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 PadresSimon 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.