As of 2019, MLB has partnered with several independent baseball leagues, including the Atlantic Professional Baseball League. MLB has partnered with the Atlantic League to experiment with rules including a new shift rule, runners at second in extra innings, larger bases and, of course, an automated strikeout system.

In case you haven’t heard, the Automated Ball Streak System, or ABS system, calls balls and hits them with technology like you see on television. Attached to the roof of the ballpark’s press box, facing home plate, is a device that reads like a ticker. The umpire has an iPhone attached to his hip, a headset in one ear, and the device then transmits to the umpire whether the pitch is a ball or a strike. The device can determine the batter’s strike zone by putting the player’s height into the system.

Camera/radar devices are placed in the stadium and point at different angles at each home plate and count every pitch. Major League Baseball now has the Bradenton Marauders’ Low-A Southeastern League Automated Ball-Street Technology (ABS) at LECOM Park in Bradenton. Plate umpire Nelson Fraley wears a headset that detects radar signals that call the ball and the visiting Tampa Tarpons, Bradenton Marauders game Wednesday evening, June 29, 2022.
Turf Race 07

For the most part, the ABS system was successful. There were a few hiccups on the road, especially at the dumpsters. But this ABS system was introduced in 2010. When created and implemented in 2019, you should remember that the Atlantic League used for that season and the 2021 season is still in place due to the cancellation of the 2020 Atlantic League season due to Covid. Room for improvement. That being said, the likelihood of such a test being implemented in MLB is moot.

I wonder if the new ABS system will be in MLB soon? No. I think he still has a ways to go before he’s drafted in the MLB. However, MLB liked what they saw out of the ABS system as it is now in all Triple-A ballparks for the upcoming season. So while you won’t see actual robots in MLB, I think an automated batting system could be added to the MLB replay system, which could be used to challenge umpires’ calls, as seen in the video above. This is similar to how football works with their VAR system. With much controversy surrounding certain umpires and their ability, or lack thereof, to call a fair game behind the plate, the ABS system could be beneficial to the sport in the future.



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