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Angels Minor League Park Factors Exposed!

Baseball America breaks down the Minor League Park Factors to clarify prospect performance!


Every baseball park is different. A home run to Left Field in Yankee Stadium is a fly out in many little league parks, let alone 29 other major league ball fields. A high fly out to the warning track in Left Field sails over the monster in Fenway Park. Neutralizing the park factors has been a goal of sabermetrics in order to better measure the true production of every hitter and the true capabilities of each pitcher.

Park factors are produced by comparing the production of each park - how many home runs and hits are averaged per game in each park. They are expressed with a baseline of 1.000 - anything above it favors offense and anything below it favors pitching.

Minor league parks have finally been analyzed by this system. When you get excited about a pitcher or a hitter, knowing the park factor of where they play half their games can either temper the thrill (if everyone hits home runs in your team's home park, it is not a big deal that any one player is hitting home runs there) or increase the excitement (if your favorite prospect pitcher has a low ERA in an offensive-prone ballpark, you go yourself a prospect there!).

Baseball America has released park factors for minor league ballparks. Let's look at the fields in the Angels system, shall we...

SALT LAKE BEES - AAA, Pacific Coast League.
Salt Lake ranks 5th of 6th of Pacific Coast League stadiums that skew toward offense. The PFR rating (Park Factor for Runs) is 1.069. This means that when you look at a player on the Angels AAA team, his offensive stats at home are probably seven percent better than what his true capabilities are at the AAA level. And pitchers on the Bees are probably about seven percent better at run prevention at the AAA level then their home numbers indicate.

Arkansas ranks dead last in the Texas League for PFR. With a 0.902 PFR, it can be safely assumed that a hitter on the Travelers is under-performing his true talent level for Double-A ball by ten percent. So if someone mashes there, the chances that he can mash anywhere are greatly enhanced. Likewise, stellar pitching stats coming out of Little Rock have always been known to be a little too rosy. Thanks to Baseball America we now can confidently assert that the home park numbers are ten percent too rosy. The article at Baseball America has an in depth look at the Travs' park and its flyball-killing nuances.

INLAND EMPIRE 66'ERS - High A, California League
The Cal League gets a bad rap for offense, but only two park accelerate the numbers wildly - Lancaster skews numbers up sixteen percent but High Desert tops that and pushes them up almost 23%. Wow! Meanwhile the Angels affiliate here has a PFR of 0.894 - the numbers of Cal League Angels hitting prospects at home are about eleven percent worse than their true talent level for this league and the pitchers in San Bernardino are not as great as you might think.

BURLINGTON BEES - Low A, Midwest League
The Angels have swapped the Cedar Rapids Kernels for the Burlington Bees. In the pitching-heavy Midwest league they have swapped a PFR of 1.054 for one of 1.052 - almost no change here... basically our hitting prospects here will be about fiver percent worse than their home offense numbers indicate and the pitchers will be about five percent better.