Carlos Lee has more career plate appearances than the rest of the Astros combined

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The other day I wrote about how ugly the Astros’ lineup looks after trading away Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, and Jeff Keppinger.

But as Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle points out, the lineup is incredibly inexperienced in addition to being really, really bad:

Carlos Lee has 7,967 career plate appearances, or four more than the rest of the position players on the active roster combined. Three of those players–second baseman Jose Altuve, left fielder J.D. Martinez and third baseman Jimmy Paredes–have made the jump from Class AA in the past three weeks.

Campbell goes on to write about the odd situation Carlos Lee is in on a terrible, rebuilding team, for which he can thank a contract no other teams wanted any part of at the trade deadline. Houston is 366-412 since signing Lee to a six-year, $100 million deal in November of 2006 and despite being in a steep decline at age 35 he’s still owed $18.5 million for next season.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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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%.