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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

4/27/21 : Today in Minor League Camp

The last scheduled games against opposing organizations took place today as the Phillies faced off against the Jays. The Low A scrimmage was played in BayCare Ballpark while the AA groups met on Roberts Field. The High A group traveled to Dunedin to play there.

It was also an initial experiment day ... as previously noted the Low A Southeast League will be utilizing the ABS ( automated ball-strike ) program this season. Today’s game was a test run for the system. It utilizes cameras positioned throughout the stadium to determine balls/strikes based upon each of the batters height which is pre-programmed into the system. There are technicians up in the booth level that maintain/monitor the computer pitch registrations which in turns signals the umpire ( wearing a data signal device on his back waist ) whether the pitch is a ball or strike.

Before realizing what was going on we noticed a distinct delay in the umpires pitch calls during the first half inning ... then we noted that he was waiting for the computer signal 🤓. However as the game went along the cadence of the calls came a bit quicker albeit not as instantaneous as if the umpire was calling pitches himself. From my perspective it became less noticeable as the game went on but it definitely continued as a delayed call. Throughout the game there were multiple batters looking back to wait for the decision.

In regards to accuracy a handful of pitches I felt were called incorrectly however they were minimal. The ones I noticed the most were inside strikes to right handed batters that were called balls. However from an overall standpoint it seemed to be a well called game ... one of those where not many deliveries would be disputed.

It was pointed out that the umpire still remains gainfully employed by this automation ... yet the process does become dehumanized. It seems to require additional employment in that computer technicians are also needed. There’s also the added expense of the cameras. Just sayin ...

Will be an interesting summer as we watch how this plays out ... some are advocates, others not so much. It’s an experiment in motion ... literally 😂

The Game ....

There was actually a ballgame played ... got carried away chatting on the technology 🤦‍♂️... here are the game notes.

The Blue Jays won the contest by a count of 5-1.

On The Hill :

RHP Gunner Mayer was the standout pitcher for the Phillies ... he went three shutout innings allowing one hit, no walks and struck out four batters. The 20 year old hurler struck out the side in his second inning of work and got five fly ball outs. He’s a hard thrower with what also appears to be a decent changeup and slider.

LHP Maikel Garrido was tagged for a two run home run but I really like his stuff. He’s also a hard thrower who’s previous issues when we’ve seen him have been command. Today he was consistently throwing strikes and produced four ground ball outs .. would have been five if not for a fielding error ... this 21 year old is someone to keep an eye on 👀.

Others who pitched in today’s contest included Starlyn Castillo ( 1 IP ), Danny Vilchez ( 1 IP - perfect frame ), Brenden Kudlinski ( 1/3 IP - faced two batters ), Yoan Antonac - 2/3 IP and Carlos A Francisco ( 2/3 IP ). Three of the frames were rolled.

At The Plate :

The Phillies were held to three hits ... singles by Casey Martin, Baron Radcliffe and DJ Stewart. Hunter Markwardt and Jamari Baylor each drew two walks.

Notes :

Position players who saw action today ...

Rixon Wingrove - 1B

Sal Gozzo - 2B

Jamari Baylor - SS

DJ Stewart - 3B/1B

Jose Tortolero - 3B

Freddy Francisco, Cesar Rodriquez & Micah Yonamine - C

Hunter Markwardt - LF

Johan Rojas - CF

Jose Cedeno - RF

The Phillies had 8 walks in the game, the Blue Jays walked 7 times ... the Phillies struck out 6 times, the Blue Jays K’s 8 times.

Intrasquad action likely the next two days before camp breaks on Friday.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

Photos of the white cameras on the roof of the stadium.

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