The Astros might as well continue remaking the team after trading Hunter Pence to Philadelphia, so Michael Bourn could be the next to go. ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick claims the “Astros’ efforts to move Bourn are picking up steam,” while FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports the Braves are getting “more involved.”
Bourn is hitting .304/.364/.405 this season, and he leads the majors with 39 steals in 46 attempts. The Reds are also thought to be very interested in him as they look for a true leadoff hitter.
Bourn probably won’t bring as much in return as Pence, in part because he’s only under control for one more year. He makes $4.4 million this season, and he’s probably looking at a raise to $7 million or so in his final year of arbitration next season.
It was reported earlier Saturday that the Braves were willing to give up left-hander Mike Minor in a Pence deal with the Astros. If they’re willing to surrender him for Bourn instead, they’d be the heavy favorites here. The Braves, though, could likely get Coco Crisp instead without surrendering a top prospect. They’re also in the mix for B.J. Upton.
NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.
The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.
Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.
Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.
MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.
Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.
There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.
Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.
Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.
Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.