A Cold Start to the Minor League Season

It has been an unpleasant start to the baseball season, both for those playing the games on the field and those who live in states in northern part of the country. Now professional players are supposed to be able to handle many temperatures, but it is important to remember that especially at the lower levels there are players from Venezuela or Dominican Republic whose only experience playing games north of Florida is Williamsport from June to August. It isn’t just the Latin players. Various trades have filled the system with players who did not play their previous seasons in the South Atlantic and Eastern Leagues. But this is all anecdotal, how cold has it actually been?

 Game 1Game 2Game 3Game 4Game 5Game 6Average
Lehigh Valley4244424342.75
Reading54463544595649.00
Clearwater73757073757573.50
Lakewood37363655715748.67

It must be really nice to be in Florida, but it has been quite cold in the north leading to things like this where Roman Quinn experiences snow for the first time.

But is it really that much colder than last year?

 Game 1Game 2Game 3Game 4Game 5Game 6Average
Lehigh Valley42555768736459.83
Reading515160746460.00
Clearwater82819082808282.83
Lakewood41626262676059.00

The answer is much colder. But what does this cold mean for players? Let’s start with the starting pitching performances in games under 45 degrees.

  • All IronPigs games so Jake Thompson/Adam Morgan/Zach Eflin/Mark Appel 21.2 IP 15 H 3 ER 7 BB 22K
  • April 7, 2016 – Franklyn Kilome – 2 IP 5 H 5 ER 4 BB 2 K (37 degrees)
  • April 8, 2016 – Tyler Gilbert – 5 IP 3 H 2 ER 2 BB 6 K (36 degrees)
  • April 9, 2016 – Shane Watson – 4 IP 4 H 3 ER 4 BB 1 K (36 degrees)
  • April 9, 2016 – Nick Pivetta – 3.2 IP 9 H 5 ER 1 BB 1 K (35 degrees)
  • April 10, 2016 – Ricardo Pinto – 6 IP 5 H 3 ER 2 BB 5 K (44 degrees)
  • April 9, 2015 – Ricardo Pinto – 6 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 2 K (41 degrees)
  • April 9, 2015 – Joely Rodriguez – 4 IP 4 H 2 ER 4 BB 3 K (42 degrees)

It is not the best set of starts unless you are Ricardo Pinto. Now some of this is not great pitchers, but it is worth watching to see how some pitchers like Franklyn Kilome and Nick Pivetta bounce back as the weather warms up. As always it is good to keep the context in mind when judging the statistical outcomes of games.

Photo by Cheryl Pursell

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.

3 comments

  1. Yeah, it’s one more thing to adapt to: You’ve got some of these guys adapting to a new level, new teammates, new living conditions and clubhouse, playing at night under lights rather than the daytime of spring training, and then the weather on top of that. For the IronPigs, add in the goofy schedule with the double-headers and missed games.

    Certainly, other teams have players making the same adjustments, but I think we can stack this in the pile with the other “small sample” caveats–it’ll all work out in the end.

    Still, sometimes it might be a reason not to jump a guy to start the season at a “too high” level; I guess the thing that can go wrong is that he then starts to press, make unnecessary adjustments and end up making himself worse.

    But baseball is back, better weather is on the way…

    @Kram209

  2. Joe Reardon

    I buy the argument that cold weather is not baseball weather …but I also know that World Series is now resolved in November. For Prospects of a team in Philadelphia that means we hope they learn to like playing in the cold, not looking for reasons why they can’t perform.

  3. jimhg

    pivetta is canadian, he should be very comfortable.