Atlantic League returns to human home plate umpires, moves mound for 2022
The Atlantic League will return to having human umpires at home plate and bring its mound back to the conventional 60-foot-6 for its 2022 season. The league has deployed an Automated Ball-Strike (ABS) system since 2019, while the second last season’s half was played with a 61-foot-6 throw distance to home plate thanks to trials conducted with MLB.
The Atlantic League called its experimental deployment of ABS “successful” in a Thursday press release, noting that MLB will continue to test its automated umpire system in a minor league affiliate next season. In 2021, MLB tested ABS in a Low-A league using Hawk-Eye’s computer vision cameras, while the Atlantic League’s ABS system for the past three seasons used radars TrackMan.
MLB extended its 2020 partnership with the Atlantic League to continue using the league to test rule changes through 2023. The Atlantic League will retain other MLB testing rules such as the 17-inch bases, the extra tiebreaker, and the anti-shift rules. Other MLB collaborations will be announced this spring.
“Testing rules and equipment are transitional by definition: some items remain, some are changed and still others are discontinued,” Atlantic League president Rick White said in a statement. . “We are proud that many of the tests today will find their way into the major leagues in the future. We will continue to closely corroborate the tests with MLB.”