The PCL’s a Hit

I’ve written many times about how Salt Lake Bees stats have to be viewed in context because five PCL parks — Salt Lake, Colorado Springs, Las Vegas, Tucson and Albuquerque — distort offensive numbers.

The annual FutureAngels.com Top 10 Prospects reports in recent years have split Salt Lake numbers not using home vs. road but those five parks versus “normal” parks. Of all the prospects reports I’ve read, written by professionals or amateurs, mine is the only one that drills down to get a more accurate representation of Salt Lake statistics.

A new article on Baseball America proves what I’ve been saying all along. (The article requires a BA subscription to read.)

Entitled “Examining PCL Production: Perceptions of League Skewed by High Offense West,” author Matt Eddy calculates a statistic called Park Factor (PF) based on the league’s 2005-2007 seasons. To quote Eddy:

Using home/road data from the years 2005 to 2007, we arrive at the basic runs per game park factors (PF) for the 16 teams, with 100 being average. So, for example, Albuquerque’s 140 park factor indicates that for the three seasons inclusive, the Isotopes scored and allowed 40 percent more runs in home games than road games.

The PFs for the five parks I’ve pulled out in my analyses are:

Albuquerque 140
Colorado Springs 125
Las Vegas 124
Salt Lake 120
Tucson 111

No other PCL park is over 100.

In addition to their 70 home games in Salt Lake, this year the Bees will play a total of 24 road games in hitter-friendly parks. That’s 94 games that will distort numbers.

Anyway, it was nice to see validation of my methodology from a credible source.

2 Comments

Fascinating stuff Stephen,
Since I don’t a subscription to BA, I’m curious how Matt came up with his calculations. Did he “estimate” variables based on physical factors–distance to fences, altitude of park, humidity (or lack of), average temps, wind factors, etc.? Or did he just do a straight numbers crunch to come up with what are essentially deviations from the mean of all away games? (Which I believe is your methodology.) Thanks as always for the fact-based analyses. . .BeesGal, Salt Lake City, UT

In the italics above is his methodology. He did do separate numbers with standard deviations and other measurements. I was just trying to keep it simple. For example:

“Because in-conference opponents play each other so much, though, their park factors are somewhat skewed. For example, Albuquerque plays most of its road games in neutral and pitcher’s parks, making their park seem like Coors Field by comparison. To combat this, we’ll consider just the raw totals of runs scored per game (by both teams) at each park from 2005 to 2007 (R/P). The second number accounts for the units of standard deviation (SD) each total is from the conference average (see chart above for averages), helping us to identify parks especially conducive to either hitting or pitching.”

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