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Cubs interested in Luis Arraez?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:47 PM
https://twitter.com/...ovecubbies.com/     Not sure why the Twins would be interested in moving Arraez. He is cheap and can't b...
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David Price? Eovaldi?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:38 PM
It is the most wonderful time of the year... No not the holidays. Trade and free agent dreams are dancing in everyone's heads and the Bos...
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Front Page: Every Team Wants Zack Wheeler

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:13 PM
Zack Wheeler is one of the most sought after free agents this off-season and there will be not shortage of teams interested in his servic...
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Front Page: Fears of White Sox Competency Alarm Local Fans

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:05 PM
The surprising hot stove activity of the Chicago White Sox--signing Yasmani Grendal, their rumored pursuit of Zach Wheeler--is causing so...
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Rosenthal: Minnesota Tax Rate 2nd Highest in Baseball

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:56 PM
https://theathletic....bet-more-notes/   In the notes of this Ken Rosenthal article, he writes about the Twins pursuit of pitching....
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"Robot Umpires" Coming to Some Affiliated Parks Next Season

Major League Baseball’s postseason should be a time where the best moments are created by the players. From game-winning home runs to strong pitching performances, the players and these key moments should be what fans remember. Unfortunately, the calls made by umpires can overshadow baseball’s best moments and this was seen throughout the playoffs.

Changes are coming to baseball and "robot umpiring" might not be that far away.
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Calling balls and strikes is no easy task, especially with more pitchers throwing in the high-90s or adding in the task of tracking the pitch’s movement. Fans sitting at home get a first-hand look at every pitch as it crosses the plate. Most of the time there can be multiple replays and the benefits of watching in slow-motion on a high definition screen. Fans know if a pitch is a ball or strike and they take to social media to berate the man behind the plate.

Evidence also points to just how much umpires are missing calls. Following the 2018 season, Boston University did a study and found that an average of 14 ball-strike calls per game. For the entire 2018 season, MLB umpires missed 34,294 calls and those calls resulted in some other findings. Umpires have a two-strike bias and there are strike-zone blind spots. Clearly, baseball needs to find a solution to this problem.

During the 2019 Arizona Fall League, MLB experimented with an automated ball-strike system (ABS). The technology was only present at one AFL field and it is similar to one used in the Atlantic League this season. With this system, the home-plate umpire wears an earpiece and is sent the “ball” or “strike” call. It’s obviously more complicated than that and there are some kinks to work out. Players are forced to figure out how the computer calls pitches at the different edges of the zone. There is also less pressure on catchers to frame a pitch because they can’t “steal” strikes from the computer.

Minnesota’s top prospect Royce Lewis was in the AFL and got to see the ABS in action. “It kind of changes the whole game,” said Lewis. “It’s still tough, but anyone can catch it back there with electronic. I’d rather have the guys that are working hard and framing and building an element of their game to better themselves.”

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently told MLB Network that ABS will come to the minors in 2020 "in some ballparks."The league is continuing to find ways to improve the technology. He went on to say, "I only would go to an automated strike zone when we were sure that it was absolutely the best it can be."

ABS likely will go through multiple trials in the minors before it will be big-league ready. It will be interesting to see what leagues will use the technology during the 2020 season. Technology is there and it seems inevitable for “robot umpires” to become part of America’s pastime.

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54 Comments

FWIW, I've read reports that the delay in calls was much more like 2 seconds than 4 seconds. Which is much, much better -- although could still stand to be improved before it comes to MLB.

    • h2oface and biggentleben like this

 

Well if they are I feel Mitch Garver will be one of the lower paid catchers in baseball year after year. I wish that we would put as much expectation on the players as we do on the officials. Don't get me wrong, I have barked at many an umpire in my life, way many. But that does not change the fact that we expect perfection from them, and at the same time seem quite enthralled with an entire infield that can do only one half of their proscribed duties, the offensive half, with any apparent proficiency. We are enthralled with a catcher who can hit, but couldn't block a four year old from getting into the candy drawer. A cleanup hitter who swings at pitches in a different zip code. But have an umpire miss some close pitches, even say 10 out of 250, and we want to mechanize it? For the players we cheer lustily for their successes and excuse their faults. For the officials we ignore their abilities, and demean their mistakes.

 

I have nothing but respect for the umpires... I'm not one of those people who call out umpires by name and judge them individually. As a matter of fact, it is my opinion, that MLB umpires are absolutely incredible at their jobs. The job is impossible to perform perfectly so you won't hear me criticizing them when they don't. 

 

 

I want the umpire to have the tools necessary to perfect their performance. Each missed call is random and potentially critical to the result of the game. The possibility of missed strike or ball call impacting DIRECTLY the result of Game 7 in a World Series is absolutely real... It is just a matter of timing. 

 

I've used this example frequently because it stung me personally: 2017... Wild Card Game between the Twins and Yankees. The Twins jumped on Severino for 3 runs in the 1st inning. Santana was no doubt, shaky in the bottom of the first. He walked Gardner followed by a Judge single and the Yankees had 1 and 3rd with nobody out. However... he got Sanchez to pop out with Gardner remaining at 3B and then it happened: He had two strikes on Gregorious. He threw a pitch in the strike zone that Gregorious looked at... It should have been strike three with two outs... Instead it was called a ball and on the very next pitch Didi parked it and the game is now tied 3-3. 

 

I don't blame the umpire and I recognize the role that Santana's performance played in the equation. I also understand it was the first inning with 8 more innings of random events yet to take place. However, that missed call was a significant game changing moment, because everything looks different if the Twins enter the 2nd Inning with 3-0 lead instead of a 3-3 tie. 

 

Now... take that same real-life scenario that happened to us and place it in the 9th inning of Game 7 of the World Series. What if the ump missed a strike call with two strikes and two outs on Bregman and he blasts a game winning home run off Hudson on the next pitch. You can't say this won't happen, you can't quote me odds that it will happen... it can absolutely happen. It's just a matter of unfortunate timing. The Nationals losing in that fashion would be a nightmare unless you lived in Houston. Joe Torre would have to stand there in front of throngs of media to defend a guy that was simply tasked with a doing a job, that was impossible to begin with. We'd have a system in place the following season, if it's ready or not. A full year of baseball down to the tubes because it was decided by a human element call. 

 

Hell, the U.S. congress would probably pass legislation making strike zone automation law while taking away the Anti-Trust Exemption if it happened to the Nationals.:)

 

My strong feelings toward this subject have nothing to do with lack of respect toward the umpires, I think they are incredible. I'm saying we have the technology to eliminate the human mistakes, the human mistakes influence the final results of games. So, improve the system, get it done and utilize it as soon as possible. 

 

We don't need any more proof that the final results are indeed influenced by these random missed calls when pitch framers like Jason Castro are paid 3 years and 24 million dollars. 

 

Catchers are compensated for their ability to fool umpires. This sentence tells you all you need to know. Umpires can be fooled. Teams employ those who are best at fooling them so they've seen the statistical evidence and a value for the ability has been assessed and paid.:)

    • Heezy1323 and Nine of twelve like this
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Nine of twelve
Nov 17 2019 12:00 PM

 

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred... went on to say, "I only would go to an automated strike zone when we were sure that it was absolutely the best it can be."
 

This is either really poor logic on Manfred's part or an excuse to never implement automated strike calling.

Technology improves. Continuously. The automated systems available 5 years from now will be better than the systems available now. The systems available 10 years from now will be better than the systems available 5 years from now. Ad infinitum. It's just like phones and computers. If you wait for it to be "absolutely the best it can be" then you will never do it.

To contrast, the ability of humans to call strikes will never improve. Moreover, that ability will always vary from one human to another and from one situation to another, leading to inconsistencies and injustices.

If I were commissioner I would go to an automated system when it surpasses the ability of the average MLB umpire. Without doing any research of the data I would expect that that moment in time has already occurred. That means this change is overdue.

    • ashbury likes this
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cardsfan
Today, 06:47 AM
Do these automated umpires take into account crouching? I would stay crouched to shrink my strike zone unless I saw a great pitch to hit. Whereas a human umpire determines strike zone when I am at the point of swinging and applies it to when I stay crouched.

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