Let’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.
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.
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.
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.
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…some quick hitters on potential relief pitchers.
Mike Bolsenbroek…Believed to be the first Dutch BlueClaw, if it works out that way. Last year, he went 2-2, 2.03 with the GCL Phillies. Was a 42nd round pick in 2008.
Justin Beal…A 28th round pick out of Missouri Southern State College, he was 3-0, 1.37 with the GCL Phillies last year and gave up five ER in 8.2 innings with Williamsport at the end of the season.
Chase Johnson…A 21st round pick last year from South Mountain CC, he had a 3.94 ERA with the GCL Phillies last year…listed at 6-5, 250.
Suilman Lebron…If one of the listed starters is not here, that could well be Lebron, who started last year for Williamsport, going 5-6, 4.48. Should Lakewood use a 6-man rotation (seems unlikely but supposedly possible), he could start as well.
Ebelin Lugo…Only gave up six runs in his last 31 innings after six in his first 2.2. 3-1, 2.31 with Williamsport last year. Turns 20 on April 23rd.
Eric Massingham…The closer? Only gave up 15 hits and 2 ER in 23 innings with Williamsport last year. A 25th round pick out of Cal Poly Sal Luis Obispo.
Chad Poe…A 27th round pick in 2008, Poe gave up 11 ER in 39 innings (38 strikeouts) between GCL and Williamsport last year.
Julio Rodriguez…Might be a bit of a stretch here, as he’s just 19 and pitched in the GCL last year. But his numbers were good. 3.08 ERA, 49.2 IP, 36 H, 14 BB and 56 K. From Puerto Rico, like 2009 BlueClaw Jesus Villegas.
Jesse Zuber…Went undrafted out of Central Methodist (Mo) college, and gave up a run in nine innings with the GCL Phillies. He is 23 years old.
That’s 14 pitchers, probably two too-many. But we are guessing a bit here. That’s what makes it fun.