Archive for March, 2010

Clawd’s On-Field Debut

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Courtesy of BlueClaws groundskeeper Ryan Radcliffe.

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Defense Wins Championships

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Got an email this morning from South Atlantic League President Eric Krupa mentioning two things I had forgotten about the 2009 BlueClaws (who will be honored before tonight’s Phillies game and receive their championship rings). Since 1960, when these records were kept for the first time:

  • The 2009 BlueClaws made the fewest errors, 111, shattering the league record. The previous record was 132 set by Rome in 2005.
  • Lakewood had a .978 average in 136 games, breaking the old record of .974 set by several teams (Lexington, KY 2001 in 140 games; Hickory in 2004 in 140 games; Rome in 2005 in 137 games; Greensboro in 2006 in 137 games; and Augusta in 2007 in 140 games).

Someone forgot to tell Georgetown that defense wins championships (or first round games).

Some other notes from that team:

  • Anthony Gose’s 76 stolen bases were the most of anyone in professional baseball (majors, minors, independent).
  • As a team, the BlueClaws swiped 210 bases, the most in the minors.
  • The BlueClaws hit 56 home runs, the 3rd lowest total in the 16-team league.
  • Lakewood won the league title as a first-half champion, becoming the first team since 2001 to do so.
  • The BlueClaws are 10-2 all-time in playoff games.
  • Gose finished the season in a 1-25 slump and then went 11-27 in the playoffs.
  • Harold Garcia went 8-22 and Travis d’Arnaud 9-23 in the playoffs as the BlueClaws hit .305 as a team and gave up just nine runs.
  • Finally, in the six playoff games, the BlueClaws made one error.

Minor League Spring Training Update: March 18th

Friday, March 19th, 2010

More updates from Clearwater on a day when the four teams went 1-3 and featured two Phillies big leaguers throwing in the minor league games.

Triple-A (lost 4-0 to Toronto)

  • JA Happ (BlueClaws ’05) pitched here, allowing two runs in five innings (five hits, two walks, three strikeouts).
  • Scott Mathieson (’04) thrwe a 1-2-3 innings with two strikeouts.
  • The offense had just four hits (one each for Luis Maza, Kevin Mahar, Melvin Dorta, and Jeremy Barnes (who will likely be in Lakewood this year)

Double-A (Won 8-1 over Toronto)

  • Brad Lidge gave up a run on three hits, pitching the first inning as he tries to rehab from knee surgery. He said he felt fine.
  • Pitching wise, nobody else gave up a run…Phillippe Aumont (Lee trade) threw three perfect innings (four Ks). Michael Schwimer gave up one hit with five Ks over two innings. Jon Velasquez (’09), Tyson Brummett (’08) and Chance Chapman (’08) all threw one inning.
  • Two hits apiece for Freddy Galvis (’08), Fidel Hernandez (’06-07) and Jim Murphy (’09), who also had a double.
  • Domonic Brown played here and went 0-2.

(more…)

Shameless Plug

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

I’ll be going on with Mike and Joe on the Shore Sports Network…1160 WOBM-AM and Fox Sports 1310 (online here) at 5:05 today to talk FanFest, spring training, maybe a little NCAA Tourney (I have Nova in the Final Four) too.

We’re Taking Over eBay

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

blueclawsebay2We put up today on eBay an exclusive party deck outing for Sunday, April 18th. You can bid here. The outing includes the following:

  • 30 tickets
  • 90-minute buffet
  • Welcome message
  • Covered Seating
  • $1,100 value (bidding opens at $350)

Also, if you search BlueClaws (click here), you’ll see a series of great items put up there by someone else. These include:

  • Team Card set from last year
  • A Bob Milacki (2009 BlueClaws pitching coach) Triple-A All-Star card from 1988
  • Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, Gavin Floys, and Robinson Tejeda bobblehead dolls

And this:

One of the great eBay items of all time: A 2010 BlueClaws pocket schedule holder.

Hint: if you call me, there is a decent chance I will send this to you for free.

I love eBay.

Minor League Spring Training Recap: March 16th

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

10springtraining2Our next round of updates from minor league spring training…we’ll try to put as many updates on here as possible over the next few weeks.

Triple-A (lost 11-6 to Toronto)

  • Nate Bump gave up one run over three, Jason Standridge four runs over 2.2 and Jake Woods gave up four in the 8th to account for the final margin.
  • Neil Sellers went 2-4 with a pair of doubles and Mike Spidale (BlueClaws ’06) added three hits.

(more…)

Nice Game…See Ya Later!

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Domonic Brown hit two home runs yesterday and was immediately sent down to minor league camp. This is no surprise, of course, as he’s never played a game above the Double-A level. And even though one of those home runs came off of Justin Verlander, a two-time All-Star, he certainly needs hit at bats, and he will get them with Lehigh Valley.

“I thought I was going down last week,” Brown told reporters afterwards. “I mean, this is all a plus for me. This has been great. All these guys brought me under their wing. It’s a major confidence booster for myself. It’s really taught me the hard work part of it. I’m really happy, but there’s a long way to go.”

But that doesn’t change the fact that he had a wonderful spring, going 10-24 and, as much as you can do this during the spring, stamped himself as a guy to not only watch but print the nameplate for his locker. Said Charlie Manuel:

Today in the cage, we squared him up at the plate. When he strode to the ball, he closed up even more, and he would go out around the ball and his bat would lag and he pushed the ball off it. When we squared him up today, he put a good swing on Verlander. And the second home run he hit, he made a good swing. He went through the ball. It got just a little bit deep on him, but that just goes to show you what kind of power he’s got. He’s going to be a good hitter. I like everything about him.

Also: Ryan Howard called him the “Total Package”

BJ Rosenberg, who threw a scoreless inning yesterday, was also sent down. Rosenberg was a 2009 BlueClaw who threw three shutout innings (two hits, three walks) this spring. It’s Reading or Lehigh Valley for him too.

Ring Ceremony: Friday Night

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

06ringMembers of the 2009 South Atlantic League champion Lakewood BlueClaws will receive their rings on Friday night in a ceremony in Clearwater before the Phillies spring training game against the Orioles.

Below, find some quotes from BlueClaws players and coaches throughout the off-season about the anticipation of getting those rings.

(picture is from the 2006 ceremony)

  • Hitting Coach Greg Legg, who gets his first minor league ring after 27 years in the game: “I think [the best part] is the journey,” he said in a ClawCast the night the BlueClaws clinched the title. “27 years, losing to Clemens 2-1, Erik Bedard 1-0. I could tell you horror stories.”
  • Manager Dusty Wathan: It’s an exciting time. It will be my first ring on the coaching side. I got a World Series ring from 2008, but someone like Legger felt more passionate about that. Being my first year in the org as a manager, you don’t feel you put your stamp. Legger got to work with a lot of those guys. But on the other hand, I did play with a lot of those guys whether it be spring training or AAA. But to get one as a manager, it’s a different feeling, really proud of the players. You feel even more proud as a mgr or coach because you see all the hard work the players put in. It’s something they’ll never forget.
  • Pitcher Trevor May: Oh yeah…that’s the best thing about Spring Training!
  • Outfielder Anthony Gose: I’ve been bragging about that ring to everyone. Can’t wait.
  • Pitcher Justin De Fratus: That’s going to be sweet. I’ll have that one on all the time.

FanFest Rundown

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

facebookfanfestFanFest 2010 is coming up on Saturday from noon – 5 pm. A bunch of different things will be going on, we hope you can join us, and here’s the rundown:

  • First day individual game tickets will go on sale; they will all be $1 off, except:
  • Dollar Weekend tickets, which will be on sale for the first time (April 17th and April 18th).
  • First 1,500 kids get a FREE mini bat courtesy of the US Census.
  • Scavenger hunt for Kids Club members.
  • VIP Tours of the ballpark.
  • Pictures with the championship trophies.
  • Call-your-own-home-run in the press box.
  • Story of Clawd readings (with me).
  • Clawd’s Kids Zone tickets will be 2-for-1.
  • FREE food.

Basically, it’s a full day of a lot of fun here at the ballpark, and serves as our official kickoff to Opening Day, which will be 27 days later. Hope to see you there.

A Wear It and Winner

Monday, March 15th, 2010

We spotted Anthony in the Brick Target location wearing his BlueClaws cap. He won two Opening Day tickets on the spot.

If we spot you in the community (or at the local St. Patrick’s Day parades), you too will win Opening Day tickets. Good luck!

anthonytargetbrick

On the Howard for Pujols Rumor…

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Buster Olney of ESPN.com cause a mild stir among baseball fans yesterday when he reported that the Phillies have had internal discussions about trading Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols of St. Louis.

Is it feasible for the Phillies? In the short term. Howard makes a little more money than Pujols does over the next two seasons, but will likely be cheaper to sign long term (both are free agents after the 2011 season).

Of course, because Pujols makes less money for the next two years, St. Louis has no reason to even consider such a swap. As Dave Murphy notes in his blog…

Why not keep Pujols for the next two years, then try to sign Howard as a free agent? Basically, the only way such a deal would work is if Howard, for some reason, really wanted to play in his hometown of St. Louis, and negotiated a contract extension at a huge discount prior to a trade. But the logistics of that are nearly impossible.

Howard’s reaction:

Really, truthfully. I can go back to all the stuff that happened when I was in Double A and all the talk about trade rumors and that kind of stuff. To be honest, I don’t know anything about anything. I’m not really focused on it. If that were the case, which I don’t know if it is or not or whatever, it is what it is. Just keep going out there and just keep doing your thing. If you do get a call saying you’re traded just say you’re traded. But until that happens, I’m still a Phillie, I’m still here. So let’s ride it out.

Again, these trades often make sense from one side, but not both sides. I could even argue this doesn’t make sense for either side. Remember, the Phillies do have a lot of big contracts due up in the next few years, with Howard’s being at the top of the list. But a trade for Pujols doesn’t help that. In fact it makes it worse, since Pujols will certainly demand more money on the open market than Howard will.

Anyway, it’s fun fantasy baseball talk, but it’s not happening.

Phillies Re-assign 14 to Minor League Camp

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

With three weeks until the Phillies 2010 opener, it’s time to give the pitchers more innings, the hitters more at-bats, and with minor league games starting soon too, 14 players were re-assigned to minor league camp.

Pitchers Phillippe Aumont, Yohan Flande, Scott Mathieson, Drew Naylor, J.C. Ramirez, Jesus Sanchez, Joe Savery and Bill White; catchers Tuffy Gosewisch, Kevin Nelson and John Sumoi; infielder Freddy Galvis; and outfielders Quintin Berry and Tyson Gillies.

Among the group:

  • Aumont, Ramirez and Gilles came over as part of the Cliff Lee trade.
  • Sanchez was a 2009 BlueClaws pitcher. Galvis was Lakewood’s 2008 shortstop. Berry was the CF in 2007 when Gosewisch was the starting catcher.
  • Mathieson was with Lakewood in 2004 and is recovering from two Tommy John surgeries.

Mathieson’s name was the most surprising, as some felt he had a chance to make the Opening Day roster. But as Ruben Amaro said:

He has to refine some of his stuff. I think he’s got over the hump physically. He’s a guy we didn’t feel was going to be ready to go in April and be refined enough in his secondary stuff to be able to compete for a job at the big league level.

Sanchez threw one shutout inning and Galvis played good defense. Berry did not get any at bats.

Who’s left?

Domonic Brown, a BlueClaws 2008 OF and top Phillies prospect, is 7-18 this spring. Writes David Murphy in the Daily News:

He also has displayed a rocket arm in rightfield and an attitude that has drawn raves from the team’s veterans. The Phillies will look for him to continue to develop his route-running and his power.

And BJ Rosenberg. The 2009 BlueClaw has thrown just two shutout innings but gets to stick around a little longer. Rosenberg, remember, skipped Hi-A Clearwater and was sent from Lakewood to Reading in August, before pitching for Team USA in the World Cup last fall. Said Assistant GM Chuck LaMar:

He’s a mature young man. He’s a little older than most first-year players. Between his maturity and age, we felt comfortable pushing him last year. It paid dividends.

Sunday Links and Coffee (Rain Edition)

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Welcome to another edition of Sunday Links and Coffee, a look around the baseball world while you enjoy your Sunday morning coffee. We’ll start with the Phillies and then bounce around the leagues.

  • Ryan Howard (whose #29 will be retired by the BlueClaws on September 2nd) is working on a new batting stance, writes Bob Brookover in the Inquirer. Howard saw almost 40% breaking balls last year, up from 21% during his rookie year of 2005.
  • These prospects bear watching, from Dave Murphy in the Daily News. Includes write-ups on Domonic Brown, Freddy Galvis, Jesus Sanchez, and others.
  • “It was positive,” Happ said of his third outing of the spring. “I was able to keep the ball on the ground, I’m just going to keep working on it.” An AP recap of his four scoreless innings yesterday against the Twins.
  • Matt Gelb in the Inquirer writes that Andrew Carpenter has a chance to make the big league roster. Carpenter was actually on the BlueClaws roster for the SAL Championship Series last year, though he did not appear in a game.
  • From earlier in the week, former BlueClaw Kyle Kendrick has thrown five scoreless innings this spring. Carlos Ruiz says “He’s a different pitcher,” than last year. From Matt Gelb.

And from around baseball.

Trevor May Getting Ready

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

2009 BlueClaws pitcher Trevor May gave up just three earned runs in his final 35 innings last year, had a 2.04 ERA after the All-Star Break, and is now gearing up for 2010.

No player had a bigger jump (25 to 5) up Baseball America’s rankings from 2009 to 2010 than May, a 4th round pick in 2008 from Kelso, Washington, and certainly it was deserved. But for May, that’s in the past, and it’s time to take that next step up the ladder.

We spoke with May a few months ago (read here), and one of the things he stressed was adjusting to the Florida heat.

“People think, ‘Oh well it’s hot,’ but you have to be in great shape to go eight innings in Florida,” he said. “In June it’s literally 95 in degrees and humidity…I know from being there in the GCL and instructs. I ran in the offseason to get into better shape than I was going into last year.”

Phillies Assistant GM Chuck LaMar was impressed with May’s 2009, and looks forward to seeing him in 2010.

“We feel his competitiveness is as good as it gets,” LaMar said to TDN.com (The Daily News, Washington State). “He has an above-average fastball, and his curve and change are getting better.”

One of the interesting subplots surrounding May, however, is simply the fact that two other power right-handed arms, Kyle Drabek and Jason Knapp, that were, according to scouts, ahead of May this time last year, have been traded.

“It’s good that the Phillies hold me in high enough regard to keep me and it does give you confidence that you’re here when those things go down. It’s nice that some of the other right-handed pitching prospects that I was going to be competing with for big league spots got traded, so yes it does give you a lot of confidence,” he said in our Q&A.

Good luck to Trevor this year.