Atlantic League Tosses Robo-Umps For 2022 Season

Image credit: (Photo by J.J. Cooper)

The robo-umps have been shelved from the Atlantic League.

With automated ball-strikes (ABS) moving to affiliated ball, the Atlantic League will announce today that it will return to having human umpires to call balls and strikes in 2022.

The Atlantic League has used ABS since 2019, when it was the first professional league to use “robo-umps.” Since then, the Arizona Fall League added ABS and in 2021, it came to the affiliated minor leagues in the Low-A Southeast—it had been scheduled to arrive in 2020 but the 2020 minor league season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s likely that Major League Baseball will expand its use of the ABS system in the minors in 2022. Earlier in the offseason, MLB posted jobs for ABS Techs to operate equipment in the Triple-A West league.

The Atlantic League will also announce that the mound will return to 60 feet, 6 inches. In 2021, the Atlantic League moved the mound back to 61 feet, 6 inches. The results of that experiment found the mound move made little difference to offensive statistics.

The Atlantic League will continue to use the anti-shifting rules, larger bases and extra-inning rules it has used in recent years.

It’s possible that the Atlantic League will announce more experimental rules later. The league has regularly worked to try out rule suggestions at the request of MLB.

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