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Minor League Equivalencies

[editor's note, by Jeff] battlekow wrote this, but he Moellerized his account, so I'm posting it for him.

This is pretty nifty--Baseball Think Factory poster Anaheim Rallymonkey of Maryland has posted 2006 MLEs for all AA and AAA players (if you don't have Excel, download Excel Viewer). MLEs translate minor league numbers to a neutral-park, Major League context; with them, you can directly compare a guy in AAA to one in the majors--for example, I don't know...Nelson Cruz and Kevin Mench?

Nelson Cruz's actual line in Nashville was .302/.378/.528/.906. Translated, that's .251/.314/.420/.734. Kevin Mench has put up a .284/.337/.457 line in the big leagues this year. However, we actually now have a clearer view of Nelson Cruz's actual performance than Kevin Mench's, since Mench's numbers aren't park-adjusted.

Knowing that the Ballpark in Arlington usually inflates hitters' numbers, we could just look at Mench's road stats: .295/.338/.423, alarmingly similar to Cruz's MLEs. We could also figure out a quick & dirty park factor for Texas this year, which I've taken the liberty of doing. Since there's a lot of noise in just over 3/5 a season of data, I'm also listing the three-year park factors from 2003-2005, courtesy of Dan Szymborski, and the average of the two.

Year R H HR BB K
2006 1.02 1.03 1.21 0.98 1.03
03-05 1.16 1.08 1.20 0.98 0.98
Avg 1.09 1.06 1.21 0.98 1.01

As you can see, the park factors are pretty much the same this year as in previous years except for actual runs. Despite similar peripheral statistics, the Rangers' are home/road run split isn't anywhere near as severe as its been in the past. In fact, they're actually scoring almost exactly the same amount of runs per game on the road as they are at home; it's only their pitching, which is allowing over half a run more per game at home than on the road, that's even got their run factor over 1.0.

Right about now, I bet you're wondering if Texas traded bloggers with the Milwaukee, not just outfielders. I'm getting to the Brewers, I promise. Anyway, because the underlying factors are so similar, I'm going to write off the sharp decrease in the run factor as a fluke and use the 03-05 numbers. Accordingly, here, in all his glory, is the real 2006 Kevin Mench, alongside Cruz's MLEs:

Mench: .274/.337/.432/.769
Cruz: .251/.314/.420/.734

I don't think any further analysis is really necessary; those numbers speak for themselves.

Other Brewer MLEs of note:

Laynce Nix: .240/.277/.372/.649
Mike Rivera: .245/.281/.390/.671
Tony Gwynn: .228/.340/.285/.625
Dave Krynzel : .198/.265/.287/.552
Ryan Braun (only AA): .249/.286/.430/.716
Lou Palmisano: .216/.276/.299/.575

It's interesting, by which I mean extremely depressing, to note that Lou Palmisano, despite having a terrible year at AA, if promoted to the Majors could immediately exceed Chad Moeller's aggregate performance over the last three seasons, .203/.250/.319/.569. And no, smart ass, I'm not going to park-adjust those pathetic numbers.