Shin-Soo Choo must wonder who he ticked off.
Umpires don’t seem to respect his eye for the strike zone.
The Rangers outfielder who struck out looking on a high pitch out of the strike zone with two runners in scoring position in the seventh inning in Tuesday’s loss to Toronto shook his head in disbelief before walking back to the dugout.
It has been an all too frequent occurrence for Choo this season, who doesn’t seem to get the respect for knowing the strike zone as well as an 11-year veteran with a career batting average near .280 typically should.
Choo has been the unfortunate victim of a called third strike out of the strike zone 15 times this season, according to BaseballSavant.com. Only 21 other hitters have more in 2015. The Astros’ Colby Rasmus and the Rays’ Steve Souza are tied for the league with 24 strikeouts looking on pitches out of the zone.
It has been an unfortunate recent trend for Choo, who led the league with 31 Strike 3 calls out of the zone in 2014. He was tied for third in the league with 22 in 2013.
Among Rangers, Delino DeShields is right behind Choo with 14 strikeouts on a called third strike out of the zone. DeShields is a rookie, however, so a little lack of respect comes with the territory.
Choo has struck out 117 times this season. His career-high was 151 in 2009 when hit .300 with 20 homers. He started 2015 in a deep slump, hitting .221 with 84 strikeouts in the first half. Since the All-Star break, however, Choo is hitting .314.
Choo was judicious about it after the 6-5 loss Tuesday night.
“That’s why I’m not looking at the replay,” he said, knowing he wouldn’t like what he saw. “I still respect the umpires.”
Choo didn’t like that the Strike 3 call by home plate umpire Mike Estabrook was a tad late. More importantly, Choo said, the situation with much-needed insurance runs in scoring position made the call especially frustrating.
“I’m not a stat person, I tell you guys that all the time,” he said. “But that’s a really big situation for us. You call outside the strike zone early in the count it’s OK. But in that situation it can totally change the game.”
“But I respect the call,” Choo added.
For a complete list of the current leaders in strikeouts on called third strikes out of the zone through Tuesday night’s action go to BaseballSavant.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760