Are umpires impacting Aaron Judge's success at the plate? They could be.
Below are two images, one from before the All-Star break, one from after. The red blobs represent locations in which pitches are called strikes at least 15 percentage points above the expected rate.
Judge’s strike zone has changed a little, as he got used to low pitches often being called strikes. Now he has to get used to something new: high pitches getting called strikes more often.
Dealing with this is a challenge for anyone, but it's especially difficult for someone whose strike zone is as big as Judge’s. It’s just another adjustment that Judge has to make as he battles through the second half of the season.
Case in point:
- In the first half, Judge had 13 strikes called against him on pitches in the upper-third of the strike zone (aka “high pitches”) – in 84 games.
- In the second half, he’s already had 11 -- in 27 games.