The Mets and the Pacific Coast League

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.

21 comments for “The Mets and the Pacific Coast League

  1. Name
    October 9, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    I was expecting something about how the PCL is far away from NYC or how the facilities suck but instead it’s just a baseless rant about how offense is bad. What makes the contrary any better?

    In 2017, the average ERA for the INT was 3.97 which is nearly identical to the major league average of 4.23. 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 INT have their ERA rise significantly more in the majors than those in the PCL.

    The flip side of this issue is that the league is tremendously harder on the hitters. While some hitters can find success in the INT, these are typically only power hitters who can flat-out beat the pitches of their opponents. Slap hitters are doomed to terribly deflated numbers and usually massive hits to their confidence.

  2. Andrew
    October 9, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Just heard that the Mets AAA team will now be in Syracuse

  3. Name
    October 9, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    And mere moments later the Mets to buy and operate Syracuse Chiefs to start playing in 2019. No more worrying about getting kicked out either

    http://www.syracuse.com/chiefs/index.ssf/2017/10/new_york_mets_will_buy_syracuse_chiefs_bring_its_triple-a_team_to_syracuse.html

  4. Chris F
    October 9, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Interesting timing for your article David, since the Mets just bought the Syracuse Chiefs and are moving the AAA squad to Syracuse in 2019!

    http://www.syracuse.com/chiefs/index.ssf/2017/10/new_york_mets_will_buy_syracuse_chiefs_bring_its_triple-a_team_to_syracuse.html

  5. Chris F
    October 9, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Interesting timing for your article David, since the Mets just bought the Syracuse Chiefs and are moving the AAA squad to Syracuse in 2019!

    • John Fox
      October 9, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      That will put the 2 top farm teams at Binghamton and Syracuse, short ride for those players that get promoted to triple A

    • Hobie
      October 9, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      Wow. I was just about to reply that short of buying a MiLB club, the Mets are really not in control of their affiliation.

      BTW, didn’t the Mets own their AAA Jacksonville club?

      • TexasGusCC
        October 9, 2017 at 10:10 pm

        The only affiliates they do not own are Columbia and Binghamton.

      • October 10, 2017 at 12:23 am

        NY Times article from Dec. 1992:

        The Mets announced yesterday that they have sold their Class AAA International League farm club, Tidewater, for more than $7 million to a group led by Ken Young, a Tampa, Fla., businessman.

        The team, the highest in the Mets’ minor league chain, will play in a new 12,000-seat stadium in Norfolk, Va., under a working agreement with the Mets. It will be called the Norfolk Tides, a change from the Tidewater Tides, who were owned by the Mets since 1969, when New York’s top farm club was moved from Jacksonville, Fla.

        http://www.nytimes.com/1992/12/24/sports/tidewater-club-sold-by-mets.html

        It will be curious to see how much the Mets paid for the Syracuse team.

  6. Eraff
    October 9, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Wow, Chris—you’ve broken big News!!! A move to ‘Cuse will benefit the Mets in many ways

  7. October 10, 2017 at 5:48 am

    So what Int’l League city is available for the Mets to make a move east? They can’t just move east because they want to. I’m sure the writer knows this but a bit more explanation for some of the readers might have been helpful here.

  8. Jimmy P
    October 10, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Very happy about the move to Syracuse. Las Vegas was a monumental disaster from Day One.

  9. IDRAFT
    October 10, 2017 at 10:42 am

    On top of the baseball benefits of leaving Las Vegas this is a strong business move. With the AA team in central New York and the AAA team fully upstate the Mets now have a connection to all of New York. That might not move the needle much for Citi Field attendance but will surely help SNY some. Even if the Syracuse team cannot make money on it’s own there is a profitable path here.

    • October 10, 2017 at 11:03 am

      I don’t view this in terms of profit for the Wilpons or ease of moving players up and down or getting away from the PCL. The main value here for the Mets is stability. Kicked out of Norfolk, forced to New Orleans, kicked out of Buffalo, stuck with Las Vegas. That merry go round ends permanently.

      • Jimmy P
        October 10, 2017 at 2:19 pm

        Vegas was a horrible location with extremely inferior facilities. No indoor batting cages, for example, in a town with kind of heat. The list goes on and on. So the stability factor means nothing to me, since it doesn’t adversely affect the players at all. It’s more about being in a good place for developing baseball players and a place that makes whole sense for the NY Mets.

        • October 10, 2017 at 7:19 pm

          I think you’re so focused on the immediate that you’re losing sight of the bigger picture. They were run out of town by two different owners in the span of, what, six years? The first one they ruined was a relationship that was built over 25 years and the second one a site in their home state.

          They could have found themselves in the most perfect place, with the greatest facilities, impeccable weather and just generally top notch everything. But if the Wilpons couldn’t play nice, there was no guarantee that they wouldn’t be asked to leave and never return. Again.

          By owning the team, they don’t have to worry about getting kicked out. Now they can go about building the best facilities they can.

  10. Rabbit
    October 10, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Finally, Las Vegas for a myriad of reasons was a terrible location for their triple A team.

  11. Jim OMalley
    October 10, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Couldn’t be more delighted. Maybe New York State offered some incentives to relocate the AAA club.

  12. Metsense
    October 11, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Purchasing the team was a great move by the Mets. One of Alderson’s goals when taking over the Mets was to set up a consistent way of teaching minor leaguers through out their system. One of the front office complaints this year was that the AAA players were not prepared properly for the major leagues. That issue should be resolved with the proximity of the AA and AAA franchises close enough to Citifield to have a more hands on approach. A coach,roving instructor, scout or front office personnel will no longer have to fly across the country to get a first hand look.

    • October 11, 2017 at 10:03 am

      In the past we didn’t have this problem of Triple-A guys not being ready. In fact, we had guys struggling in the majors go down to the minors and come back better. So, what happened?

      Maybe Wally Backman played a role in it.

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