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HomeSportAll 30 Triple-A teams to implement electronic strike zone this season: report

All 30 Triple-A teams to implement electronic strike zone this season: report

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The times they are a changing — but baseball purists, you might want to look away.

Triple-A baseball will implement electronic strike zones for the 2023 season in all 30 stadiums, according to ESPN.

The ABS (automatic balls and strikes) system will be used in two ways: half the games will be called strictly based on the system, while teams in the other half will be able to challenge the umpire’s ruling, with the system making the final call.

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Home plate umpire Scott Higgins walks off the field on opening night of a Triple-A Minor League Baseball game between the Reno Aces and the Las Vegas Aviators on April 5, 2022 at the Las Vegas Ballpark in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Home plate umpire Scott Higgins walks off the field on opening night of a Triple-A Minor League Baseball game between the Reno Aces and the Las Vegas Aviators on April 5, 2022 at the Las Vegas Ballpark in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In the games where challenges will be allowed, both teams will get three each, and they will retain each successful challenge, ESPN notes.

Major League Baseball will use the data and feedback from both systems for its future decisions on putting the ABS at the big-league level.

The Independent Atlantic League was the first to use the ABS system during its All-Star Game in 2019. The Arizona Fall League also used the system that same year. It has since expanded to all levels of minor league baseball, but this will be the first time it is used throughout all of Triple-A after partial usage last season.

Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Philadelphia Phillies argues with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez after being called out on strikes during the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park on April 24, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Brewers defeated the Phillies 1-0.

Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Philadelphia Phillies argues with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez after being called out on strikes during the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park on April 24, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Brewers defeated the Phillies 1-0.
(Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

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Early feedback from the “robo umps” has been positive, but there are still gripes — if a game is strictly called electronically, the art of framing by a catcher is essentially lost and a huge part of a home plate umpire’s job will no longer exist.

According to T-Bones Baseball, MLB reported a 14.7 missed-call percentage on balls and strikes.

MLB will introduce a pitch clock this season to increase game speed (although there is already a rule in place on when a pitcher must deliver). The league has also limited the use of shifts, ruling that two infielders must be on both sides of the dirt. There also will be larger bases this season as well as a limit on pick-off moves.

Jurickson Profar #10 of the San Diego Padres is ejected by home plate umpire Ted Barrett after arguing a checked swing call during the ninth inning in game three of the National League Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 21, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Jurickson Profar #10 of the San Diego Padres is ejected by home plate umpire Ted Barrett after arguing a checked swing call during the ninth inning in game three of the National League Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 21, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(Elsa/Getty Images)

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According to Statista, the average length of a baseball game is three hours and three minutes. The average length of a game has been at least three hours in each of the last seven years and eight of the last nine. Prior, it had never been at that number.

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