CHARLOTTE (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) — It’s a highly debated topic among baseball fans: the automated strike zone. 

For years baseball fans have expressed frustration with umpires missing balls in strikes, so Major League Baseball found a solution through what is called the Automated Ball/Strike System, and this summer ABS has made its way to Truist Field in Uptown Charlotte.

“Obviously, it takes the human error behind the plate out of it,” said Charlotte Knights outfielder, Mark Payton.  “But you know, going up to the plate and knowing the zone is what it is [and that] it wasn’t changing, for a hitter, I think that’s great for us.”

The automated ball/strike system was first implemented in 2019 in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball to see if there was any benefit to the system.  After yielding positive results, the system is now being used throughout higher levels of baseball.

The automated system collects data from a camera and sensors that are placed above home plate to detect the location of each pitch.  The data is then sent, via audio message, to the home plate umpire letting them know if the ball pitch was a ball or a strike.

Each team also has real time access to the data from an iPad in the dugout which has helped in player development and getting a more accurate understanding of the strike zone.

“I think there’s a learning period of where the zone is, but that was about it,” said Payton. “I think once we figured out where the zone was and it wasn’t moving, I think that played to our advantage.”

While Payton is in favor of the system, not all feel the same, and some purists of the game argue that the human element is part of baseball, and by removing the potential for human error diminishes the game.

“There’s other parts of the game that the human element is still in, and I think as baseball players, the game is hard enough, and when you can take a thing or two out of it, and add something just like every other sport is doing, I think it’s going to make the game better.”