Tipsheet: Thankfully, automated strike zone moves closer to reality for big leagues

Jeff Gordon

Robot umpires are creeping ever closer to the big leagues.

If you are old, like Tipsheet, this news stirs images of the robot from the 1965 TV version of “Lost in Space” – the B-9 Class M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot – waving its arms to make ball-and-strike calls.

“Danger, Paul DeJong, Danger!” the robot could exclaim whenever the strikeout-prone Cardinals shortstop reached a 1-2 count.

It’s not going to look quite like that at the Triple-A level this season, but the minor leaguers will see an automated strike zone as technology marches on.

The system has been tested in the independent Atlantic League and the Arizona Fall League. We could also see it this season in some spring training (if there is spring training) and sites in the Low-A Southeast League.

“It’s hard to handicap if, when or how it might be employed at the major league level, because it is a pretty substantial difference from the way the game is called today,” Chris Marinak, MLB’s chief operations and strategy officer, said last March, as the Associated Press recalled.

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