Archive for January, 2011

Champions Club Construction: Walls Down

Monday, January 31st, 2011

cc1-013111Last week we let you know we had some fun with a hammer. But now, real progress has been made.

Walls in two SkyBoxes have been completely knocked down, and what was once three separate SkyBoxes is now one mega-Box which will eventually morph into the Champions Club.

We’ll decorate (as you can see below) with a decor of “Great moments in BlueClaws history” and the Champions Club will be open for business beginning Opening Night.

Click here for some more photos from our Facebook page.

For more information on the Champions Club and how you can enjoy a game inside, please click here.

Roster Shuffling

Monday, January 31st, 2011

One thing that we’ll get to in the coming weeks here is a potential BlueClaws rundown heading into Spring Training. Minor leaguers will report to Clearwater the first week in March.

We plan on doing something to the effect of the following:

  • This week: Infielders
  • Next week: Outfielders
  • Week of February 21st: Starting pitchers
  • Week of February 28th: Relief pitchers

In doing a little research, it seems, like last year, the BlueClaws could have a significant number of outfielders. One of those is Aaron Altherr, a 9th round pick in 2009 from an Arizona high school.

However, we saw James at Phuture Phillies report and cite a Keith Law article which mentions that Altherr will be tried at 3rd base this year.

He played shortstop in high school (see this article from the time he was drafted), so the transition shouldn’t be too significant. Altherr was recently ranked 10th in the system by Baseball America. Here is a write-up from Jay Floyd at PhilliesNation.

The Prospect Handbook

Friday, January 28th, 2011

The Baseball America prospect handbook arrived in the mail today, spicing up a dreary, overcast and cold Friday.

They had previously released their Phillies top ten list (which you can see here).

The news here is 11-30. In parentheses find their likely 2011 opening level with potential Claws in bold.

  • 11. RHP Vance Worley (LHV or PHI)
  • 12. LHP Antonio Bastardo (PHI)
  • 13. RHP Scott Mathieson (LHV or PHI)
  • 14. RHP Phillippe Aumont (REA)
  • 15. RHP Justin De Fratus (REA)
  • 16. OF Tyson Gillies (REA)
  • 17. RHP JC Ramirez (REA)
  • 18. RHP Jonathan Pettibone (CLR)
  • 19. 2B Cesar Hernandez (LAK)
  • 20. SS Freddy Galvis (REA)
  • 21. RHP Perci Garner (LAK)
  • 22. IF Harold Garcia (REA)
  • 23. RHP Josh Zeid (CLR or REA)
  • 24. RHP Austin Hyatt (REA or LHV)
  • 25. RHP Julio Rodriguez (CLR)
  • 26. 1B Matt Rizzotti (LHV)
  • 27. OF Leandro Castro (CLR)
  • 28. OF Kelly Dugan (LAK)
  • 29. RHP Kevin Walter (LAK)
  • 30. C Cameron Rupp (LAK)

Dugan could play first base here since Lakewood could be flush with outfielders for the second straight year. We’ll get more into these players in the coming weeks.

    Biddle, Truby Confirmed for Tuesday’s Winter Tour

    Friday, January 28th, 2011

    We can confirm that both Phillies first round pick Jesse Biddle (a potential 2011 BlueClaw) and BlueClaws manager Chris Truby will both be in town for the Phillies Winter Tour on Tuesday night.

    Both were confirmed for the original date on Wednesday, but with the snow, the event was PPD and re-scheduled for Tuesday.

    Click here for the full release, and you can reserve your spot by calling Amy at 732-901-7000 ext 172.

    Brief bios of Biddle and Truby below the fold.

    (more…)

    Big Birthday Day

    Thursday, January 27th, 2011

    made a cover of Baseball America, and pitched one of three no-hitters in BlueClaws history. However, he lost his, 1-0 to Lexington, making him the first SAL player since 1966 to lose a no-hitter. The BlueClaws made two sixth-inning errors in a loss. (See below for a pic of a pic)

    He also pitched the last home game of 2002 and earned the win in front of 13,003, the largest crowd in BlueClaws history.

    Zagurski was here for all of 2006 and made BlueClaws history when he debuted with the Phillies on May 25, 2007, becoming the fastest player ever to reach the Phillies after leaving Lakewood.

    Both of these players have been bobbled, as you can see. Which means this is the only time when two BlueClaws bobblehead recipients share a birthday, an unimportant but nonetheless useful factoid.

    floyd-no-hitter-l

    The Keith Law Top 100

    Thursday, January 27th, 2011

    A few BlueClaws in there. Click here to read (Insider content).

    3. Domonic Brown (2008)
    12. Kyle Drabek (2007)

    And then from the 2010 champion BlueClaws

    27. Jonathan Singleton
    34. Jarred Cosart
    76. Brody Colvin
    93. Trevor May

    It’s too bad that we never got to see Cosart/Colvin/May in one rotation (Cosart was hurt before May arrived). That said, the BlueClaws did post the best ERA of the 120 full-season minor league teams in 2010, a healthy 3.04. Plus they gave up nine runs in seven playoff games. So the pitching was certainly not lacking.

    Keith Law Puts Phils 5th

    Thursday, January 27th, 2011

    Keith Law of ESPN.com has ranked the Phillies as the 5th best farm system in baseball (click here, Insider content).

    He has high marks for Lakewood’s 2010 roster, which he says was stacked and there were these follow-up Tweets.

    This. Five. RT @: @ watched that lakewood team a lot while interning with WV power. how many make it big?

    And this. @ seriously? Was I supposed to ignore the Lakewood roster?

    Winter Tour Moved to Tuesday

    Thursday, January 27th, 2011

    Forgot to post this here yesterday, but the Phillies Winter Tour stop in Lakewood which was supposed to be last night is now Tuesday night, also at Woodlake Country Club.

    Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. will be joined by Phillies hitting coach Greg Gross and Phillies special assistant Dickie Noles. More guests could be added in the coming days.

    Amaro was named General Manager in November of 2008 after serving as Assistant GM for the previous 10 years. A former Phillies batboy, Amaro played with the Phillies and two other teams over a seven-year Major League career. In just two seasons as General Manager, he has traded for All-Stars Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt and then in December brought Lee back to Philadelphia.

    Gross, an outfielder, and Noles, a pitcher, were teammates on the 1980 World Champion Phillies.

    Gross played for the Phillies from 1979-1988 as part of a 17-year big league career. He was a coach both with the Phillies (2001-2004) and in their minor league system (2005-2010). After two-and-a-half years with Lehigh Valley, Gross was promoted to Phillies hitting coach in July of 2010.

    Noles, who pitched four years with the Phillies (1979-1981 and 1990) as part of an 11-year career, will also be at the Winter Tour. He is a member of both th National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors and the New Jersey Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors. He educates Phillies minor leaguers on the dangers of alcohol and other drugs. He has also spoken to thousands of schools.

    Here is the full release. You can sign up by calling Amy at 732-901-7000 ext 172.

    Champions Club Construction Underway

    Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

    We put some sledge-hammers into walls last night as we have officially started construction on the new Champions Club to open in April. Click the link for more info on how to book the Champions Club.

    With a decor inspired by great moments in BlueClaws history, the room will be filled with memorabilia, pictures, banners, and much more.

    The mega-PartyBox will include indoor and outdoor seating, climate control, private wait service, and multiple flat-screen televisions, the Champions Club is three times as large as a typical BlueClaws SkyBox and is available for rent during all 70 BlueClaws home games and for private meetings and other events.

    Here’s how we started:

    champions-club-construction-1

    And ultimately it will look something like this:

    MLB Network’s Top 50

    Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

    MLB Network revealed their top 50 prospects earlier tonight with three former BlueClaws on the list. Jonathan Singleton (30), Kyle Drabek (12) and Domonic Brown (4) made the top 50. Notes below.

    Jonathan Singleton, BlueClaws 1B in 2010, checks in at number 30. Singleton spent the year at 18 and turned 19 on the day the BlueClaws clinched the SAL title (September 18th). They showed some footage of FirstEnergy Park and Singleton during a brief highlight segment. They don’t spend a ton of time on the guys at the back end of the list.

    Singleton joined the BlueClaws on May 13th and hit 14 home runs in a pitcher’s park while hitting 3rd and 4th the whole year.

    Kyle Drabek, with the BlueClaws in 2007, was ranked 12th. He was sent to Toronto last year (Halladay deal) and debuted with the Blue Jays in September, coming straight from Double-A.

    “Old School and hard worker,” said John Hart (former Indians and Rangers GM). “He’s got a plus arm, plus fastball, and throws it mid-90s. When he first came up, it was a four-seamer and he was getting whacked around. He’s come up with a two-seamer with life that helps him against left-handers…He’s a great athlete who is going to be a Gold Glover…I see him more as a 2-3-4 type starter but a winning piece in a good rotation.”

    Said Jonathan Mayo: “He’s always had one of the best breaking balls in the minors and he’s added a cutter and change-up. He’s got more weapons.”

    Brown, a former football commit to the University of Miami, was with Lakewood in 2008 and was ranked the top prospect in the Phillies system each of the last three years. He’ll compete for the starting RF job in spring training this year with the Phillies after making his big league debut in July.

    They didn’t talk much about him. Maybe it got edited out. [Update, see below, each player has their own short video clip with additional comments]

    Update (8:10 am): Here is an article from MLB.com with the full top 50 list. Within that article, are video clips of each of the top 50 players (Mike Trout of the Angels and Millville, New Jersey) was number one).

    Domonic Brown:

    Upside potential: With his power starting to come into play, he profiles as a prototypical right fielder who will hit in the middle of a lineup in the future. His ceiling is still very, very high.

    They said it: “I’m glad they didn’t trade him. He’s going to be a good player. To come in, especially to a place like this, with the expectations, fans, media, and come in and produce on the first day, that has got to be a good feeling for him. He deserves a lot of credit.” — Roy Halladay

    Kyle Drabek:

    Upside potential: With the potential to have four usable pitches, Drabek has the chance to front a rotation some day.

    They said it: “It is exciting. Watch him grow up, then you’re coaching their young teams and stuff, and to be here in this setting watching him start a new level of his career is pretty special.” — Former All-Star, and Kyle’s father, Doug Drabek

    Jonathan Singleton:

    Upside potential: A fine run producer with enough bat for first base or a corner outfield spot.

    They said it: “Obviously, with Ryan [Howard] 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.” — Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. on Singleton playing left field

    More Moose Tracks

    Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

    Our buddy Jay Floyd at PhoulBallz.com has another post up from Travis Mattair about his spring t

    buy cheap kamagra uk

    raining travel and experience. This one includes Ryan Howard. Read here. A small snippet:

    As far as my routine, I went to the ballpark today around 9:30 and hit off a tee by myself for a little while and then had a full-on lifting workout and then took a little break. Then about 1, I took batting practice with Ryan Howard, Domonic Brown and Anthony Hewitt. Howard took time afterward and talked to all three of us, for what must have been 45 minutes, about mental preparation and thinking positive. I learned more in that hour than I’ve learned in a long, long time in baseball. In that situation, you’re so intent and focus on someone that you’ve looked up to and that is ahead of you, when they’re speaking, that you soak everything up that they’re saying. It was an awesome experience.

    MLB’s Top 50 Tuesday Night, What BlueClaws Do We Expect?

    Monday, January 24th, 2011

    On Tuesday night at 9 pm on both MLB.com and the MLB Network, our good friends at MLB.com will unveil their 2011 Top 50 Prospect list. What BlueClaws can we expect to see?

    I would say there are a few who will definitely be in consideration, one way or another, with two locks. But in guessing, we’ll work through their lists of top prospects by position (meaning if someone is the 9th ranked catcher by MLB.com, Travis d’Arnaud, he’s unlikely to move up ahead of three or four of the other catchers in a week to make the top 50).

    Mortal Locks
    Domonic Brown, OF: Should start the year in a competition for the starting RF job in Philly with John Mayberry and Ben Francisco. If he doesn’t win that, he’ll probably get a few months of seasoning in Lehigh Valley. Baseball America had him ranked #1 mid-season, and MLB.com had him as the #3 outfielder earlier this week.

    Kyle Drabek, RHP: Now in the Blue Jays system (Halladay trade), Drabek was Pitcher of the Year in the Eastern League last year and made his big league debut in September. He’ll have a chance to win a spot in the Blue Jays rotation right out of camp. Blue Jays Banter posted this earlier today: Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Brett Cecil should be in the rotation and I think that Kyle Drabek is a virtual lock unless he gets repeatedly shelled.

    Not a Lock But Really Close
    Jonathan Singleton, 1B: While he might not be a first baseman when Clearwater opens their 2011 season on April 7th at Dunedin (he’s reportedly been working in left field), Singleton certainly made his mark in 2010. He hit 14 home runs as an 18-year old in the SAL (and he didn’t get called up until May 13th) while showing excellent plate discipline. MLB.com had him 4th among first baseman. I say he’s safely in the Top 50, probably in the 30s.

    When Baseball America put out their mid-season Top 50, Singleton, Jarred Cosart, and d’Arnaud were both “in the team picture,” listed (alphabetically) as the next 25, with Brown #1 and Drabek #23).

    While we think Singleton will get in MLB’s top 50, remember that the list was released on July 9th. Cosart got hurt on June 26th and didn’t come back the rest of the year. d’Arnaud hit .205 in July and didn’t play in August.

    So I do think we’ll see three in the top 50. Should be a great show.

    Winter Tour Question Center

    Monday, January 24th, 2011

    The Phillies Winter Tour is coming to Lakewood Wednesday night.

    We’ll get to meet Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, general manager Ruben Amaro, BlueClaws manager Chris Truby, and Phillies 1st round pick and potential 2011 BlueClaw, left-hander Jesse Biddle.

    BlueClaws Blog and BlueClaws.com will have interviews and comments from all of the guests. Any questions that you would like us to ask (particularly for Biddle and/or Truby)?

    Leave them in the comments section and we’ll do the best we can. Thanks.

    Note: You can still sign up by calling Amy at 732-901-7000 ext 172 (before 11 am on Tuesday).

    Facebook: Project 7,336

    Monday, January 24th, 2011

    As we referenced yesterday, we have come up with a great new program called Project 7,336 to give out some really cool stuff. But only if you help us get more Facebook fans! Why 7,336?

    So what happens? You go to our Facebook page and become a fan (as I type we’re at 5,610). Then, suggest to all of your friends to also become a fan of the BlueClaws on Facebook.

    If (and only if) we get to 7,336 by March 12th, we’ll hand out one of three prize packs to one lucky fan. As follows:

    Bronze: Four tickets to Opening Day
    Silver: Four tickets to Opening Day, BlueClaws autographed baseball
    Gold
    : Four tickets to Opening Day, BlueClaws autographed baseball, and at a game later in the year: four tickets to watch game in Press Box Suite, Catch of the Day collectors series*, ceremonial first pitch, chance to run on field (with eyeballs or pork roll/egg/cheese), four BlueClaws caps

    * Catch of the Day game programs from the last four years, including some autographed copies. This is the only way to get your hands on this set.

    Good luck and happy suggesting!

    Update: We have terrible timing. The “Suggest to Friends” element has been removed by Facebook (details here). But you can still paste the link of the page into your status and we’ll go that way.

    facebook7336full