The Minor League Baseball system has been designed to develop players for the Major Leagues. There are other aspects, of course, but at the end of the day what a “parent club” is looking for is a place for young players to develop and learn so that they can eventually take a spot with the “Big Club.”
This just in: Baseball is hard.
As players develop and move up the levels and through the system they require same-level competition in order to improve their skills and learn the details of their game. Some players will stall-out at each level, of course, but might be kept around to help fill out the team. In the harsh world of baseball evaluation and scouting, these players are often referred to as “organizational” or “org players.”
The top level in the evolution of the professional baseball player is AAA–the level we’re used to watching with the IronPigs at Coca Cola Park in Allentown. At this level, players are in the final stages of becoming major league contributors, and in many cases have already contributed on that level in the past. These players are expected to help polish the games of the younger players, while staying prepared to fill in at the ultimate level as needed.
This season, we’ve had to say “good-bye” to some of our favorite players. These are guys whom we enjoyed watching play the game–and who played it well at times. Cody Overbeck, Justin Friend, and Troy Hanzawa are still good baseball players. Viewed through the prism of the Philadelphia Phillies and their own roster, though, it perhaps became clear that they weren’t prepared to fill a role on the next level. As new players work their way up through the system and take on that role, it becomes time to move on. Move up or move out, as they say.
This weekend we said good-bye to another of our favorites. Tyson Gillies was fully released from the Philadelphia system. I’m not going to review stats or re-hash off the field issues here. I’m merely going to miss his effort between the lines. There’s no doubt in my mind that he wanted to be great–and who am I to say that he still won’t? However, as Manager Dave Brundage said after yesterday’s game, “It’s time to move on.” I know that he can still play baseball, and we wish him well wherever he lands. I hope he keeps playing. As we saw with Rusty Ryal and Nate Spears and (Reading) Jake Fox, there are even independent opportunities to keep playing and stay sharp: affiliated baseball will come and find you if there’s a spot open. And sometimes, all you need is that opportunity.
Just ask Chris Colabello.
Fare thee well, Tyson,