2012 Review and 2013 Preview
The Phillies have long known that they had some good talent coming through their system, but very little of that talent was at the upper levels. That meant that the Lehigh Valley roster had to be stocked with six-year free agents and "insurance" type players.
Through their five-year existence, the IronPigs have made the post-season just once, back in 2011, in what was Ryne Sandberg's first year at the helm.
Now, Sandberg is coaching third base in Philadelphia and veteran manager Dave Brundage has been brought in from the Atlanta Braves organization to take over as 'Pigs manager.
Brundage's first season will see a number of top prospects starting the season with his club and possibly, more to come throughout the season.
The Pitching Staff
The IronPigs feature a rotation of Tyler Cloyd, Jonathan Pettibone, Adam Morgan, Ethan Martin and B.J. Rosenberg. The top four pitchers in the rotation are all solid prospects who figure to make up a good portion of the Phillies starting rotation at some point down the road.
Cloyd had a brief stint with the Phillies last season and could be the first one to get a phone call if anything goes wrong in Philly. Pettibone would also be in line for his major league debut if the big league club needs another starter.
Morgan and Martin need some time at Triple-A to continue developing and Rosenberg just needs to be allowed to settle in as a starter, rather than being shuttled back-and-forth between the rotation and a relief role.
The bullpen has five pitchers with major league experience, including Michael Stutes, who is coming off an injury and working on strengthening his arm for a potential return to the majors. The pen also had three left-handers in Jake Diekman, Cesar Jimenez and Joe Savery.
Top catching prospect Tommy Joseph will see the lion's share of action behind the plate. Since coming over from the San Francisco Giants in the Hunter Pence deal, Joseph has proved himself to be worthy of the heir-apparent label for the Phillies.
Steven Lerud, who has impressed with the Phillies with how he handles pitchers, will back-up Joseph.
Around The Horn
Cody Overbeck (first base) and Cesar Hernandez (second base) return to the IronPigs this season. Overbeck will get an occasional day off when they work Darrin Ruf into the first base slot to keep him comfortable at that spot.
Michael Martinez takes over the shortstop role for Lehigh Valley, looking to fight his way back to the majors.
At third base, another heir-apparent, Cody Asche will see most of the playing time for Lehigh Valley.
The outfield will usually have Ruf in left field, getting on-the-job training, Tyson Gillies in center field and Leandro Castro in right field. Jermaine Mitchell will figure to see some time in the outfield as well, possibly when Ruf plays at first.
Veteran minor leaguer Steve Susdorf will fight to get whatever playing time is left over and will serve as a left-handed bat off the bench.