The automated strike zone soon could be coming to a Minor League Baseball stadium near you.
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred discussed the potential move last week on “MLB Now” with Brian Kenny. The technology already debuted in the Atlantic League and Arizona Fall League and is due for an upgrade this winter, per Manfred.
Here’s how Manfred broke down the potential plan, per The Athletic’s Evan Drellich:
“Here’s our thinking on the automated strike zone: The technology exists. We have the technology. We’re actually going through a big upgrade of that piece of our technology during this offseason. I think we need to be ready to use an automated strike zone when the time is right. That’s why we experimented in the Atlantic League. It’s why we went to the Arizona Fall League. It’s why we’re using it in Minor League Baseball next year, in some ballparks at least.
“I think it’s incumbent upon us to see if we can get the system to the point we’re comfortable it can work. I only would go to an automated strike zone when we were sure that it was absolutely the best it can be. Getting out there too early with it and not having it work well, that’d be a big mistake.”
The commissioner’s office declined to comment, per Drellich, as these plans have yet to be finalized.
The implementation of robot umpires hasn’t stopped players and managers from arguing calls, however. Several MLB players — like Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Jones, San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford and New York Yankees pitcher JA Happ — have expressed their disdain for the proposal, as well.
We’ll have to see how this experiment plays out in the minors come the new year, should the plans fall into place.
Thumbnail photo via Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports Images