Friday, February 13, 2015

MLB Considering Changing Strike Zone Definition

MLB may change the definition of its strike zone in 2016, according to league sources. According to the report, the Major League Baseball Playing Rules Committee—whose umpires have been represented by crew chief Brian Gorman since 2011, and Charlie Reliford before him—has put the strike zone on its agenda for the 2015-16 offseason and may tweak Rule 2.00 [Strike Zone] as early as that time. The rule presently reads:
The 1996-present (2015) strike zone in professional baseball.
The STRIKE ZONE is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.
The reason for the review may be tied to decreased offense and run production: the league sources cited technology, including Questec and the now-employed Zone Evaluation system tied to Pitch f/x, and the unintended consequence of a larger, more consistent strike zone, that has led to a recent trend towards pitcher domination.

Mets GM and Playing Rules Committee chairman Sandy Alderson referred to the last time the Committee changed the definition of its strike zone, which occurred in 1996: "I don’t think the Playing Rules Committee at the time of the last change ever expected that the umpires would call strikes at the hollow of the knee."

Thanks to that committee and reinforced by the numbers and evaluation of PFX and ZE, they are.

A 2014 Hardball Times story concluded that the strike zone expanded down the knee, to its hollow, by 46 square inches between 2009 and 2014.

The following is a history of Major League Baseball's strike zone, in the form of [lower-upper limit]:

Key: Green = Lower or Upper Bound same as preceding rules changeYellow = Changed rule.
1887: Batsman's knee - shoulders;
1907: Batsman's knee - shoulders (Adopted by both National and American Leagues)
1950: Top of the knee when batter assumes a natural stance - armpits;
*NOTE: 1957 was the Adoption of Rule 2.00 [Strike] referencing Rule 2.00 [Strike Zone]*
1963: Top of knees when batter assumes a natural stance - top of shoulders;
1969: Top of knees when batter assumes a natural stance - armpits;
1988: Top of knees when prepared to swing - midpoint between top of shoulders and top of pants;
1996: Hollow of the knees when prepared to swing at pitch - midpoint b/w top of shoulders/pants.

H/T: Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan | Follow my blog with Bloglovin


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