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2005 Nashville MLEs

Armed with data from the incomparable Baseball Cube, I went to work on 2005 Minor League Equivalencies (MLEs). MLEs try, with a pretty big margin of error, to take a minor league batting line and tell you what that player would've done in the Major Leagues. It's all well and good for Prince Fielder or Corey Hart to play well in Nashville, but does that mean they would've been better than the starters in Milwaukee? Do they have a shot to be ready next year?

The equivalencies are a way to begin answering those questions. Basically, you find MLEs by first finding a ratio between two leagues, say MLB and the Pacific Coast League. Since players are constantly shuttling between AAA and the Majors, there's plenty of data. For the most part, batters hit for a lower average, strike out more, walk less, all that jazz, when they reach a higher level--to find MLEs, you take all the stats accumulated by those players who played in both leagues, and you figure out just how much better or worse they did in each major statistical category.

If you want to find out more about the process and how to tweak the method, check out this great article by Dan Szymborski. I'm still working on all of this, and my method differs substantially from the one he outlines in the article, but you get more of the idea.

Here are MLEs for batters at AAA Nashville last year, with links to the players' career stats at The Baseball Cube:

First Last AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Chris Barnwell 263 59 12 1 2 16 52 .224 .269 .300 .569
Pat Borders 98 22 2 0 2 3 20 .224 .248 .306 .554
Nelson Cruz 212 51 11 0 8 26 70 .241 .324 .406 .729
Trent Durrington 318 86 13 2 4 36 71 .270 .345 .362 .706
Prince Fielder 385 101 18 0 20 47 105 .262 .343 .465 .808
Corey D Hart 97 16 4 0 1 15 23 .165 .277 .237 .514
Corey Hart 435 121 25 8 12 42 100 .278 .342 .455 .797
Ryan Knox 304 64 10 0 4 20 79 .211 .259 .283 .542
Dave Krynzel 456 106 22 6 8 37 156 .232 .290 .360 .650
Warren Morris 233 56 6 2 5 19 36 .240 .298 .348 .645
Julio Mosquera 241 57 16 0 3 9 39 .237 .264 .340 .604
Brad Nelson 287 65 14 2 5 39 84 .226 .319 .341 .660
Mike Rivera 215 56 10 1 12 8 42 .260 .287 .484 .771
Steve Scarborough 409 95 24 2 8 34 105 .232 .291 .359 .651
Rickie Weeks 207 60 12 8 9 24 58 .290 .364 .556 .919
Tony Zuniga 237 70 12 0 5 16 32 .295 .340 .409 .749

It should be noted that Nashville is something of a pitcher's park while Miller Park is reasonably neutral, so those numbers would look a little better park-adjusted. The one guy who jumps out at me is Mike Rivera. He probably doesn't deserve a starting job anywhere and I don't know a thing about his defense, but judging from the evidence here, he deserves more of a shot than he's gotten.

I'll post Nashville pitching stats in a few days, and gradually get around to the farm clubs as far down as West Virginia.