UPDATE: Dylan Covey opts not to sign with Brewers due to diabetes

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UPDATE: The father of Dylan Covey told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that a recent diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes was the reason his son opted not to sign with the club.

“This was crushing, to both us and the Brewers,” said Darrell Covey. “We were all in shock. It had nothing to do with money.”

After the diagnosis, the family decided the 19-year-old would be better off staying close to home at the University of San Diego. Can’t argue with that.

10:22 PM: Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that first-round pick Dylan Covey turned down an offer from the team in order to attend the University of San Diego.

“We offered a nice contract and bonus. There’s nothing that we didn’t
try to do. We did everything in our power to get him to be a Brewer. You
need to talk to the Covey family to get their side of it. They will
have to explain what happened.”

Covey, 19, was selected with the No. 14 pick in June’s draft. The young right-hander was believed to be seeking a signing bonus around $2 million, however Seid told Haudricourt that it “wasn’t about the money.”

Because they failed to come to terms with Covey, the Brewers will receive a compensation pick in next year’s draft, possibly as high as No. 15.

Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon
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I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
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According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.