Automated Strike Zone to be Tested in Minors

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Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced that automated strike zones are to make their way to the minor leagues next year. He stated this in a recent interview with MLB Network, . This change will only be enforced in some minor league ballparks as the MLB is looking to test the waters.

Automated strike zones are being tested in the MLB-run Arizona Fall League and the independent Atlantic League. Manfred stated that he thinks “we need to be ready to use an automated strike zone when the time is right.” He went on to say, “We are comfortable it can work and jumping right into it would be a mistake.”

Feedback from Players/Umpires

As the automated strike zone comes closer to it’s pro debut, emotions are mixed. Mostly the system’s negative reviews come from the players that have already experienced this program. Angels prospect Brandon Marsh, has said he is “not a fan” and knows several others that feel the same as well.

Both hitters and pitchers essentially have changed their approach as more high pitches are being called. Along with the negative feedback, there is some positive outlooks on the system. Many people see it as being an “opportunity for bigger things to happen in baseball” 

Umpire Freddie DeJesus, commented to CBS sports and said “as I’ve had the opportunity to do it now, it’s great.” “It’s a great step and it’s good for the game… I can see it taking us to the next level.” 

The Future and What to Expect

There is some work to take place as the program prepares for a future in baseball. This would take the “human element” out of the game, which can cause controversy around the league. A great example of the controversy surrounding the strike zone was game 5 of the 2019 World Series. The game held in Washington, D.C. caused a stir and ended up costing the Nationals a win.

The future of automated umpires is evidently coming and is going to be here soon. The plan appears to be get the minors going first to get young players comfortable using this technology while it provides an easier transition to the big leagues. This will allow MLB to improve upon the system while in the minors as it readies for the big stage.

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