Archive for November, 2009

Big Day for JA Happ (Update: 2nd place)

Monday, November 16th, 2009

JA Happ, a BlueClaws pitcher in 2005, could today be named National League Rookie of the Year. Logic tells us that Happ, who went 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA for the National League Champs, will be in a tough battle with a few others:

  • Pirate

    s OF Andrew McCutchen: .286-12-54

  • Marlins 2B Chris Coghlan: .321-9-47
  • Braves RHP Tommy Hanson: 11-4, 2.89

According to this survey of their analysts, Coghlan is the front-runer with Happ having received only one of 20 votes. Remember, Happ received the Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award, which was voted on by the players. This one is voted on by 32 Baseball Writers.

UPDATE: Happ finishes 2nd to Chris Coghlan (who hit .325 with Greensboro in 2007 and played in Lakewood a few times). Coghlan received 17 of 32 first place votes, with Happ getting ten. Coghlan won 105-94 on total points.

In Focus: Faith Night

Monday, November 16th, 2009

faithnightContinuing our “In Focus” segment here with Faith Night, when the BlueClaws welcome fans from all religious denominations for a pre-game faith discussion with members of the BlueClaws team.

This year’s two Faith Nights are:

  • Monday, June 7th
  • Tuesday, August 17th

Before the game, a BlueClaws player will come out for a discussion with the different religious groups about faith, what it means to him and how it’s a part of his life as a baseball player.

Also includes: Discounted seats for groups of 25 or more, group recognition on scoreboard, fundraising opportunities. Call Ross at 732-901-7000 ext 110 for more. Flyer here.

Thirsty Thursday T-Shirts

Monday, November 16th, 2009

As part of the new Thirsty Thursday Club that we’ve unveiled this year, all members will receieve an exclusive Thirsty Thursday t-shirt (order form here). Here we go…


BlueClaws and Friday the 13th

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Here’s a nice little Friday the 13th Fun Fact for you…the BlueClaws are 6-1 all-time on Friday the 13th, including a 2004 double-header sweep of the then-Greensboro Bats.

  • 2001: April, W 1-0 vs Hickory (11)…Two future big leaguers, Yoel Hernandez, six, and Eude Brito, three, helped pitch the shutout.
  • 2003: June, L 7-5 vs Delmarva…Led 5-1 but gave up six runs in the eighth inning.
  • 2004: August, W 7-3 and 11-0 vs Greensboro…Michael Buorn went 4-8 over the double-header and Randy Ruiz hit a home run in game two.
  • 2005: May, W 10-4 at Delmarva…Jason Jaramillo went 4-4.
  • 2007: April, W 9-5 at Hickory…’Claws pound out 14 hits including two from Quintin Berry, Adrian Cardenas, Tuffy Gosewisch, and three from Jay Miller.
  • 2008: June: W 4-0 at DEL…six shutout innings from Chance Chapman.

Mark the date: Friday August 13th, 2010. Lakewood vs Delmarva, FirstEnergy Park, 7:05.

Summer in November

Friday, November 13th, 2009

You’ll have to forgive Phillies fans if they feel stuck in July. Roy Halladay to the Phillies rumors are back on the front-burner. Jim Salisbury in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

As in the summer, there are serious hurdles to the Phillies’ pulling off a deal for Halladay. Toronto is looking for a premium package of young, major-league-ready players and prospects. The Phillies balked at the Jays’ request of pitchers Kyle Drabek and J.A. Happ and outfielders Domonic Brown and Anthony Gose this summer. If the Jays’ price has come down – and it may have with Halladay due to become a free agent after next season – the Phils might be open to more serious talks. Drabek, as was the case last summer, remains an untouchable.

Our thoughts: To us, the price has come down significantly. There’s no plausible justification to trade that high of a package when you would only have Halladay for one post-season instead of two. Basically, that’s why you’re getting him in the first place. Plus, the Phils would have to clear $15.5 million in payroll space. Remember, last year, it was Halladay OR Cliff Lee, so the increased salary would be offset compared to now since Lee would not have been here too.

So there seem to be some obstacles. I imagine the Phillies will be very careful and likely won’t give up a big package of prospects for what could be a rent-a-player. The only way to make it work and keep the prospects might be to include Cole Hamels (and no more than one of those mentioned above). But that, to us, makes little, if any, sense. Which brings us to:

There were thoughts about trading Cole Hamels. Ruben Amaro dismissed those, rightfully. Here’s a great take from Baseball Prospectus.

I know that his ERA jump appears ugly, but bear with me for a minute. At this point, most sabermetricians have learned that a pitcher’s peripheral statistics (strikeout rate, walk rate, and ground-ball rate) are far more persistent and indicative of his true skill level than his BABIP and his home runs per outfield fly ball. Both BABIP and HR/OFFB are far more vulnerable bad luck than K/PA, BB/PA and GB/BIP. Cole Hamels appears to be a victim of this as we look at these sets of numbers for 2008 and 2009.

Chatting with the Winner

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

choosechampweb1Earlier today, we had a chance to talk with Marc Rosenthal, a paralegal from Princeton, New Jersey and winner of Choose Your Champ, the BlueClaws/Trenton Thunder World Series prediction contest.

Over 1,000 entered, sending in their Phillies/Yankees prediction (winner, number of games, and MVP). No one predicted all three, so everyone that had the Yankees and then either six games or Hideki Matsui, was entered into a drawing.

“I was shocked,” said Rosenthal, who chose to go to Opening Day at the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, a trip that will be financed by the BlueClaws (since the Phillies lost the World Series).

He predicted Yankees in 6, but had CC Sabathia as the series MVP.

“I’ve been to Citizens Bank Park but I have never been to the new Yankee Stadium,” he said.

A native New Yorker and Mets fan, Rosenthal “stayed neutral” during the World Series. “There were too many Yankee fans and Phillies fans in our office.” He decided to anger as few people as possible.

“Being from New York, I never really had anything against the Yankees,” he added. “But the Phillies, they’re the Mets’ natural rival.”

“Choose Your Champ” Winner

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

You may remember our Choose Your Champ contest that the BlueClaws did with the Trenton Thunder. We asked fans to email in a World Series prediction (winner, number of games, and MVP) with the winner receiving a trip to Opening Day in Philly or the Bronx, paid for by the BlueClaws (if the Yankees won, which they did) or by the Thunder (had the Phillies won)…Without further adieu…

Former BlueClaw Bourn Wins Gold Glove

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

michaelbournCongrats to 2004 BlueClaws outfielder Michael Bourn who picked up his first Gold Glove on Wednesday. Two Phillies, shortstop Jimmy Rollins and outfielder Shane Victorino, were also winners.

Bourn, originally a 4th round pick of the Phillies in 2003, was traded to Houston as part of the Brad Lidge deal in 2007. He debuted with the Phillies in 2006 and was with the Phillies in 2007 before the trade.

“It comes as no surprise,” Astros general manager Ed Wade told “It’s a tremendous honor for Michael and well-deserved. He makes center field seem awfully small when he’s out there, and I don’t think you really appreciate what he does defensively until you see somebody else out there and realize how big our ballpark and other ballparks are.

“He covers a tremendous amount of ground, is a great athlete and has great instincts and never takes anything for granted. We’re fortunate to have him, and I’m happy that his peers have recognized him for what I assume will be many Gold Gloves.”

Wade was the GM of the Phillies when they drafted Bourn out of the University of Houston in 2003. He was the GM of the Astros when they acquired him from the Phillies in 2007.

“He came with all the athleticism and instincts,” Wade said of his arrival in Philadelphia. “It’s tough to teach either one of those, if not impossible. He brings those things to the table, but there’s always been a great work ethic there. I think the time he spent Philadelphia paid a lot of dividends.”

Bourn hit .313 and stole 57 bases with the BlueClaws in 2004. The 57 stolen bases ranks third in franchise history behind Chris Roberson (59, 2003) and Anthony Gose (76, 2009).

Rollins won his third straight and Victorino his second straight Gold Glove.

DH or Not to DH?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Bill Conlin in today’s Philadelphia Daily News opines that the National League should bring the DH into the mix:

And where the disparity really kills the National League in the World Series and in the equally lamentable interleague play is in the No. 9 spot. With their DHs typically power bats of the Matsui, David Ortiz, Vlad Guerrero stripe, most teams configure their lineups to put speed and contact at No. 9. A second leadoff hitter, if you will.

We always enjoy reading Conlin’s columns, but a better scenario is to get rid of the DH entirely. He is right however, that the union will not give up a DH ($8 million or so) for a utility infielder ($2 million or so). But the strategic element that is brought into play by the DH, to us, greatly enhances the NL’s brand of baseball.

Do you pinch hit here for the pitcher? Double-switch a key hitter out of the lineup so you can pitch this pitcher an extra inning?

In game three of the World Series, Joe Girardi could have double-switched Jorge Posada out of the game with a three run lead entering the home 7th. This would have enabled Joba Chamberlain (due up 3rd) to pitch two innings. As it turned out, Girardi kept Posada in the game, and pinch hit Hideki Matsui, who hit a home run. Tough call.

Also never knew this, also from the same column…

The Phillies are to blame for the National League voting it down at that same meeting. Bill Giles was the Phillies’ representative. With 12 clubs in each league, it took eight votes to pass a rules change. Phils owner Ruly Carpenter favored the DH. Pirates owner John Galbraith instructed GM Joe Brown to vote with the Phillies. Before the teams were polled, Giles attempted to contact his boss for formal approval.

Ruly was on a fishing trip. He couldn’t be reached. Giles had no choice but to abstain. The Pirates followed suit. The 6-4-2 vote fell short of the two-thirds majority.

Arizona Fall League Update

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Antoher round of updates on the Phillies prospects and former BlueClaws playing in the Arizona Fall League. First, a few quick notes…

  • All the Phillies prospects are on Scottsdale, who is 10-13 after a 3-3 week. Before that, they had gone 1-8-1 over their previous ten games.
  • Domonic Brown continues to lead the league in doubles with eight (three way tie).

November 4th: Tuffy Gosewisch went 2-4 to raise his average to .345…Scott Mathieson gave up three runs in the 8th inning of a 10-5 loss, the first three runs that he’s allowed this fall…Brown went 0-4.

November 5th: Scottsdale scored 4 in the 8th to come back and beat Surprise, snapping a three game losing streak…Brown went 1-3 with an RBI single…Steve Susdorf was 0-4…Edgar Garcia allowed one run in one inning of relief…The winning runs came in on a Jose Tabata (former Yankees prospect) two run double…Travis d’Arnaud’s brother Chase scored the winning run.

Below the fold the rest of the recaps plus a few notes on some of the other prospects in Arizona:


Q&A: John Manuel of Baseball America

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

domonicbrown1We caught up with John Manuel of Baseball America earlier for a Q&A in regards to the top ten Phillies prospect rankings (click here) put out by BA on Monday. We thank John as always for his time.

Question: You had Brown atop the rankings last year. Obviously he had some competition for that top spot, but what did he do to maintain that ranking?

Answer: He very easily maintained that ranking. He hit, he ran the bases, he showed emerging power. He’s still raw and needs minor league time to improve his offensive consistency and his defensive skills, but his athleticism and big-time tools made this a fairly easy call, despite the quality of the other players in the system.

Q: Were people you talked to surprised at the way Kyle Drabek rebounded from his surgery?

A: Not really, because he flashed it last year in the Hawaii Winter Baseball stint, and he’s got such natural athleticism and competitiveness. He pitched well deep into the year, stayed healthy and threw strikes with quality stuff. Very encouraging year, and if he was your No. 1 prospect, you’d be satisfied.

michael-taylor1Q: He was in Lo-A 18 months ago, but he’s 24 now and can obviously hit. How close is Michael Taylor to the big leagues (considering he’s got a tough OF to crack)?

A: Just talked to Michael yesterday and he knows his situation (it was my pleasure to speak to him, quality young man). He’s probably ready to help in 2010 if they need him; heck, he would have been able to help in ’09 if needed. But the Phils right now do not need him, so he can spend 2010 in Triple-A. He’s definitely trade bait, but he’s also a 24-year-old outfielder. Those don’t often have a ton of value.
Q: Strength of the system compared to 12 months ago considering they traded away four of last year’s top ten?
A: Still strong, and so strong at the top (stronger than it was last year because Brown has done it at higher levels and Drabek is healthy) that I think the system will move up our org rankings from 12 last year. Lots of very young, high-upside talent.

Theme In Focus: Scout Nights

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

scoutnightWe’ve started to put theme nights under the microscope for the upcoming 2010 season, and here we’ll look at BlueClaws Scout Nights.

In past years, we’ve hosted four scout nights, but that number has been bumped up to five for the 2010 season:

  • Scout Nights: 4/23, 5/3, 6/7
  • Scout Sleepover Nights: 7/31, 8/30

All scout groups will get to take part in a pre-game parade on the field, and all scouts will receive a special BlueClaws Scout Night patch.

For information, or to reserve a spot, call Ryan at 732-901-7000 ext 162 or email him here.

Previously: Education Days

Baseball America Phillies Top Ten

Monday, November 9th, 2009

dombrownBaseball America has released their top ten Phillies prospect list, and John Manuel has done a bang-up job. Pretty much saw it as we did (here). Click here for an overview with information on bonuses, top prospects of the decade, and a projected 2013 lineup. The list below…

Rank, position, name, club(s) in 2009, with LAK)

  • 01. OF Domonic Brown (CLE, REA, w/ LAK 2008)
  • 02. RHP Kyle Drabek (CLE, REA, w/ LAK 2007)
  • 03. OF Michael Taylor (REA, LHV, w/ LAK 2008)
  • 04. C Travis d’Arnaud (LAK, 2009)
  • 05. RHP Trevor May (LAK, 2009)
  • 06. OF Anthony Gose (LAK, 2009)
  • 07. C Sebastian Valle (WPT, LAK, 2009)
  • 08. RHP Jarred Cosart (GCL)
  • 09. LHP Antonio Bastardo (REA, LHV, PHI, w/ LAK 2007)
  • 10. OF Domingo Santana (GCL)

Quick thoughts…

  • Four of the top seven were members of the 2009 SAL Champion BlueClaws, and that doesn’t include All-Star 2B Harold Garcia, RHP Justin De Fratus, RHP BJ Rosenberg. No wonder the BlueClaws had a good year.
  • Cosart and Santana, especially Cosart, could be with Lakewood in 2010. Cosart was teh 4th ranked prospect in the GCL this year. Santana is just 17.
  • Interesting that they project Valle as the Phillies 2013 third baseman.
  • No real surprises here. I imagine Brody Colvin is in the top 12 or 13.

More notes on each of the top ten below the fold.


BlueClaws & Networking

Monday, November 9th, 2009

networking-biz-cardsLast year the BlueClaws, for the first time, hosted three networking nights, a package called Nine Innings of Networking, and this program is back in 2010.

Each networking event (May 25th, July 20th, August 30th) is held in the OF picnic area and features a 90-minute buffet, business card raffles, presenters, and more.

For more information on Nine Innings of Networking:

  • Click here for a pdf file on the program which includes bonuses for those that sign up for all three (presence on website, display table, Clawmerce admission)
  • Click here for the official Nine Innings of Networking website
  • Click here to follow Nine Innings of Networking on Twitter