Robot Umpire Officiating

Before the start of the 2021 season, MLB introduced multiple new experimental rules to the game. For all Triple-A leagues, in order to help reduce injury as well as increase offensive success rates, the size of the bases was increased from 15 inches square to 18 inches square, with a less slippery surface (home plate stayed the same). In all Double-A leagues, 4 infielders were required to be within the outer boundary of the infield until the ball was in play. This was to help increase the number of hits per balls in play.

Robot Ump

While the High-A leagues established the “step off” rule, which requires pitchers to fully step off of the rubber before attempting a pick off, the Low-A leagues had a limit of 2 pickoff attempts per plate appearance with the third failed attempt resulting in a balk. Both of these rules had the same intent with different methods, which was to increase stolen base attempts and perhaps, again, amplify the offensive success rates. Low-A West reduced the 20 second pitch clock to 15 seconds as well as limited pickoff attempts. In 2019, the High-A league had a 67% success rate on stolen bases, and 1.18 attempts per game. In 2021, those numbers rose to 75% and 1.35 attempts per game.

Last but definitely not least, Low-A Southeast was the first to experiment “robot umpires”. The umpires aren’t actually robots but they are receiving input from a computer as to whether or not the pitch was a strike, and then relaying that information to the field. With so many non-strikes being called strikes and vice-versa, as well as almost all TV broadcasts showing the actual strike zone, you can surely expect to see this rule make a move toward the Pro’s. What would most benefit, not only the MLB and the players involved, but the fans as well? This is something the MLB will be taking into great consideration when setting the list of rules for the 2022 season.

Batting Spread

This season, in the Pro leagues, we’ve witnessed 7 inning double headers as well as teams starting with a runner on second base in extra innings. After the 2021 All-Star game, MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred, told the media that they would most likely return to the original 9 inning double headers and get rid of the starting base runner on second base in extra innings when it comes to the 2022 season. At that time, he also mentioned the banning of the “shift” may be placed into effect. This would help sustain what was created back in the 1800’s and is now known as America’s greatest past time, good ole’ fashioned baseball.


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