Over the past few months, we’ve talked a lot about San Diego Padres prospects. In fact, we’ve always spent a lot of time covering prospects here at Friar Forecast. There’s arguably no better time than right now, though, as the Padres have a consensus top five farm system and one of the deepest in baseball.
Scouting is obviously important in the minor leagues, especially at the lower levels. No matter how sophisticated we get, in terms of advanced stats and technology, scouting young baseball players isn’t going anywhere.
With that in mind, baseball is still a game of numbers, and at some point we need to evaluate prospects in terms of performance. One of the difficulties working with minor league numbers is that they are attained in a variety of different environments. You’ve got hitter’s parks in hitter’s leagues, pitcher’s parks in pitcher’s leagues, and everywhere in between.
With that in mind, I thought we would first take a look at each minor league’s run scoring environment, from Low-A through Triple-A.
data from Baseball-Reference
The above chart shows runs per game in each league since 2009, with a three year average in the far right column. The bold-faced leagues are ones that house Padres affiliates.
First off, you might notice an interesting trend across the minor leagues in general. Run scoring is going up. The total average for all leagues was 4.54 run per game in 2009. It’s jumped up to 4.7 in 2011.
The Padres play in three leagues that are relatively normal, based on the three year averages: the Double-A Texas League, the Single-A Midwest League, and the Low-A Northwest League. The other two, the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and the High-A California League, are the two highest minor league run scoring environments (at least from Low-A up).
The Padres actually have affiliates in the four highest run scoring leagues, as the Northwest League and Texas League are next in line after the PCL and Cal League. It’s a bit concerning that Padres prospects will be accustomed to high-scoring environments in the minor leagues and then have to adjust to the major league’s worst hitter’s park upon reaching the show.
While leagues impact scoring throughout the minors, parks impact scoring within each league. At some point, we’ll take a look at how each Padres affiliate is effected by its home park.
Anyway, this chart should provide a quick reference when you compare a player’s stats across leagues or even years.