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The Challenge Trot: How well did Bud Black utilize expanded replay?

Buddy spent a good amount of time exercising his team challenges (and his legs) trotting between the dugout and the field. Here's a stat breakdown of his success with his first season with replay review, and the effect it had on the league as a whole.

Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

After finishing his fourth losing season with the Padres, Bud Black has already been announced to return for his 9th year as manager in San Diego. Fans seem to be split up the middle whether or not this is a good or bad thing. Either way, Buddy has done a lot with what hes got over the past years.

One of the more involved managerial responsibilities this year is the decision to challenge questionable rulings from umpires. It's Buddy's duty to call out any potential home runs/non-home runs, fair/foul balls, force/tag plays, catch plays in the outfield, base running, hit by pitch, and collisions at home plate that he feels were called incorrectly by the umpire crew.

For the rest of the league, in the entirety of the regular season, Rick Renteria and the Chicago Cubs used the most replay reviews of any team (including reviews from the crew chief). They totaled 61 compared to the Padres' 38, and the Brewers had the fewest with 32. Renteria had 55 challenges issued compared to Bud Black's 33. With that many challenges, the Cubs sat below the league average in overturn success, while Joe Girardi and the Yankees excelled with hitting a .793 average from 23 of his 39 challenges being successful.

Challenge Trots

Bud Black's Challenge Success Percentage (CSP)

.515 (17/33 Challenges Overturned)

League Manager Average: .526 (554/1053)

Black just about tied with Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles, who had a .517 average (15/29 Challenges Overturned), and both of them sat directly below the league average. John Gibbons of the Toronto Blue Jays did pretty damn terrible and sat at the bottom going .340 by only having 14 of his 47 challenges be anywhere near successful.

trot1 trot2

Now getting onto team percentages (which is the stat that includes replay reviews from both the manager and the crew chief) the Padres again sat a little bit more below the league average. With the Yankees still up top at .697 (23/33) and the Blue Jays still at the bottom with a .316 average (18/57), the Padres were somewhere in the middle of all that:

Padres Team Success Percentage (TSP)

.447 (17/38 Challenges Overturned)

League Team Average: .475 (605/1274)

Now the league average for umpire accuracy was at around .525. Which means when officials got 669 of their 1274 challenged calls right the first time. Chris Guccione was the most accurate of all with a .941 average (16/17 when challenged). The only time Bud reviewed a call with Guccione on the crew it was Gucciones call at third base involving a tag play with Seth Smith that was challenged and upheld. Seth Buckminster, the umpire with the lowest accuracy (.250 [4/16]), was on a crew that was challenged by Buddy three times. Buckminster was involved in two of those three reviews and was overturned in both challenged.

There will be four umpires entering the World Series crew for their very first time, all four of them above the league average


On average, replays around the league didn't take much longer than 2 minutes, with only a couple of outliers going past the 5 minute mark. On a recorded timeline through September 7th, determined that most challenges occurred as the game continued into extra innings (when the stakes became higher), with 10.7 challenges per 100/innings going on in the 10th inning, and that the most successful challenges occurred earlier in the game with almost 75% of overturned calls happening in the 3rd inning.

Padres Challenges

Tag play: 16 (48.48%)

Force play: 14 (42.42%)

Touching a base: 1 (3.03%)

Fair/Foul (Outfield): 1 (3.03%)

Hit by pitch: 1 (3.03%)

Unlike the rest of the league; the most of Bud's challenge trots were spent confirming whether or not a Padre or an opponent was tagged out, then followed by challenges questioning a force out. For the rest of the league force plays were at the top of the challenge list. 466 force outs were challenged and 259 of them were overturned. 380 tag plays were questioned and 183 were overturned.

Here are Black's challenges for the season:

Date Game Type Inning Play Call Result
4/12 vs Tigers Tag play Top 8 Pickoff attempt at 2nd. Safe Overturned
4/28 @ Giants Force play Top 4 Tyson Ross reaches on a fielding error by third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Out Overturned
5/4 vs Dbacks Force play Top 8 Chris Owings grounds out, third baseman Alexi Amarista to first baseman Safe Overturned
5/4 vs Dbacks Force play Bot 9 Cameron Maybin singles on a soft ground ball to second baseman Aaron Hill. Out Overturned
5/7 vs Royals Tag play Bot 2 Alexi Amarista singles on a ground ball to first baseman Eric Hosmer. Cameron Maybin out at 3rd, first baseman Eric Hosmer to shortstop Alcides Escobar. Safe Upheld
5/18 @ Rockies Tag play Bot 1 With Troy Tulowitzki batting, Corey Dickerson caught stealing 2nd base, catcher Rene Rivera to second baseman Jedd Gyorko. Safe Overturned
5/18 @ Rockies Tag play Bot 1 With Corey Dickerson batting, Charlie Blackmon caught stealing 2nd base, catcher Rene Rivera to shortstop Everth Cabrera. Safe Overturned
5/26 @ Dbacks Tag play Top 4 Seth Smith doubles (13) on a line drive to left fielder Cody Ross. Seth Smith out at 3rd, left fielder Cody Ross to shortstop Chris Owings to third baseman Martin Prado. Out Upheld
5/31 @ White Sox Tag play Top 4 With Seth Smith batting, Everth Cabrera caught stealing 2nd base, catcher Tyler Flowers to shortstop Alexei Ramirez. Out Upheld
6/12 @ Phillies Force play Bot 3 Ben Revere out on a sacrifice bunt, first baseman Yonder Alonso to second baseman Alexi Amarista. Kyle Kendrick to 2nd. Safe Overturned
6/24 @ Giants Force play Bot 7 Brandon Crawford singles on a ground ball to first baseman Jake Goebbert. Safe Upheld
6/29 vs Dbacks Force play Bot 6 Yasmani Grandal grounds out, pitcher Mike Bolsinger to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Out Upheld
7/1 vs Reds Force play Top 9 Ryan Ludwick grounds into a force out, third baseman Chase Headley to second baseman Irving Falu. Todd Frazier out at 2nd. Safe Overturned
7/2 vs Reds Touching a base Bot 4 Seth Smith singles on a line drive to left fielder Chris Heisey. Irving Falu out at 3rd, pitcher Johnny Cueto to third baseman Ramon Santiago. Out Upheld
7/5 vs Giants Tag play Top 10 Buster Posey doubles (15) on a line drive to center fielder Cameron Maybin. Safe Upheld
7/24 @ Cubs Hit by pitch Bot 5 Anthony Rizzo strikes out swinging. Wild pitch by pitcher Tyson Ross. Arismendy Alcantara to 3rd. Anthony Rizzo to 1st. Dropped third strike Upheld
7/25 @ Braves Force play Top 5 Jeff Francoeur grounds into a force out, third baseman Chris Johnson to second baseman Tommy La Stella. Tommy Medica out at 2nd. Jeff Francoeur to 1st. Out Upheld
8/3 vs Braves Tag play Bot 4 Alexi Amarista singles on a ground ball to right fielder Jason Heyward. Will Venable to 3rd. Alexi Amarista to 2nd on the throw. Out Overturned
8/3 vs Braves Force play Top 8 Freddie Freeman grounds into a force out, shortstop Everth Cabrera to second baseman Alexi Amarista. Tommy La Stella out at 2nd. Freddie Freeman to 1st. Safe Overturned
8/5 @ Twins Force play Bot 6 Danny Santana bunt grounds out to first baseman Yonder Alonso. Safe Overturned
8/13 vs Rockies Force play Bot 1 Yangervis Solarte singles on a ground ball to shortstop Josh Rutledge. Safe Overturned
8/13 vs Rockies Tag play Bot 8 With Abraham Almonte batting, Chris Nelson caught stealing 2nd base, catcher Michael McKenry to second baseman DJ LeMahieu. Out Upheld
8/14 @ Cardinals Tag play Top 9 Jake Goebbert singles on a line drive to right fielder Shane Robinson. Yasmani Grandal scores. Alexi Amarista out at home on the throw, right fielder Shane Robinson to catcher A. Pierzynski. Chris Nelson to 2nd. Out at home Upheld
8/19 @ Dodgers Tag play Top 9 Jedd Gyorko singles on a line drive to center fielder Yasiel Puig. Abraham Almonte out at home on the throw, center fielder Yasiel Puig to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to third baseman Miguel Rojas. Out at home Upheld
8/20 @ Dodgers Tag play Top 8 Rymer Liriano out at 3rd, catcher A. J. Ellis to third baseman Justin Turner. Out Upheld
8/29 vs Dodgers Tag play Top 6 Hanley Ramirez singles on a ground ball to center fielder Abraham Almonte. Hanley Ramirez out at 2nd, center fielder Abraham Almonte to first baseman Yasmani Grandal. Safe at 2B Overturned
9/3 vs Dbacks Tag play Top 5 Josh Collmenter reaches on a fielders choice, fielded by second baseman Cory Spangenberg. Alfredo Marte scores. Didi Gregorius to 3rd.

Safe at 1B

9/4 vs Dbacks Force play Bot 7 Seth Smith grounds out, shortstop Didi Gregorius to first baseman Mark Trumbo. Out Upheld
9/6 @ Rockies Force play Bot 1 Drew Stubbs grounds out, shortstop Alexi Amarista to first baseman Tommy Medica. Safe Overturned
9/7 @ Rockies Tag play Bot 8 Jackson Williams grounds into a double play, first baseman Jake Goebbert to shortstop Alexi Amarista to first baseman Jake Goebbert. DJ LeMahieu out at 2nd. Safe Overturned
9/10 @ Dodgers Tag play Bot 6 Pickoff attempt of Hanley Ramirez at 1B. Safe Overturned
9/24 vs Rockies Fair/Foul Bot 4 Foul ball (outfield). Fair Overturned
9/24 vs Rockies Force play Bot 4 Joe Wieland grounds out, shortstop Josh Rutledge to first baseman Justin Morneau. Out Upheld

Bud was successful 69.23% of the time when challenging force plays, and 43.75% when challenging tag plays. Out of the three types of plays he only challenged once this season (Fair/foul, Touching a base, Hit by pitch) he was only successful with the Fair/foul call.

Against the League

When it came to the teams where calls were challenged the most often he seemed to like picking on the Rockies. He had a 75% success out of the 8 challenges in those games, and only had a 0% success rate against teams with fewer than two challenges against.

Challenge Record

Rockies: 6/8 (27.59% [(75% success])
Dbacks: 2/4 (13.79% [50% success])
Dodgers 2/4 (13.79% [50% success])
Giants: 1/3 (10.34% [33.33% success])
Braves: 1/3 (10.34% [33.33% success])
Reds: 1/2 (6.9% [50% success])
Twins: 1/1 (3.45% [100% success])
Phillies: 1/1 (3.45% [100% success])
Cardinals: 0/1 (3.45% [0% success])
White Sox: 0/1 (3.45% [0% success])
Cubs: 0/1 (3.45% [0% success])

The rest of the division swapped a few places in regards to their final regular season standings. The Padres, of course, managed to stay directly in 3rd place, which is hopefully not the result of some freaky fascination with being in third all the time.

NL West Challenge Standings

Bruce Bochy: .611 (22/36)
Giants: .571 (24/42).

Don Mattingly: .539 (21/39)
Dodgers: .478 (22/46)

Bud Black: .515 (17/33)
Padres: .447 (17/38)

Kirk Gibson: 528 (19/36)
Diamondbacks: .432 (19/44)

Walt Weiss: .378 (14/37)
Rockies: .381 (16/42)

Bochy and his mustache chose his challenges wisely and led the division, planting himself at 6th in the league for success rate. Meanwhile the Rockies could have done worse, sitting in the cellar of the division but still bottom 5 in the league.


By the end of the season, Bud Black was only ejected three times. Once by Bob O'Nora when Bruce Bochy requested the review of a Yasmani Grandal home run that was as a result changed to a ground-rule double. The Padres still clobbered the Giants 6-0.

buddy fired up

Another on that amazing display of human ocular ability by Bob Davidson when he ruled a tag applied to Alexi Amarista existed in at least one dimension out there, which is enough to call the out and eventually cost the Padres a 4-3 loss.


The last time in extra-innings on another poor call on a check swing from Yasiel Puig, which "if he would have hit it it would have been a double", with the Padres rallying around Black's ejection and winning the game 2-1.

buddy fired up

I'm posting Buddy's projections closer to .575 next season with at least five ejections. Anything short of 5 and I will be thoroughly disappointed with Black as a manager of the San Diego Padres. For now, those are my expectations. Don't let me down, Bud.


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