MOOSIC — When Tyler Wade started discussing his International League Postseason All-Star nod as shortstop on Wednesday, one of the first things he did was thank his manager, Al Pedrique.
It just so happens that the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders manager was also named the league’s Manager of the Year on Wednesday. It was the second straight season he’s taken home the honor, becoming just the fourth manager to do so in the International League’s history.
“I just want to thank Al, for kind of dealing with me all year and putting in a lot of work in with me. It’s great,” Wade said.
However, while his 2017 campaign has been full of memories — finding immediate success in his first season at the Triple-A level, making his MLB debut and spending two extended stints with the New York Yankees and being named to the league’s postseason all-star team — Wade said that there are still plenty of goals left ahead of him this season.
The 22-year-old wants to continue to help the RailRiders win while he’s here and then when he’s back in the big leagues, he wants to help the Yankees win a World Series.
“I want to keep working hard and accomplish those goals,” Wade said. “Both clubhouses, they have a great group of guys and we have a great group of guys here, and I think we have similar mindsets. We just want to keep winning games and I’m going to do whatever it takes to win those games. It’s a very exciting time.”
Pedrique said he was humbled and thankful to be named the Manager of the Year for the second straight season. To him, it starts with his staff.
RailRiders pitching coach Tommy Phelps has led the pitching staff to league-low ERAs in back-to-back seasons. Hitting coach P.J. Pilittere has continued the success from last year — a first-place finish in batting average — into this season. The RailRiders’ .273 batting average ranks first once again.
“I cannot do this by myself,” Pedrique said. “I said it last year all along, and this year, that you have to have a good coaching staff that knows their job, their responsibilities and you let them do the work. Players, you have to have players that are willing to go out on a daily basis, prepare themselves, play the game the right way. The trainer, conditioning guy — it’s going to sound silly — but even the clubhouse guy. You have to have the right people in order be successful in this job.”
Sporting a league-high 85 wins heading into Wednesday’s tilt against Rochester, Pedrique couldn’t help but wonder if more of his players deserved to be recognized this season.
Outfielders Dustin Fowler and Clint Frazier each had impressive first halves for the RailRiders. Ben Heller and Chance Adams have been two of the league’s more impressive pitchers this season, as well.
“When you’re in first place and you have the record we have, I’m here for a reason,” Pedrique said. “Like I say, ‘You don’t win races if you don’t have the horses,’ and I’ve been lucky for the last two years that I’ve had a good staff, good players, but yes, I thought that we’d have more guys on the all-star team.”
When it comes to the minors, most fans draw to the top prospects and their paths to the big leagues. But Pedrique, a former interim manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Major League bench coach, would like another shot in the bigs too.
“We all want to get to the big leagues. I want to get back. That’s the goal,” Pedrique said. “The time will tell. God’s time is perfect. I love what I’m doing right now, helping these guys to get better and when the time is right, if I get another opportunity, I’ll be happy and if it doesn’t happen, I’ll keep working hard. This game, you learn something every day. That’s why you have to stay humble, and I’m really, really appreciative for the organization.”