Greetings, Athletics Nation.
No, robot quadrupeds are not going to be barking balls and strikes in the future. For that matter, there’s no guarantee at this point that calls will be made by robots, ever.
But testing of MLB’s Automated Ball-Strike system (ABS) is picking up steam in the minor leagues, and last week it was deployed in the Pacific Coast League, where the A’s AAA affiliate Las Vegas Aviators play. Matt Kawahara at The San Francisco Chronicle sampled opinions from key players on the Sin City squadron after the Aviators’ game in Tacoma, WA on Tuesday.
Naturally, catchers are among the most potentially impacted position players by an automated strike zone. Top prospect Shea Langeliers thinks ABS is “really nice” as a hitter, while admitting that it requires some adjustment behind the plate since it takes the art of pitch framing out of play. Fellow backstop Austin Allen praised the consistency of the ABS zone, saying, “it’s definitely speeding the game.”
On the other side of the battery, pitcher Jared Koenig is “not really a fan,” seeming to prefer the game-to-game give-and-take between players and the plate umpire.
Aviators manager Fran Riordan lauded the transparency of the ABS system, which can be viewed by players and coaches in the dugout.
Be sure to check out Kawahara’s article in The Chronicle for more details! And if you’re looking for a bit more depth on the issue, The Athletic Staff published a great article on the PCL’s new Robot Ump Overlords last week with assessments from the likes of Kris Bryant and Terry Francona.
What do you think, AN? Is robo ump assimilation inevitable? And are you ready to embrace it?
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Best of Twitter:
Prior to tonight’s game, we joined the Seattle Mariners in observing a moment of silence for the students, teachers, families, and entire community impacted by the senseless tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. pic.twitter.com/VYHj3JktfR— Oakland A's (@Athletics) May 25, 2022
Sincere condolences to Dave Stewart. 103 years is an incredible journey.
I’m sad, but I want to Celebrate my father LeRoi Chapelle. Was born in 1919, do the match 103 years old. I have an idea of how he lived his life by watching his transition to death. He is my hero! You are loved and will be missed. God will receive you with open arms— Dave “Smoke” Stewart (@Dsmoke34) May 24, 2022
Good news on Ramon’s x-ray.
X-rays on Ramón Laureano’s hand came back negative. Kotsay said Laureano went to hit in the cage and felt a much bigger improvement today.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) May 25, 2022
27 has always been my lucky number. Because Catfish (plus it’s my birthday).
These 27 will VOTE— Brodie Brazil (@BrodieNBCS) May 24, 2022
on Howard Terminal Ballparkhttps://t.co/7wGVHtlPzj pic.twitter.com/6lvnqexRBy
A'S RECENT MOVES: RHP Zack Plunkett signed/sent to MID, C Hansen Lopez to ACL A’s, LHP Cole Irvin off A’s IL, SS Nick Allen to LV, RHP Joey Estes on LAN IL, LHP Hogan Harris/OF Jonny Butler off LAN IL… https://t.co/joKXkzbDRy— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) May 25, 2022
Can the A’s snag this young fireballer?
A name to keep an eye on... https://t.co/iJm7zYNlfv— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) May 24, 2022
No matter who your team is, if you don’t love Ichiro, you don’t love baseball.
In case you’re wondering, that’s a first ballot future HOFer hitting early grounders #Ichiro pic.twitter.com/kHAi6AFUYo— Vince Cotroneo (@vincebaseball) May 24, 2022
I know you can’t wait for McKinney’s next callup!
Billy McKinney knocks his 2nd homer in 8 games pic.twitter.com/6TZzucUi8I— Las Vegas Aviators (@AviatorsLV) May 24, 2022