Commish: Automated ball-strike system still needs work

Commissioner Rob Manfred said the automated ball-strike system still needs work and likely will not be rolled out until at least 2026.

Manfred addressed the current status of the system, known as ABS, following the conclusion of the owners meetings in New York.

“We still have some technical issues; I don’t mean technology, I mean technical issues in terms of the operation of the system,” Manfred said. “We haven’t made as much progress in the Minor Leagues this year as we hoped at this point. I think it’s becoming more and more likely that this will not be a go for ’25.

“One thing we did learn with the changes that we went through last year is taking the extra time to make sure you have it right is definitely the best approach. I think we’re going to use that same approach here.”

Those technical issues with so called “robot umpires” include accurately defining the strike zone for individual batters, a process that can be based on a player’s height or the exact positioning of the camera systems.

“I’m not sure that anybody is wholly satisfied with either approach,” Manfred said. “We have not started those conversations (with the MLBPA) because we haven’t settled on what we think about it. It’s hard to have those conversations before you know what you’re thinking.”

Still to be worked out is whether ABS would eventually call every pitch, or if it would only be used on a challenge basis.

–Field Level Media