The details of the automated ball judgment system (ABS) and pitch clock that will be introduced in the KBO starting in the 2024 season have been finalized. The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) held its first executive committee meeting on the 25th to finalize the strike zone criteria for ABS and the rules for implementing the pitch clock. First, the left and right sides of the strike zone will be expanded by 2 centimeters on each side of home plate. “To minimize trial and error on the field due to rapid changes in the strike zone,” the KBO explained, “we referenced the example of the American League Baseball (MLB) Secretariat operating ABS in the minor leagues by expanding both sides by 2.5 cm. “The upper limit of the strike zone will be set at 56.35% of the batter’s height and the lower limit at 27.64%. This is based on the average strike zone of existing umpires.
Previously, the upper limit was a horizontal line midway between the top of the shoulder and the top of the pants, and the lower limit was below the knee .A ball thrown by a pitcher must meet both the upper and lower criteria when it crosses the middle and end of home plate. It doesn’t matter where or how the catcher catches the ball. The pitch clock is set at 18 seconds with no runners on base and 23 seconds with runners in scoring position. That’s three seconds longer than MLB. The pitcher has 30 seconds to throw the ball between the batter and the plate. The catcher must be in the batter’s box by 9 seconds left on the pitch clock, and the batter must be ready to hit by 8 seconds left. However, the pitch clock is being piloted for the first half of the season, so violations will not result in a ball-and-strike sanction. Only a warning will be issued.
There are also measures in place to prevent pitch clock evasion .The offense will be limited to one time per at-bat. For the defense, there is a “pitching plate limitation rule,” which allows three pitches per at-bat, with the fourth being a balk .This includes not only attempted interceptions and throwing interceptions, but also stepping off the plate when there are runners on base .A defense’s call for time, a catcher leaving the catcher’s box outside of the allowed time, and a pitcher’s request for a ball change are all considered to be off the plate. The pitching plate restrictions will not apply during the pitch clock trial period. “We will stabilize the system to ensure that the new system is stable,” the KBO said, “and we will distribute guidance materials 슬롯게이밍 and hold briefings to help players adapt quickly.”