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The final NL All-Star balloting update before the teams are set


There’s still time to vote, but if it ended now, the NL All-Star team would look like so.

Changes to possible starters: Ryan Braun pulled ahead of Melky Cabrera for the third outfield slot, reversing last week’s reversal. Otherwise, the same old same old, with the changes only affecting downballot stuff:

Buster Posey, Giants: 3,335,982
Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 3,119,530
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies: 2,448,942

Joey Votto, Reds: 4,475,180
Lance Berkman, Cardinals: 1,516,737
Freddie Freeman, Braves: 1,462,586

Dan Uggla, Braves: 2,641,361
Brandon Phillips, Reds: 1,870,966
Jose Altuve, Astros: 1,479,652

David Wright, Mets: 2,687,818
Pablo Sandoval, Giants: 2,223,269
David Freese, Cardinals: 2,064,351

Rafael Furcal, Cardinals: 2,323,486
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 2,064,021
Starlin Castro, Cubs: 1,395,820

Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 4,118,524
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals: 3,717,483
Ryan Braun, Brewers: 3,168,617
Melky Cabrera, Giants: 3,045,884
Andre Ethier, Dodgers: 1,948,973
Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 1,880,342
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: 1,685,543

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.

Billy Beane promoted to VP, David Forst named A’s general manager

billy beane getty

I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.

The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.

Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”

Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.