Gibson's ERA remains strong through eight appearances (3.13) his K:BB ratio now stands at an ugly 1.83:1, which could make him a candidate to see more runs cross the plate.
Game: LAA at TOR
Umpire: Sean Barber
Player Recommendation:Russell Martin, C: 2-for-4
The starters had trouble finding the plate, resulting in six walks in 14.1 innings, but the contest yielded just five runs, which likely left DFS players who stacked the game disappointed. Though the traffic on the base paths ultimately failed to lead to an offensive outburst, Barber's walk rate is still hovering at 3.0/9 through 143 innings this season. He should continue to be worth a look against pitchers who have trouble staying in the zone.
Game: STL at NYM
Umpire: Doug Eddings
Player Recommendation:Matt Adams, 1B: 2-for-5, HR, 3 RBI
Bartolo Colon had a tough time getting the call in the right side of the zone in this one, which led to the strike-throwing machine issuing his first walk since Opening Day against the Washington Nationals. Eddings' 7.1 K/9 through eight games this season may indicate that he will continue to force pitchers to find the open plate, which could lead to some high-scoring contests in the future.
Game: MIL at DET
Umpire: Brian Gorman
Player Recommendation:Shane Greene, RHP: 6.1 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 K
Greene logged his second-highest strikeout total of the season, but he was unable to secure a victory, as an elevated pitch count drove him from the mound in the seventh. Gorman continues to sport a low walk rate (2.7/9) and a solid ERA (3.25) in 138.3 innings, making him a strong candidate for low run totals based on his tendency to call a wide strike zone.
Game: ARI at MIA
Umpire: Tom Hallion
Player Recommendation:David Peralta: 0-for-5, 3 Ks
Yikes. Peralta was just about the only hitter in the game whose bat couldn't find the baseball, as the game yielded 13 runs in a victory for the Diamondbacks. Hallion is becoming a name to associate with offensive production, as he now has a 4.53 ERA and 3.4 BB/9 rate over his eight appearances this year.
This Week's Picks
Game: SD at LAA
Umpire: Ted Barrett
Player Recommendation:Kole Calhoun, OF
We once again find ourselves looking for offense in a big ballpark Tuesday, but it's hard not to take a run at this one, as neither hurler will enter the game with an ERA below 6.00, and Barrett has logged a 3.6 BB/9 rate in 10 games this season. Despaigne has struck out just 10.3 percent of the batters he's faced over 35.1 innings, and could find himself in trouble early if he has to come right after the big bats in the Angels' lineup.
Game: SEA at TB
Umpire: Brian Gorman
Player Recommendation:J.A. Happ, LHP
We will look to Gorman for the second time in as many weeks, as his desire to call strikes should be a nice fit for Happ and his 5.6 percent walk rate.
Game: PHI at NYM
Umpire: Vic Carapazza
Player Recommendation:Noah Syndergaard, RHP
Carapazza's walk rate is a bit higher than we would like it to be, but he has managed to tally the second-lowest ERA (2.64) of any umpire this season that has worked at least 100 innings. Syndergaard has allowed just five walks in his first three games in the majors, which could work to offset Carapazza's tendency to call ball four.
Nelson will head into the game with the sixth-highest ERA in the league, while also sporting a walk rate above 3.0/9. Colby Lewis began the year on a high note, but seems to be coming back to Earth, as he has allowed 10 earned runs in his last 11.2 innings.