St Paul Saints’ trial run with Automated Ball/Strike System begins at CHS Field

St Paul Saints test Automated Ball/Strike System


Last season, Triple-A baseball was the testing ground for the pitch clocks now used in Major League Baseball. Next up may be the ‘Automated Ball/Strike (“ABS”) System’ they’re currently testing.

After playing games using the new ABS system for the first time on the road in Rochester last week, the St Paul Saints fired up one of the new systems at CHS Field in St. Paul for the first time on Tuesday.

Click the video box above to watch KSTP Sports’ story from CHS Field in St Paul on the new ‘Automated Ball/Strike’ systems being tested out in Triple-A baseball this year, and click the video box below to hear extended interviews with the Saints players offering their thoughts on early experiences with the systems

Triple-A teams will use two different versions of the ABS system for the remainder of this season to test their long-term potential.

The first system is challenge-based. Each team gets three challenges per game which allow pitchers or hitters to check with the computerized pitch-tracking system to potentially overturn a called ball or strike. The request for a challenge must come from a player or pitcher on the field.

The challenge system is being used in Triple-A games played on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays this season.

The other system is the fully automated system – often referred to as a “RoboUmp”. During games using this full ABS system, the computer instantaneously sends a signal via an earpiece to the home plate umpire on every pitch. The umpire then indicates if it’s a ball or strike.

There is no visual indication of the call other than the umpire. If you were to attend a game using the full system, you would see no indication it’s being used – aside from the umpire’s earpiece.

The full ABS system is being used in Triple-A games played on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays this season.

Both systems use a network of cameras around the stadium to send data to computers, which process ball tracking information to relay a ball/strike call to an umpire in the fully automated system, or to generate a video depiction of the ball’s flight in the challenge system.

St Paul Saints discuss “Automated Ball/Strike Systems” being tested in baseball

St Paul Saints players discuss "Automated Ball/Strike Systems" being tested in Class AAA baseball this season