Wednesday, March 29, 2023

“If robo umps are indeed on the way in 2024, Judge won’t be happy”

Aaron Judge had a historic season this year, but don’t expect that to happen again. MLB insider Bob Klapisch says the next couple of years for the New York Yankees and Judge could be very different.

Klapisch wrote via

“Let’s be optimistic and say Judge stays healthy. And then let’s be realistic and pencil the big man for 50-something HRs. Make it low 50s. The Yankees can succeed with a minor downgrade in Judge’s output, but it’s just as important that he maintains his MLB-best .425 on-base percentage in 2023. Better put: Judge needs to accept a guaranteed increase in base on balls.”

He compared Judge to Barry Bonds and says that pitchers won’t throw to Judge:

“No one’s going to pitch to him. Why would they? Look at how opponents’ treated Barry Bonds the year after his history-making 73 homers in 2001. He set what was then a major league record by drawing 198 walks. Bonds’ plate discipline was legendary. Judge, who led the majors last year with 111 free passes, will likely need to be even more patient in 2023.”

He also said that robotic umps could seriously hurt the Yankees outfielder’s production:

“And here’s a thought to file away: if robo umps are indeed on the way in 2024, Judge won’t be happy with the new strike zone. Any pitch that crosses the plate as a strike – even the lowest quadrant of the box – will be called a strike, even if the ball ends up in the dirt in the catcher’s glove.”

Judge will see less hittable pitches in 2023 and if robotic umps don’t work as perfectly as they should, or they work too perfectly, Judge could struggle with low called strikes once again.

Aaron Judge and robotic umpires: A good idea?

Generally speaking, robotic umpires (provided they work properly) are a good idea in principle. Far too often do players, especially Aaron Judge, get the bat taken out of their hands or the at-bat completely changed because of a poor strike call.

Aaron Boone can't argue for Aaron Judge against a robot
Aaron Boone can’t argue for Aaron Judge against a robot

Robotic umpires should fix that, but will they also call pitches strikes that a giant like the Yankees star can’t reasonably hit?

He has excellent plate discipline and knows the zone, so he won’t really chase them. Will he be forced to? It seems as if 2024 holds the answer to that.

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Edited by Zachary Roberts

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