May 18, 2017
By: Doug Heater
With Lehigh Valley in the middle of the franchise’s longest winning streak, (10 games as of this writing) the question has been asked, is this the best IronPigs team I have seen to date? The answer here is quite simple. Yes.
Sure the 2011 team went all the way to the Governor’s Cup final, losing in 4 games to Columbus. That team was led by Ryne Sandberg, had current Major Leaguers Brandon Moss, Freddy Galvis, and even Erik Kratz on it, but from top to bottom, including the bullpen, and starting pitching, this team holds the trophy.
Future big leaguers pepper the current IronPigs lineup, including this week’s(May15th) International League Batter of the Week Dylan Cozens, Roman Quinn, top prospect J.P. Crawford, Jorge Alfaro and Rhys Hoskins just to scratch the surface. The difference here is the way this team approaches the everyday grind of baseball. Great work ethic, professional approach in every at-bat and the desire to win every baseball game they play in, not something you see on every team in minor league baseball.
It starts with manager Dusty Wathan, and his approach to leading a winning baseball team. It is no secret to why he won back to back Eastern League Manager of the year awards, with his work ethic, and expectations having carried over to this level. Assistant Director of Player Development, Steve Noworyta said to me this season, “he is big league manager material”. Noworyta signed Wathan when he was with Ottawa.
With all this said, it is early in the season, only mid May, but this team has been fun to watch, and with the weather warming up, the baseball on the field at Coca-Cola Park is sure to remain hot.