Archive for March, 2010

Projecting the Infield

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

singletonWe have tried to project the 2010 BlueClaws pitching staff (here) and outfield (here). Today we’ll take a look at the potential infield.

First Baseman

Jonathan Singleton
One of the top prospects in the system, Singleton (pictured at right) had an excellent year in his debut in 2009. With the GCL Phillies, he hit .290-2-12, and walked more times (18) than he struck out (13). He originally committed to Long Beach State, and his high school coach in California said the following:

I think he looks like Ryan Howard reincarnated. He obviously doesn’t put up the same numbers as Howard yet, but they have the same build.

Here is a Q&A with Singleton from before the 2009 draft.

Darin Ruf
Ruf was drafted last year in the 20th round out of Creighton. A Nebraska native (like Tyler Cloyd and Jacob Diekman), Ruf hit .307-3-30 between the GCL and Williamsport last summer. While Singleton is 18 (until September 18th), Ruf will turn 24 on July 28th.

It is possible that they are both here (one can DH), but will the Phillies then send four OFs to Lakewood that need to play every day? When projecting this roster, that is the $64,000 question.

Other Infielders

Jeremy Barnes
Barnes played short last year for Williamsport but is expected to play second base this year for the BlueClaws, where he’s played this spring. He hit .287-4-27 with the Crosscutters last summer after being drafted in the 11th round out of Notre Dame. Barnes will turn 23 on April 13th and was a NY-Penn League mid-season All-Star last year.

Here is his ND bio, where we learn that he wore #20 at ND, the same as Brad Lidge.

Jonathan Villar
The likely shortstop, the 18 year old played 31 games with the GCL Phillies last year, hitting .277 with 11 steals before a late-season promotion to Williamsport (six more steals in 11 games). Another youngster with promise. He’s played with the Lakewood club all spring, so it does seem like he’ll be here.


NEW: You Can Raise the Banner

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

raisebannerebayAs you know we’ll be raising the 2009 South Atlantic League Championship banner on Friday, April 16th, at Opening Day. But we’ve added a little wrinkle. We’ve put this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on eBay (bid here).

All proceeds will go directly to BlueClaws Charities.

“This is going to be a tremendous opportunity for someone,” said BlueClaws Assistant General Manager Brandon Marano, who raised the 2006 championship banner on Opening Day 2007. “From personal experience, it’s a little nerve-wracking and exciting, but it’s truly one of my favorite memories from my nine years here.”

Remember, Charlie Manuel raised the Phillies banner last year. You can raise the BlueClaws banner in a few weeks.

Projecting the Pitching Staff

Monday, March 29th, 2010

nickhernandezLet’s take a shot at this…we’ll likely know the BlueClaws Opening Day roster at some point over the weekend. But we’ll take a look here at what could be the team’s opening staff. Note: these are our projections only. 100% unofficial.

If we’re right on this rotation, it can be very good.

Starting Rotation

Nick Hernandez (pictured)
A 12th round pick last year out of the University of Tennessee, Hernandez went 8-1, 2.70 with Williamsport last summer, with just 67 hits allowed and 20 walks in 80 innings. He’s a 6-4 lefty from Hialeah who turned 21 in July. Here is his Tennessee bio…Hernandez’s uncle is MLB umpire Angel, FWIW. Also, a note on metal bats. His UT ERA was 5.44, more than twice his ERA from last year in Williamsport.

Brody Colvin: Colvin was a 7th round pick last year, but was a concensus top-100 player in the draft. Baseball America ranked him as the 43rd best player coming into the draft, and he only slipped that low because of concerns (expectations) that he was going to sign with LSU. The signing was a big deal, but came on August 17th. He only threw two innings in the Gulf Coast League, so it’s not a lock that he opens with the BlueClaws (Jason Knapp, by comparison, threw 31). Colvin is among the top 15 in the system per Baseball America.

Jarred Cosart
We talked about Cosart a bit last week (here), and he had probably the best outing of any pitcher on the Lo-A team this spring (3.1 innings, 8 Ks, 1 H and 0 R). A former 38th round pick, he chose the Phillies over Missouri and seems primed for a big year after two summers in the Gulf Coast League. John Manuel of Baseball America told us that

“He probably has the best pure arm in the system, free, easy and powerful.”

He seems like a very safe bet to be here when the season starts.

Joshua Zeid
A 10th round pick last year out of Tulane, Zeid went 8-1 with a 2.70 ERA with Williamsport. From New Haven, CT, he first went to Vanderbilt before transferring to Tulane, and Zeid just turned 23 last week. Here is an article on Zeid from the New Haven Regsiter written last year, in which Zeid talked about his approach after transferring schools.

“The biggest difference has been my mental approach to the game,” Zeid said. “Now, I view every pitch as if it’s my last, not the one that’s going to make or break my life.”

Because he is 23, it’s certainly possible he skips the level. But we’ll pencil him in here for now.

Jonathan Pettibone
Pettibone was a sandwich pick, taken in 2008 between the 3rd and 4th rounds. He spent 2008 in the GCL and 2009 in Williamsport where he went 2-4, 5.35. Note, however, that he was 18-19 for the season in a league that’s filled with college players. Also, he only gave up two more hits than innings pitched and struck out more than a hitter per inning (36-35.1). The Californian had committed to USC before signing. His line last year was up and down too. He gave up one run in his first 16 innings, then 16 in his next 11.

Bullpen below…


Spring Training FYI…

Monday, March 29th, 2010

For those looking for the minor league spring training recaps, there were no games on Sunday and Monday’s games were rained out (as they would have been had they been up here).

I’m working on a pitching staff projection. That will be up later.

BlueClaws Go Mobile

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Here’s your chance to win Opening Day tickets…

Just text BlueClaws to 87654 and be automatically entered to win four for the opener April 16th. We’ll alert the winner on April 13th.

If you already have Opening Day tickets, hang in there. Throughout the season, we’ll be running special texting promotions during BlueClaws games to give you the chance to win other prizes.

So we’ve gone mobile, and we hope you can play along!

Dave Schofield From Spring Training

Monday, March 29th, 2010

leggdirectingBlueClaws team photographer Dave Schofield is in Clearwater for spring training and filed this blog post on BlueClaws hitting coach (and first manager) Greg Legg:

For 21 years Greg Legg has reported to spring training with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was drafted by the Phillies in the 22nd round of the 1982 draft out of Southeastern Oklahoma State University. For parts of the 1986 and 1987 seasons “Legger” played in 14 games for the Phils and went 9 for 22 for a .409 batting average and fielded at a .960 clip playing both 2B and SS. Most of his career was spent in places like North Carolina, Reading, and Old Orchard Maine. He finished his playing career in Scranton playing for the Scranton Wilkes Barre Red Barons, then the AAA affiliate of the Phillies.Since then Legger has been a coach or manager in the Phils farm system.

On the 19th of March, 2010, something happened that pleased not only Greg Legg, but everyone in the Phillies organization who has known and loved him since 1982. On March 19th at Bright House Field, Greg Legg accepted his first Championship ring.


Sundays = Kids Days

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

A quick Sunday heads up if you haven’t seen it yet…Sundays this summer at FirstEnergy Park will be Kids Days.

Meaning three things:

  1. Kids Eat Free
  2. Kids Character Sundays…where we’ll have a special children’s character on the concourse for pictures throughout the game.
  3. Kids Run the Bases…after the game, all kids are welcome to come on down to the field and run the bases.

Learn more here. We’ll host eight Sunday home games in 2010, beginning April 18th.

Minor League Spring Training Update: March 27th

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Just another week of these before we find out the actual 2010 BlueClaws roster at the end of the week. But in the meantime, more minor league spring training games are being played. Let’s take a look:

Lo-A (Lakewood, Lost 4-2 to Toronto)

  • Nick Hernandez started and gave up two runs over five innings (one walk, two strikeouts). Sean Grieve, Freddy Ballestas (BlueClaws ’09), Kevin Angelle, and Mike Bolsenbroek each pitched an inning of relief (Angelle gave up one run and Grieve gave up a run that was unearned).
  • Just four hits for the group…Jiwan James had one, Anthony Hewitt had one, Jonathan Singleton DH’d and had one, and SS Edgar Duran had another.
  • Jeremy Hamilton (’09) played first base here with Singleton DHing. This is one of the intriguing elements of the last week. Who will be Lakewood’s first baseman? Hamilton, who was here last year, Singleton, a youngster, or Darin Ruf, a college player who hit over .300 with Williamsport in 2009?


Sunday Links and Coffee

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Back with another Sunday Links & Coffee…links from around the baseball world to enjoy with your Sunday morning java. We’ll start in Clearwater, where the Phillies are eight days away from Opening their 2010 season.

  • Bob Brookover in the Daily News writes about the murky situation of the Phillies bullpen. Brad Lidge has struggled in minor league games. Antonio Bastardo, a 2007 BlueClaws pitcher, has been shaky and is the only lefty with JC Romero also injured.
  • Dave Murphy in the Daily News on the strong pitch made by Jamie Moyer to stay in the Phillies rotation.
  • Martin Frank in the News Journal writes about 2003 BlueClaws pitcher Cole Hamels, who says he’s ready to go despite a few rough outings this spring. “I liked the way he used his stuff,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Cole is real close to getting his command down. He isn’t there yet, but he’s very, very close.”
  • Ever wondered the role of the stadium in the success of the franchise? Frank Fitzpatrick in the Inquirer finds out. A good article on Citizens Bank Park with comments from Phillies President David Montgomery included. “We thought people would gather there, but we had no idea they would gather in the numbers they have,” Phillies president Dave Montgomerysaid last week. “Instead of sitting in the upper deck, people are just as happy to come and stand for an entire game. We could not have predicted that.”

Elsewhere around baseball…

Moyer Makes Statement

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

We blogged earlier this week about the Phillies 5th starter battle between Jamie Moyer and former BlueClaws pitcher Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick threw very well on Wednesday, but Moyer took it to another level last night: 6 2/3 innings, one hit and no runs.

“He looked pretty good, didn’t he?” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “He threw good quality strikes down. Even when he missed, he was close. He dropped a little yo-yo on them.”

Said Moyer: “I came to spring feeling like I was in the best shape that I could be in for the amount of time I had to work out. As far as throwing, I was on schedule as if I had a normal offseason. But as far as working out and that kind of thing, I might have been a little bit behind. So I really didn’t know what to expect, because I really haven’t been through this kind of thing in the past. So you know what? Go wing it.”

He looks like the 5th starter, but remember, Chan Ho Park won the 5th starter’s job from JA Happ last year in spring training. Long season.

Minor League Spring Training Update: March 26th

Friday, March 26th, 2010

A big day for the soon-to-be-BlueClaws, as they pounded out 15 runs on 16 hits, making hitting coach Greg Legg’s day, in a 15-9 win over Toronto. Let’s get to it, and we’ll start there…

Lo-A (Won 15-8 over Toronto)

  • Obviously a big day offensively…Jiwan James, Anthony Hewitt, Kyrell Hudson, and Alan Schoenberger each had two hits and Adam Buschini added three.
  • Buschini added a home run and drove in five of the 15 runs, and Hudson also homered.
  • Jorge Guerra and Ryan Gugel (’09) each drove in a pair.
  • The pitchers didn’t fare as well. Colby Shreve lased 3.1 innings and gave up five runs on five hits with four walks and two strikeouts.

Hi-A (Lost 4-2 to Toronto)

  • The pitchers are getting stretched out now…Jesus Sanchez (’09) threw 58 pitches over five innings (two runs), though Justin De Fratus (’09) gave up two in two.
  • Harold Garcia (’09), hitting second behind Anthony Gose, had two hits while Troy Hanzawa (’09) drove in the only run.


Three Weeks

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Opening Day in three weeks. Next week, a special opportunity for a lucky fan that night. Stay tuned…

Stocking the Cupboard

Friday, March 26th, 2010

blueclawsphilliescupboardIf yesterday’s BlueClaws spring training lineup was any indication, the 2010 BlueClaws could be stocked with several of the top Phillies prospects. In the order in which they hit in yesterday’s lineup…A quick look (Baseball America rank in parentheses):

SS Jonathan Villar (#22)
Led off yesterday and played short. Villar spent most of last year with the GCL Phillies, hitting .277 before playing the last 11 games of the year with Williamsport. He’s just 18, and will turn 19 on May 2nd. He is a switch-hitter.

OF Jiwan James (#11)
James has been leading off or batting second with the Lakewood club this spring. Originally a pitcher, he signed out of the 22nd round in 2007 for $150,000, but got hurt and missed 20098. Now an outfielder, James hit .264 with Williamsport last year. He considered signing with the University of Florida out of high school but decided on the Phillies. He will turn 21 on April 11th, the fourth day of the season.

C Sebastian Valle (#7)
Valle spent much of 2009 in Lakewood as Travis d’Arnaud’s backup, hit .307 with Williamsport, and returned for the playoffs. He’s now the top catching prospect in the organization and has good power, especially for his position and age, and he had an excellent winter as one of the youngest players in the Mexican Pacific League. I would be surprised if he’s not the Opening Day clean-up hitter.

Jonathan Singleton (#20)
He was considered the most advanced hitter the Phillies have drafted in a few years and Singleton hasn’t disappointed, hitting a solid .290 in the GCL while drawing 18 walks against just 13 strikeouts as a rookie. He’s played primarily with the Lo-A club this spring and the at-bats are there for him at first base depending on what the Phillies do with a) the fourth outfielder with Lakewood, b) Darin Ruf, a 20th round pick last year who hit .301 with Williamsport. If they can find enough ABs for a fourth OF prospect, Ruf, and Singleton, he could be here.

Domingo Santana (#10)
We noted yesterday that Santana would be the youngest player in BlueClaws history. Tony Graham has a write-up on Santana here. Needless to say, he has a chance to be good. He hit six HRs last year as a 16 year-old in the Gulf Coast League, impressive power for such a young player. The only question is ABs. He wants to come here. The Phillies are not shy about pushing young players. He’s certainly got a very good shot.

Leandro Castro (#25)
Castro was here last year until Memorial Day and then was sent down. At Williamsport, he hit .316-7-43 and led the league in hits. He’s 20 (turns 21 in June) and certainly figures to be a part of the Lakewood OF this year (with James, former 1st-round pick Anthony Hewitt and perhaps Domingo Santana and last year’s 2nd round pick Kelly Dugan. That’s a lot of at bats to find if you bring all of these OFs here.

Kendrick and Moyer

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

kylekendrickFormer BlueClaws pitcher Kyle Kendrick has done nothing to disappoint this spring as he tries to wrestle away the 5th starter’s role from Jamie Moyer.

Kendrick has allowed just two runs in 14 innings this spring, and makes a start today at 1:05. Moyer, meanwhile, has pitched in several ‘B’ games and allowed a run in five innings in his only Grapefruit League appearance.

UPDATE: Kendrick gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits in 5.2 innings today, another good outing.

(below was from earlier)

Said Phillies GM Ruben Amaro:

“[Moyer’s] know-how and the way he’s been most effective will come into play probably, too. He obviously has more experience starting. And while both of them have been in the bullpen, neither of them have been in the bullpen a whole lot. It’ll be an assessment as to what we think is going to be best for the club.”

Meanwhile, go back a month and here is what Rich Dubee, pitching coach, said:

Kyle got here real fast. It’s easy to get into the big leagues; it’s hard to stay in the big leagues. That’s what Kyle experienced. Again, give him credit. He took a lot of beating down last year about having to become a full-repertoire pitcher. He went to IMG [Academies in Bradenton, Fla.] this off-season and got himself in great shape. He has an understanding of what he needs to do to stay in the big leagues now.