MLB, NPB agree to a new posting system

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It’s been a long time coming — and was mostly agreed to a couple of days ago — but Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that MLB and NPB have an agreement in place on a new posting system that now only requires ratification by baseball’s executive council. That approval is expected.

The new posting system will have a $20 million bid maximum and all teams who meet the cap will be able to negotiate with the player. It’s hard to see how the posting system helps the NPB all that much. A $20 million cap is lower than past posting amounts. It will greatly help the player, however, as he will now have the chance to pit multiple teams against one another in negotiation, whereas before he was limited to negotiating with only the highest bidder.

Masahiro Tanaka could be the first major player involved in the new posting system, but the Rakuten Golden Eagles have yet to decide whether they’ll make him available. Representatives from the Golden Eagles are here in Orlando today, where it is expected that they will make the decision, one way or the other.

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%.