Minor League Baseball will implement an automated strike zone in some stadiums for the 2020 season, the latest evolution on the path to so-called robot umps, according to a report from The Athletic.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told MLB Network recently that the technology for a computerized strike zone has improved and would be rolled out in the minors next season, the report says.
“Here’s our thinking on the automated strike zone: The technology exists. We have the technology,” Manfred said on MLB Network. “We’re actually going through a big upgrade of that piece of our technology during this offseason. I think we need to be ready to use an automated strike zone when the time is right. That’s why we experimented in the Atlantic League. It’s why we went to the Arizona Fall League. It’s why we’re using it in Minor League Baseball next year, in some ballparks at least.
“I think it’s incumbent upon us to see if we can get the system to the point we’re comfortable it can work. I only would go to an automated strike zone when we were sure that it was absolutely the best it can be. Getting out there too early with it and not having it work well, that’d be a big mistake.”
Details on the rollout are still scarce, but The Athletic cited a source that said it's possible that the automated zone could be used in most of the Florida State League, which uses parks that also house MLB teams in spring training.