As I made my way through Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster I noticed mention of the possibility of a humidor being introduced to Arizona's Chase Field in 2011. Looking into this further I found a nice article here explaining the effect this could have on hitters and pitchers in that park. If true this could mean a big boost to the team's somewhat fly-ball prone pitchers Ian Kennedy and Dan Hudson and could mean the value of D-Backs hitters might take a dive as Chase Field falls toward becoming a neutral park. It will be interesting to see if they actually go through with this and it could be some nice information to have ahead of time heading into next season.
More on humidity and how you can apply it to minor league evaluations after the jump...
It has long been a common understanding that elevation increases offense but humidity as a factor is taken into consideration less often. Paying attention to things such as elevation and humidity can be key in evaluating minor league numbers when trying to figure out if that slugging prospect can repeat their success when they move to the next level. Las Vegas is one of the driest cities in America so you have to take that into account when looking at JP Arencibia's 32 HR. He clearly has excellent power but the numbers might not have been as high in a wetter climate. This is likely to effect fly-ball hitters and pitchers more so than ground-ballers so a hitter putting up a .300 AVG in these environments should be less suspect than those putting up 30 HR. This might also help explain why Brandon Wood has turned into such a flop. Aside from being the funnest minor league city name to pronounce Rancho Cucamonga is also one of the driest. Salt Lake City, Brandon Wood's other stomping ground, is also cracker-like (in reference to the dry nature of crackers and not the mostly white population). Brandon Wood was a likely benefactor of lighter balls, not to be confused with the shrinking of testicles often associated with steroid use.
Boise, Idaho is surprisingly another one of America's driest cities in an otherwise wet Northwest League. Boise Hawk batters hit the fewest home runs in their league in 2010 but their pitchers gave up the most. The Hawks are likely a light hitting team in a hitter's environment as their park is above average for offense in their league. Pitchers succeeding in these environments could be in line for further success when moving to another city. Cameron Greathouse is an excellent example of a player to watch as he takes his talents out of Boise to Peoria and he could be a breakout candidate next year. Keep this in mind the next time you see a player bust out for 30 taters or when a pitching prospect you once thought showed promise all of a sudden starts giving out long balls like they were pretentious comments at a hipster bar.