Archive for March, 2009

Donald Brown Leadership Conference

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

This is pretty cool…

Donald Brown, of Red Bank Catholic and the University of Connecticut, a running back expected to be a high pick in the NFL Draft (April 25-26), is hosting a leadership conference for Shore Conference football players. Two from each of the 43 will be selected after an application process. This consists of writing an essay about a leader in their lives, and how and why that person inspired the athlete.

All current Shore Conference football players are eligible and can apply here. The deadline to submit is Friday at 5 pm.

What’s the BlueClaws catch?

The 86 conference attendees will join Brown on the field at the April 20th BlueClaws game, at which Brown will throw out a first pitch.

Chan Ho Park Named Fifth Starter; Jenkins Cut

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The Phillies have cut their roster to the 25 players that will appear on Opening Day, April 5th, as they look to defend World Series Title. Two major changes are that, free agent signing Chan Ho Park and not former Lakewood BlueClaws pitcher JA Happ, will be the Phillies fifth starter.

Park was signed in the off-season to a one-year $2.5 million deal in the hopes to win the back-of-the-rotation spot, he achieved his goal today. Park impressed the Phillies coaching staff by striking out 25 in 21.1 innings in the spring and only walking two batters. He went 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA.

Happ, also impressed in the spring as he had an ERA of 3.15 with 14 strikeouts in 20 innings. He pitched for the Phillies last season and had success, but Park’s experience and control during his spring innings gave him the nod for now.

In other roster moves, the Phillies released Geoff Jenkins, whom they owe the sum of $8 million. Jenkins arrived in Philadelphia before last season and saw his regular playing time slashed as his competition for playing time excelled. Jen hit an important double as the first batter when play resumed in game 5 of the World Series, but never managed much in the regular season. With his release, the Phillies will be paying out $17 million to players that have been cut, with Adam Eaton’s departure last month.

Finally, the Phillies have indicated they have received interest from the agent of Gary Sheffield, who was just released by the Detroit Tigers. Sheffield, sitting on 499 career home runs, will be paid $14 million this season by the Tigers so the Phillies would stand to get his services likely for the veteran minimum of $400,000.

Congrats to Vance Worley, Arlon Quiroz, and Roly de Armas

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Legendary Phillies PR-man Larry Shenk checks in with some news… 

2008 BlueClaws pitcher Vance Worley will tonight be presented with the Bill Giles Award before tonight’s Phillies spring game against the Blue Jays.

The award goes to a player chosen on the following criteria: love and respect for the game of baseball, an outstanding work ethic and pride in being a member of the Phillies.

Worley, a 3rd round pick last year out of Long Beach State University, started his career at Williamsport before a promotion to Lakewood. He had a 2.66 ERA with the BlueClaws over 11 starts.

GCL Phillies manager Roly de Armas will receive the John Vukovich Award, presented to a member of the organization’s instructional staff who embodies the characteristics of a man who wore a Phillies uniform for 30 years–loyalty, dedication, competitiveness, knowledge and an endless work ethic.  Vuk took pride in wearing a Phillies uniform and in teaching players how to play the game the right way.

Finally, Arlon Quiroz will receive the Larry Rojas Award, given under the same criteria as the Giles award accepted by Worley. Quiroz, an outfielder, will likely be in Lakewood in 2009.

Alfredo Simon (03) in Mix for Orioles Job

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

While it appears that none of the 2006 BlueClaws (Carlos Carrasco, Matt Maloney, or Josh Outman) will win starting rotation jobs, 2005 BlueClaw JA Happ seems to be the front-runner for a rotation spot with the Phillies and now Alfredo Simon, with the BlueClaws in 2003, seems poised to win a spot in the rotation of the Baltimore Orioles.

Simon threw six innings last night against the Mets, allowing just one run. Did he earn a rotation spot?

“I’m not going to tell you that,” manager Dave Trembley said. “Let’s just say he got our attention.”

Simon wasn’t even in camp on time. He missed a few weeks stuck in the Dominican Republic with passport problems.

[Baltimore Sun photo]

70 in 70: Number 9

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

FirstEnergy ParkWe are now inside of ten days to go until BlueClaws Opening Day on April 9th. Nine days away from the BlueClaws opener at which time the BlueClaws will begin their ninth season of baseball at the Jersey Shore. Here’s a brief history:

  • 2001: Team goes a combined 60-79, no playoffs
  • 2002: Team goes a combined 69-70, no playoffs
  • 2003: Team goes a combined 57-81, no playoffs
  • 2004: Team goes a combined 70-67, including 39-30 in the second half, but no playoffs
  • 2005: Team goes a combnied 56-83, no playoffs
  • 2006: Team goes 84-55, including 47-23 in the second half, WINS SAL TITLE
  • 2007: Team goes a combined 69-65, no playoffs
  • 2008: Team goes a combined 80-60, the best record in the SAL North, but misses the playoffs
  • 2009: We’ll find out soon enough

All told, 25 former BlueClaws have played in the major leagues, with likely more to come this year (Jason Donald).

Down the Stretch…

Monday, March 30th, 2009

…of Spring Training, that is. We enter the last week of games and here are some notes from today’s action, starting with the “BlueClaws,” in quotes because of course these results are in reality just a snapshot of the potential rosters, and don’t really indicate much one way or another. That said, logically you would think that as we get closer to roster day at the end of the week, each day would be a better indicator than the one before. Lakewood…

  • Tied Yankees prospects 1-1
  • Yohan Flande threw four shutout innings. Speculation: He is on track to throw on Saturday and then next Thursday’s opener at FirstEnergy Park. That would be his normal rest.
  • 2nd round pick Anthony Gose led off and went 2-4.
  • Travis Mattair, a potential returnee, added a hit and well regarded catcher Sebastian Valle hit cleanup.
  • Noteworty: SS Troy Hanzawa played his first game with “Lakewood” this spring. He had been with Hi-A and Double-A.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley lost 11-5 to Yankees prospects…

  • Cole Hamels gave up three runs on 10 (!) hits over four innings. He said he won’t be ready for Opening Day and will likely start game four for the Philles on April 9th.
  • Jason Donald went 2-4 and Jeremy Slayden had a two-run double.
  • Freddy Galvis played here today, though he is basically a lock for either Clearwater or Lakewood.

Double-A Reading lost to Yankees prospects 3-1…

  • Andrew Carpenter gave up one run over five innings.
  • The team only had three hits, including one by Quintin Berry and Mike Spidale, who scored the run.
  • Michael Taylor hit third, going 0-2.

Hi-A Clearwater tied Yankees prospects 5-5…

  • Chance Chapman threw 2.1 shutout innings in relief.
  • Yonderman Rodriguez and Arlon Quiroz, who have been with Lo-A most of the spring, both played here, with Rodriguez going 2-4.

Tomorrow Josh Ellis and I will try to predict the BlueClaws 25-man roster. We’ll put it up here in late afternoon. It will not be easy. If we go 15-25, that might not be that bad.

More “Wear it and Winners”

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Opening DayAs you know, we’ve been giving out BlueClaws Opening Day tickets to those fans we’ve spotted out and about wearing their BlueClaws gear. Here’s a sampling of some of the winners since our last update:

  • Dennis of Toms River, at the TR East Little League parade
  • Jon from Lakewood, at the IHOP in Keyport
  • Eli of Lakewood, at Washington Square Apartments
  • Brody of Point Pleasant, at a tatoo parlor
  • Skylar & Mason of Beachwood, at Mrs. Walker’s Famous Ice Cream parlor
  • George of Brick, at Quick-Check
  • Jesse of Toms River, at Applebees
  • Gary from Bayville, at the firehouse
  • Jim from Bayville, at ShopRite

Former BlueClaws in Fantasy Baseball

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Over their eight seasons of BlueClaws baseball, the BlueClaws have sent 25 players to the major leagues. With fantasy baseball drafts heating up, with the season less than a week away, here are how the former BlueClaws stack up and where to pick them.

Ryan Howard (Late 1st round, Early 2nd) – The former MVP and Rookie of the year is the top rated former Lakewood BlueClaws player in terms of fantasy baseball. Over the past three years, Howard has dominated opposing pitchers with his power and is an asset in fantasy baseball. He’s not going to help your team in the average category, Howard projects to hit in the .260 range, but he can be a top player in runs, RBI and home runs. With a hot spring, Howard has 8 home runs, he could begin the season strong unlike he did last year. Expect another 45-50 home runs for Howard and for him to top 100 runs and 135 RBI.

Cole Hamels (4th round) – Despite his arm problems, the World Series and NLCS MVP is a strong candidate for his first Cy Young award. Hamels, 25, is entering his third full season in the Phillies rotation. He has gotten progressively better the past two years.  A 15 game winner last season, Hamels numbers were hampered by low run support numbers. He pitched 227 innings last season, think more around 180 this season, and fanned 196 hitters. If healthy, Hamels can be a 4th to 5th round steal because of how many batters he strikes out, the team he’s on and his stinginess to let people on base. If healthy, Hamels will win 18-22 games, maintain an ERA right around 3, a WHIP close to or below 1.10 and nearly one strikeout per inning.Gavin Floyd

Gavin Floyd (16th – 20th round) – The only Lakewood BlueClaws player to throw a no-hitter and lose, Floyd has value in deeper fantasy leagues as a starting pitcher. In 2008, Floyd began to realize some of the potential we all saw in 2002. He won 17 games last season with a 3.84 ERA. He also flirted twice with no-hitters, going deep into two games within the same month without allowing a hit. With a new four-year deal in place the White Sox are reliant upon Floyd building on his stellar 2008. A generous expectation has Floyd equaling his numbers from last season, however more realistically you can expect 15 wins and an ERA around 4.

Michael Bourn (20th round+) – A speedster, Bourn will be entering his second full season in the Major Leagues. Bourn stole 41 bases last season and was caught only 10 times. His value stopped there last season as he only hit .229 with 29 RBIs. Depending on his playing time, Bourn could steal more than 50 bases, but if he continues to hit for a poor average, he could be on the pine, instead of the bases.

Others for consideration:

JA Happ and Carlos Carrasco (Free Agents) – If Happ is named the 5th starter, the lefty has value in deep leagues and in NL-Only leagues. He showed strong stuff last season and is a highly rated Phillies prospect. On the other hand, Carrasco will probably make his long-awaited Phillies debut this season, eventually, and could be the next top-of-the-line starter. Keep an eye on how both progress as they could have some value as the season goes along.

70 in 70: Number 10

Monday, March 30th, 2009

A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip!  

Today’s 70 in 70 entry, and we’re down to number 10 by the way, looks at one of the ballpark traditions, the birthday party. We hold them here at FirstEnergy Park every night, and each package contains our magic number, ten, tickets for our birthday guests. Here’s the deal…

    • A Reserve seat to game
    • A personal pan pizza, bag of chips, a can of Coke and Mikey’s Ice Cream
    • One (1) Pinchy’s Playground ticket*
    • Birthday baseball for every child
    • A special baseball for the birthday child autographed by a BlueClaw!
    • Birthday child’s name on the scoreboard
    • Birthday child goes on field for “Happy Birthday” song
    • Birthday invitations

New for this year: Shawn & Sue, of the Ocean County Breakfast Show on 92.7 WOBM, will announce the first name and hometown of the birthday of the birthday child on the radio that day. It’s a special new wrinkle to the WOBM Birthday Package.

For more information, call 732-901-7000, option 3.

Rain / Cut Day

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

No minor league games today because of rain, though the Phillies did play the big league game, losing to Boston 3-1. Meanwhile, Todd Zolecki of posted this gem of a line from Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, in regards to players “flipping the switch,” once the season starts next Sunday:

“He can take that and ram it where he can’t get it,” Manuel said, asked about players who say they can flip a switch once the season starts. “No, I don’t believe that.”

One of the toughest days of the year for all of the organizational higher-ups and coaches…

Larry Shenk at Phillies Insider has the names of 27 Phils minor leaguers who have been released:

Pitchers: Moises Melendez, Jorge Crespo, Ben Pfinsgraff, Dustin Cameron, Sean Thompson, Yorman Bazardo, Reymond Cruz, Berman Espinoza, Yoel Hernandez, Yen Feng Lin (Taiwan native), Cristobal Mata, Andrew Cruse, Shaun Ellis, Steve Shepard and Justin Pope.

Catchers: Josh Arhart, Alan Robbins, Scott Thomas (Lee Thomas’ son) and Caleb Mangum.

Infielders: Herman Demmink, Daniel Hargrave, Tim Binkoski, Kyle Haines and John Urick (Whitey Herzog’s grandson).

Outfielders: Bryan Frew, Chris Walker, Damon Hollins.

Melendez, Pfinsgraff, Cruz, Hernandez, Lin, Cruse, Robbins, Demmink and Urick are all former BlueClaws.

Too Good

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

ClawCast: SAL President Eric Krupa

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

How does one go from being on track to be an NFL punter to running the South Atlantic League? Well, that is the tale of current league President Eric Krupa, who will begin his second season as league President next week. A graduate of Lafayette College, Krupa injured himself at an NFL combine, though through a chance meeting with a trainer, parlayed his punter dreams into…the visiting clubbie with the Reading Phillies. Click here to listen to the first of a two-part ClawCast interview with the second-year league President.

Mr. Krupa tells a fascinating story about how he rose up to take a job which his predecessor, John Moss, held for 50 years.

“I’m loving it,” he said. “People joke ‘Are you going to be doing this for 50 years?’ Well, I’ll be incredibly blessed if I’m still doing this in 49 years.”

Part one looks at Krupa’s rise as well as the state of Minor League Baseball in general.

“Minor Leauge Baseball is a fantastic outlet,” he said. “It’s affordable, family entertainment. I think we’re recession-resistent.”

Video of the Week

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

One week to go…

70 in 70: Number 11

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

A hot dog at a ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz–Humphrey Bogart

Along those lines, here is some more information on our “All You Can Eat” package, a nine-game Thursday plan where you can eat as much as you want (hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, chips) and get beer for $1.00. Five hot dogs, four slices of pizza, and two bags of chips, there’s our magic number.