Archive for January, 2012

Biddle, Morandini Coming to Winter Tour

Friday, January 13th, 2012

If you missed this on the main site, I thought I’d re-post here for those of you that read this blog through your G

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oogle RSS feeds (if you don’t but want to, you can sign up below).

We announced last week that new BlueClaws manager and former Phillies second baseman Mickey Morandini will be joining us on January 25th.

Then yesterday, we announced that 2011 BlueClaws LHP and top Phillies prospect Jesse Biddle will also be joining us.

Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro were in the original release. All the details can be found here. Hope to see you there.

The event is at Woodlake Country Club, $40/head. It’s a really fun night.

1-2 in 3 Organizations

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

oneinthreefullFormer BlueClaws are ranked 1-2 in three different organizations among the recent Baseball America prospect lists released over the last few weeks.

We talked about the Phillies top ten prospects list awhile back with former BlueClaws in the one-through-four slots (Trevor May, Jesse Biddle, Sebastian Valle, and Jonathan Pettibone). May and Pettibone were in the BlueClaws 2010 championship rotation with Valle their catcher. Biddle, of course, was here this year. You can read more about those guys at the link.

The other two organizations where the BlueClaws go 1-2 are recent Phillies trading partners Houston and Toronto.

Houston (click here)
1. 1B Jonathan Singleton: Sent to Houston in the Hunter Pence trade in July, Singleton hit .290-14-77 with the BlueClaws in 2010, including a mammoth home run in his first at bat with the team, May 13th in Greenville. After the trade, Singleton was sent to Hi-A Lancaster (he was with Clearwater) and hit .333 with 4 HRs in 129 at bats. Baseball America says he is the best first base prospect in the minors.

2. RHP Jarred Cosart: Also in the Hunter Pence trade in July, Cosart went 7-3, 3.79 with Lakewood in 2010, pitching in the first half before an injury cost him the second half of the season. Cosart, unlike Singleton, was bumped straight up to Double-A Corpus Christi after the trade. He went 1-2, 4.79 in seven starts (though he did allow one earned run or less in five of those seven starts) and will likely go back there to open the 2012 campaign.

Toronto (click here)
1. C Travis d’Arnaud: He was traded to the Jays in the Roy Halladay in December of 2009. This year, he anchored the championship Eastern League Jays affiliate in New Hampshire, hitting .311-21-78 and was the league MVP. He hit 13 home runs and drove in 71 runs with the championship BlueClaws in 2009 under Dusty Wathan. d’Arnaud, who saw his brother Chase make his big league debut this year with Pittsburgh, is expected to go to Triple-A Las Vegas and could make his big league debut later in the season.

2. CF Anthony Gose: Gose has led his league in steals each of the last three years (including a franchise record 76 with the BlueClaws in 2009). This year, he was d’Arnaud’s teammate on the championship New Hampshire club. Gose stole 70 bases this year and hit 16 home runs, after hitting nine in his first three pro seasons. He’ll join d’Arnaud in Las Vegas this summer. He was actually sent to Houston in the Roy Oswalt deal in 2010 but was immediately flipped to Toronto for Brett Wallace. Toronto reportedly wanted him in the Halladay deal but the Phillies held onto him.

And that’s how you 1-2 in 3 organizations.

A few former BlueClaws (OF Michael Taylor and IF Adrian Cardenas) could appear on the Athletics top-ten list, which will be released on January 25th, though that list will not include the prospects the A’s have received this offseason in trading away Gio Gonzalez (Nationals), Andrew Bailey (Red Sox) and Trevor Cahill (Diamondbacks).

Happy Birthday Juan Richardson

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Today is Juan Richardson’s birthday.

Who’s that, you ask?

Richardson, who turns 33 today, was the third baseman on the first-ever BlueClaws team. That 2001 team was managed by Greg Legg, current BlueClaws hitting coach.

Richardson had played in this league (South Atlantic League) in 2000 but with Piedmont (now Kannapolis) before the Phillies moved their affiliation from down in North Carolina to up here at the Jersey Shore.

That first season, Richardson hit 22 home runs, the BlueClaws single-season and franchise records, and drove in 83 runs. The 22 home runs stood alone until this year, when Jim Murphy hit 22 of his own to tie the single-season mark and, combined with the 14 he hit in 2009, Murphy passed Richardson’s all-time home run total.

Richardson played five years of Double-A ball, two with Reading, two in the Cardinals system and one (2008) in the Royals system. He has spent the last three years in independent leagues, this year with Wichita in the American Association where he hit .360 with 12 home runs in 98 games.

Richardson will always hold a place in BlueClaws history, and his 22 home runs are still the most ever hit by a BlueClaw in a single season (now tied with Murphy).

Happy Birthday to Juan Richardson.

Good Luck to Jack Morris

Monday, January 9th, 2012

jackmorris2Jack Morris is one of several players up on the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. The class will be unveiled at 2 pm (watch on MLB.com) and we are rooting for Morris, who signed autographs at a BlueClaws game in July.

Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has a good article here, summing up Morris’ chances.

When Morris’ vote total climbed from 44.0 percent to 52.3 percent in 2010, that was an important step. Since the BBWAA held its first Hall of Fame vote in 1936, the only player to receive at least 50 percent of their vote and not eventually reach the Hall of Fame is Gil Hodges.

While that sounds positive,

“Really, looking at (Morris’) case right now, I don’t see any way the BBWAA ever puts him in,” said Chris Jaffe, a history instructor who has done extensive research on the annual voting and publishes his findings at HardballTimes.com. “Under normal circumstances, I think Morris would have a good shot. He’s around where Blyleven was after 12 or 13 years, but the problem for Morris is, Blyleven had a couple fairly weak incoming classes when he got to that point, and next year …”

Next year won’t be anything like this year, when Bernie Williams was the only newcomer on the ballot (with apologies to Brad Radke and Ruben Sierra) who figures to receive enough votes — 5 percent or more — to remain eligible.

Next year, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio and Curt Schilling all crash the ballot. The arguments will be furious, with voters forced to confront all the performance enhancing drug allegations against Clemens, Bonds and Sosa, not to mention returnees such as Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro.

Jayson Stark of ESPN has Morris in on his ballot.

It wasn’t just misguided sportswriters who thought he had that ace aura. The whole sport thought he had it. There’s no other explanation for why this man was chosen to start three All-Star Games, or why he started on Opening Day 14 years in a row, or why his manager handed him the ball in Game 1 of six of the seven postseason series he participated in — with three different teams.

Previous BlueClaws autograph signers in the Hall of Fame include Bob Feller, Steve Carlton, Goose Gossage, Jim Rice, and Andre Dawson.

3:10 pm: Barry Larkin was the lone inductee – but Jack Morris jumped up to 67%, putting him within 8 points of election, and two years to make up the ground. Congrats to Larkin, whose election was well deserved.

Hyatt, Rosenberg Among Non-Roster Invitees

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

bjrosnbergblogAustin Hyatt and BJ Rosenberg, both members of the 2009 BlueClaws, will head to spring training this year as non-roster invitees.

Both spent this year with AA Reading, where Hyatt went 12-6, 3.85 as a starter and Rosenberg went 5-7, 4.28 split between the bullpen and the starting rotation.

They were never formally teammates with Lakewood, as Rosenberg, who was drafted in the 13th round in 2008 from Louisville, was promoted (straight to Reading) in early August. He did not allow an earned run after Memorial Day (28.2 consecutive innings). He was also a non-roster invitee last year.

Hyatt, who was drafted that year from Alabama in the 15th round, joined Lakewood for the final five regular season games (he appeared in just one) and the playoffs. That post-season, he appeared in four games (four of the five BlueClaws wins) and threw six shutout innings.

Todd Zolecki of Phillies.com has the rest of the 15 non-roster invitees announced in November:

Right-handers Dave Bush, Scott Elarton and Brian Sanches; left-handers David Purcey, Pat Misch and Raul Valdes; catchers Steven Lerud and Tuffy Gosewisch; infielders Pete Orr, Kevin Frandsen and Hector Luna; and outfielders Scott Podsednik and Luis Montanez.

Gosewisch, of course, is another former BlueClaw, who was here in 2007. He hit .247 with 13 HRs and 66 RBIs this year with Reading.

Best of luck to those players.

By the way, Opening Day in Lakewood is just 98 days away and assuming a Valentine’s Day report date, you’re looking at just 40 days until pitchers and catchers (I say this as we got our first snow dusting here at the Shore this morning).