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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

4/27/21 : Automated Balls-Strikes

With the minor league seasons on the verge of beginning on May 4th here’s a look at one of the experimental rule changes we will see in place this coming season in the Low-A Southeast League. The league will use an automated strike zone.

“To use the new automated ball-strike (ABS) system, hitters’ strike zones will be programmed into the ABS system based on their height. The top of the zone will be 56% of the player’s height and the bottom of the strike zone will be set at 28% of the player’s height. There are no allowances for having a crouch. It’s based on a hitters’ full height, and MLB will be checking listed heights to make sure they are accurate.

MLB will be using the Hawk-Eye visual tracking system to measure the strike zone. The strike zone will be measured as a two-dimensional box at the very front of the plate. Since this is an experiment, there is a chance that eventually it may be tweaked.

With an automated zone you can make it whatever you want to make it. You aren't tied to the old definitions. 2D box? Front of the plate. Mid-point of the plate? Back of the plate? All options.

The system will not be in place in every Low-A Southeast stadium. Daytona is not an MLB spring training home and as such does not have the Hawk-Eye system installed. There, umpires will call balls and strikes the old fashioned way.” - JJ Cooper - Baseball America

Fans who love to belabor the umpire on balls and strikes will have to yell at the computer system this season in the league ... I’m sure some will not be able to break old habits. 🤦‍♂️

Personally I think the human element of umpiring is part of the game, I’m usually a progressive thinker but to me this one isn’t something I’d change. Adjusting to an umpires strike zone has always been something players have been accustomed to ... sterilizing that aspect into a robotic endeavor isn’t worth whatever may be gained in my humble opinion ... plus folks have always liked to moan about umpires ... what’s Larry Anderson to do if this ever gets to the show 🥴😂.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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