Isotopes To Add Humidor; Science World On Edge

Hey, remember when people thought Fields was good? Maybe the humidor will fix that.

Hey, remember when people thought Josh Fields was good? Maybe the humidor will fix that.

News out of Albuquerque: steps are finally being taken to make Isotopes Park somewhat less of a nightmare for pitchers. According to Vice President of Player Development De Jon Watson, reportedly speaking on MLB Network Radio, the Isotopes are planning to install a humidor for the 2013 season. We first heard indications of this last July, when pal Chris Jackson interviewed Watson and received this answer to the humidor question:

We’ve talked about it, John (Traub, Isotopes general manager) and myself have had extensive talks with (team president) Ken Young. We’re definitely exploring the opportunities of possibly adding a humidor into the facility here. It’s something that we’re having ongoing discussions at this time.

As I’m sure Chris would be all too eager to tell us, Albuquerque hasn’t exactly been a great place to watch up-and-coming Dodger pitching prospects over the last few years. Kenley Jansen, Javy Guerra, Paco Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, & Rubby De la Rosa (among others) all bypassed New Mexico on their way to the bigs, and it’s probably not entirely unrelated to why Chris Withrow has been at Double-A since approximately 1996. (Though clearly that’s not Withrow’s only issue, of course.) That, I suppose, is how you end up with a starting rotation of guys who are fringe prospects (John Ely, Stephen Fife) or minor league lifers (Will Savage, Michael Antonini, Fernando Nieve) — good prospects aren’t sent there, and decent Quad-A types aren’t interested in signing to pitch there.

It’s hardly any surprise why the Dodgers try to avoid sending top pitching there. On a team without any high-ceiling offensive prospects except maybe — maybe, if you squint hard enough — Jerry Sands, the Isotopes had the highest slugging (.471) and OPS (.832) in what was already a high-offense Pacific Coast League; conversely, the pitchers allowed a whopping 5.58 runs per game, worst in the PCL. That’s been the case, though not always to such extremes, in each of the four seasons since Albuquerque returned to the Dodger organization. It’s why we’ve had to continually caution against the ridiculous numbers put up by John Lindsey & Mitch Jones & Jay Gibbons.

The more astute among you are probably champing at the bit to rush down to the comments and point out that part of why the Isotope pitching line has been so poor is that they don’t have the better prospects and are instead forced to rely on the Francisco Felixes of the world, and there’s probably a little something to that. Of course, a quick look at a home/road split like Tim Federowicz’s really ought to tell you how much impact there really is, as Chris explained when I talked to him at length last April:

We’ve got that crazy little hill in center field, and the wind will whip up here, but this year, I haven’t really seen a lot of wind-aided home runs, which is crazy, because we’ve had a lot of wind. It’s a big park, it plays big, there’s a lot of wind, but you’re more apt to see a lot of hits that are going to fall here just because of how spacious it is. I don’t think it necessarily inflates home run totals as much as people try to make it out to, but certainly it helps. I think the impact is bigger on pitchers than hitters, because obviously you’ve got a pitcher who comes in here with a great curveball, and that thing isn’t going to curve as much.

So will it help? It’s not going to make the park smaller, that’s for sure. It’s worth noting that the Colorado Springs Sky Sox installed a humidor in 2012, and their team ERA dropped from 6.41 the year before to 5.06 last season. Again, changing rosters help somewhat, but each year the team had 19 starting pitchers, and the two pitchers with the most innings were the immortal Alan Johnson & Rob Scahill, so I’m not putting too much emphasis on that.

Really, it’s worth a try, because it’s not simply about bringing down the runs scored, at least in the sense that the main goal of a Triple-A team is not to win. It’s about being able to place any faith whatsoever in player stats for evaluation purposes. It’s about not completely destroying a pitcher’s confidence, since you can only tell him “well, it’s Albuquerque” for so long while he’s getting blasted around the park. It’s about making your Triple-A team a slightly more viable destination for pitching prospects with a future, rather than playing shorthanded by cramming them all in Chattanooga.

It’s about making baseball look slightly more like baseball, rather than pinball. If this helps at all, then it’s well worth doing.

(nice hat tip to ThinkBlueLA for the story.)

186 comments
JoeyE
JoeyE

i love this chemistry talk about the dodgers

so stupid

Batted Bob
Batted Bob

Only a matter of time before the Fresno Grizzlies accuse the topes of giving their pitchers non-humidified balls.

DeucesWild
DeucesWild

On Piazza... "He could blame himself or his agent or Fox or Chase Carey or Al Qaeda. Nope, he blames Vin Scully. And the whole world is doubled over in laughter." I love it

 

http://goo.gl/rdqrh

ThtsaPaddlin
ThtsaPaddlin

Tonight, I'm gonna fill my lady full of beef.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grilled perfectly to medium rare.  Also, scallops, crab, and artichokes.

Tycho Blue
Tycho Blue

Nice article from Jayson Stark on the parity/non parity in baseball/football.  Not sure how a longer analysis looks like, but I hate the notion of parity.  

 

Call me a socialist everyday of the week, but when it comes to sports it's free market.  It's one reason I love soccer(but not MLS).  I don't blame clubs with rich owners.  Regardless of the sport, you still have to spend smartly, have a good manager, and youth teams that can produce.  Smarts always beats out cash.  But smarts and cash, that's called a dynasty.

 

http://espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/stark_jayson/id/8908029/mlb-more-parity-nfl

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

Soriano is on the Belisario program. Visa prawblums! 

Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

writing about the Dodger infield for Rotographs tomorrow.. 

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

Ryu is funny I wish everything he tweets wasn't utilization. Geez I cant learn Korean over night so I am at the mercy of others. I get a pretty good feeling when Honeycutt says "plus plus" That in itself is the best thing I've heard on him. I'm glad he has a sense of humor too. Good start for the Monster!~

efb
efb

 @capnsparrow They both seem fine to me. Piazza seemed well spoken and sincere and Scully didnt press anything too hard and when Piazza finished up his answer, Vin just said "well said"

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson

 @Bob Meripol Grizz don't play in ABQ this year. Topes only face NL West teams at home in Colorado Springs and Reno, four games each. Bitching more likely to come from Round Rock or OKC or New Orleans.

Batted Bob
Batted Bob

@DeucesWild is there a douchier look than that pencil thin mustache?

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

 @Mike Petriello Like will it be finished by the time the season starts? They have to make sure the dirt is set right

joe
joe

 @capnsparrow yeah iv been trying to find an explanation for "utilization" Might have something to do with emphasis on nouns or something.

The Monocle
The Monocle

@WBBsAs picked up two pinot noirs today and a couple Belgian ales. Oh and a bottle of Jameson but that's for the weekend.

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

 @WBBsAs that albarino looks like its hella good but I do prefer my wine aged in Oak for more than 20% of its process. I d try it. The ABV is higher than I expected. must be a stainless steel thing cus its like that down under too. 

Disgruntled Goat
Disgruntled Goat moderator

 @WBBsAs ya know, i created an account there when you first told me about it but i never placed an order. i may give it a go, thanks. 

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

 @efb If anything Vin was helping him diffuse the ultimatum thing. Piazza can go to hell as far as I'm concerned!!!1!

JoeyE
JoeyE

 @Bob Meripol  @JoeyE it's all because of 3 reasons, maybe 4.

 

1. Philly Eagles

2. Lakers

3. They had a bad stretch when we did the red sox trade last year, but people forget we still nearly made it in the playoffs after they snapped out of it a little, plus missing BIlls sucked

 

and the 4th is the red sox of the past few years

 

Batted Bob
Batted Bob

@Chris Jackson that doesn't help my ripping on the giants

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

 @NativeWharf Sure man. Glad you like it.  Pretty happy with how it turned out. Originally I was gonna have him carrying two bats but opted for calling his shot instead.

Batted Bob
Batted Bob

@JoeyE they just need to get into that clubhouse and gel no matter how hard it is they have to create gel.

DodgerRob
DodgerRob

 @IBBFTW Remember when KROQ (perhaps others as well) put this in heavy rotation? Then remember how the FCC made them stop?

Batted Bob
Batted Bob

@Disgruntled Goat 'where the ball bag is positioned'

Batted Bob
Batted Bob

@DeucesWild I'm saying the giants are whiney brats at all levels