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We are getting closer to an automated ball-strike system in MLB

There will be extensive use of such a system in Triple-A in 2023.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Many people have been clamoring for an automated ball-strike system in Major League Baseball (the so-called “robot ump”) and things have been edging in that direction.

An ABS has been tested in some of the lower levels of the minor leagues and in the independent/MLB partner Atlantic League over the last couple of years, and now that sort of testing will be expanded in 2023:

If the second part seems a bit confusing, here’s a better explanation from the replies:

It’s not clear exactly what “multiple times a week” means, but I’d read it to say that the majority of games in Triple-A will be either called by an ABS or have an ABS available for challenges.

Which leads me to the idea that a challenge system in MLB sometime in 2023 would be a good idea. It has been used in some Triple-A games already to good effect, as well as in some games in the Arizona Fall League.

I don’t see anything here that would preclude the use of such a system in MLB in 2023, and I hope it happens. Teams wouldn’t use it for every missed call, likely just the most egregiously bad calls or in situations where it might be important late in games.

We are getting closer to having balls and strikes called by the book strike zone, which is far better than the current system, where every plate umpire has his own zone. Will pitchers and hitters have to adjust to this? Of course they will, but baseball players have been making adjustments to rule changes for as long as the game has been played. They’ll manage.

I welcome the ABS in MLB as soon as they can get it up and running, and the sooner the better.