NEW YORK — Boosted by their strong results on replay challenges this season, several umpires will get to work the World Series for the first time.
The seven-man crew includes a rare four newcomers, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press this week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Major League Baseball hadn’t made an announcement yet.
Hunter Wendelstedt, Eric Cooper, Jim Reynolds and Jerry Meals are heading to their first World Series.
Wendelstedt had only two of his calls overturned this year under baseball’s expanded replay system. Cooper had just three decisions reversed and Reynolds had seven.
“An umpire’s entire body of work is evaluated when assigning postseason series, and we always strive to have the most deserving umpires working postseason games,” MLB spokesman Michael Teevan said.
“This year,” he added, “instant replay also became another facet of performance.”
Jeff Kellogg will be the crew chief and call his fifth World Series when Kansas City hosts San Francisco in Game 1 on Tuesday night. Ted Barrett and Jeff Nelson will work the Fall Classic for the third time.
Nearly 20 umpires had at least 10 calls changed this year. Barrett had 12 and Meals 10, while Kellogg had five.
Overall, there were 1,275 reviews in the majors this season and 47 percent of the calls were reversed.
Several factors determine which umpires get picked for the playoffs and World Series by MLB. Ball-strike ratings on plate jobs, skill at handling situations on the field, experience and time missed during the season are all considered.
MLB tries to include at least one first-time umpire on the World Series crew every year. Starting in 1998, the lone exception was 2009 — stung by a spate of missed calls earlier in that postseason, MLB chose an all-veteran crew.
In the previous 35 World Series, only twice has the crew included four first-timers, most recently in 1996.
Under a new plan this year, seven umpires handle all best-of-seven postseason matchups. One umpire works the first two games on the field, then changes places with an umpire in the New York replay booth for the rest of the series.
World Series umpires are picked from a pool of umps who worked in the Division Series.
Wendelstedt, whose father, Harry, umpired in the World Series five times, joined the MLB staff in 1999, as did Reynolds and Cooper. Meals became part of the staff in 1998.