Originally Posted by M2
I don't know about studies, but it's always seemed to me that the upper minors (and the California League) is where previously successful flyball pitchers tend to encounter longball problems.
For my purposes, I tend to look at HR/H ratio for pitchers in the low minors rather than straight HR/9IP.
Some guys put up ridiculous H/IP pitch numbers in single-A and that really skews their HR/IP rate. With inexperienced pitchers, I am more concerned with the quality of contact they allow when they fail to miss bats rather than the gross results over 9IP. Bruce Chen was always a guy who put up acceptable HR/9IP ratios in the minors but once he stopped missing bats his HR/9IP rate jumped because he couldn't maintain his crazy minor league H/IP rates.
I don't know where to slot Medlock just yet. His HR rate in his first exposure to high-A was pretty ugly, but he rebounded nicely this year in the FSL. Of course, the FSL also has a reputation as being one of the most pitcher friendly leagues in professional ball. The big question is can he hold onto the gains he made this year, or will he regress when he steps up to the Southern League.