Is it time to digitalize the strike zone.

Rasputin

Will outlive SeanBerry
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 4, 2001
29,162
Not here
That's the point, it wouldn't change the lower levels of the game...what it would change is that the top level of the game would have some serious fundamental differences from all the other levels.
Not really. What it would change is that the top level, the game has a consistent strike zone. That's not a serious fundamental difference. It's less of a difference than one league having a DH and one league not.
 

Rasputin

Will outlive SeanBerry
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 4, 2001
29,162
Not here
I find the drive to perfect sports officiating weird. There are three absolute truths that apply to every sport: (1) the rules are completely arbitrary, (2) the outcome is ultimately meaningless, and (3) they exist to be nothing more than an entertaining distraction. I see no need to demand perfection as if Ron Kulpa is launching a manned mission to Mars.

I realize I am solidly in the minority here.
Who said anything about perfecting anything? You have to have a way to correct egregious errors like the Chuck Knoblauch play, the play in the non perfect game, and that little shit kid in the playoff game for the Yankees.

If you can find a way to fix those that can't also be applied to calls that are much, much closer, I think we'd all like to hear it.
 

Orel Miraculous

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 16, 2006
1,692
Mostly Airports and Hotels
Who said anything about perfecting anything? You have to have a way to correct egregious errors like the Chuck Knoblauch play, the play in the non perfect game, and that little shit kid in the playoff game for the Yankees.

If you can find a way to fix those that can't also be applied to calls that are much, much closer, I think we'd all like to hear it.
There is in fact a very easy way to do this. Put a strict 30 second limit on review time, and only allow the replay umpires to view replays in real speed. If after watching the play in real speed for 30 seconds they confidently know there a mistake was made, then the call is overturned. Otherwise, the call stands. This system would allow us to fix all egregious errors without bogging the game down by spending four minutes to review every hair's breadth call at second base.

This system will never be implmented, though, because "getting the call right" has become paramount in sports viewing experience, perhaps at the expense of actual entertainment. Fans and the media would cry injustice at the system for not allowing that hair's breadth review when we supposedly have the technology for it. People absolutely are demanding perfection.
 

iayork

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 6, 2006
639
There is in fact a very easy way to do this. Put a strict 30 second limit on review time, and only allow the replay umpires to view replays in real speed. If after watching the play in real speed for 30 seconds they confidently know there a mistake was made, then the call is overturned. Otherwise, the call stands. This system would allow us to fix all egregious errors without bogging the game down by spending four minutes to review every hair's breadth call at second base.
There's a comment on Brandon's article at the .com (The Delays Of Contemplating Instant Replay) from a Dean R, which I'm going to quote in full:
In cricket’s referral system, the request to review has to be made within ‘a few’ seconds, working out at about 5 seconds at the maximum. The purpose of this simple rule is exactly as you say: to ensure that only egregious errors are referred. Egregious errors are those no-doubters that should not need to take any time to think about whether to use a review. The players involved in the play–and therefore usually most equipped to tell whether an egregious error has been made–are the ones who make the decision whether to review in cricket.

There are myriad problems with cricket’s review system that mirror the problems baseball is having but the strict and short time-limit on referrals is one that has worked well in that sport.
I don't know anything about cricket, and I certainly don't know how their replay system works, but that's an intriguing idea.
 
Last edited:

tbrep

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 26, 2012
636
There's a comment on Brandon's article at the .com (The Delays Of Contemplating Instant Replay) from a Dean R, which I'm going to quote in full:



I don't know anything about cricket, and I certainly don't know how their replay system works, but that's an intriguing idea.
I watch a lot of cricket and I can tell you that calling it a 5-second rule is inaccurate. It routinely takes up to 30 seconds for the captain, wicket keeper and bowler to converge and make the decision.

Also, although it was designed only to overturn howlers, this hasn't prevented teams from using it for incredibly close decisions. If it's a key moment in the match with a key player involved, teams will often sacrifice a review in the hopes of having a marginal decision overturned.
 

iayork

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 6, 2006
639
I watch a lot of cricket and I can tell you that calling it a 5-second rule is inaccurate. It routinely takes up to 30 seconds for the captain, wicket keeper and bowler to converge and make the decision.
I read it as needing to ask for review within five (ish) seconds, not the whole thing lasting for five seconds - as opposed to the situation in MLB where the manager moseys over and chats with the umpires about their kids' birthday parties for a couple minutes, while the video review guys look things over in the dugout, before even starting the review process. If cricket completes the process within 30 seconds, that would be faster than a single baseball play where the manager decided not to even ask for review.
 

tbrep

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 26, 2012
636
I read it as needing to ask for review within five (ish) seconds, not the whole thing lasting for five seconds - as opposed to the situation in MLB where the manager moseys over and chats with the umpires about their kids' birthday parties for a couple minutes, while the video review guys look things over in the dugout, before even starting the review process. If cricket completes the process within 30 seconds, that would be faster than a single baseball play where the manager decided not to even ask for review.
No, I meant it can take that long to make the decision to review (sorry, should've been clearer). Definitely doesn't take five seconds as the captain has to run in from his fielding position and the keeper comes down too usually. 15-20 seconds is common

The process itself can take several minutes - especially when it's about whether the batsman hit the ball or not (often go through multiple technologies - slow mo replay, Hot Spot which is essentially a heat detector and then Snicko to pick up audio)
 

Monbonthbump

lurker
Nov 6, 2005
182
Lincoln,NE
Thanks for all the interesting replies to this thread. I knew SOSH would be a good place to vent my frustration with Friday night's game. Nothing has changed my original opinion that we should leave the strike zone in the hands of humans. We have already delegated enough human responsibility to artificial intelligence. The main lesson from perusing the thread is to reaffirm my impression that Kulpa is an Ass.
 

Fred not Lynn

Dick Button Jr.
SoSH Member
Jul 13, 2005
4,760
Alberta
Not really. What it would change is that the top level, the game has a consistent strike zone. That's not a serious fundamental difference. It's less of a difference than one league having a DH and one league not.
And that IS a fundamental change. With a fixed strike zone, you lose a lot of nuance. You lose pitchers feeling out the zone early in a game, you lose them learning the tendencies of certain umpires to call a game a certain way. You lose the drama building fact that an umpire will make the call of least consequence when it could go either way (as in you don't get that close called strike on 0-2, or the same ball on 3-0). You lose an umpire expanding the zone when it's just time to get the game over with. You lose the skills of a catcher who can frame a pitch.

Pitchers and catchers at lower levels would still have to develop these fairly sophisticated skills - it would be a shame to lose this part of the game at the highest level where it is at its most beautiful.
 
Last edited:

Nevermore

lurker
Apr 12, 2009
82
Omaha, NE
Interesting article here about Pitchf/x being used to call balls and strikes during two Independent League games:

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-automated-strike-zone-20150810-story.html

I love the idea of a buzzer sounding in an ear piece for the home plate ump from an earlier post to keep them involved.

If there's a question about Pitchf/x accuracy when it comes to adjusting the height of a strike zone for each player, why not explore establishing a standard acceptable height in the minor leagues and let players adjust to it and the technology at the same time? As calling the zone get's more accurate, changing it from player to player seems like adjusting the height of a basketball rim to me.
 

Hagios

lurker
Dec 15, 2007
672
One concern with an automated strike zone is the difference between the de jure strike zone and the de facto strike zone. Which one would we use? It could upset a lot of careers if the new strike zone closes up some players' holes and opens up others. I suppose they could start with the de facto zone and move to the de sure zone gradually over five years. But even then, it could radically change the games. I'm sure we've all seen the graphs of how strikes are called and the strike zones in practice are oval, not square. Players might have to significantly change their swings in order to cover the corners of the plate. What would that do to offense and scoring? It might lead to a lot of Ichiro style slap hitting. It might not.

I suppose I'd be in favor of keeping the de facto zone and having it called more consistently.

Another concern is that umpires tend to call a smaller zone on blowouts in order to get everyone home earlier. It could make games even longer, particularly if one team has a pitcher who's struggling to find the plate.
 

geoduck no quahog

not particularly consistent
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Nov 8, 2002
12,318
Seattle, WA
Interesting article here about Pitchf/x being used to call balls and strikes during two Independent League games:

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-automated-strike-zone-20150810-story.html

I love the idea of a buzzer sounding in an ear piece for the home plate ump from an earlier post to keep them involved.

If there's a question about Pitchf/x accuracy when it comes to adjusting the height of a strike zone for each player, why not explore establishing a standard acceptable height in the minor leagues and let players adjust to it and the technology at the same time? As calling the zone get's more accurate, changing it from player to player seems like adjusting the height of a basketball rim to me.
First of all, Eric Byrnes is for it. That alone should be enough to sway anyone here.

Secondly, that article speaks to two things:

The automated system, called Pitchf/x, uses three cameras to record "the full trajectory of live baseball pitches to within an inch of accuracy," according to Sportvision, the company that developed the technology.
I'll defer to the experts on this board, but if that's true, "one inch" is simply not good enough to make it a huge improvement. Regardless:

It's because of speed. It's because of technology limitations," Manfred said. "It's because, quite frankly, the strike zone is different for every single guy."

Sportvision President Mike Jakob said those factors are not issues.

"That's already built into the product," he said. "We have a database of strike zones on every player, whether it's in the majors or the minors. We use that database to automatically adjust for the particular strike zone of that particular player."
I call bullshit again. Is the strike zone established based on the actual elevations of a players knee-hollow and "midpoint between the top of the batter's shoulders and the top of his pants" (How stupid is that?). What about his crouch? Is it when he sets up or when he swings (which means it could change from ab to ab)? Is it taken from some sort of lineup photograph? How about the vertical boundaries of the plate? Does it take into account the triangle at the back of the plate? Sportsvision itself only claims to track where the pitch crosses the "front plane of the plate". Not good enough.

This is not like tennis, which has a clear rectangular 2-dimensional boundary. That comparison is limited to a fair/foul or homerun boundary call, period (provided there's no fan interference).
 

Jnai

is not worried about sex with goats
SoSH Member
Sep 15, 2007
14,581
<null>
To answer some questions in the last post:

My understanding is that Sportvision has had a product that they provided to MLB for umpire evaluation that included a complete three-dimensional model of strikezone crossings (e.g., the entire volume of the plate). This is possible because the system does not just capture "the front of the plate", as you say, but instead computes an entire trajectory of the pitch. A student of Alan Nathan's presented a similar three-dimensional strikezone analysis last year at Saberseminar.

As to how they set the top and bottom of the strikezone, my understanding is that it's driven partially by previous knowledge of the player and partially by human in-game adjustments or changes. Yes, the strikezones are set as accurately as possible while the player is in the act of swinging (which is where the strikezone should be measured) generally.

It is true this is not like tennis, but it is also not rocket science. If there's a definable space for a human to judge, surely there's such a space for a computer system to judge.

Generally, I'm pro-human-strikezone, though I disagree with the idea that it couldn't be done well by a computer.
 

Jnai

is not worried about sex with goats
SoSH Member
Sep 15, 2007
14,581
<null>
I had a chance to meet Paul Hawkins (Hawk-Eye Systems), and one thing he brought up (that would save a ton of time) was the concept of pre-reviewing every play in the stadium. That is, immediately after ever play, a video-review umpire starts reviewing anything even remotely suspicious about it. So, simultaneously with the team-driven review, an umpire is already reviewing whether or not Hanley's foot stayed on the bag. By the time the manager has initiated the challenge and the umpires have conferred and granted it, the hope is that most calls will be already be decided with enough evidence to uphold or overturn them.

Of course, the entire challenge system is silly regardless, but still, that would be a much speedier system for replay reviews.
 

HriniakPosterChild

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 6, 2006
13,705
500 feet above Lake Sammammish
My understanding is that Sportvision has had a product that they provided to MLB for umpire evaluation that included a complete three-dimensional model of strikezone crossings (e.g., the entire volume of the plate). This is possible because the system does not just capture "the front of the plate", as you say, but instead computes an entire trajectory of the pitch.
Many years ago, I read in Leonard Koppett's book Thinking Fan's Guide To Baseball that since it was not humanly possible determine when if a 90mph ball went through an extruded home plate, umpires were taught to call a 2D de facto strike zone--the plane at the front of the plate. Does that agree with what you have heard?
 

Rasputin

Will outlive SeanBerry
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 4, 2001
29,162
Not here
There is in fact a very easy way to do this. Put a strict 30 second limit on review time, and only allow the replay umpires to view replays in real speed. If after watching the play in real speed for 30 seconds they confidently know there a mistake was made, then the call is overturned. Otherwise, the call stands. This system would allow us to fix all egregious errors without bogging the game down by spending four minutes to review every hair's breadth call at second base.

This system will never be implmented, though, because "getting the call right" has become paramount in sports viewing experience, perhaps at the expense of actual entertainment. Fans and the media would cry injustice at the system for not allowing that hair's breadth review when we supposedly have the technology for it. People absolutely are demanding perfection.
I haven't seen anyone demanding perfection. Also, I don't think 30 seconds is enough to put in a full review of even egregious plays. You need multiple angles. If it were easy to tell from all angles, the call wouldn't have missed in the first place.

Frankly, I think the people complaining are largely off base. Most replays are done fairly quickly. Every now and then there's one that takes way too long but you're talking ten or fifteen of them per season. Last year there were 100 challenges in Red Sox games or about four a week. That's ten minutes or so over the course of about 25 hours of game over the course of a week.

And that IS a fundamental change. With a fixed strike zone, you lose a lot of nuance. You lose pitchers feeling out the zone early in a game, you lose them learning the tendencies of certain umpires to call a game a certain way. You lose the drama building fact that an umpire will make the call of least consequence when it could go either way (as in you don't get that close called strike on 0-2, or the same ball on 3-0). You lose an umpire expanding the zone when it's just time to get the game over with. You lose the skills of a catcher who can frame a pitch.

Pitchers and catchers at lower levels would still have to develop these fairly sophisticated skills - it would be a shame to lose this part of the game at the highest level where it is at its most beautiful.
That's not remotely a fundamental change. If all you lose is nuance, it's pretty much by definition not a fundamental change. The game lost nuance with the new slide rule, with the catcher collision rule, were those fundamental changes? Of course not. They're relatively minor changes in the grand scheme of things. A reliable strike zone would be of tremendous benefit. Losing the nuance of compensating for and taking advantage of bad calls is a tiny price to pay. Frankly, I'm not even sure it should really be called a price at all.

The other night, the Red Sox lost a game after a clear ball four was called a strike. There are probably a few dozen of those throughout MLB over the course of a season. Eliminating those travesties is worth rather a lot, don't you think? I want to see the players compete. A reliable strike zone lets the pitcher and the hitter have their duel without interference by an incompetent umpire.
 

Idabomb333

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 5, 2007
202
I find the drive to perfect sports officiating weird. There are three absolute truths that apply to every sport: (1) the rules are completely arbitrary, (2) the outcome is ultimately meaningless, and (3) they exist to be nothing more than an entertaining distraction. I see no need to demand perfection as if Ron Kulpa is launching a manned mission to Mars.

I realize I am solidly in the minority here.
I find this argument odd. Taken to the extreme, it sounds like you're saying that in challenge situations, you'd be OK with an ump flipping a coin to make a call quickly so they can get on with the entertaining part of the game. Is that an extreme you'd accept? If you were watching a poker game and the non-player dealer started dealing out of the middle of the deck arbitrarily a few times because he could deal faster that way, would that bother you? The deal would still be effectively random, but I think that would still bother most people a lot.

I don't care to defend the actual replay system or the best option for automatic strike calling as perfect, but it seems clear to me that a hypothetically perfect method of making calls according to the rules would be superior to any subjective or unpredictable system. If you want to argue that the delay for replay is too high a price to pay, I can understand that, but I can't even understand why someone who enjoys watching sports wouldn't want the umpiring to be done perfectly with all else equal. The rules are arbitrary, but they are best if they are set and everyone knows how to follow them.

If you do see the value in wanting the umpiring to be perfect, then why is it weird that some people would want that more than they don't want to watch an extra five minutes worth of garbage (in a game that's already full of commercials and time when nothing is really happening)?
 

Hoodie Sleeves

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 24, 2015
1,204
r automatic strike calling as perfect, but it seems clear to me that a hypothetically perfect method of making calls according to the rules would be superior to any subjective or unpredictable system. If you want to argue that the delay for replay is too high a price to pay, I can understand that, but I can't even understand why someone who enjoys watching sports wouldn't want the umpiring to be done perfectly with all else equal. The rules are arbitrary, but they are best if they are set and everyone knows how to follow them.
I find the argument strange also - nothing gets me to tune out faster on sports than thinking one of the contestants is getting screwed - and the quickest way to make me think that is to have inconsistent refereeing. The reality today is that the fans are going to have access to slow motion, rewinds, etc - we see the call is wrong, and if the game can't fix something that is clearly wrong, I'm just no interested anymore.

In my mind, the fundamental difference between sports and other entertainment is that sports is still real, still unscripted, etc. If the rules and rule-keepers don't keep things on an even keel, that's not really true anymore, and I might as well watch something else.


Also, RE the technological issues - this isn't a particularly difficult technological problem - the spatial problems that self-driving cars are working through are drastically more complicated.
 

Bertha

Member
SoSH Member
May 3, 2016
33
I'm fairly strongly in favor of using technology to make correct and consistent calls. The strike zone as written vs. as currently called would create problems, and would need to be addressed. MLB seems to have more unwritten rules than other sports combined, not simply regarding player etiquette, but also officiating. I was very surprised that the neighborhood play at 2nd has become reviewable. They are showing a willingness to use technology to enforce rules as written. Would they be willing to re-write the definition of strike zone?

While I wish for improving and enhancing existing replay system, I would love to see a very short window for a team to challenge - short enough to not allow them to review it themselves. Also, is the whole process, "2 umps have headsets brought on field to them", necessary in the modern world? If the NFL can whisper in referee's ear, MLB could chop some time out of the process that way fairly easily.
 

Plympton91

bubble burster
SoSH Member
Oct 19, 2008
12,408
You lose the drama building fact that an umpire will make the call of least consequence when it could go either way (as in you don't get that close called strike on 0-2, or the same ball on 3-0). You lose an umpire expanding the zone when it's just time to get the game over with.
Why is any of that a good thing? This is professional baseball, not little league. There shouldn't be charity for wild pitchers (bigger zone on 3-0) or timid hitters (smaller zone on 0-2), or a de facto mercy rule (time to get the game over). All that crap is terrible, IMHO.
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Sep 14, 2002
5,561
Halifax, Nova Scotia , Canada
I can't see this happening anytime soon. The primary problem is that the tech is only available at the major league level. The rest of professional baseball - and all amateur levels will still require umps calling balls and strikes. But I can't see Professional Umpires being a particularly attractive career choice if all they get to do is make out/safe calls - and even those are subject to review.

Personally I have come to loath replay - in just about all sports (goal line technology in hockey and soccer the exception). I think it seriously detracts from the immediacy of the call.

If they MUST do this - and its probably inevitable - then the approach should be to have a challenge system like tennis - each team gets the right to challenge a ball/strike call a couple of times a game. But even this assumes a few things - the "defacto" strike zone is the same as the "rule book" strike zone, all players have a personalized strike zone and the tech is more accurate - a 1 inch margin of error is not good enough.
 

JimBoSox9

will you be my friend?
SoSH Member
Nov 1, 2005
16,613
Mid-surburbia
Because umpires are accurate to less than 1 inch?
Unfortunately, although we would probably both like this to not be the case, you know that's not the standard/target. To get the organization and fans to accept that extreme level of change, the line of demarcation can't be "better than the umpires", it has to be "sooo much better than the umpires that everybody shuts the fuck up".
 

kieckeredinthehead

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 26, 2006
8,167
Unfortunately, although we would probably both like this to not be the case, you know that's not the standard/target. To get the organization and fans to accept that extreme level of change, the line of demarcation can't be "better than the umpires", it has to be "sooo much better than the umpires that everybody shuts the fuck up".
What level of precision would you say passes from "better" to "sooo much better"?
 

Bigpupp

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 8, 2008
1,872
New Mexico
Why are people talking about how long replays take in regards to the strike zone? We already have a digital strike zone every single pitch on NESN - and it happens instantaneously. It's not going to add a second to the game and will most certainly get rid of the pointless arguments that take place.
 

Plympton91

bubble burster
SoSH Member
Oct 19, 2008
12,408
What was so weird about the broadcast on MLBN last Ftiday was that they didn't show pitch 5 on the computer during the at bat/argument. It's like they wanted to debate the controversy without providing the data.
 
Nov 24, 2007
279
PBO NC
And that IS a fundamental change. With a fixed strike zone, you lose a lot of nuance. You lose pitchers feeling out the zone early in a game, you lose them learning the tendencies of certain umpires to call a game a certain way. You lose the drama building fact that an umpire will make the call of least consequence when it could go either way (as in you don't get that close called strike on 0-2, or the same ball on 3-0). You lose an umpire expanding the zone when it's just time to get the game over with. You lose the skills of a catcher who can frame a pitch.
The umpire at one of my son's baseball games this spring told the coaches before the game that he was going to call wide/tight strikes (two baseball widths past the black, he said) and that he wouldn't be calling high strikes (nothing at the letters or above). So we relayed this info to the players (they're only 10 and mostly not listening anyway, but still...). Then the ump went out and didn't call close wide/tight strikes and did call high strikes.
Granted, this is a youth ump. But the idea that this ump - and by extension, every ump - will have his own strike zone to me is absurd on its face. It's hard enough to call the actual strike zone, let's not start trying to make up our own.
Or think of it this way. The strike zone is the target in baseball. In basketball, the goal (hoop/rim) is the target, in hockey it's the goal, in football it's the endzone and the goal posts. Should some officials in those sports get to decide that today the hoop will be 16 inches diameter instead of 18, that the hockey goal will be 75x45 instead of 72x48, that the goal posts will be 19 feet wide rather than 18.5? Of course not. That would be absurd. It's equally absurd that the baseball target changes from umpire to umpire, inning to inning, and even at-bat to at-bat. Do pitchers and batters really want to have to figure out every day where the strike zone is? Some pitchers have certainly benefited from personalized strike zones. I recall Tom Glavine making a good living getting strikes called 6-12 inches out of the zone. That's great for Tom Glavine, but it's not fair to the batter and it's not good for the game.
"Nuance" and "the human element" of umpiring be damned. I'm more interested in a level playing field and getting the calls right. If the technology is there to do that, I want it to be used.
My son was telling me today he'd been reading a book about the early days of baseball; that umpires used to sit in rocking chairs behind home plate. That's a lovely image, the timeless, pastoral game at its most picturesque. I'm glad they did that back then. I'm equally glad the game has moved on. Time for the game to move on again.
 

HriniakPosterChild

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 6, 2006
13,705
500 feet above Lake Sammammish
What was so weird about the broadcast on MLBN last Ftiday was that they didn't show pitch 5 on the computer during the at bat/argument. It's like they wanted to debate the controversy without providing the data.
A network controlled by MLB didn't want to directly demonstrate an incorrect call by an MLB umpire.

You can't really think it's weird that MLBN is in the tank for MLB, do you?
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
17,947
My biggest gripe with the current replay system is that it allows managers time to get a quick and dirty internal replay review before they ask for the challenge. If on-field personnel cant decide whether to challenge within 5-10 seconds, then too bad.

That Byrnes stuff (there was an article in the Glob, too) is interesting. I think my impression of him as a meathead was wrong.
 

In my lifetime

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 18, 2003
938
Connecticut
How about starting with the umpire reviewing each pitch on his own between innings on a monitor with a "k zone" like feature to get some immediate feedback on his strike zone, consistency and tendencies?
Then progress to a chip in the middle of each ball and the plate, which would indicate if the ball crossed the plate, leaving the umpire only responsible for the relative height of each pitch.
With reports that the NFL will be putting computer chips in footballs for more accuracy in ball placement and field goal judgements, isn't it time that MLB studied the same technology for the width of the strike zone? It really seems like it would not be hard. Home plate ump has ear piece and if ball crosses plate, he alone hears beep or other indicator. Then the ump merely calls a strike if the ball vertically is within the strike zone by his judgement.

As an aside -- Baseball moves slowly, but I would consider that baseball framing benefit of valuation of a catcher could suddenly crash in a couple of years. This potentially could effect future trade plans and the catching decision of the RS especially pertaining to Vazquez and Swihart.
 

Savin Hillbilly

loves the secret sauce
SoSH Member
Jul 10, 2007
18,784
The wrong side of the bridge....
With reports that the NFL will be putting computer chips in footballs for more accuracy in ball placement and field goal judgements, isn't it time that MLB studied the same technology for the width of the strike zone? It really seems like it would not be hard. Home plate ump has ear piece and if ball crosses plate, he alone hears beep or other indicator. Then the ump merely calls a strike if the ball vertically is within the strike zone by his judgement.
Maybe one way to incorporate this technology incrementally would be to use it in spring training. Give the umps a month of instant feedback on their zone without having to make the bots decisive in the games that count, which would get the traditionalists up in arms.