Today I wanted to take a look at the different league and park factors for each of the teams in the farm system.
Arizona League Reds
There are two levels of rookie ball that are considered “low rookie” level, the Arizona League where the Reds play and the Gulf Coast League. While the league factors aren’t exactly perfect since the players are not the same, the quality of the players should generally be the same. The Arizona League is much more hitter friendly, where comparatively the AZL boosts singles by 5%, doubles by 11%, triples by 72% and home runs by 35%.
What I was more concerned about when looking at this data was how the outfield in particular played. The home field for the Arizona League Reds (and Indians, who I also checked just to test out the numbers and they were fairly comparable) was quite tough in left field and pretty good to hit to center and right fields. On balls hit to left field at home compared to the road, the average was 23 points lower and the isolated power was 136 points lower. Center field was a bit interesting though, as for the Reds it played as hitter friendly, while for the Indians, it played as pitching friendly. With that said, in a league with young players, there were an incredibly small number of home runs hit to center field, so home runs to center can cause pretty strong swings in the data at a level like this. Right field played strong for hitters for both the Reds and Indians, where it home average was 25 points higher on balls hit to right field and the isolated power was 125 points higher on balls to right field. Overall, given that there are more right handed hitters than left handed hitters, the Reds ballpark in Arizona is a little pitcher friendly for the league as a whole. But left handed hitters with pull tendencies probably benefit quite well from the stadium, while right handers with pull tendencies probably struggle quite a bit.
There are two levels of “upper rookie ball”, the Pioneer League where the Mustangs play and the Appalachian League. The Pioneer League is rather hitter friendly as it boosts singles by 10.5%, doubles by 8%, triples by 33% and home runs by a measly 1%. Overall though, of these two leagues, the Pioneer League is easily a much more hitter friendly league where the league as a whole hit .279/.354/.418.
The home field for the Mustangs is the relatively new Dehler Park, which has been operating since 2008. The dimensions of Dehler Park are 329 feet to left, 410 feet to center and 350 feet to right field. With left field being a short 329 feet to the line, you would think that it would play quite friendly. However compared to the balls hit to left on the road, the average was 132 points lower and the isolated power was 118 points lower, making it, for some reason, very tough for Mustangs hitters. Center field slightly lowered the average and isolated power, but not by much. Right field was interesting as it basically played even for hits, but it boosted isolated power by 144 points. Overall, Dehler Park plays as one of the more pitcher friendly parks in the league and is especially tough on right handers who pull the ball. Left handers with pull tendencies though should benefit quite well on the power side of things.
There are two leagues that make up the “Low A” level of baseball. The Midwest League, where the Dayton Dragons play and the South Atlantic League. Both leagues are considered to be rather neutral leagues as far as being either pitcher or hitter friendly. The South Atlantic League was slightly more hitter friendly in 2012 though, boosting doubles by 5% and home runs by 3.25%. The only outlier was the Midwest League boosting triples by 22%.
The home field for the Dayton Dragons is Fifth Third Field (not to be confused with the stadium by the same name up north in Toledo), where the dimensions are 320 feet down each line and 402 feet to dead center. Left field is short down the line, but quickly jumps out to 338 feet just beyond the corner. Compared to the league, left field in Dayton boosts average on balls in play by 18 points and isolated slugging by 39 points. It seems that it gives a slight boost in singles, but doesn’t give up too many additional extra base hits. Center field depresses hits overall by 16 points but it also boosts isolated power by 75 points. Right field boosts hits by 26 points and it boosts isolated power by 17 points. While it does seem to give up a few extra singles and it does also boost extra-base hits, it doesn’t do so by much. Overall Dayton’s Fifth Third Field is slightly hitter friendly for the league and favors both righties and lefties by a small amount.
There are three leagues who make up the “Advanced A” level. The California League, which is where the Bakersfield Blaze play as well as the Florida State League and the Carolina League. The Florida State League is considered a very pitching friendly league, but that mostly comes into play as it suppresses home runs (Comparatively the Carolina League boosts home runs over the Florida State League by 24%, while the California League boosts home runs over the Florida State League by a whopping 63%). The California League also boosts overall hits and triples compared to each of the other two leagues, but it makes its big statement in the amount of home runs it gives up.
The home park for the Bakersfield Blaze is Sam Lynn Ballpark has dimensions of 328 feet down both lines and just 354 feet to center field, all with 15 foot walls. Left field is a tad short, but also has a high wall. With that said, left field in Bakersfield boosts both hits and power. Average on balls in play were boosted by 32 points at home compared to the road and isolated power was boosted by 36 points. Center field played rather hitter friendly, as you would expect at just 354 feet. Average was boosted by 61 points and isolated power was boosted by 128 points. Right field at Sam Lynn decreased average by 8 points but boosted isolated power by 22 points. Overall, in a league that boosts hitting numbers the friendly field in Bakersfield boosts them even more. While the power to left and right isn’t boosted by much, the average does get a healthy boost to left and center and power to center field gets a rather large boost.
Pensacola Blue Wahoos
There are three leagues that make up the “Double A” level. The Southern League, where the Pensacola Blue Wahoos play, the Texas League and the Eastern League. Historically speaking, the Texas League is known to be a hitters league. In 2012, the Eastern League boosted doubles over the Southern League by 7% and over the Texas League by 13%. The Southern League boosted triples over both leagues by 20%. The Eastern League boosted home runs over the Southern League by 12%, while the Texas League boosted home runs over the Eastern League by 10% and over the Southern League by 24%. As a whole, the Southern League was more pitcher friendly than the other two leagues at this level.
This was the first year for Pensacola Bayfront Stadium, so it wasn’t really known how the park would play out. The dimensions of the park are 325 feet to left, 400 feet to center and 335 feet to right. Left field in Pensacola depresses hits by 18 points compared to the road, but it boosts isolated power by 172 points. Center field plays about even on hits but boosts isolated power by 32 points. Right field had talk of being tough to hit the ball out of due to the wind coming off of the bay in Pensacola, but the numbers suggest that it played friendly. It didn’t do much overall for hits, but it boosted isolated power by 102 points. Overall, at least for the 2012 season, the stadium in Pensacola boosted power rather significantly but did suppress hits by a small amount.
There are two leagues that make up the “Triple A” level. The International League where the Louisville Bats play and the Pacific Coast League. The Pacific Coast League is a very hitter friendly level, while the International League is considered to be neutral. The Pacific Coast League boosts singles by 6%, doubles by 10%, triples by 33% and home runs by 16% over the International League.
The Louisville Bats play their home games at Louisville Slugger Field. The dimensions at the ballpark are 325 feet to left field, 405 feet to center and 340 feet to right field. Left field in Louisville boosts average on balls put in play by 56 points, but it suppresses isolated power ever so slightly by 8 points. Center field plays rather neutral. Right field does nothing for overall hits, but suppresses isolated power by 45 points. Overall Louisville Slugger Field boosts average up, but it does suppress power a bit across the board.
While overall park factors are nice to look at, they hide a lot of information. Take Billings or the park in Arizona for example, where the side of the plate you hit from can make a rather large difference in how the ballpark plays for you. For the most part, the Reds teams tend to play in hitter friendly parks, even though they may not all be in hitter friendly leagues.
Here are the park factors to each field: