Archive for February, 2009

70 in 70: Number 44

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

HatsJust 44 days to go until the BlueClaws 2009 opener. Did you know, there are 44, at last count, different BlueClaws hats available in our ClawsCove? That does not count the dozens of hats representing other teams, both Major and Minor League. There you go. 44 hats. See some here. That’s a lot.

70 in 70: Number 45

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Just 45 days to go until the BlueClaws opener, but 4/5 (April 5th) is a very special day at Citizens Bank Park, as the Phillies will raise their 2008 World Series Championship banner. It’s a Sunday night game against the Atlanta Braves, and Cole Hamels (BlueClaws 2003) will get the start for the Phils.

Meanwhile, recovering second baseman Chase Utley, who had offseason hip surgery, hopes to be ready to go. If not, Jason Donald (BlueClaws 2007), a non-roster invitee to spring training, will have a chance to make the team, as will Brad Harman (BlueClaws 2005) and Eric Bruntlett.

Basic point being…Opening Day is coming soon.

Video of the Week

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Hey look, they’re playing baseball.

Baseball Prospectus Top 100

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Last week, Baseball Prospectus came out with their annual top 100 prospect list, featuring several former BlueClaws.

  • 43. Carlos Carrasco (2006), RHP, Phillies
  • 55. Michael Taylor (2008), OF, Phillies
  • 92. Kyle Drabek (2007), RHP, Phillies
  • 93. Adrian Cardenas (2007), SS, Athletics

Just goes to show how subjective these lists can be. Dominic Brown is in the top 50 of the lists put out by the writers at Baseball America, but he can’t crack the top three Phillies prospects per Baseball Prospectus.

A few others of note…

  • 2. David Price, LHP, Rays, Phillies saw him in the World Series
  • 13. Tommy Hanson, RHP, Braves, Phillies will see a lot of him real soon…Braves refused to include in trade for Jake Peavy
  • 30. Matt LaPorta, 1B, Indians, traded from Brewers for CC Sabathia
  • 38. Jesus Montero, C, Yankees, top Yankees prospect
  • 45. Fernando Martinez, OF, Mets, top Mets prospect
  • 72. Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Brewers, hit 100 on FirstEnergy Park radar gun in 2007
  • 83. Nick Weglarz, OF, Indians, hit home run over Coors Light WRAT Trap in 2007
  • 85. Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Cubs, former Notre Dame receiver
  • 86. Todd Frazier, SS, Reds, Toms River native, played at Rutgers

’06 Big Three in Mix for Jobs Around Baseball

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

As a follow-up to the previous post, let’s look at some former BlueClaws in the mix for jobs around Major League Baseball. Carlos Carrasco (Phillies), Josh Outman (A’s) and Matt Maloney (Reds), the cornerstones of the BlueClaws 2006 SAL title team, are all in camp battles for fifth starter jobs with their respective clubs.

Carrasco, who turns 22 in March, is probably the longest shot on the board in the Phillies battle. JA Happ (BlueClaws ’05), Kyle Kendrick (’04-’06) and Chan-Ho Park all have more experience and the Phillies would like Carrasco to get a full season in at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, or at least a half-season to go with the six starts he made there last year.

We spoke with David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News last week and he thought Happ was the slight favorite.

Here’s a great article on Outman, 24, who was acquired by the A’s (along with Adrian Cardenas) in the Joe Blanton trade in July.

“His location, for as hard as he throws, is impressive,” Curt Young, the A’s pitching coach, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “With the stuff he has, he has the potential to be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter in the big leagues.”

According to this blog post, courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle, Outman is in the mix for the fifth starter spot in Oakland along with Gio Gonzalez, a former Phillie, Edgar Gonzalez and Jerome Williams. Gonzalez (7) and Outman (12) are among the best prospects in what Baseball America ranked the 3rd best system in baseball.

Gonzalez is considered the better prospect by most, but Outman did get a big league call-up at the end of last year. Impossible to make the call this early. We’ll have to wait for the games to start.

Maloney, who just turned 25, went 11-5 in AAA Louisville last year, but had a high ERA of 4.68. This article indicates Maloney is in the mix, but lists him with a whopping 10 other candidates, some of whom have significant big league experience (Micah Owings) or higher prospect status (Homer Bailey). Maloney would be a big surprise if he won the job out of camp. He’s probably headed back to Louisville.

Maloney, who threw a complete game shutout to clinch the SAL title in 2006, was traded in 2007 to the Reds for Kyle Lohse.

70 in 70: Number 47

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

BlueClaws champsJust 47 days to go until Opening Day 2009 (you know what they say about time flying and Opening Day). Anyway, let’s go back to 2006, the year the BlueClaws won the South Atlantic League title. It was a tremendous second half that pushed them to that point, a second half which saw them win (you guessed it) 47 games, against just 23 losses, and win the Northern Division by 10.5 games.

What was your favorite part of that team?

Here are the stats from the 2006 BlueClaws.

Led by Carlos Carrasco (now competing for the 5th starter spot with the Phillies), Josh Outman (same for the A’s), and Matt Maloney (same for the Reds), the superior pitching carried them to playoff series wins over Lexington and then Augusta in the finals.

What stands out? Well, each one had a sub-3 ERA. Each one struck out a batter per inning. And each one allowed less than seven hits per nine innings. Not bad. No surprise they all have a chance to make a big league roster this year.

Part one of our Minor League Memories series looked back at that year from the perspective of the staff.

A Closer Look: Joel Naughton

Friday, February 20th, 2009

NaughtonBefore Spring Training, we had a chance to catch up with Joel Naughton, a BlueClaws catcher in 2007 and 2008, who is in big league camp with the Phillies after being added to the team’s 40-man roster in November.

“Shocked,” said Naughton, when asked for his response after being told he was added to the 40-man roster. Since he had played four years with the Phillies, he was eligible for the Rule-5 Draft in December, until the Phillies protected him by putting him on the 40-man roster.

“It gave me a huge booster leading up to Spring Training,” he added.

Naughton is a native of Australia, so when he goes home after the American season, he walks right into summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

“I took about 2-3 weeks off with no activity,” he said. “Then I started training to build back up to play. Once I was ready, I played games about three days a week.”

He said he started playing baseball in Australia at age 10. “A friend brought over two gloves and we started playing catch. It all went from there.”

2008 was Naughton’s second year in Lakewood. “I was disappointed in part but I was pleased I was going to be the starter. I was able to share my experience to help some of the younger guys.”

Naughton had a fine year himself, earning an All-Star Game appearance, and hitting .275, up 16 points from the year before.

70 in 70: Number 48

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Just 48 days, less that seven weeks, to go until the BlueClaws 2009 opener on April 9th.

Today we look at the BlueClaws autograph signers. You can see the entire list at this link. Four on the list (Steve Carlton, Bob Feller, Jim Rice, and Goose Gossage) are in the Baseball Hall of Fame, or in Rice’s case, will be inducted this year.

Last month, the BlueClaws invited four potential Hall of Famers (Jack Morris, Bert Blyleven, Lee Smith, and Andre Dawson) out to the ballpark to sign autographs. Both Gossage and Rice were inducted after signing here in Lakewood.

This year’s signers include Hacksaw Jim Duggan on June 20th (County Line Hardware) and Darryl Strawberry on August 1st, which is Autism Awareness Night.

Cole Hamels Graces SI Cover

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Cole Hamels, Baseball, Philadelphia PhilliesFormer BlueClaw Cole Hamels is on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week.

The left-handed pitcher, who was in Lakewood in 2003, is the first former BlueClaws player to be featured on the cover of the nation’s most famous sports magazine. There have been Phillies cover stories, including the most recent playoffs, and Carlos Ruiz (2001) was on the cover a couple of times in an action shot. However, those stories were about the Phillies in general. This story is about Cole Hamels himself.

For a complete SI cover database, click here.

70 in 70: Number 49

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

No doubt as to this one…Opening Day, April 9th (4/9), just 49 days away, as 70 in 70 rolls on to the 2009 opener.

The ninth BlueClaws season begins with the gates opening at 5:30 and the first pitch of the season following at 6:35. The BlueClaws will meet the Delmarva Shroebirds (Orioles) for the first of 11 times at FirstEnergy Park and 18 meetings overall.

The World Series trophy will be in attendance that day, as part of the Phillies’ World Series Trophy Tour, presented by Comcast SportsNet and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Fans will have the chance to take pictures with the trophy through the seventh-inning stretch. Learn more about the World Series trophy from our Winter Tour preview here.

In addition, the first 5,000 fans will receive BlueClaws magnet schedules, courtesy of Pine Belt Chevrolet.

Kids Eat Free all yearNo banner raising ceremony this year, but it is the debut of the BlueClaws’ Kids Eat Free program, announced on Tuesday. All children ages 12 and under will eat for free at every BlueClaws 2009 home game.

That’s what’s on-tap so far for Opening Day, 4/9, coming up, in 49 days.

Hitting the Links

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Haven’t done this in awhile…

The BlueClaws, along with the Trenton Thunder, announced Tuesday that all children, ages 12 and under, will eat for free at every home game for both clubs in 2009.

Tony Graham has the story in the Asbury Park Press.

BlueClaws GM Geoff Brown talked with top sports blog Deadspin about the promotion.

At Home with the BlueClaws, courtesy of Ben Hill of MiLB.com.

The Phillies held their first full squad workout on Tuesday. New Phillies OF Raul Ibanez reflects on Alex Rodriguez’s steroid admission. The two played together in Seattle.

Mets OF Carlos Beltran agrees with their new closer, Francisco Rodriguez, that the Mets, not the Phillies, are the team to beat in the NL East.

70 in 70: Number 50

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Business at BallparkOur 70 in 70 countdown rolls on. Just 50 days to go until the opener, the perfect chance to talk about our Business at the Ballpark promotion, which returns in 2009.

Each package comes with 50 tickets to eight different BlueClaws games. At each game selected, the business can set up a display table and hand out items of interest to the thousands of BlueClaws fans in attendance that night.

For more information, click here, or call 732-901-7000 x 113 and talk to Mike Van Hise.

Blog for Us, and Win

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

We want you to be able to follow your favorite former BlueClaws players, all year long, and we’ve partnered up with another site to help. BlueClaws Blog is giving you a chance to get a free three-month subscription, a $24.95 value, to PhillyBaseballNews.com, and we’re opening up our blog to help. You can write a blog post for us, and we’ll give you the subscription in return.

  • Why are you a Phillies fan?
  • Who are your favorite former BlueClaws players?
  • How did you become a BlueClaws fan?
  • What are your thoughts on the Phillies heading into 2009?
  • Anything Phillies or BlueClaws related is fair game.

Write up a post for us, and email it to ggiombarrese@blueclaws.com. We’ll post it to BlueClaws Blog and you’ll get a three-month subscription to PhillyBaseballNews.com. Simple as that.

Wear it and Win!

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Buster ParadeIt’s baaaaaaack! Wear it and Win returns in 2009! At four area St. Patrick’s Day Parades, if our staff sees you wearing any BlueClaws apparel, you will be given FREE tickets to Opening Day on April 9th.

The parade schedule is as follows:

  • March 1st – Belmar St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • March 14th – Seaside Heights St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • March 21st – Highlands St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • March 28th – Keansburg St. Patrick’s Day Parade

We’ll see you at the parade, and we will see you at Opening Day!