As we await the release of the minor league rosters this week to see the final assignments of all of our favorite prospects I thought we might take a moment to do some level setting for the upcoming minor league season. As you are perusing over the numbers for the Reds minor leaguers this year, you might want to keep in mind the affect the league for which the prospect is in may have on his numbers. If you have an idea of what the league average is for a minor league you can better measure the players performance there by taking into account how the league they are playing in may affect them.
As you looking at the Reds hitters numbers this upcoming season, you probably got a pretty good idea that last years MLB average for hitters slash line (AVG /OBP/SLG/OPS) was .253/.317/.396/.714, and that the MLB average ERA was 3.86. It gives you a rough benchmark to measure the MLB players numbers against to determine who are the good, average, and bad players. Below we will take a quick look at the 2013 averages for each of the minor leagues that the Reds affiliates play in to give us a perspective on how the league may affect our favorite prospects numbers this upcoming season.
AAA Louisville Bats
The International League numbers look very similar to Major League numbers. This makes it a bit easier to try translate their performance when promoted since you pretty much only need to account for drop off due to the higher level of competition. The Reds hitters promoted to AAA will have a better chance of holding their numbers since they are coming in from a league where hitters numbers are depressed a bit. Pitchers being promoted from AA however may appear to struggle though since they coming from a more pitching friendly league and facing stiffer competition all at the same time.
AA Pensacola Blue Yahoos
As stated above, this appears to be a pitching friendly league. Hitting prospects being promoted here from the hitting friendly High A California league will appear to struggle whereas pitchers may seem to improve more dramatically than it might appear.
High A Bakersfield Blaze
The California League is a hitters league. Hitters promoted to here from Low A Dayton will appear to flourish while pitchers will appear to struggle.
Low A Dayton Dragons
The Midwest League appears to favor the pitchers a bit. Prospects coming in here from the Pioneer League, which is a very hitters friendly league, will experience the same affect as players coming to Pensacola from Bakersfield. Hitting prospects will appear to struggle whereas pitchers will improve.
The Pioneer league is another hitters league. Much like players promoted to Bakersfield from Dayton, players coming to Billings from the AZL will appear to flourish while pitchers will appear to struggle.
The AZL is a bit of a mixed bag. Pitchers ERA runs a little high for a pitchers league, yet hitters don’t appear to prosper either.