Archive for October, 2010

Fall League Update

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

BlueClaws pitcher Josh Zeid got to face Bryce Harper, the #1 overall pick in the 2010 draft (by the Nationals), who made his pro debut yesterday in the Arizona Fall League.

Star of the Day: Zeid gave up one run in three innings for the second straight start (two hits, no walks, two strikeouts). So far so good for Zeid, who is making the rare jump from Lo-A straight into the Fall League, which routinely features top prospects from Double and Triple-A.

Also: Justin De Fratus made his Fall League debut, throwing a shutout inning. He had been pitching with Team USA who was knocked out in the semi-finals of the Pan-Am Qualifier by the Dominican Republic…Also, Tim Kennelly went 1-4 for Mesa…Box score.

Here is more on Harper, who popped out to short in his only at bat against Zeid.

Harper’s first at-bat had the fans at the park smiling. The phenom hit a sky-high fly on the first pitch he saw from Mesa Solar Sox starter Josh Zeid in the second inning and as if on cue, it began to rain as soon as shortstop Andrew Romine caught the ball for the out.

The sky cleared up by the time Harper resumed his position in right field for the top of the third inning. He later cleanly fielded a single off the bat of Mets prospect Josh Satin as if the grass were as dry as cardboard.

Those in attendance chuckled at the fantasy of Harper’s fly making it rain.

Catching Up on the Fall League

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Here are two days worth of Arizona Fall League Notes.

First, Monday:

Star of the Day: BJ Rosenberg…the 2009 BlueClaws pitcher threw two scoreless innings for Mesa, rebounding from a shaky Fall League debut, where he gave up three runs in 1.2 innings following Josh Zeid’s start on Tuesday.

Elsewhere…Matt Rizzotti went 1-4 for Mesa. Box score.

And Tuesday:

Only one former BlueClaw played for Mesa, with 2008 pitcher Tyson Brummett allowing one run over two innings of relief. Box score.

So far, Michael Taylor is 8-23 with two home runs. He is 3rd in the league with 16 total bases…Matt Rizzotti is also off to a good start, 7-20 with five walks and just two strikeouts.

Josh Zeid talks about pitching to Carlos Ruiz on July 9th in Lakewood

Having no idea of who I was, or the scouting reports on the other teams batters, he quickly learned who I was from my 38-pitch bullpen before the game and carried it throughout the game. He led me to a no hitter through 5 full innings. Granted, I let the magnitude of the situation get the best of me in the sixth, where I gave up 3 runs on a bunch of badly executed pitches, but it was still a fantastic experience. He called pitches I would have never thrown in certain counts and at certain locations, but since he was calling them, I was going to throw them. For the most part, his confidence in his own calls gave me a sense of confidence in myself, as well.

Zeid is pitching today.

Bryce Harper, taken #1 overall in June’s draft by the Nationals, will make his AFL debut today.

Back In Business

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

playoff-partySorry about the two days of downtime here at BlueClaws Blog, we had some techincal issues which are now solved. I hope you were able to make it through the days.

Last night was our annual BlueClaws playoff party for BlueClaws ticket plan holders…Part of the fun was getting a picture taken with the BlueClaws South Atlantic League Championship trophies, as shown on the right.

We have a collection on our Facebook page.

Two Days of Fall League Recaps

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Sorry, missed yesterday…double up today.

Friday: Matt Rizzotti went 2-4 again and Tyson Brummett rebounded from the HR he allowed to Michael Taylor on Opening Day by throwing two shutout innings in an cialis cheapest price

b/stats/stats.jsp?sid=l119&t=g_box&gid=2010_10_15_surwin_msswin_1″ target=”_blank”>8-7 win over Surprise (scored three in the 11th).

Saturday: In a 10-1 win over Peoria, Matt Rizzotti went 0-4, Tim Kennelly had a pinch-hit single and Chris Kissock threw a shutout inning of relief.

Josh Zeid blogs about his first start (3 IP, 1 ER on Thursday)

For my first outing in the AFL I couldn’t have been more pleased with the outcome. I was relatively nervous going into the game, because, well to be honest, I have not faced a batter above Low A ball in a game situation in my career. I’ve faced some higher level guys in simulated game situations, but I’ve never had AA or AAA guys standing in there trying to hit line drives off the center field wall.

In 3 innings I gave up a run on two singles, with no walks and three strikeouts. I learned that these more mature hitters will jump all over a badly located fastball, and poorly executed off-speed pitches. I knew that going in, but being told that and actually seeing it happen from a first person view is a completely different image.

Let’s Go Phillies

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

With the NLCS set to begin tonight, we would like to wish best of luck to the Phillies in their series against the Giants.

The Phillies made one roster move, putting Kyle Kendrick on the 25-man roster and removing Greg Dobbs. They only carried 10 pitchers in the first round series, but since it was going to be played over eight days, and they were only using three starters, they still had seven relievers with plenty of off days. This series, with four starters (Joe Blanton in game four), means an extra pitcher.

Now, six former BlueClaws are active for the Phillies.

  • Ryan Howard (2002), who of course rehabbed here in 2007 and again this year, when we retired his jersey.
  • Domonic Brown (2008), who made a meteoric rise up the system this year and was somewhat of a surprise inclusion on this 25-man roster, but the Phillies are only carrying 10 pitchers.
  • Carlos Ruiz (2001), an original BlueClaw, Ruiz was the catcher in the second BlueClaws home game, in which he had four RBIs and caught a no-hitter (from Keith Bucktrot).
  • Cole Hamels (2003), he was here for a few months at the beginning of 2003 when he made his professional debut and dominated (6-1, 0.84).
  • Antonio Bastardo (2007), he went 9-0, 1.87 over 15 starts with the BlueClaws and is one of two lefty reliever on the staff, with JC Romero.
  • Kyle Kendrick (2004-06), a 7th round pick in 2003, he blossomed at the beginning of the 2006 season, pitching to a 2.15 ERA over seven starts before being promoted. He was in Philadelphia the next year.

Greg Golson is again on the Yankees 25-man roster, so there are seven former BlueClaws still active in the postseason.

In anticipation of Halladay and Lincecum tonight, Sam Donnellon of the Daily News talked to Jack Morris and John Smoltz, who of course dueled in game seven of the 1991 World Series, a 1-0 win in 10-innings for Morris’ Twins.

He notes that tickets are going for 4-5 times face value. Should be fun.

Ryan Howard on Letterman

Friday, October 15th, 2010

From last night…

Fall League, Day Three

Friday, October 15th, 2010

A couple of former BlueClaws in action yesterday in the Arizona Fall League.

Star of the Day: RHP Josh Zeid, who started and earned the win (they do not use the minimum five innings for a starter to qualify for the win) in his AFL debut yesterday. He gave up one run over three innings, striking out three. He’ll probably blog about it later today at his AFL blog.

Also: BJ Rosenberg followed Zeid but struggled, allowing three runs in 1.2 innings. Matt Rizzotti was 2-4, also for Mesa, who won 11-6 (box)…Michael Taylor did not hit his third home run in as many days, going 0-5.

Why You Can’t Hit a Curveball

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

The AP takes a look in this article, which ran in today’s Asbury Park Press.

The problem is that how you see the ball differs depending on whether the eye is focused on it or if the peripheral vision at the side of the eye is being used, Lu and Shapiro report in a research paper published online Wednesday in the journal PLoS ONE.

Batters focus on the ball as it leaves the pitcher, Lu explained, but when it’s about 20 feet from home plate they often switch to peripheral vision, then go back to central vision as the ball arrives at the plate.

That can cause the ball to appear to break as much as a foot, the researchers said.

(snip)

Lu said he and Shapiro began studying the subject because they realize the “break” of a curve is inconsistent with physics.

Since then, he said, sports researchers have approached them for help in finding ways to defeat a curveball.

He said fans watching games on television also say a curveball appears to break when observed from behind home plate.

That is a geometric illusion, he said, caused by the fact that for the first part of a pitch, the viewer sees little or no vertical drop. Because the pitcher throws the ball at a slight upward angle, the first part of the pitch appears more or less flat. Then the drop seen near home plate surprises the eye.

So maybe you shouldn’t try to “keep your eye on the ball” after all.

Fall League, Day Two

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Day two in the Arizona Fall League.

Star of the Day: Michael Taylor, again. He hit his second home run of the young season, but unlike Tuesday when he homered off a former BlueClaws teammate, this time he took Eric Niesen deep (a Mets farmhand who played for Double-A Binghamton this year). Taylor, who hit six HRs this year with Triple-A Sacramento (A’s) is using the Fall League to try to gain momentum heading into 2011 after what he felt was a sub-par season. From MLB.com:

“It was a frustrating year,” he said. “A lot of things go into why a player has a good year or a bad year. Sometimes it’s luck, sometimes it’s circumstances; obviously, I had some hopes for this season and it didn’t quite work out the way I wanted to, but I learned more from this season than I did any other season because I learned how I had to grind in the face of disappointment.

“I’m as proud of it as any other season because of the amount of work I put in. It’s tough to come in every day when you’re searching for something that can help you make the leap.”

Taylor plays for Phoenix, and again homered off Mesa, the team with the Phillies prospects. The only former BlueClaw to play yesterday was Tim Kennelly, who went 1-3 with an RBI single.

Here is the box score.

The story of the day in the Arizona Fall League, however, was that the Nationals decided to send Bryce Harper, the #1 overall pick in the 2010 draft.

“He’s 17 years old and he doesn’t even turn 18 until Saturday,” GM Mike Rizzo said. “He is very excited. What I had to decide on was: ‘Is he going to be over his head in the AFL?’ It’s a very advanced league, but I think he is going to handle it. It’s going to be very valuable to him.”

Happy Birthday

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Happy Birthday to Taylor Buchholz, who turns 29 today. Buchholz has bounced around, making the big leagues in 2006 with Houston, and also pitching for Colorado and this year with Toronto.

His BlueClaws claim to fame? He threw the first pitch in team history, April 5th at Kannapolis.

Slightly related, that game at Kannapolis was the first time that franchise was known as the Kannapolis Intimidators, like today. They had been the Piedmont Boll Weevils, the Phillies affiliate before the BlueClaws came to be in 2001.

Greg Legg managed them the year before, getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. Legg was then the first manager in BlueClaws history. So he managed the last game in Boll Weevils history, then the BlueClaws in the first game in their history, against the old Boll Weevils, now Kannapolis. Make sense?

Jonathan Singleton Working in Left Field?

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Missed this the other day, but caught it on Phuture PhilliesFrom Todd Zolecki on MLB.com:

The Phillies are exploring ways to get top prospect Jonathan Singleton on the field. Singleton, a 19-year-old first baseman, is playing left field in the Florida Instructional League because Ryan Howard has blocked his path to the big leagues at first base. “We introduced it to him about midseason,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “Obviously, with Ryan signed to a long-term deal, we wanted to see if he had the aptitude and the athleticism to do it. He took to it pretty well. He’s doing fine. I think he’s just getting acclimated to it.” The Phils tried Howard in the outfield during Spring Training 2005, but pulled the plug relatively quickly. Could Singleton be different? “Much later time for Ryan,” Amaro said. “Singleton is 19. Ryan, by that time, he was ingrained at first base. He has a different body type than Ryan. He’s a little bit smaller guy. Not as big. Not as large as Ryan.”

Also worth nothing:

Amaro said right-handers Jesse Biddle and Jared Cosart are throwing well in the FIL. Cosart missed time this season with an elbow injury, but Amaro said he is throwing 98 mph again.

We say: On Singleton, makes perfect sense. If it works, great, if not, so be it. But why not try? As Amaro says, with Singleton being just 19, it’s a little different than when Howard tried it at 23 (because of Jim Thome). Singleton certainly projects to have enough power to play a corner outfield spot…On Cosart, great sign. He said he felt 100% when he was here during the playoffs.

Arizona Fall League, Day One

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Day one in the books down in the Arizona Fall League. Here’s the rundown from a  BlueClaws perspective…

Star of the Day: Michael Taylor (2008)…playing with Phoenix, the Oakland A’s OF hit a home run in the fourth inning off another former BlueClaw, RHP Tyson Brummett of the Phillies. The two were teammates with Lakewood for a few weeks in the beginning of the 2008 season, and later with Clearwater.

Elsewhere: Matt Rizzotti (2008) went 2-4 for Mesa and John Mayberry was 0-2, playing half the game in right field.

Box Score.

BlueClaws in the Arizona Fall League

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

The BlueClaws are very well represented in the Arizona Fall League, the most prestigious off-season league in the game. All told, eight former BlueClaws will play, plus 2010 Lakewood manager Mark Parent, who will serve as hitting coach. All Phillies representatives will play for the Mesa Solar Sox.

The league runs through mid-November, and BlueClaws Blog will have daily updates, features and interviews.

Further, 2010 BlueClaws pitcher Josh Zeid, one of the Phillies representatives, will be blogging from Arizona. Click here to read Zeid’s blog.

Below, find information on the Phillies representatives in this year’s Arizona Fall League:

Pitchers
Tyson Brummett (BlueClaws 2008): Brummett, a 7th round pick in 2007 from UCLA, had a 4.06 ERA this year split between Clearwater and Reading. He went 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA with the BlueClaws over six starts in 2008.

Justin De Fratus (BlueClaws 2009): De Fratus, an 11th round pick in 2007 from Ventura College, split the year between Clearwater (2-0, 1.79, 15 saves) and Reading (1-0, 2.19, six saves). He is currently playing for Team USA in the Pan-Am Games Qualifying Tournament and will head to Arizona after that tournament is complete. De Fratus went 5-6, 3.19 as part of the 2009 SAL Champion BlueClaws, striking out 101 and walking just 16.

Chris Kissock (BlueClaws 2008): Kissock, a 9th round pick in 2007 from Lewis-Clark State, went 7-3, 2.68 between Clearwater and Reading this year. He went 4-6, 4.37 with the BlueClaws in 2008 and pitched in the Hawaiian Winter League that year.

BJ Rosenberg (BlueClaws 2009): Rosenberg, a 13th round pick in 2008 from the University of Louisville, was with the BlueClaws from Opening Day until August 7th in 2009, and didn’t allow an earned run after Memorial Day (29 innings pitched). He was then promoted straight to Reading. This year, he participated in Major League Spring Training but he pitched just 27 innings after battling injuries.

Josh Zeid (BlueClaws 2010): Zeid, a 10th round pick in 2009 from Tulane, is the only 2010 BlueClaw to appear in the AFL this year (Troy Hanzawa played in the AFL in 2009 after spending that season with Lakewood). Zeid went 8-4, 2.93 this year with Lakewood and played in the SAL All-Star Game. During the SAL Championship Series, he faced 20 hitters and recorded 21 outs.

(more…)

Josh Zeid’s Next Blog Post

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

BlueClaws pitcher Josh Zeid is blogging from the Arizona Fall League. Lakewood’s right-hander, who will start on Thursday, posted his latest entry here.

With my dad as co-pilot, I made stops in Niceville, Florida for a night, had lunch in New Orleans at the ACME Oyster House, and then stopped for a night in Houston. I then drove him to San Antonio, where we had awesome Mexican food at the Riverwalk, and then dropped him off at the airport in town. From there, I drove to the middle of nowhere near Van Horn, Texas, and spent the night, leaving myself only 8 ½ hours for my final day of travel. No speeding tickets, no accidents, no close encounters, thankfully – but I did go through lots and lots of gas. But it is invaluable to have a car here in Arizona, so I made the trek.

Read the full post here. More on the Arizona Fall League later.