New York Yankees pitcher Luis Severino has made his feelings about an automated strike zone abundantly clear.
“It sucks,” Severino said.
Minor League baseball clubs at the Triple-A level implemented electronic strike zones for the 2023 season. Severino made a minor league rehab start earlier this month and got a firsthand experience of how it works.
“It’s way too small,’’ Severino elaborated. “A hitter can stand there and not swing and be [at] 3-1 every time he’s up.”
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The MLB has not given any indications automated strike zones will be used at the big league level anytime soon. But, sometime with the next few years, the technology could make its way to the majors.
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Baseball has recently seen some big changes with the implementation of a pitch clock, larger bases and a ban on infield shifts in the big leagues this season.
Last season, the league began having teams automatically place a runner on second base to start the top and bottom of extra innings.
Severino’s teammate, Ryan Weber, also expressed his displeasure with the automated strike zone’s size.
But Weber also pointed out that the current system fails to account for pitches that are on the edges of the strike zone.
“I go [from] east to west [on the plate] and use the bottom of the zone,’’ Weber said. “I was ready for [the new system] and figured my slider and sinker would clip the zone, and I got nothing.”
Weber did challenge calls twice, but he was unsuccessful in both instances.
“I’ve thrown enough pitches to know what’s a ball and what’s a strike, and they were both strikes,’’ Weber said. “I really hope it doesn’t come here. It’s getting sneaky close.”
The automated ball-strike system will be used the remainder of the minor league season, with the MLB continuing to test the system.
But Severino said he wants the ABS to undergo some significant alterations before he has to deal with it again.
“I don’t know how they measure it, but it’s not high enough,’’ Severino said of the strike zone. “You’d have to throw it in the middle and down in the zone. [Justin] Verlander is a monster at throwing in the top of the zone. How are you gonna limit that and have a Hall of Famer like him not throw his four-seamer?”
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In the meantime, Severino hopes to avoid pitching at the minor league level for the rest of this season.
“Hopefully, it won’t be here for seven or eight [years] and I’ll be in my house, retired,’’ Severino said with a laugh.