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For a reminder to all of those that have a short-term memory like a Kansas City GM, here is last week’s Minor League Park Factors, Part One. One thing of note before I start rambling, First Inning is a great minor league website that isn’t named MiLB dot com. They have current minor league Park Factors this year. Just know that it usually takes several years of data to have a solid base to judge a park. Just a reminder, the Park Factors in these articles are taken from the ballpark data from the years 2006 to 2008.

Eastern League – Class Double-A
Erie – Detroit [# 18.3]
Binghamton – New York (NL) [# 19.3]
Harrisburg – Washington [# 21]
Reading – Philadelphia [# 21.6]
New Hampshire – Toronto [# 25]
Akron – Cleveland [# 12.6]
New Britain – Minnesota [# 10.6]
Portland (AA) – Boston [# 6.3]
Altoona – Pittsburgh [# 21.3]
Bowie – Baltimore [# 15]
Trenton – New York (AL) [# 9.6]
Connecticut – San Francisco [# 20.3]
Average Slash Line – .258/.332/.385

Reading has the highest Homer Factor (1.22), followed by Harrisburg (Homer Factor 1.13) and Erie (Homer Factor 1.10). This is good news for Phillies, Nationals and Tiger hitters while their pitchers should be a bit more worried. This could explain Carlos Carrasco’s struggles for the Phillies as he’s a fly ball pitcher. Portland (AA) and New Britain are fairly neutral with Run Factors of one and Homer Factors of 1.01 and .99 respectfully. The pitchers’ havens – easily Connecticut and Trenton with Altoona and Akron suppressing home runs but allowing a league average in runs. Players that thrived in this environment last year:  Pedro Alvarez. Carlos Santana, Madison Bumgarner, Anthony Slama, Danny Valencia, Michael Taylor, Domonic Brown, Jesus Montero, Zach McAllister, Wilson Ramos, Ian Desmond, Ike Davis, Hector Rondon, Josh Bell, Jake Arrieta, Alex Avila and Scott Sizemore. Then you have players that struggled like Lars Anderson, Brad Holt, Tim Alderson (after the trade) and Gorky Hernandez to name just a few.

Southern League – Class Double-A
Tennessee – Chicago (NL) [# 17.6]
Chattanooga – Los Angeles (NL) [# 4.6]
Mobile – Arizona [# 6.3]
Montgomery – Tampa Bay [# 4]
West Tennessee – Seattle [# 20.6]
Carolina – Cincinnati [# 15]
Huntsville – Milwaukee [# 10.3]
Mississippi – Atlanta [# 10.3]
Jacksonville – Florida [# 10.6]
Birmingham – Chicago (AL) [# 22.6]
Average Slash Line – .255/.332/.380

Tennessee and Mobile both have Homer Factors of 1.15 while Birmingham and Mississippi both have homer factors of .83 with West Tennessee being the most neutral ballpark. I am starting to see a trend with Arizona’s minor league farm system.  Only Class-A so far has a Homer Factor under 1.15 (good thing their Triple-A team balances some of this out). Chicago (NL) actually has this trend all the way up the minor league ladder, with their least hitter friendly parks being neutral at worst. Josh Vitters better do well at Double-A, or I am going to be writing him off as a mediocre hitter. This also makes me think Andrew Cashner and Jay Jackson may be legit. Oh, and Mike Stanton… You thought I’d forget about him?  Tsk tsk. Jacksonville has a Homer Factor of .96, a Doubles Factor of .93 and Mike Stanton still has 15 homers this year. To jump the gun just a bit, Triple-A New Orleans (Florida’s Triple-A affiliate) has a .93 Homer Factor. No one is questioning his power or hitting ability. They are only worried that he’ll strikeout like Mark Reynolds. He had 144 strikeouts in 479 at-bats last year. My elementary math skills say that’s close to a third of the time. His power is legit, his plate-control is getting better this year. He holds a 33:28 K:BB ratio this year in 133 plate-appearances. Things are looking good for Mike Stanton and for Florida fans. Just be patient when they promote him to Triple-A first.

Texas League – Class Double-A
Springfield – St. Louis [# 19]
Midland – Oakland [# 26.6]
Tulsa – Colorado [# 6.6]
Northwest Arkansas – Kansas City [# 19.3]
Corpus Christi – Houston [# 24]
Frisco – Texas [# 16]
Arkansas – Los Angeles (AL) [# 6]
San Antonio – San Diego [# 23.3]

Average Slash Line – .260/.340/.391

Springfield is one of the better minor league hitters’ havens with a 1.22 Homer Factor. Tulsa and Corpus Christi both hold a 1.08 Homer Factor. This is good news for Cardinals, Astros and Rockies hitters. San Antonio and Midland are both pitchers’ parks, holding a .84 and .91 Homer Factors, respectfully. Honestly, though, Midland is more a hitters’ park with all their doubles and and hits allowed. San Antonio is the only true pitchers’ park. Even in the minors, Hodgepadres are alive and well. Although there doesn’t seem to be a true neutral site, Frisco is the closest with a 1.05 Homer Factor but with a .99 Run and Hit Factor and a .96 Doubles Factor. Overall, this is the best league to be a hitter in (last year:  Chris Carter, Adrian Cardenas, Daryl Jones, Logan Forsythe, David Lough) and great to a pitcher for the Padres – Simon Castro.

International League – Class Triple-A
Louisville – Cincinnati [# 15]
Durham – Tampa Bay [# 4]
Pawtucket – Boston [# 6.3]
Richmond – Atlanta [# 10.3]
Rochester – Minnesota [# 10.6]
Indianapolis – Pittsburgh [# 21.3]
Lehigh Valley – Philadelphia [# 21.6]
Syracuse – Washington [# 21]
Columbus – Cleveland [# 12.6]
Scranton – New York (AL) [# 9.6]
Toledo – Detroit [# 18.3]
Norfolk – Baltimore [# 15]

Average Slash Line – ..262/.328/.395

I am sure most of you have been more excited about the Triple-A leagues. I purposely held off until the end. In general, this is a pitchers’ league with only three teams with a Homer Factor over one (Durham 1.19; Pawtucket 1.18; Columbus 1.04) with Rochester being a fairly neutral park. On the other end of the spectrum, you have Norfolk (.81 Homer Factor), Richmond (.86 Homer Factor), and Toledo (.90 Homer Factor) suppressing home runs and in general runs. A few names to remember in this league, Strasburg, Chapman, Carlos Santana, Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, Pedro Alvarez, Jeremy Hellickson, Juan Francisco (CIN), and Jesus Montero to name a few. Strasburg is in a fairly even ballpark; Chapman is throwing in a park that reduces homers but gives up a ton of doubles and runs (Juan Francisco is a hitter); Tillman and Arrieta are pitching in the most pitcher friendly park in the league; Alvarez is hitting in a fairly neutral park; Carlos Santana is hitting in a park that increases homers but reduces doubles and runs; Hellickson is pitching in a pitcher’s nightmare; Montero is playing in a neutral site. That is just to provide some context. Obviously if a particular player is struggling, it isn’t fair to blame everything on the ballpark. What is important though is how a particular ballpark will aid or hinder a specific type of player.

Pacific Coast League – Class Triple-A
Albuquerque – Los Angeles (NL) [# 4.6]
Colorado Springs – Colorado [# 6.6]
Las Vegas – Toronto [# 25]
Salt Lake – Los Angeles (AL) [# 6]
Tucson – Arizona [# 6.3]
Buffalo – New York (NL) [# 19.3]
Omaha – Kansas City [# 19.3]
Iowa – Chicago (NL) [# 17.6]
Fresno – San Francisco [# 20.3]
Oklahoma City – Texas [# 16]
Round Rock – Houston [# 24]
Memphis – St. Louis [# 19]
Nashville – Milwaukee [# 10.3]
Sacramento – Oakland [# 26.6]
Tacoma – Seattle [# 20.6]
Portland (AAA) – San Diego [# 23.3]
New Orleans – Florida [# 10.6]

Average Slash Line – .272/.341/.418

Welcome to the league where video games decide the final slash line. Los Angeles’ (NL) Albuquerque and Kansas City’s Buffalo are the most homer friendly with 1.17 and 1.10 Homer Factors, respectfully. Sacramento, Oklahoma City, Tucson, New Orleans, and Tacoma are pitcher friendly ballparks (see spreadsheet for details, but they are written in order of most pitcher friendly starting with Sacramento). That means the Athletics, Rangers, Diamondbacks, Marlins and Mariners have the best pitchers’ park in a hitting environment. Tacoma, when factoring in doubles, is probably the worst place to hit, followed by Sacramento, New Orleans, and then a large space between them and Oklahoma City and Tucson. This makes what Chris Carter (OAK) is doing even more jaw-dropping, what Smoak did and Chris Davis is and was doing fairly impressive, and ditto to Brandon Allen (ARI). Even though these hitters are playing in bandboxes, they still call home to some of the worst hitting environments in the PCL. The most neutral ballpark? Probably Milwaukee’s’ affiliate in Nashville.

*Disclaimer: This is a very rough written sketch of what each level looks like. For more analysis on each ballpark, please review the Excel spreadsheet that you can download here…. Minor League Park Factors.  Most of my “hitter friendly” and “pitcher friendly” comments are based on Homer Factors. The teams are listed in their Run Order Factor with the highest being at the top.  Hopefully you all found these helpful.

16 Responses

  1. Quintero says:

    Good work. Much appreciated. And speaking of Royals, can you be so kind to tell me to hold on to Kila? Or else. Feel free.

  2. barker says:

    10 team league
    my peavy for carlos pena

    got sabathia greinke lester penny price zito slowey

    two first baseman league got pujols and a gonzalez there but need offense

  3. Moonlight's Grahams says:

    Good review, I’m from Sacramento and it is a very pitcher-friendly park.Fairly deep all around. It just makes seeing the young A’s pitching prospects more fun, and I won’t soon forget watching king Felix dominate the Rivercats on his way to the bigs.

  4. Stephen says:

    @Quintero: If he would play full-time, I believe he could be doing what Ike Davis is doing for New York. You’ll want to tell me more about your team if you want me to tell you to hold him or not. I think he could provide Lance Berkman type value, especially in OBP leagues. Also thank you for the kind words.

    @Moonlight’s Grahams: Thank you for the kind words. Are the Triple-A games pretty expensive? I am thinking of making a Seattle road trip and wanting to hit some Short-Season games, a Triple-A at Tacoma and than a Mariners game sometime in late June early July.

  5. Moonlight's Grahams says:

    @Stephen: Not in Sacramento, lawn seats go for $7 last i checked, and I assume you could get reasonable seats for $20 really close to the action for $40ish. Though that would add up if you were running all up and down the coast. My experience is that minor league stadiums are very intimate so there aren’t too many bad seats. It’s a very different feel that’s very relaxed, people that go to Triple-A games are usually good baseball fans.Good luck on the trip, maybe you can see Billy Beane’s next sale project.

  6. Quintero says:

    @Stephen: It’s a H2H 12-team mixed Dynasty, 15-hitter, 10-pitcher and 5-bench. Batter cats are: R/H/HR/RBI/SB/BB/TB/FPCT/AVG/OPS. The best hitter available on WW is Daric Barton, who is decent but has no power upside at all. If Kila could stick, he should be a valuable asset in this league. Someone please tell M’s that Guillen would be sleepless in Seattle.

    @barker: I guess there are more pitching than a 30 homer guy on the WW in that leauge. If you have the needs and a place to play Pena, I don’t mind doing that trade.

  7. BSA says:

    Holy Cow – you guys will never believe who is talking Synergy Center at the Refresh Project – hint -nickname: Panda
    Go check it out.
    Good to “see” you Grey and Hippo

  8. Moonlight's Grahams says:

    @BSA: 98th! making progress, good luck!

  9. pat says:

    what are everyone’s thoughts on Alex Rios?

  10. Calogero says:

    Everyone thinks he’s overpaid. A lot of people think he’s a decent 3rd OF for fantasy, though.

  11. and1mcgee says:

    and on Beckham? is he droppable at this point? or at least until he pulls hit head out of his ass?

  12. Terry Grant says:

    Greer Stadium in Nashville is a piece of crap, unfortunately. I used to revel in how non-glamorous and salt of the earth it all was (in kind of a Bull Durham sorta way), but after seeing the new stadium in Columbus last season, I just want them to tear Greer down and start over.
    Probably never happen though, not in this town.

  13. Quintero says:

    @Stephen: Wait a second, you said Berkman? Age, skill sets, build and swings, that is a wonderful comparison! I’m holding onto Kila until Y! deletes him from the database.

  14. Dusty says:

    Sorry to be that guy, but Atlanta’s AAA team plays in Gwinnett now.

  15. Stephen says:

    @Moonlight’s Grahams: Good to here. I am going with my father for a graduation present. He’s a bit older (58/59) and I will need real seats for him. But it’s good to know nevertheless.

    @BSA: Nice.

    @pat: 20/20 – isn’t that why people drafted Heyward and J-Up?

    @Terry Grant: Claim some flood damage and start again. Living in St. Paul, I get to see the Saints play at Midway Stadium. Nothing fancy there. I played a football game there in the High School Playoffs – I am sure some prep/private High Schools have better fields than they do.

    @Quintero: Berkman would be his upside. Like 70/25/75/.270 if given 450 AB at tops this year.

  16. Adam says:

    I gotta throw it out there because no one is talking about him… Carlos Peguero. Is he the real deal? Are his numbers inflated because of his ballpark (West Tenn) and protection (Liddi, Ackley, et. al)???

Comments are closed.