CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington made the trip last weekend to Charleston to watch his low Class A affiliate, the West Virginia Power, play four games against the Lexington Legends, he saw both success and struggles. The Power won the first two games, then dropped the second two.
Yet Huntington's mission wasn't to judge the Power on its performance in a four-game span. It was to gain insight on a group of players for the long haul.
"Our lens with these guys is how are they going to perform at the Major League level and how do we get them to perform at the Major League level?" he said. "How do we get them to perform at whatever their highest level is going to be?"
Those are the two sides of minor league baseball that don't always mesh. The fans in the stands would like to watch their team win.
The parent team's front office wants to see the players move up its system's ladder and one day earn a Major League roster spot.
Power Manager Mike Ryan doesn't see a problem in satisfying both at the same time.
"I don't think you juggle it, honestly," he said. "I think the most important thing is to develop them to get them ready to play in the Major Leagues. If you do that correctly, if they get their work in and do the things they're supposed to be doing, the wins will come."
That philosophy has been working for West Virginia following a slow start, and the team hopes it continues as it returns to start a seven-game homestand tonight at 7:05 versus Lakewood. The Power (24-22) comes into the game on a roll, sweeping a three-game series at Kannapolis. West Virginia pummeled Intimidators pitchers over those three games, scoring 28 runs on 41 hits. On Wednesday, the Power scored eight runs on 17 hits for the sweep-clinching 8-6 win.