Over at Metsmerizedonline Sean Kenny did a mailbag post yesterday that discussed what effects the Mets AAA team playing in Vegas next year may have on it’s pitchers. Sean discussed how hitters enjoy increased batting averages & power numbers and he also discussed the thin air due to the elevation, hanging pitches that get crushed and breaking balls that don’t break. These are points that Sean is not alone in as many that follow the PCL have talked about it being a hitters league because of this.
It’s a good read and MMO’s Tim B does a good job in the comments section answering some questions related to this move. If you have yet to do so I recommend reading it.
I decided to explore the differences between the Pacific Coast League and the International League a little further and do some comparisons and see what they looked like side by side. Some things you should know is that the PCL is a 16 team league while the IL is a 14 team league. Because of this difference those 2 extra teams in the PCL add on average an additional 2,500 more plate appearances and 11,000.0 innings pitched to the yearly totals.
I went back and looked at a 5 year sample size of the hitting and as Sean stated the PCL enjoyed a increased batting average that was 17 points higher than the IL (.278/BA to .261/BA). They enjoy a higher slugging percentage (.434/SLG to .399/SLG) as well. Two things to note was the number of HR’s and Triples per at bat. The PCL averaged a HR every 35.3 at bats compared to the IL that averaged a HR every 41 at bats and the PCL averaged a triple every 135.2 at bats while the IL averaged a triple every 171.7 at bats. The PCL averaged better numbers per at bat in every major offensive category.
I also went back and looked at a 5 year sample size of the pitching and to no surprise the PCL posted an ERA that was 70 points higher than the IL (4.72/ERA to 4.02/ERA). Another thing of note was the number of hits per 9 innings between the two leagues. The PCL averaged 9.7 hits per 9 innings the IL 9.0 hits per 9 innings. The IL averaged better numbers per 9 innings in every major pitching category.
After doing this even though there is no doubt as far as I am concerned that the PCL does show itself to benefit hitters more, I don’t know if the difference is to the point where I should be that much more concerned as far as the effects Vegas may have on the Mets.
What are your thoughts on all this?
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference