r of former BlueClaws will kick off play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League tonight. The league runs through November 19th and is an annual fall showcase for some of the best prospects in the game.
Phillies prospects, which had been playing with Mesa over the past few years, will this year play for Scottsdale.
Below, a quick note on the former BlueClaws who will be participating in this year’s AFL, first with the Phillies prospects:
Tyler Cloyd (2009): Cloyd was Lakewood’s best pitcher in the first half of 2009 (he was promoted to Clearwater at the All-Star Break. He went 7-3, 3.05 with Lakewood that year. He opened 2011 with Clearwater before getting bumped up to Reading and went 9-4, 2.77 between the two stops. He was an 18th round pick in 2008 out of Nebraska-Omaha.
Jake Diekman (2008-10): Diekman’s career turned around after he had a 7.09 ERA at the All-Star break in 2009 and then became a side-armer. In the second half of that season, his ERA was 1.24 and this year with Reading, he struck out 83 hitters in 65 innings and held lefties to a .099 batting average (9-91). Note he shortened Jacob, which he was known by when he played with Lakewood.
BJ Rosenberg (2009): A 13th round pick in 2008 from the University of Louisville, BJ had a stretch in 2009 of 30 innings without allowing an earned run, from Memorial Day through August 6th, when he was promoted straight to Reading, which doesn’t happen often. He had an injury-plagued 2010 but this year had a solid season with Reading (5-7, 4.28), split between the bullpen (2.27 ERA) and rotation (5.62 ERA). Have to think that he’ll be a reliever going forward into 2012 but we’ll see.
Colby Shreve (2010-2011): You sometimes see current year BlueClaws get to play in Arizona, as Troy Hanzawa did following the 2009 season. Shreve spent last year and most of this year (5-5, 2.75) with Lakewood before getting a jump to Clearwater in August (1-1, 3.55 in seven games). His season turned around when he was moved from the rotation to the bullpen, and he noted that he could really let it loose back there. Pitching coach Steve Schrenk helped him develop a cutter as well. He was a 6th round pick in 2008 from the CC of Southern Nevada who missed two years (Tommy John Surgery) and made his pro debut in 2010.
Darin Ruf (2010): Ruf smoked the ball for a month with Lakewood in 2010 (.330-4-17 in 32 games), including a 5-5 game in Greenville on May 12th last year. He was promoted after that game to Clearwater (when Jonathan Singleton came up to Lakewood) . He’s been in Clearwater ever since and had a great season in 2011, hitting .308 with 17 HRs and 82 RBIs. Here is a Q&A with Ruf from January.
There are two Phillies prospects who will be in Arizona who did not play with Lakewood:
Cody Overbeck: This infielder hit .277-24-72 between Reading and Lehigh Valley this year. He skipped Lakewood after being a 9th round pick in 2008 from Ole Miss (would have been here in 2009)
Tyson Gilles: This outfielder came over to Philadelphia in the Cliff Lee trade (from Seattle) but has only played in 31 games in two years due to injury (three this year). Now healthy, this is essentially his season, rather than him winding down his season like everyone else.
Anthony Gose (2009): Lakewood’s all-time stolen base leader also became the all-time stolen base leader with AA New Hampshire (he stole 70 this year) and has led his league in steals the last three years. Gose, of course sent to Houston and then Toronto during the Roy Oswalt trade last year, won his third minor league title this year when New Hampshire won the Eastern League crown. He had previously won with Lakewood in 2009 and the GCL Phillies in 2008. He’s playing for the Phoenix Dirt Dogs. His New Hampshire teammate Travis d’Arnaud is not here, by the way.
Josh Zeid (2010): Zeid makes his second trip to the AFL, first as an Astro and he’ll play for Salt River. With Lakewood last year, he threw 8 perfect innings in the SAL Championship Series to help the BlueClaws win a title. This year, he was double-jumped straight to Reading where he was 2-3, 5.65. A part of the deal which brought Hunter Pence to the Phillies, Zeid went to AA Corpus Christi and appeared in 14 games, allowing 18 runs in 16 innings. He was a 10th round pick in 2009 from Tulane.
The Scottsdale team that the Phillies prospects will play on has both Bryce Harper of the Nationals and Mike Trout of the Angels, arguably the two best prospects in all of baseball, which means that they’ll play in front of the biggest of the crowds down there. Josh Zeid faced Harper last year in Harper’s first pro at bat.
Joe McEwing, considered to be a rising managerial prospect, is managing Mesa this year and top overall pick Gerrit Cole (Pirates, UCLA). Also on that team is White Sox prospect Jake Petricka. BlueClaws fans may remember Petricka and David Buchanan matching zeros in the second game of the season (April 10th) this year in Lakewood. It was the first game of a double-header and while the starters were long gone, Kannapolis won 2-0 in 16 innings. Lakewood didn’t get a hit off Petricka until the 6th inning. The man who accounted for the scoring, hitting a two-run home run, was Mike Blanke, one of the Mesa catchers.