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Dodgers: Former LA Pitcher is Wholly Against Using An Automated Strike Zone

Robot umpires are getting closer to the major leagues. Last week, MLB announced that robot umps will be calling balls in strikes in at least ten Triple-A ballparks. The opinions are mixed among the players, but former Dodgers starter Rich Hill is not a fan.

Hill appeared on Buster Olney’s ESPN podcast and is highly skeptical of utilizing robot umpires. Hill believes that robo-umps won’t aid MLB’s efforts to increase the number of runs scored.

“Does this promote offense in the game, with an automated strike zone? If pitchers, we figure out a way to drop in a curveball in there, and it nicks the strike zone but never really gets back of the plate because you’re going to be able to hit the front of the plate, is that something that’s going to be fair for the hitters?”

Hill said he’s “1000% against” using an automated strike zone. He think robs-umps will degrade the art of pitching and render adept pitch-framing catchers obsolete.

According to Olney, it’s “only a matter of time” before the automated strike zone comes to the bigs. Hill and Olney aren’t the only one commenting on the idea of using robo-umps in MLB. There’s been plenty of chatter amongst fans, players, analysts, and everyone in between.

Hill’s Thought On an Unintended Consequence

Hill did broach an interesting aspect of the automated strike zone that hasn’t been front-and center.

“Another side of this that we may be missing out [on], is what’s going to happen on the gambling front? Being able to put on an automated strike zone is something that could be extremely dangerous and going down the other side of this that no one has entertained yet.”

The Master of the Curveball theorized that gamblers could leverage the strike zone algorithm to unfairly increase their odds on potential wagers.

Safe to say, the 42-year-old Hill is hoping he’s retired before Skynet becomes self aware.

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Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Favorite Dodger Stadium food is the old school chocolate malt with the wooden spoon. Host of the Dodgers Nation 3 Up, 3 Down Podcast.


  1. Anything that limits framing which is essentially stealing strikes is fair and better for the hitters. The pitchers and catchers will hate it, hitters will love it. Umpires vary in how much post catcher movement they accept as reality. The best call the arc immediately prior to losing sight of the ball when it enters the mitt. I’m old and in pains me to admit that the older guys are much more likely to be fooled by a subtle and experienced framer.

    1. what does hill’s opinion of “more offense” have to do with it? a strike called outside the zone is a lie. a ball called inside the strike zone is a lie. umpire’s individual strike zones are lies. favoritism toward either the hitter or the pitcher is a lie. nobody likes a liar.

  2. Strikes get called strikes, ball get called balls. The gambling comment is RICH, pun intended. Hey Ritchie, why not take a look at games 2,3 and 5 against Houston in the World Series and tell me how that plays in your pathetic gambling thesis. And then try to explain it to Dodger bettors. Good luck…

  3. One would think that a Pitcher would favor the automated Strike Zone as much as the hitters. “Framing” pitches is a minor issue as opposed to bad calls from Umpires because no human Umpire is capable of correctly calling Balls and Strikes at the velocity that the ball is thrown. More Hitters and Managers are ejected over Ball and Strike calls than any other issue in the game and it often affects the outcome and takes the players out of the game prematurely.

  4. Tennis was the winner at the OZ Open. And baseball will be too. None of the players will have cause to think they have been given a raw deal and that changes mindsets for the better everywhere. Happened in Rugby, Soccer and Cricket and I’m sure other sports. It’s called using the technology to improve the game. Get on with it.

  5. The Plate Umpires have reached bottom with calling balls and strikes. Time for a change to salvage
    the credibility of the game.

  6. I couldn’t agree more. Bad calls of Balls and Strikes affect every single game.There were 29,101 bad ball and strike calls in 2021 alone. The players and managers deserve a standard strike zone that is the same every game, not changing Umpire-by-Umpire. It is past time to put the outcome of games where it belongs with the players

  7. There’s a reason Hill doesn’t want the electronic strike zone. He’d have to throw the ball over the plate to get a called strike.

  8. Also must address the clearly subjective and grossly inaccurate check swing calls with simple technology. Long overdue.

  9. Totally agree! The Umpires must be instructed to always consult with First or Third base Umpires for a second opinion. or as you say use Technology which is far more reliable.

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