Angel Campos has a very small LOW zone. (proven)
Angel runs a K/BB ratio that rests in the 2.20-2.40 range during the last few seasons, but he's become a terror to pitchers during the first weeks of 2010. He was deceptive to me, because he had a 15-17 Over/Under record in 2009 (17-5 in 2007), but his numbers, aside from the high home run rate, were all pointing to an UNDER umpire (Strike Rates, K/BB, Pitcher matchups).
He had a 2.40 K/BB ratio in 2009! This is a massive UNDER indicator if the Strike Rate is high.
But the fact of the matter is that I RE-learned something about my statistical approach:
1. A High strike rate CAN mean that the pitchers are FORCED to throw more strikes. My traditional view was to assume a larger zone when I was beginning my umpire work (in 2005), but the contrary CAN exist, and Angel is a perfect example. It's just so rare that I got mechanical and robotic with my assessment.
2. Home Run Rate is an underrated number. This innocuous stat can be influenced by weather, hitters, bad pitchers, and just luck, but it is a deadly indicator if it agrees with strike rate, K/BB, and Total runs.
Angel Campos is one of the larger anomalies in strike zone analysis. He's going to be erratic on totals and he can range from that 17-5 OU (2008) and he's just as likely to shift to a 15-17 (2009) again, but he's trending hard in the Over department and I was snakebitten because I FAILED to respect the HR rate. Angel is a hard nut to crack, but we have him in our sights now.
On May 2nd we played the Nationals and Marlins UNDER 8.5, and most of the statistical outliers supported our assessment, but I was blinded by a lazy look at Campos and we paid for it.
Johnson and Lannan were NOT getting the low zone in that game . Angel was completely consistant and both pitchers drew walks and then sniffed out the situation.
The result? Both pitchers began to move away from the low zone. Both pitchers lifted their pitches into the "hot" zones of the batter and, in that instance, the batters became dominant. The zone became a hitter's zone!
It was a humid day and the only thing that was needed was contact. The wager lost in the bottom of the 6th inning, but I rarely lose without reviewing the reason for the loss. We'll make money from this loss.
Verdict to watch?
*THE ACCURATE ASSESSMENT IS THAT CAMPOS CAN REMOVE THE LOW ZONE. This is the reason for the consistantly high HR rates and it's also the contributiing factor to that high strike rate.