Atlantic League to experiment with batters "stealing first base"

Atlantic League to experiment with batters “stealing first base”

The independent Atlantic League became the first American professional baseball league to let a computer call balls and strikes, using the system at its All-Star Game. More than 40% of Atlantic League players have major league service time. A square array well behind home plate monitors the strike zone.

Save for pronounced consternation over one pitch, a tailing fastball that rung up Lancaster Barnstormers designated hitter Joe Terdoslavich in the second inning, the digitally rendered strike zone was barely noticeable.

But players, managers and umpires in the Atlantic League have been quick to endorse the system in the name of consistency, even if the long-established boundaries of the strike zone change because of technology. Atlantic League clubs pay players to win baseball games, not apprentice in baseball's developmental levels.

"Technically, they're strikes, but umpires never called them", Atkins said. All this as human umpires themselves are becoming more accurate: A 2019 Boston University study estimated that home plate umpires made the proper ball-strike call 90.79 percent of the time in the 2018 season.

"We need to see how it works, first in the Atlantic League and then probably other places, meaning other parts of minor league baseball, before it comes to Major League Baseball", Manfred said.

Because the system is still in its infancy, an umpire is needed behind home in the event that the system fails to pick up a pitch, registers a pitch totally incorrectly or fails altogether.


"We want to get it right".

For several pitches early in the game, deBrauwere's earpiece lost connection to the iPhone in his pocket, though the technology quickly recovered.

YORK - "Robot umpires" have arrived. Every other decision we have to make will now be magnified.

A relaxation on check swings to be more batter-friendly.

When the agreement between the two leagues ends, it is possible that the MLB could institute some or all of the changes across league teams. Sabermetric analysis reveals the startling defensive value that catchers add by their "pitch framing" prowess - what some catchers call "receiving", or "presenting" the pitch to the umpire.

"If you ask a baseball purist, they'll hate it", deBrauwere told the newspaper. "This system will completely change all that".

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