MLB has been making efforts to improve the game, and they are working on one significant tactic to improve things.
In a feature story written by ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. published Wednesday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred covered a plethora of issues, including pace of play and umpiring. Manfred also shared when he expects the league to introduce the automated ball-strike zone system, more commonly referred to as robot umpires.
Manfred said that the system “will likely be introduced” in 2024, with hopes that it will speed up games on a daily basis. Manfred said that the automated strike zone system, which has sped up the average game in the minor leagues this season by nine minutes, “works.”
Having an automated, virtually inarguable strike zone would speed up each game. Video-replay reviews for umpire calls so far this season have taken one minute and 37 seconds on average. The automated strike zone system could be used to call pitches, which would then be sent to a human umpire behind home plate to deliver the call. MLB has also discussed the option of giving managers multiple challenges for potentially inaccurate ball and strike calls.
Perhaps the remaining two years before the system is set to be introduced will be used to make some necessary adjustments after a rocky trial during last year’s Arizona Fall League.