Robo strikezone: Not as simple as you think -- Baseball Prospectus

Plympton91

bubble burster
SoSH Member
Oct 19, 2008
12,408
“I only would go to the automated strike zone when I was sure it was absolutely the best it can be.”

I don’t understand why this should be the standard.

Shouldn’t it be, “I don’t want to make the change until I am sure it is better than live umpires.”?

And, is there anyone who doesn’t think that we are already at that point? As I said upthread, ask yourself two questions:

How many times have you thought, “ Whew, I’m glad there was a human back there because the system obviously got that wrong.”

Vs.

“Holy crap, how did the umpire miss that call when it was so clearly a ball/strike.” and the machine agrees with your view of it.
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

Don't know him from Adam
SoSH Member
Mar 14, 2006
5,758
Kernersville, NC
I’m all for it, but understand wanting it to be significantly better than human umps (if not perfect). That said, this can’t happen soon enough.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
14,530
Pittsburgh, PA
they've agreed to "cooperate and assist" with "development and testing", if and when Manfred decides to implement at the ML level.

"MLB has discussed installing the system at the Class A Florida State League for 2020. If that test goes well, the computer umps could be used at Triple-A in 2021 as bugs are dealt with prior to a big league callup."

The article also notes that MLB has yet to discuss with the players association.
 

Cumberland Blues

Dope
Dope
Sep 9, 2001
4,882
Bad for elite receivers who can't hit, but good for everyone else. I do wonder though - when the automated strike calling is installed everywhere in MLB and MiLB - will this create a divide between what catching skills are most desirable in the amateur and pro ranks? I can see top tier D1 colleges installing this (like ACC/SEC/PAC12), but smaller D1 schools, D2/D3 and HS are not going to have this - so in those places framing is still likely to be a valuable skill. But in the pros - you'll just need to block & throw. So catching may still be a defense first position in HS/college, but more offense oriented in the pros.
 

crow216

Dragon Wangler
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
16,907
Astoria
Bad for elite receivers who can't hit, but good for everyone else. I do wonder though - when the automated strike calling is installed everywhere in MLB and MiLB - will this create a divide between what catching skills are most desirable in the amateur and pro ranks? I can see top tier D1 colleges installing this (like ACC/SEC/PAC12), but smaller D1 schools, D2/D3 and HS are not going to have this - so in those places framing is still likely to be a valuable skill. But in the pros - you'll just need to block & throw. So catching may still be a defense first position in HS/college, but more offense oriented in the pros.
It's a good question. Framing will almost certainly have a diminished value but there is a good chance that without framing, other aspects of a catcher's defense improve. Gary Sanchez is a good example, when he focuses on framing he allows passed balls. When he relaxes his attempts to frame, his passed balls decrease.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
14,530
Pittsburgh, PA
How much of what today determines whether a catcher sticks at C vs moves to another position is framing, vs blocking and throwing, vs pitch-calling? My sense is that framing was elevated as a distinct skill only a few years ago (the Christian Vazquez era, let's say, or at most the Molina Era), when it could be quantified. I think that it's always been true that your offensive skills determine how much slack you get on catching defense, or if you get moved to another position. The catchers who hit well enough they'd have stuck in the lineup even at 1B or RF are few and far between.

I think players who have the catchers' defensive skillset and project out as ML-level hitters will be unaffected by a change in the pros / upper college ranks that would remove the value of "stealing calls from bad umps", i.e. framing. Far more important to learn to read hitters and call a good game, throw consistently and accurately to 2nd, have good mechanics on blocking, etc.