Archive for September, 2010

BlueClaws Dominate SAL Prospect Rankings

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

singleton1No surprise, since the BlueClaws won the South Atlantic League Championship, but six BlueClaws were ranked among the top 20 prospects in the South Atlantic League by Baseball America, who surveyed the league’s managers and scouts.

1. Jonathan Singleton: Singleton, who was named the best prospect in the SAL as part of the league’s annual awards, topped the list. Playing the year as an 18-year old (he turned 19 on September 18th, the day the BlueClaws clinched the title), he hit .290 with 14 home runs and 77 RBIs. He entered the year as the organization’s 18th ranked prospect, might enter next year as the organization’s top prospect.

4. Brody Colvin: Colvin, who turned 20 on August 14th, went 6-8, 3.39 with Lakewood, but had a 2.00 ERA from May 14th on through the rest of the season. He finished 8th in the league in ERA and gave up one earned run in 10 playoff innings. He was a 7th round pick from Lafayette, Louisiana in 2009 who signed with the Phillies on the August 15th deadline. He entered the year as the 12th ranked prospect in the organization.

7. Jarred Cosart: Cosart, who turned 20 in May, pitched for Lakewood in the first half, where he went 7-3, 3.79. He hurt his shoulder on June 26th and missed the rest of the season, but still pitched well enough to make the list. He struck out 77 hitters in his 71 innings and is now pitching in the Instructional League in Clearwater. He entered the year as the 8th ranked prospect in the organization. Cosart was a 38th round pick in 2008 from League City, Texas.

8. Jonathan Villar: Villar, another whose stock moved up immensely this year, was a key part of the July 29th trade that netted the Phillies Roy Oswalt. Before he left (and he was sent to the Hi-A California League), he hit .272 with 38 stolen bases (and was 4th in the league before the trade).  He entered the season in the top 20 in the Phillies system and figures to be among the top ten in the Houston system.

11. Trevor May: May was the SAL Postseason Pitcher of the Year, where he gave up one run in 11.2 innings pitched (and one ER in 22.2 innings in four postseason starts as a BlueClaw). He opened the season with Clearwater (5-5, 5.01) and was sent to Lakewood on the 4th of July, where was 7-3, 2.91. On July 27th in Delmarva, May struck out 14 Shorebirds to tie a BlueClaws single-game franchise record.

19. Sebastian Valle: Valle had a very good year and still was just the sixth BlueClaw ranked, a testament to the strength of the team. The 20 year old hit the game winning home run in the 5th inning of game four of the South Atlantic League Championship Series. On the year, he led the team with 16 home runs (in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the league).

Loved this quote from Greensboro manager Andy Haines:

I could watch them play every day. They had so much talent, but what I liked was the way they played so hard. (Manager) Mark (Parent) did an outstanding job with that team. Their players had talent, but you could see them getting better and better every time we faced them.

“Future BlueClaws” Among NY-Penn League Top 20

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

roadtolakewoodWilliamsport had three players ranked among the top 20 prospects in the NY-Penn League in a survey released by Baseball America. IF Cesar Hernandez, OF Domingo Santana (who BlueClaws fans are already familiar with) and OF Aaron Altherr (who was also ranked among the best in the GCL) could all be with Lakewood when the 2011 season opens in April.

IF Cesar Hernandez: ranked 9th, signed as an amateur free agent from Venezuela in 2006 and spent two years in the VSL, one in the GCL and this year with Williamsport, where he hit .325 and stole 32 bases. A switch hitter, he was 27-69 (.391) batting right-handed. He sounds like the leadoff hitter on the 2011 BlueClaws.

OF Domingo Santana: ranked 12th, signed as an amateur free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2009. Santana turned 16 in August of 2008, signed with the Phillies in March of 2009 and went to the GCL. This year, he opened with Lakewood (hit .182 with three HRs) and was sent to Williamsport when their season opened (hit .237 with five HRs). Still, he turned 18 in August and was one of the youngest players in the league, a league often filled with 21 and 22 year old college pitchers straight out of the SEC or Pac-10. That he was here in Lakewood to open the season tells us what the Phillies thought of him in the first place and he’ll probably be back to open 2011 with…

OF Aaron Altherr: Ranked 15th (in the NYPL and 9th in the GCL), a 9th round pick of the Phillies in 2009 (from Arizona, originally from Germany)…Altherr hit .304 in the GCL over 27 games before a promotion to Williamsport, where he hit .287 in 28 games to finish the season. Here is what Chuck LaMar said about him recently:

“He started out in extended spring this year. Outstanding athlete who just needed, like all of them, to continue to play our game and get at-bats. I just saw him along with Benny [Looper] and Marti [Wolever] and the group and he’s going to be the next name that surfaces that the folks who follow us closely may not have heard of. Next year, when he goes to Lakewood, they’re going to start to hear about him. Not only keep an eye on him. I don’t know how low you can pick rotisserie guys, but I’d get him in my farm system somewhere.”

Related: The Gulf Coast League top 20, which features LHP Jesse Biddle and Altherr.

Trevor May: SAL Postseason Pitcher of the Week

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

MiLB.com hands out Player of the Week awards all year and BlueClaws RHP Trevor May was named the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week for the postseason.

Trevor May, who struck out 182 over 135 regular season innings this year, kicked off the BlueClaws’ championship run by whiffing 13 and walking one over 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Hickory Crawdads. May earned the win in that game, but his next time out he wasn’t as fortunate. In Game 1 of the Finals against Greenville, May gave up a run over five innings and got stuck with a loss. He still managed to pile up eight strikeouts in that outing.

In four postseason starts over two years for the BlueClaws, May gave up one run in 22 2/3 innings pitched. Not too shabby.

Q&A With Brian Gump

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Jessica Quiroli, over at the excellent baseball blog High Heels on the Field, has done a Q&A with BlueClaws OF Brian Gump, who began the year with Clearwater, came back to Lakewood in une, broke his arm on July 4th, rehabbed hard to play again this year, and won a title with the GCL Phillies, and then re-joined the BlueClaws for the playoffs, where he was the starting RF on another title team:

This year certainly threw a lot of curveballs at me. I really feel like all the level jumping allowed me to experience being in just about every role there is in professional baseball player, from being a bench/role player in High A, to being an every day starter bottom of the lineup guy in low A, to being a run producing middle to top of the lineup guy in the GCL while I was rehabbing, to being on the DL while I was injured. Although, this was definitely not the ideal year that I had in mind, the experience that it offered me is incredibly valuable. I really feel like I have a more complete perspective on minor league baseball as a result of being sandwiched between the lower and upper levels of minor league ball and seeing many of my teammates move up to AA and hear about their experiences. It certainly hasn’t been all fun for me this year, but I think it has provided me with countless essential individual experiences and a wholistic experience that will serve me well as my career moves ahead.

Click here to read the full article. It’s well worth it.

“Future BlueClaws” Among BA’s GCL Top 20

Monday, September 27th, 2010

The GCL Champion Phillies had two players ranked among the top 20 prospects in that league by Baseball America, it was announced last week. Both, LHP Jesse Biddle and OF Aaron Altherr, could well be with the BlueClaws when the 2011 season opens in April.

LHP Jesse Biddle: Ranked 7th, a first round pick by the Phillies in 2010, from Germantown Academy, Philadelphia…Biddle went 3-1, 4.32 with the GCL Phillies before a late-season promotion to Williamsport. Here is what scouting director Marti Wolever said about Biddle at the time of the draft pick:

“We draw a lot of comparisons to Clayton Kershaw in high school. We just felt, at this time, he was the best high school left-hander on our board. It really was a no-brainer. … We saw Clayton in high school in Dallas. They’re about the same size. Jesse’s arm might work a little easier quite frankly than Clayton’s did. But I think ceiling-wise and stuff-wise, they’re very comparable. We think Jesse’s got a chance to be that type of guy in the big leagues.”

OF Aaron Altherr: Ranked 8th, a 9th round pick of the Phillies in 2009 (from Arizona, originally from Germany)…Altherr hit .304 in the GCL over 27 games before a promotion to Williamsport, where he hit .287 in 28 games to finish the season. Here is what Chuck LaMar said about him recently:

“He started out in extended spring this year. Outstanding athlete who just needed, like all of them, to continue to play our game and get at-bats. I just saw him along with Benny [Looper] and Marti [Wolever] and the group and he’s going to be the next name that surfaces that the folks who follow us closely may not have heard of. Next year, when he goes to Lakewood, they’re going to start to hear about him. Not only keep an eye on him. I don’t know how low you can pick rotisserie guys, but I’d get him in my farm system somewhere.”

So there you go. We’ll have reports from the NY-Penn League list soon (a list which presumably could include one or both of these two). Then they’ll have the SAL list, which we figure could have a bunch of BlueClaws on there.

Instructional League Underway

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

The great Phillies website Beerleaguer compiled the list of players down in Clearwater for the Instructi

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onal League which is underway right now…

Pitchers: Gabriel Arias, Phillippe Aumont, Jesse Biddle, Lisalverto Bonilla, Jacob Borup, David Buchanan, Garett Claypool, Jarred Cosart, Jacob Diekman, Sergio Escalona, Craig Fritsch, Perci Garner, Nick Hernandez, Mario Hollands, Steven Inch, Colin Kleven, Tyler Knigge, Derrick Loop, Mike McGuire, Marek Minarik, Brian Morgado, Jon Musser, Hector Neris, Miguel Nunez, J.C. Ramirez, Juan Sosa, Ethan Stewart, Kevin Walter;

Catchers: Angel Chavarin, James Klocke, Chase Numata, Cameron Rupp, Sebastian Valle;

Infielders: Chris Duffy, Edgar Duran, Maikel Franco, Harold Garcia, Anderson Gonzalez, Cesar Hernandez, Stephen Malcolm, Geancarlo Mendez, Cody Overbeck, Joe Savery, Francisco Silva, Jonathan Singleton;

Outfielders: Aaron Altherr, Miguel Alvarez, Zach Collier, Kelly Dugan, Kyrell Hudson, Jiwan James, D’Arby Myers, Brian Pointer, Domingo Santana, Jeremy Slayden.

I’ve italicized those that spent time with the BlueClaws this year. Note Jeremy Slayden…the 2006 BlueClaw retired last year but is apparently trying a comeback. Also Joe Savery, a former first round pick of the Phillies who has pitched since being drafted 2007, is listed as infielder.

Trophy On the Field at CBP

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

We took the 2010 SAL Championship Trophy onto the field at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night, here is a picture:

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De Fratus Makes Team USA for Pan-Am Games

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

defratususafull2009 BlueClaws pitcher Justin De Fratus will represent Team USA in the upcoming Pan American Games in San Juan. He played on the qualifying team last week and was not removed from the team, like three others including Brian Bockock, the only other Phillie selected.

De Fratus, 22, went 5-6, 3.19 with the BlueClaws last year. He opened 2010 with Clearwater, where had a 1.79 ERA and 15 saves. He was promoted to Reading in July, where he went 1-0, 2.19 with six saves.

They open against Panama on October 1st (HT Dave Murphy on Twitter).

BlueClaws Survey

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

First, we’d like to thank the fans for another amazing season here at the Jersey Shore, one that saw the season start with an eight-run first inning in Asheville, saw the home opener start with a championship banner raising, and of course end with yet another championship banner raising.

We have put together this survey (you may have seen this linked on BlueClaws.com or our e-newsletter). If you wouldn’t mind filling it out, you’ll have a chance to win BlueClaws prizes like ticket packages, gift cards, autographed merchandise, and more.

Click here to fill out the survey, thanks.

Video: The Last Out

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

This from BlueClaws TV:

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Two Former ‘Claws Win Owens Award

Monday, September 20th, 2010

paulowensblogCongratulations to former BlueClaws Domonic Brown and Scott Mathieson, were honored by the Phillies yesterday as Paul Owens Award winners, for best minor league position player and pitcher in 2010. Here is a Phillies.com video.

Brown, who was with Lakewood in 2008, began the year with Reading and jumped to Lehigh Valley before a July call-up to the Phillies. There, he became the 35th former BlueClaw to reach the big leagues. Between the two minor league stops, he hit .327-20-68 in 93 games.

Brown will play winter ball this year in the Dominican Republic.

Mathieson, who was with Lakewood in 2004, is working his way back from two Tommy John surgeries. He went 3-6 with a 2.80 ERA and a team-record 26 saves for Lehigh Valley.

Mathieson, who is dealing with a pulled lat, will head to Florida and throw in the Instructional League. He hopes to be in the Phillies bullpen in 2011 and continue to work with Bruce Sutter on a splitter. Good note from Scott Lauber:

He said he noticed the injury in his last appearance Sept. 5. His velocity was off, and while he didn’t feel any pain while throwing, he knew something was wrong. By the time he got to his car after the game, he could barely open the door he was so sore.

Michael Taylor and Kyle Drabek were honored last year, JA Happ and Lou Marson the year before.

Paul Owens was in the organization for 58 years as a scout, farm director, manager, general manager, and adviser. He was the GM of the 1980 World Championship club and managed the 1983 National League Championship club.

More Championship Leftovers

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Thought this was pretty cool…Jiwan James said by the time he got back in the locker room after the clincher on Saturday, he had already received a congratulatory text message from Anthony Gose.

Last year, the last out of the championship clincher was a pop-up to second base, caught by Harold Garcia. Before the party started, Garcia hid the ball in his glove to make sure he didn’t lose it.

This year, like in 2006 when Matt Thayer did it, Leandro Castro, caught up in the excitement, threw the ball into the air and who knows who has it now.

BlueClaws players are gone, either headed to Florida for the Instructional League or home. Josh Zeid gets a week at home before going to Florida to tune up for the Arizona Fall League, which opens in two weeks. We’ll have plenty up AFL updates again this year.

More Wrap

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

“Like I said at the beginning, I really wasn’t looking forward to it (managing) until I saw the kids,” said  Lakewood manager Mark Parent.  “Then to see them do this is unbelievable,” Parent said.

“Mark Parent did a tremendous job keeping this all together throughout the year,” said Director of Minor Leagues Steve Noworyta.

“Ruben (Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro) brought me in to work with these young prospects, get them started,” Parent said. “That’s what I did.”

Lakewood is the first team since 1993-1994 (Savannah, then a Cardinals affiliate) to win back-to-back SAL titles.

As Eric Krupa, SAL President, noted in a post-game ceremony on the field, the BlueClaws are also the first team since the league switched playoff formats in 2000 to win both halves and then take the SAL title. Three previous teams had won both halves, including Greg Legg’s 2000 Piedmont Boll Weevils (then a Phillies affiliate).

Here is the game story.

Here is the story in the Asbury Park Press.

Some Quick Comments

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

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Some post-game quotes from around the locker room as we congratulate these BlueClaws on winning a South Atlantic League title:

Josh Zeid

  • When he found out he was staying in for the 9th inning: It was one of those things, I came off the field, we had a great vibe together and the coaches told me I had it (the 9th). I knew we had Carr and McGuire if I got into trouble, they were there to back me up.
  • For me, my biggest problem has been letting a big inning happen. Even though no one got on, I took deep breaths, I was calm. It worked out well.
  • On the last out: That ball felt like it was up there for five minutes. I know it’s not the World Series, but it’s the Championship of the Sally League. It’s a great honor.
  • Winning both halves and the SAL title: I think we turned the roster over once. We had 50-something guys but we kept the core together. Mark Parent kept the team together, he was a great motivator, and we kept the team together under him.

Jiwan James

  • On the last out: As soon as it went it up and I saw Castro screaming, I already knew what time it was. Castro was a different player in the playoffs. In the playoffs, there was something extra. I enjoyed that.
  • On his last three games, where he had six hits: I was just trying to stay aggressive really. I didn’t get one hit against Hickory but I didn’t get down on myself. I was just trying to stay aggressive.
  • What did you learn in your first full season as a hitter…A lot. I fell I got comfortable a lot. Going into next year I know what to do, what not to do, how to control my body. We’ll work harder and come back ready to go.

Brody Colvin

  • It feels great. We came out as a team and did what we set out to do and won it all. It’s a great feeling right now.
  • I’ve never dog-piled before, I knew it was coming. I jumped out of my underwear, it was great.
  • It was being more focused, knowing my job and my role with the team. I just started doing everything I needed to do.
  • I still have buddies that are in English class right now. It’s crazy to think what’s all happened this year. It’s been a great year.

Jarred Cosart

  • It was great to be here, maybe a little tough at first (watching). I feel like I could have contributed but they didn’t need me. It’s great to be a part of it and get a ring.
  • I’m looking forward to next year, maybe winning a Florida State League or Eastern League title.

Pitching coach Steve Schrenk

  • It was awesome for these guys. Josh pitched his butt off tonight, did a great job. It was nice to see the last out made and a nice way to end the year. All these pitchers did well. We led the Minor Leagues in ERA, it was great.
  • These guys, I knew every night we had a chance and they showed it. They never backed down and at points carried our team this year and that’s what pitching is supposed to do.
  • What do all these arms mean for the organization as a whole? It’s huge. The organization has done a great job. These guys are all 20-years old and did a great job.
  • You’re going to manage in Australia, what are you most looking forward to? Being able to manage and hopefully seeing some kangaroos.

Jeremy Barnes

  • How big was the game three win last night leading into today? It was huge, going up tonight and knowing they had to beat us twice is huge. Going up 2-1 was really big, so last night was a big game for us. Having to take a double-header is tough in the regular season much less the playoffs.
  • What does it mean to win both halves and then finish it off? It shows our consistency. We had a really good team from day one, and baseball is all about consistency. Taking care of things in the playoffs after doing it in the regular season, it’s not like we just got hot in the playoffs, we did it all year. It’s good to be a part of history.