Measuring the Impact of Robotic Umpires

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Abstract

James Zhan, Undergraduate Student, Goergen Institute of Data Science, University of Rochester
John Polimeni, Undergraduate Student, Goergen Institute of Data Science, University of Rochester
Luke Gerstner, Undergraduate Student, Goergen Institute of Data Science, University of Rochester

Abstract

On July 10th, 2019 the Atlantic League had the first game ever called by a robotic umpire. While commissioner Rob Manfred said that there was no timeline for when the technology will be used in the majors, many people think the change will happen eventually. The purpose of our paper is to measure the impact that the robotic umpires will have on the outcomes of games and individual at bats. This question is important to the industry because it is necessary to see the possible impact that this new way of umpiring will have on the game. This is useful for teams and the rules committee. The result of this paper helps the rules committee see how this possible change may impact the game. It also is valuable to teams because if robotic umpires’ impact one aspect of the game more than the other, then the teams may be able to gain an advantage when constructing their rosters over other teams.

We present a state-of-the-art metric which we call RE12, based off of the widely known RE24, to effectively quantify the effect of umpire missed calls. RE12 measures the run expectancy conditional on the 12 unique pitch counts. We then provide analysis based off of our numerical experiments and discuss the impact that missed calls have on key areas such as hitters, pitchers, and catchers.

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