Archive for March, 2011

Building the Farm System

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Paul Hagen has a tremendous story in today’s Philadelphia Daily News on the Phillies farm system and specifically the commitment they have made in making it one of the top systems in the league.

Read the full article here. Here is a snippet:

“[Player development and scouting] is still where it’s all done. If you don’t draft well and you don’t develop well, you’re going to hit a period of time where the cycle’s going to go the other way,” [David] Montgomery said. “Because to keep your own can become expensive. To acquire from the outside can be more so, both in terms of talent and in dollars. And you’ll never do it in trades unless you’re developing over there.”

With most of their most highly rated prospects – first baseman/outfielder Jonathan Singleton and righthanders Jarred Cosart and Brody Colvin – still in the low minors, the Phillies could find themselves in a pickle if the younger plays come slowly, or never make it at all, or if the nucleus ages prematurely.

After all, Utley’s absence might not seem quite so dire if Cardenas or Donald were still around to step in until he comes back.

Montgomery readily admitted these are concerns and stressed again the need to juggle the imperative to win right now with keeping one eye on the future.

“The public will focus on the moves [general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.] makes. The reality is whatever Ruben is able to do is primarily dictated by how quickly those people come. You can’t talk trades to clubs in situations where they may have a player of Roy Oswalt’s quality available unless you have Anthony Gose. Kyle Drabek and all the others. That is a lot of minor league talent we traded,” he pointed out.

Remember, the Phillies traded away prospects to get Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Roy Oswalt over the last 20 months. That they still have a top 10 system is a testament to the outstanding scouting and player development work they have done.
I was having this discussion with someone the other day. If I’m running a small-market team (or a large-market team for that matter), what’s $2.5 million (aka the back-up catcher or long-man) off an $80 million payroll on a lousy team? Why not invest that money into the draft? Are you going to be right all the time? No. But you don’t have to be right every time to significantly improve your farm system.

Catches of the Day

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

2011-cod-issue-1-coverEvery year, the BlueClaws have a different theme for the Catch of the Day game program. We’ve done magazine covers, the BlueClaws All-Time Ten, and this year, movie posters.

See here the first movie poster cover, modeled, of course, after the movie Goodfellas.

These are given out FREE to fans at all home games and feature news, features, statistics, upcoming events, promotions, rosters, and much more.

You can click the picture to enlarge.

The main feature story in the first issue, which covers the April 7th through 14th homestand, is a Year In Review about the 2010 SAL Champion BlueClaws.


Buchholz Makes Mets

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

taylor-buchholzTaylor Buchholz, the player who threw the first pitch in BlueClaws history, April of 2001 at Kannapolis, has made the Mets bullpen.

Thanks to Dan Cichalski on Twitter for the heads-up. He was there, as the then-Claws beat writer for the Asbury Park Press. Read his NJ-Baseball blog here.

Here’s the story from on the Mets and their moves.

Buchholz was signed by the Mets in the off-season and this will be his fourth big league team, after pitching for Toronto, Colorado, and Houston in his career.

Your 2011 BlueClaws Media Guide

Monday, March 28th, 2011

media-guide-front-coverFor the first time, we’ve embedded the BlueClaws media guide on

Inside, find player bios of potential 2011 BlueClaws, coaching staff bios, all you need to know about the team’s history, affiliate information, coordinators, and much more.

Click here to view the media guide on

You probably won’t be able to view everything in full the first time through, but just click “enlarge” and it should be fine.


Still waiting to hear from Florida on Monday’s games. Figure whoever throws today is on track to throw Saturday and then Thursday the 7th, Opening Day. That would be normal rest. But of course that’s not a guarantee, just a possibility.

You Can Subscribe to This Blog

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

This has been a good month for this site, and we’re going to make it a big year (of course).

If you want to get these posts sent straight to your email, you can subscribe.

Here is the blog RSS feed. On the top, you can subscribe via Google, Yahoo, Safari, or whatever else.

Thanks for your support.

Saturday Spring Roundup

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Minor league spring games continue through Saturday (April 2nd), with intra-squad games today. Here’s the roundup from yesterday’s action in Clearwater.

Lakewood (Win 4-3)

  • David Buchanan gave up one run over 4.1 innings with four strikeouts in his longest outing of the spring. The 7th round pick from Georgia State has had a good spring and is probably in the Lakewood rotation as the year starts next week.
  • Mike Zagurski, just sent down, threw 1.2 shutout innings in this game, probably so he didn’t have to get on the bus with the AAA team (same for Scott Mathieson in the next game).
  • Two hits for 2B Matthew Payton and LF Zach Collier. C Fransico Diaz had a double and 1B Drew Rundle a triple.
  • OF watch: LF: Collier, CF: Aaron Altherr, RF: Anthony Hewitt, DH: Geancarlo Mendez.

Clearwater (Loss 3-0)

  • Clearwater had just three hits in the game, one each by Alan Schoenberger, Jonathan Singleton, and Stephen Batts.
  • Scott Mathieson threw two shutout innings, while Bryan Morgado and Julian Sampson each threw one.
  • Brody Colvin, however, struggled to find the zone, walking six over four innings and allowing the three runs. He’ll still have at least one more start before the real games starts.

Reading (Loss 5-1)

  • Two hits each for Joe Savery and Derrick Mitchell and Savery smacked a HR for the Reading run.
  • Miguel Alvarez, with WPT last year, played with the R-Phils here.
  • Ryan Edell gave up four runs in 4.2 innings.
  • Three 2010 BlueClaws pitched here: Joe Esposito, Ebelin Lugo, Eric Massingham.

Lehigh Valley (Loss 8-1)

  • Five hits: Korby Mintken, Carlos Perdomo, Mike Spidale, Jeff Larish, Matthew Miller.
  • Edgar Garcia & Garrett Claypool each gave up two runs in one inning while starter Brian Bass gave up four in 3.2.

For what it’s worth (probably nothing), the records of these clubs this spring: LHV 7-5, REA 6-4-2, CLR 4-6-2, LAK 6-6.

Bullpens: Philly and Lehigh Valley

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

The Phillies finalized their bullpen today, optioning Mike Zagurski and Scott Mathieson to Lehigh Valley.

What could their bullpen be? Probably something to the effect of: Ryan Madson, Jose Contreras, JC Romero, Antonio Bastardo, Kyle Kendrick, David Herndon, Danys Baez. That’s with Brad Lidge on the disabled list to start the season.

Bastardo (07) and Kendrick (04-06) are former BlueClaws.

That means, as Phuture Phillies notes:

On the bright side for Lehigh Valley fans, the bullpen appears to stack up very well with Mathieson, Zagurski, Schwimer, and Stutes pitching the later innings for the ‘Pigs.

Scott Mathieson (04), Mike Zagurski (06), Mike Stutes (08) are all former BlueClaws. And Justin De Fratus (09) will either open there or be there soon.

Lehigh, who has never had a winning record, ever (2008-2010), will give it a run with a quality bullpen like that.

Today in the Asbury Park Press

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Tony Graham interviewed the last two BlueClaws managers, two guys, Dusty Wathan and Mark Parent, who led the BlueClaws to South Atlantic League titles. You can read the article here. A snip:

“It’ll be exciting here (with Clearwater),” said Wathan who is likely to inherit slugger Jonathan Singleton and other key members of Lakewood’s 2010 team, including prize pitching prospects Brody Colvin and Jarrad Cosart.

“They had a lot of success last year, so hopefully they can continue where they left off,” Wathan said. “There’ll be some challenges, definitely, when you move up a league.”

“This (Clearwater) has a chance to be our most prospect-laden club,” Phillies assistant general manager Chuck LaMar said. “Most all of last year’s Lakewood club has graduated (to the Threshers), and there’ll be some holdovers from last year’s Clearwater club. So, I think overall it has a chance to be a competitive team.”

Parent said after the 2010 season he interviewed for the Triple-A job at Lehigh Valley which went to Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer and one-time Phillie Ryne Sandberg.

“There was sort of a good chance I was going to get that,” Parent said. “Then Sandberg became available and they wanted me at Double-A, and I was fine with that.”

Read the whole thing. Click here.

Look What We Found

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Was digging through the computer earlier today looking for something (which I did not find). However, I did find this awesome jingle. Sing along by clicking here.

This jingle I believe is 10 years old and was created during the team’s inaugural season of 2001.

Today in the APP

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Tony Graham has a story in today’s Asbury Park Press on 2010 BlueClaws 1B Jonathan Singleton, who is spending the spring learning to play left field, a position he will play this year for Clearwater. A snippet:

“The line drives right over your head are definitely difficult,” Singleton said. “But with the more experience you have seeing them, the easier they become.”

“Obviously his game is his bat,” LaMar said. “He’s got good power and it’s just a matter of if he keeps hitting we’re going to keep moving him up. He’s got a chance to be a fine young hitter.”

Be sure to read the entire article here.

The Best Game Notes Line Ever

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Yesterday, driving Ruben Amaro, Jr. and Phillies President David Montgomery to Port Charlotte to watch the Phillies play the Rays, Asst GM Scott Proefrock’s car ran out of gas. You can read about that here. Now, the Phillies had the following line in their game notes today, easily the best game note of all time:

“Proefrock had enough gas to make the return trip to Clearwater, however, it should be noted that he asked his passengers for toll money as he does not have a Sun Pass.”

That’s just funny. I think my favorite BlueClaws note over the last two years has been this.

Sweet 16

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

What former BlueClaws went to schools playing in the Sweet 16 (aka who should you root for)?

San Diego State: Quintin Berry (07), Troy Hanzawa (09)

Arizona: Jason Donald (07), John Hardy (06), Anthony Gose (09-committed but signed w/ Phillies)

Wisconsin: Chad Sidowsky (2001, an original BlueClaw)

North Carolina: Jason Knapp (09-committed but signed w/ Phillies)

Kansas: Mike Zagurski (06), Gus Milner (07)

Florida: Aaron Cheesman (06), Robby Read (03)

I’m pretty sure that’s it. If not, leave in the comments and we’ll update.

Today in the APP: Moose

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Tony Graham, BlueClaws beat writer for the Asbury Park Press, is down in Clearwater for the week getting ready for the season and he fired off this report on former BlueClaws 3B Travis Mattair, aka “Moose.”

Mattair, a 2nd round pick in 2007, was with the BlueClaws in 2008 and 2009. He took 2010 off to try to play basketball at Boise State, and is back with the Phillies this spring trying to make a baseball comeback. Here’s the story, and a snippet:

He said last year he took a peek into playing college basketball at Boise State, but never suited up before deciding, finally, that baseball was his first love.

“If it set me back, it set me back,” Mattair said of his year away from baseball. “It was something I had to do in my life to be satisfied.

“There’s doubters and kind of haters about what I did, but when you’re 20 years old, you’re wondering what do do with your life.

“When I left baseball last year, I didn’t have intentions of coming back,” Mattair said. “It’s incredible how life works.”

He said while away from baseball, he landed a roster spot with the Boise State basketball team and worked as a server in a “burger joint.”

Click here to read the full story. Good stuff as usual from Tony. Be sure to check back for more from the APP as we get ready for the start of the baseball season.

NEW: Fights Under the Lights

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Fights Under the Lights, a new MMA event hosted by the BlueClaws and presented by 95.9 WRAT and Central Jersey Blood Center, is coming to FirstEnergy Park on Saturday, June 18th.

  • 16 fights
  • Floor seating
  • The cage is going to be right on home plate!

Tickets will go on sale Monday at FirstEnergy Park,, or on the phone at 732-901-7000 option 2.

Hint: Listen this week to 95.9 WRAT for the chance to win tickets before they go on sale to the general public.

Full details here.

The SpringClaws lost today but LHP Mario Hollands threw 4.1 shutout innings with eight strikeouts. I’ll have the full write-up later on tonight.