As a writer, I’ve been covering the New York Mets for a while. Long enough to see the Mets AAA affiliate in Norfolk, New Orleans, Buffalo and Las Vegas but it wasn’t until the Mets were saddled with the Las Vegas 51’s that I took issue. The reason for this is that until this most recent move, the Mets have been part of the INT League. It was only after they had to move their AAA affiliate to the dreaded PCL that anyone really cared.
For those into soap opera drama, the Mets short tenures with their string of INT affiliates had a lot to do with the state of the team and the purse strings of the Wilpons. That isn’t the focus of today’s article, though.
Today we are looking at just what makes the PCL worse than the INT.
In 2017, the average OPS for the PCL was .774 which is nearly identical to the major league average of .773. What makes this mark telling is when you look at players who graduated from one league into the next. If you look at those numbers you start to see that players in the PCL have their OPS drop significantly more in the majors than those in the INT.
The difference in batting average alone is typically 10-15 points with hitters from the INT league faring 30 points worse in the majors vs those of the PCL faring 44 points worse.
The flip side of this issue is that the league is tremendously harder on the pitchers. While some pitchers can find success in the PCL, these are typically only power pitchers who can flat-out beat the swings of their opponents. Movement and accuracy pitchers are doomed to terribly inflated numbers and usually massive hits to their confidence.
The Mets need a lot of things in the near future. They need an everyday third baseman, because David Wright is never coming back, they need to solve their rotational problems, they need to build the farm system back up and they need to contend. Moving their AAA affiliate doesn’t seem like the highest urgency item that they might have, but it is a growing concern and a known issue.