Pacific Coast League Realigns Divisions For 2014

The Padres’ switch in affiliates from Tucson this season to El Paso in 2014 has provided sufficient impetus for the Pacific Coast League to realign its four divisions, the Triple-A circuit announced today via press release.

The most significant alteration involves the substitution of Colorado Springs (Rockies) for Albuquerque (Dodgers) in the American Conference, the eight-team, Midwest-centered portion of the PCL. Perhaps not coincidentally, Albuquerque’s Isotopes Park and Colorado Springs’ Security Service Field are the only two PCL ballparks that feature humidors (see table below for more details).

Because the American and Pacific conferences concentrate their schedules within their divisions—they play just 16 road games all year against teams in the rival conference—the league’s realignment will drastically alter the road opponents for Dodgers and Rockies minor leaguers. (For more on the quirks of the PCL schedule, see Examining PCL Production from 2008.)

Now, instead of making eight stops per year at notorious hitter’s parks in the Pacific Conference such as Reno (whose park featured 13.32 runs per game from 2010-12), Las Vegas (12.81) and Salt Lake (11.77), Colorado Springs players will take those same road trips to the hitter’s parks of the American Conference, places like Round Rock (10.21), Omaha (10.03) and Oklahoma City (9.78), where runs are considerably more scarce.

Dodgers farmhands with Albuquerque will make the move in the other direction, losing road games versus American Conference opponents and adding the same number with Pacific clubs.

The following table presents the PCL’s new alignment, with R/G averages per park from 2010-12, each city’s elevation (as per Wikipedia) and its division status for 2013.

AMERICAN CONFERENCE
Northern Division
Organization R/G Elevation (ft) 2013 Division
Colorado Springs Rockies 13.45* 6,010 Pacific North
Iowa Cubs 9.33 955 Same
Oklahoma City Astros 9.78 1,201 American South
Omaha Royals 10.03 1,090 Same
Southern Division
Organization R/G Elevation (ft) 2013 Division
Memphis Cardinals 8.91 337 American North
Nashville Brewers 9.02 597 American North
New Orleans Marlins 8.35 -6.5 Same
Round Rock Rangers 10.21 735 Same
PACIFIC CONFERENCE
Northern Division
Organization R/G Elevation (ft) 2013 Division
Fresno Giants 9.89 308 Pacific South
Reno Diamondbacks 13.32 4,505 Same
Sacramento Athletics 9.05 30 Pacific South
Tacoma Mariners 9.34 243 Same
Southern Division
Organization R/G Elevation (ft) 2013 Division
Albuquerque Dodgers 14.17** 5,312 American South
El Paso Padres 3,740 Same (as Tucson)
Las Vegas Mets 12.81 2,001 Same
Salt Lake Angels 11.77 4,226 Pacific North
* Rate has dropped to 11.77 through 132 games since introducing humidor in 2012
** Rate has dropped to 11.19 through 63 games since introducing humidor in 2013

 

The PCL’s playoff format remains unchanged. The two American and two Pacific division champs will square off in a best-of-five series to determine the matchup for the league final, which also is a best-of-five series.

 

Minors | #Pacific Coast League #Triple-A

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