This one kind of came out of nowhere, but, according to a report from The Oklahoman, the Dodgers’ are relocating their Triple-A affiliate from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City of the Pacific Coast League.
From the article:
“The Dodgers reportedly have been searching for a city more suitable to evaluate their top prospects. Starting last season, the Dodgers have required Isotopes officials to place baseballs in a humidor to try to counteract the effects of the thin, dry air, Albuquerque being 5,300 feet above sea level.”
Seeing as Oklahoma City is about 1,200 feet above sea level, it appears they might have found a better place to evaluate player. The pitching prospects have to be doing back flips, seeing as Albuquerque is one of the worst pitching environments known to man. A much more neutral environment will allow Dodger scouts and management see prospects on a level playing field.
Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is virtually neutral when it comes to runs scored (1.006), a little less with hits (1.025) and actually suppresses home runs (0.796). The data are from the 2013 season. Isotopes Park, by comparison, was the highest in all three categories last year — 1.452 runs, 1.521(!) home runs and 1.250 hits.
The Dodgers have been affiliated with Albuquerque for 44 years, dating back to 1963, when the Albuquerque Dukes were the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate. From 1972-2000, Albuquerque was the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate. From 2000-08, they went to Las Vegas to become the 51s before moving back to Albuquerque to become the Isotopes in 2009.
But wait, there’s this from the Albuquerque Journal.
“Albuquerque Isotopes general manager John Traub told the Journal on Friday afternoon that the Dodgers have not confirmed with him any intention to part ways with Albuquerque.”
“De Jon Watson, Dodgers director of player development, said ‘I can’t say anything about that at this time. It hasn’t been talked about internally with the Dodgers.'”
The OKC report might be premature, but I doubt the reporter made it up for pageviews. We’ll see what happens after the middle of next month. The Dodgers don’t appear to be locked into any contract/lease in Albuquerque.
Oklahoma City is the Astros’ current affiliate, and it will be looking for a new home. A lot of the teams in the PCL could be relocating:
From Oklahoma City to unknown destination
From Nashville to unknown destination
From Sacramento to Nashville
San Francisco Giants
From Fresno to Sacramento
Lots of potential moving parts.
The news isn’t official yet, but Zach Lee, Chris Reed and Jarret Martin should be stoked, while Scott Schebler, Darnell Sweeney and O’Koyea Dickson are like, “meh,” if (and when) it does become official.
And if it is indeed official, me, Mike, Chad and Daniel want to extend a big thanks to Chris Jackson of the Albuquerque Examiner. He’s provided Dodger fans and folks with invaluable information over the last few years. Whatever team ends up in Albuquerque (because there will be a team), that team’s fan base will gain a great reporter who is really good at his job. Listen to the next episode of Dugout Blues, as Chris will be our guest.