Seldom has a ballpark changed apparent character as severely as the Pawtucket
Red Sox' McCoy Stadium did last year.
The Red Sox MLE's in the back of STATS' Green book are based on an "m" of about
.800, which we can divide by .82 to get the ratio of offense level in major
league, to minor league & park: about 0.97. I believe that represents a 3-year
The actual number *for last year alone*, however, was essentially 1.225 (that's
using the actual scoring per inning in both parks; and the ERA of all the other
teams in each league, rather than total league R/G). That raises "m" to almost
1.00 on the nose. IOW, if you use this 1-year park factor, PawSox MLE's are
very close to their actual minor league numbers.
OK, these are small sample sizes, but what happened last year?
--------- PA BA OBP SA
Pawtucket 332 .308 .364 .662
Stats MLE .281 .326 .566
Boston 48 .289 .333 .578
Pawtucket 437 .255 .392 .504
MLE .233 .339 .423
Boston 95 .288 .442 .493
Pawtucket 233 .211 .258 .294
MLE .192 .225 .258
Boston 176 .244 .278 .299
The MLE's nailed Alcantara, but Burkhart and Veras -- who had the bigger sample
sizes -- actually hit better at Boston than at Pawtucket, in a pattern
consistent with Fenway's park effects.
Two factors worth mentioning:
Unlike Burkhart and Veras, Alcantara's PA were accumulated coming off the bench,
rather than as a regular over a short stretch of time.
Second, there's a lot of evidence that Pawtucket was much tougher on lefty
hitters last year than righties. Dernell Stenson and Curtis Pride had huge home
/ road splits, Burkhart was much better as a RH hitter in Pawtucket but much
better as a lefty in Boston, PawSox lefty short men Sang-Hoon Lee and Tim Young
had much better ERA's at home than on the road. That might explain some of why
Burkhart faired relatively better than Alcantara in Boston (but not Veras, of
Burkhart looks like he has a decent chance to make the team as a backup 1B. It
will be interesting to see whether his performance is as STATS projects, using
3-year factors, or as I have, using 1-year factors.
Even likelier, if this turns out to be an abberation caused by weather, look for
Dernell Stenson's numbers at Pawtucket to take a huge leap upwards (from .268 /
.349 / .487). If Stenson has a "breakthrough" season and hits his way into the
BoSox lineup, you read it here first: much of the the actual breakthrough was
last year (a 26% increase in adjusted RC/27), but it was masked by the park.
(Side note: can anyone ever remember a team having *three* legitimate rookie
prospects playing the same position in the same year, as the Sox do at 1B with
Stenson, Burkhart, and Juan Diaz? I mean, *two* is obviously rare.)
Eric M. Van
". . . from that day forward she lived happily ever after. Except for the dying
at the end. And the heartbreak in between." - Lucius Shepard.