Cal League fans know this well, but MiLB.com’s Ashley Marshall quantified the park factors for the Advanced A-ball parks (Carolina League, Cal League, Florida State League) and, guess what…? The ball flies out in California.
The three Advanced A-level leagues play quite differently, with the Florida State League seeing the least offense in all of full-season minor league ball in the States. The Carolina League comes in right in the middle of that pack. But the California League….oh yeah.
It’s hot. It’s dry. No wind most nights save for an occasional, slight northeast-to-southwest breeze. Pitchers with the velocity to make it past the entry-level minor league circuits are firing heat at hitters who have risen to the same level. Yep, the ball flies high and far in these environs. Here’s a graphical look at how the league stacks up against the rest of MiLB:
(Graphic courtesy of MiLB.com)
You’ve got to go south of the border or to the short-season leagues to see more offense than the California League.
Obviously, this figures into the evaluation of players who find themselves in this hitter’s league on their way up the minor league ladder. Some observers didn’t think Paul Goldschmidt’s lofty 2010 numbers in Visalia (314/.384/.606) would translate to success at the higher levels of minor league ball, but look what he has done since.
To put it bluntly, scouting is hard.
So, Cal League fans, enjoy the offense and the entertaining games. And enjoy it even more knowing that behind home plate every night there are a bunch of scouts trying to make heads-or-tails of what they’re seeing . The fireworks are there consistently, but who can take it with them, like Goldschmidt, and who is merely a product of the live environment?