Yesterday there was an interesting subthread on the drop in offense the last couple of years in the major leagues. To avoid a really long, irrelevant series of posts in between that discussion, I've linked my comment. Click the "up" button to see the original post in the thread.
Spurred partly by that discussion, I wanted to post some basic 2011 numbers for the different minor leagues for reference. When looking at our prospects' stats I like to be at least vaguely aware of their league environments and park factors. Below are some figures for the 4 full season leagues relevant to the Rangers. Resources used include Baseball Reference's minor league pages, StatCorner, and Firstinning.com.
Pacific Coast League - AAA Round Rock Express
- Park Factors: With 100 as a league average, StatCorner lists Round Rock's wOBA figures as 102 for LHB and 98 for RHB. (OKC is 101/99) It is, however, a HR depressor for lefties, at a park factor of 88/99.
- League slash lines: .282/.358/.440. The PCL has trended up overall the last couple seasons, bucking the major league trend over that time.
- Runs per game/BB rate/K rate: 5.56/9.8%/17.9%
- Average age - 26.9
Texas League - AA Frisco Roughriders
- Park Factors: 98/100 for wOBA; 89/114 for HR.
- League slash lines: .262/.338/.418.
- RPG/BB/K: 4.96/9.4%/19.1%
- Average age - 24.0
Carolina League - A+ Myrtle Beach Pelicans
- Park Factors: 96/98 wOBA; 95/102
- League slash lines: .244/.315/.374
- RPG/BB/K: 4.11/8.3%/20.6%
- Average age - 22.8
South Atlantic League - A Hickory Crawdads
- Park Factors: 106/100 wOBA; 148/113 HR Lefty hitters get a real boost here.
- League slash lines: .264/.337/.404
- RPG/BB/K: 4.93/8.5%/20.4%
- Average age - 21.4
American League numbers, for comparison:
League slash - .250/.320/.389, wow that looks odd seeing the AL barely clear the .700 OPS mark.
Runs per game/BB rate/K rate - 4.22/8.7%/17.6%
Arlington park factors - 103/106 wOBA; 120/109 HR
As players move up through the system they'll face some changing run and park environments. It's a bit easier to draw a walk in the TX league than in the Carolina League, and you're quite a bit less likely to strike out in the PCL this year.
To choose just one example of how this helps me put stats in context (or confirm my biases if you prefer) this kind of stuff makes me a tiny bit more impressed with Mike Olt and less so with Mendonca. Olt's high walk-high strikeout line compares better with his league than Mendonca's miniscule walk rate and sky high K rate. Also, it takes, on average, nearly 56 plate appearances to see a HR in Olt's league, but just 39 in the TX League. That also makes Erlin's HR rate a tad bit more alarming.