Major League Baseball’s competition committee has approved a motion that would raise the strike zone to the top of the hitter’s knees (from its current position at “the hollow beneath the kneecap”), according to an ESPN report. The change could be put in place as early as the 2017 season.

MLB Reportedly Set To Change Strike Zone, Intentional Walks For 2017 Season

The change is a reaction to a trend by umpires to call strikes on an increasing number of pitches below the knees. The committee also voted to eliminate the need for teams to throw four balls whenever they would like to intentionally walk a batter. Instead, the batter would simply be awarded first base.

The changes must still be approved by the sport’s playing rules committee but not necessarily by the players association, according to ESPN. The committee is chaired by New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and made up of a cross-section of baseball executives. These two motions could even become part of the negotiations for a new labor agreement. The current collective bargaining agreement expires on Dec. 1, 2016.

The two ultimate objectives of the suggested changes are to put more balls in play and to speed up the game. According to some reports, nearly 30 percent of hitters in the average game either walk or strike out, the highest rate of “non-action” in history.


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Mets second baseman Neil Walker expressed his support for the strike zone change on Friday.

“I think if you ask hitters, most of the complaints they would have would be about low strikes,” he said. “They’re probably the hardest to call for umpires, and catchers have gotten so good at presenting them.”

Neverthleess, Walker also added that he believes the new strike zone will result in more walks rather than balls in play.

“As a hitter, when you see the ball out of the pitcher’s hand and it’s going to be down, you usually think about taking it, because it’s harder to do damage with that pitch,” he said. “Us as hitters, we want that ball up, thigh or mid-thigh.”

ARLINGTON, TX – MAY 23: Will Little #93 umpire and Carlos Perez #58 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim look on as Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers breaks his bat in the eighth inning at Global Life Park on May 23, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)

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