The U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB) Secretariat will operate a robot referee system in earnest in the minor leagues.
ESPN reported on the 13th (Korean time), citing sources, that the MLB Secretariat will operate an automatic ball-strike decision system (ABS) in 30 minor league triple-A ballparks this year.
ABS testing began in 2019 in the independent league 슬롯사이트.and Arizona Fall League and has steadily attracted interest. In 2020, there was a period of temporary suspension as the minor league was not held due to Corona 19. However, coverage has been expanded to minor league single-A games in 2021, and coverage has been expanded to a few Triple-A games last year. About 4 years after the first experiment, up to Triple A was on the test table. Since Triple A is just below the MLB, it is speculated that it will enter the final check ahead of application to the big leagues.
According to ESPN, the MLB Bureau tests ABS in two ways. In the 15 Triple-A stadiums, ABS judges all balls and strikes. The machine separates balls and strikes and delivers them directly to an umpire wearing earphones behind home plate.
Unlike this, in the remaining 15 ballparks, it proceeds in a way that requests a reading of whether it is a strike or a ball. It is similar to the video review used in other sports such as professional tennis. In tennis, as the ball is fast, when requested, the precise Hawkeye system is used to read whether the ball landed on the inside or outside the court.
In this case, each minor league team has the right to request reading three times per game. If the review determines that the request was justified, the request may continue to be held.
The secretariat plans to collect various data and responses from stakeholders through two types of tests.
ESPN believed that the implementation of the ABS system could reduce the controversy over decisions in decisive battles. Currently, the video review system is not applied to strike and ball decisions regardless of league. When ABS is implemented in earnest, it is expected that subjective elements will disappear and noise will be reduced.
ESPN also predicted that the catcher’s role would change. Because there is no need for framing. Up to now, the framing technique in which a strike is not judged as a ball with a skillful catch and the ball is judged as a strike has been highly regarded. In fact, catchers with excellent framing have also received high scores in WAR (Victory Contribution Against Substitutes). However, when ABS is introduced, the strike and ball judgment is made by the machine, so no matter how excellent framing technology is, it will not be able to affect the judgment. For this reason, it is expected that the catcher’s capabilities will be focused on blocking the bounced ball and throwing to block the runner.