Pittsburgh Pirates: Highlights for the Organization in 2021

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 20: A New Era pillbox Pittsburgh Pirates baseball hat is seen in the dugout during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park on July 20, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Postseason runs at the Single-A level

While player development always has and always will trump winning in the minor leagues, winning certainly does not hurt. During the 2021 season a pair of Pirate minor league affiliates had historic seasons, while the Double-A Altoona Curve finished just one game under .500 at 58-59.

During the 2021 season a pair of Pirate minor league affiliates played for league championships. At the Low-A level the Bradenton Marauders took home the Low-A Southeast League Championship. At the High-A level, the Greensboro Grasshoppers reached the High-A East Championship series before losing in 5 games.

Again, winning is not the be all end all in the minor leagues. That said, players need to learn to win at some point. Learning to win close games instead of losing them, learning to be in a pennant race and competing in the postseason is something players need to do. Obviously, doing those things against MLB competition is totally different than doing it in the minor leagues, but learning to win can still be done in the minors.

It is not a coincidence that many of the key cogs of the last postseason run of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013-2015 won a league championship while they were at the Double-A level. Some of the Pirates top prospects played for championships in 2021 and this will pay off in the long run.