The various minor leagues tend to have radically different playing conditions. Certain leagues, like the Pacific Coast League, play on average, in terms of run scoring, like Fenway Park or The Ballpark At Arlington. Others play like Citi Field or Petco park. Reasons include everything from the type of player assigned to that league to the climate to average elevation to absurdly shaped ballparks. Here’s a chart that I created of minor league park factors:
All numbers are solely from 2011. LF+ is LeagueFactor+, an index where 100 is the average across all of baseball. I highlighted the leagues relevant to Yankee prospects. Note that none of the Yankee farm teams play in stadiums with significant park factors relative to the rest of the league. The Yankees are pretty good about making sure that their home games aren’t played in crazy conditions.
A few observations from this chart:
For the most park, Yankee hitting prospects will are always at a big disadvantage. Except for the South Atlantic League, league factors are far below the average across the board. Yankee Double-A prospects are particularly hurt. This will get a little better as the weather warms up – both the International League and Eastern League have to deal with pretty crappy weather in the spring in almost all of their ballparks.
At the same time, Charleston hitters are enjoying a fairly rosy hitting environment, but its not too crazy. Charleston is enjoying some breakout offensive performances from Rob Segedin, Slade Heathcott, Kyle Roller, Ramon Flores, and J.R. Murphy, but they are far from the highest scoring team in the league. That’s reason to believe that their seasons are indicative of strong performance, not lower levels of competition.