Is Winning Important in the Minor Leagues?

June 06, 2017
By: Doug Heater

I believe the answer is yes. In my 8 year’s now of being around Minor League baseball, and the IronPigs, this opinion has changed. The formula to get it done, falls in the philosophy of the manager, not necessarily the general manager of the Major League team.

Here’s what I’m getting at. New Phillies G.M. Matt Klentak has talked in the past about winning at all levels. Over the past few season’s here in the Lehigh Valley, former manager Dave Brundage has had a group that could have possibly won at least an International League playoff series but fell short, especially last season. But does it really matter what happens here in Allentown in early September, if the players can help a struggling Phillies team win a few games before their season ends? The Brundy led team of last season seemed to shut it down when the playoffs began, not winning a single game in the first round against the RailRiders. 

This year’s IronPigs manager Dusty Wathan was clear in the beginning of the season, they want to win as many games as possible during the season, then when September comes, win the championship with the team below them. Meaning, the current Pigs roster goes up to help the Phillies in September, and the current Reading roster comes to Allentown and tries to win a championship. He has taken Reading to the Eastern League playoffs the last two season’s, nearly winning it all both times.

Former Pigs manager Ryne Sandberg felt that playing meaningful baseball in August and September was all part of the developmental process, a philosophy I believe to be true. Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez were both part of that winning team in 2011. What would be a better conclusion to what could very well be a record setting season in 2017, then seeing the likes of Rhys Hoskins, Dylan Cozens, Jorge Alfaro and Nick Williams finally win a championship together? They then can carry that over to a 2018 season that could see a large portion of the current players in Lehigh Valley, coming together to make a playoff push for the Phils.