Frustrated Pirates 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes is ready for MLB to switch to robot umpires

Pittsburgh Pirates' Ke'Bryan Hayes follows through on a solo home run off Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Freddy Peralta during the first inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Count Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes among the players ready for robot umpires in the major leagues.

Hayes took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to vent his frustration after striking out against Atlanta reliever A.J. Minter to end the eighth inning of a 5-2 loss to the Braves on Sunday.

Hayes posted a screengrab of the location of a 95 mph fastball from Minter that appeared to be well outside on a 3-1 count. Instead of ball four, plate umpire Bill Miller called the pitch a strike. Hayes struck out swinging on the next pitch.

“Some umpires really don’t care,” Hayes posted. “3-1 call not even close. I hold him accountable after the game walking off the field and his response is (shoulder shrug emoji) ‘I gave you a chance to hit a homerun’ that tells me you don’t care at all.”

Hayes, who is hitting .267 with a career-high 13 homers, ended his post by asking MLB to “bring the ABS please,” using the acronym for the Automated Ball-Strike system that's being used in some minor league games.

The 26-year-old Hayes, the son of longtime major league third baseman Charlie Hayes, declined to discuss the matter before Monday's game against Washington, saying through a team spokesman that his social media post covered the entirety of his thoughts on the matter.

“It’s a very rare situation and he was frustrated, you know?” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. "Sometimes, I think today, we vent in different ways. Not speaking for him in any way, but the point of the matter is every at-bat is important, every at-bat is crucial. The fact that he has the passion for every single pitch I think is really important.”

MLB is testing ABS at the Triple-A level this year. A computer makes the calls for half the games and in the other half, batters, pitchers and catchers can challenge a human umpire, with the computer getting the final say. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said during the All-Star break the challenge system appears to be the preferred option among those in the minors.

There is no timetable on where, when, or what version of the ABS system could arrive in the majors.