Pharm Phocus: Lehigh Valley IronPigs finish bottom in tough season


The Lehigh Valley IronPigs finished at the basement of the International League North with a record of 66-78, going 31-41 at home and 35-37 on the road. Finishing 15.5 games back of first place Syracuse, the playoffs were never in the picture, with the ‘Pigs losing 8 out of 10 games in an August stretch that ultimately destroyed any chances of .500 ball.

Of the Phillies top 20 prospects, only 2 featured in a Lehigh Valley uniform this year.

One of those prospects is the highly talented and coveted Maikel Franco, currently spending the last month of the season with the MLB Phillies with the expanded rosters. Tipped as a big year in his development, Franco played 133 games for the IronPigs, collecting 134 hits and 33 doubles in 521 at-bats, including 16 home runs and a line of .257/.299/.428. Many expect him to be the Phils’ starting third baseman next year, and his stint at Triple-A (where he was a whole 5.9 years under the average age of other players) will not have done him any harm.

The other prospect to feature at Lehigh Valley was the number 16 rated outfielder Cameron Perkins. At 6’5” and 23 years old, Perkins has shown himself as a good hitter, getting promoted from Reading after hitting .342 in 52 games. For the IronPigs, Perkins played 74 games, hitting .216 with a .298 slugging percentage through 255 at-bats. It is important he gets more game time at the Triple-A level next year in order to assist his progression, but Perkins does have a rather optimistic MLB estimate of next season.

The highest average for players having played more than 50 games was second baseman Nate Spears. He hit a cool .299 through 144 at-bats, cracking 7 doubles and 4 hits in addition to a .783 OPS. In terms of production, Maikel Franco hit a team-leading 78 RBIs and 16 home-runs, plus 33 doubles and 223 total bases.

Greg Smith pitched the most innings with 157.1 over 26 starts, going 9-11 with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP, and his 9 wins led the team in an average pitching year for the IronPigs.

Luis Garcia deserves a mention as the closer, gaining 22 saves with a 0.96 ERA and a 2-1 record, including an impressive 1.09 WHIP and 52 strikeouts.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs have been a Phillies affiliate since 2007, having previously been with the Montreal Expos (1993-2002) and Baltimore Orioles (2003-2006) as the Ottawa Lynx, before becoming the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in 2008.

The ‘Pigs finished with the 3rd highest attendance in the International League with an average of 9,042 and a total attendance of 614,888 over 68 openings.