Walker Buehler: Automated Strike Zone Works ‘Better Than I Thought’ But Unsure About Use In MLB

Walker Buehler is currently in the process of completing his rehab assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City and working toward joining the Los Angeles Dodgers rotation at some point in the near future.

A notable adjustment for Buehler aside from pitching in the Minor Leagues is the automated ball-strike system (ABS). Implemented throughout the Pacific Coast League, the ABS was expanded to all 30 PCL stadiums since Opening Day of 2023.

The ABS has gained popularity among players and fans, and given recent rumors surrounding Major League Baseball, could be heading for the highest level soon enough.

In an appearance on “Just Baseball,” Buehler discussed the possible implementation of an automated strike zone or a challenge system:

“It’s interesting. The numbers and how that works, I guess you get to miss three of them. I don’t know how it would work in the big leagues. I think most of these things that we’ve changed recently, we’ve always said, ‘Well I don’t know if it will work in the big leagues,’ and they seem to be working. I don’t think I’m going to be the biggest proponent of it going to the Major Leagues, but I think it was probably a little bit better than I thought it would be.”

Different theories of how the ABS or challenge system, which in that case, pitchers, hitters, or catchers could ask for a review of the previous call.

Catcher framing will be significantly impacted as a result of whichever system MLB adopts, and the proper tweaking will take time. By the time Buehler returns to MLB, he’ll have had a taste of at least the ABS.

When will Walker Buehler return to the Dodgers?

Buehler tossed 54 pitches over a 3.1 inning stretch in his first rehab start and followed that up with 65 pitches and 4.2 scoreless innings in a second outing with OKC.

He allowed just two hits and notched six strikeouts, with his third rehab start on the upcoming docket.

Buehler could make his next start with OKC or Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Prior to Buehler beginning his rehab assignment, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the expectation was he would make at least four Minor League starts.

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