Archive for February, 2012

Build-a-Bushel

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

As we announced earlier today, BlueClaws FanFest is on March 17th, the first day fans can order individual game tickets for the 2012 season. That means that fans have until then to lock in the best seats for the best games prior to then (through March 16th) in a BlueClaws ticket package. So which games should you pick? How would you “build your Bushel?”

First off – take a look at the promotional schedule at BlueClaws.com/promotions. Then pick seven. Which seven? We asked several BlueClaws staffers how they would “build their Bushel,” if they already didn’t have season tickets, of course.

When you have built your bushel, you can then order it online here or call 732-901-7000 option 3.

Feel free to leave your comments below. On with the picks!

Greg Giombarrese (Media/PR Manager & Your Favorite BlueClaws Blogger / Radio Guy)

  • April 12th, Opening Day – Kicking off your personal season at any other day besides this one is offensive to the baseball gods.
  • May 27th, Fireworks – Memorial Day weekend is a great baseball weekend.
  • July 13th, Fireworks – Because the BlueClaws are 7-2 on Friday the 13th!
  • July 14th, Vance Worley Bobblehead Giveaway – Many will pick this because you can get a player’s bobblehead wearing glasses, but to me, the 60 minutes of The Snakes in the WRAT Trap for Irish Heritage Night makes the night a big win no matter what.
  • July 28th, BruceClaws – Summer, Springsteen, Baseball. In no particular order.
  • August 9th, Mickey Morandini XL T-Shirts – Threw in a summer Thirsty Thursday.
  • August 22nd, Giveaway TBD – I like surprises.

Zack Rosenberg (Director of Sponsorship)

  • April 12th, Opening Day – Can’t miss the kickoff to another awesome season.
  • May 12th, Bark in the Park – It’s always more fun to play with other people’s dogs rather than having to clean up after your own.
  • June 14th, Phillie Phanatic – Best hip shuffle in the biz!
  • June 16th, Bret Hart Appearance – Awesome name from my childhood and huge name in the wrestling world. Maybe I’ll be the lucky one to get the shades!
  • July 14th, Vance Worley Bobbleheads – Four Words: glasses on a bobblehead.
  • August 8th, ZOOperstars – Got to find out if the new additions have a funnier name than Yak Rosenberg.
  • August 31st, Fireworks – Best show on the Shore.

Hal Hansen (Director, Promotions)

  • April 14th, Knit Winter Hats – These knit hats are going to be fantastic, with pom-poms on the top and everything.  A must-have giveaway in 2012.  And it’s Buster’s Birthday so there will be 12-15 silly mascots running around too!
  • April 26th, Jim Kaat autograph signing – Supposedly Jim is one of the nicest guys in baseball and I’m excited to bring in such a quality former player and broadcaster.  I think our fans will really enjoy meeting him.
  • June 5th, “Carl Spackler” Bucket Hat giveaway – Golf night has always been among my favorite nights but now it is even better.  You know the camouflage hat Bill Murray wore in Caddyshack?  Imagine getting one of those with a BlueClaws logo on the front and wearing it the next time you play golf with your buddies.  Yup, see you there.
  • June 7th, Concert Ticket Extravaganza – This is easily one of my favorite nights of the season.  We’ll have and upwards of 18-20 sets of concert tickets from a bunch of local music venues, to be given away throughout the night.  A lot of big artists are on the road this summer so who knows who you could wind up seeing by winning tickets here that night.
  • June 25th, Christie Rampone bobbleheads – I am honored to be able to run with this promotion, paying tribute to one of the greatest athletes to come from the Jersey Shore area.  With the 2012 Summer Olympics starting just a couple of weeks later, this is sure to be a memorable night.
  • July 29th, The 30th Anniversary Celebration of E.T. – It is one of the most beloved movies of all time, by people of all ages, and I can’t wait to have some fun with this.  The Goonies celebration from 2010 was a lot of fun and I look forward to adding the same enjoyment to this E.T. tribute.  Reese’s Pieces, potted flowers, Speak & Spells, music, memorable clips, etc.  It is going to be a great night.
  • September 3rd, Fan Appreciation Day – I love when the season ends on Labor Day Monday.  Daytime baseball, players at the gates and traditional BlueClaws Family Photo on the field after the game.  It is always a great atmosphere and celebration of another fun season in the books.

Mike Van Hise (Director, New Client Development)

  • April 12th, Opening Day – Regardless where and when, Opening Day of baseball season is a National holiday.
  • May 27th, Fireworks – Memorial Day Fireworks, and we might have off the next day {crossing fingers}.
  • June 14th, Phillie Phanatic – The greatest mascot in the long and storied history of mascoting.
  • June 30th, Doc Gooden Appearance – Finally get to meet one of my childhood heroes, Dr. K.
  • July 14th, Irish Heritage Night – One of the cooler nights of the year, celebrating my heritage. Thanks for having me.
  • August 21st, Bobblection – Having a B.A. in Political Science, I know we could probably save the country a lot of money and decide the election this way.
  • August 25th, Fall Sports Ticket Extravaganza – After being forced to watch the Mets all season, it’ll be nice to see a game where my team might win.

Brandon Marano (Assistant General Manager)

  • April 12th, Opening Night – You have to come to Opening Night!
  • May 12th, Bark in the Park – My dogs would have an outstanding time meeting new friends.
  • June 16th, Bret Hart Appearance – One of the greatest wrestlers of all-time.
  • June 30th, Doc Gooden Appearance – Well, it’s Doc Gooden!
  • July 3rd, Fireworks – Nothing like celebrating the 4th of July a day early!
  • August 21st, Bobblection – We will determine who will be the next president of the United States right here in Lakewood.
  • August 25th, Fall Sports Ticket Extravaganza – It’s something new, and any sports fanatic would want to participate in this.

Ross Pibal (Director of Premium Seating)

  • April 12th, Opening Day
  • April 27th, Fireworks
  • May 12th, Bark in the Park
  • June 14th, Military Appreciation Night, Phillie Phanatic
  • July 14th, Vance Worley Bobblehead Giveaway
  • August 23rd, Clothes Hamper Giveaway
  • September 3rd, Fan Appreciation Day, Dollar Item Blowout

Opening Day and the last day are just tradition. Mixed in between are games against my future Colorado Rockies, Fireworks, Military Night, Phillie Phanatic, Bark in the Park, Vance Worley Bobblhead, and a clothes hamper giveaway to replace my broken one.

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A Happy Birthday

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

We’d like to wish a very Happy Birthday to BlueClaws head groundskeeper Ryan Radcliffe, who today turns eight.

A tweet from us this morning awknowleding this returned two responses, both pretty good:

@1tomato2 That’s why there are always crayons on the infield.

And the more classy @OhHeyItsKevin He ages gracefully.

We appreciate both responses of course.

But regarding the first one, sometimes crayons are very good, especially when they do this:

In this case, “crayons” shares a meaning with “stencil” and “spray-paint,” but you get the point.

In looking up some famous people who share a Leap Day birthday, we found John “Pepper” Martin (born 1904), who played for the Gashouse Gang Cardinals of the 1930s and three times led the National League in steals. He also managed an International League franchise named the, of all names, Miami Marlins.

FanFest12: March 17th

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

FanFest is the day that individual tickets go on sale to the general public for the first time, and this year that will be on St. Patrick’s Day – aka your first stop of the afternoon.

Here are the full details, but as usual, you can save on tickets, get free food, discounts in the Claws Cove, ballpark tours, record-your-own-home-run, etc.

We’ll have more on FanFest in the coming weeks of course, including a podcast with some staff members about the event. Later today, we’ll have our “Build-a-Bushel” post, where we let staff members pick what games they would choose to come to.

So we have a lot more on the way.

Dave Schofield’s Spring Training Blog – Number One

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

BlueClaws team photographer Dave Schofield is heading to Clearwater for Spring Training and he is chronicling his journey for BlueClaws Blog. Below is entry #1, from Cary, North Carolina. Enjoy.

There is perhaps, no time so hopeful as spring and spring training. Teams and players rise from the frosty ashes of winter like a phoenix to begin anew. This is why I look forward so much to my yearly pilgrimage to Clearwater, Florida and Phillies spring training.

This year’s trip began in Cary, North Carolina. I was shooting photos for 5 different colleges: Canisius College from Buffalo, NY (which also happens to be my alma mater), St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Youngstown State from Ohio, Marshall University from West Virginia and local school and BlueClaws partner Monmouth University.

Monmouth played against St. Joes and Youngstown State. In the St. Joes game on Friday February 17, Monmouth sent highly regarded righty from CBA, Pat Light to the mound.

Light was masterful in front of a gaggle of big league scouts sitting behind the plate. As you can see, all came armed with the mandatory radar guns. Light did not disappoint as he came away with the win.

After a few days visiting with my daughter and her husband in Georgia, I lit out on Saturday Feb. 25 for Clearwater and made the 8 hour drive without incident.

I will be doing the Phillies headshots on March 5. During this shoot I will be working with Miles Kennedy the Phillies team photographer and while he shoots every player in minor league camp wearing Phillies shirts and caps, I will shoot all the players in either Reading, Clearwater or Lakewood caps. The entire process, which we start with a 6am set up, is finished by 9:30am when the players must take the field. Miles and I have been doing this for 8 years and have it down to a science.

Until then, I have several fun assignments. Tomorrow I am heading out to Winter Haven to Chain O Lakes Stadium to photograph St. Bonaventure against Mt. St. Mary’s of Maryland. The next day I am photographing Rose Hulman Institute of Technology at Winter Haven. On Feb. 28, I will begin the Yankees minor league headshots. I do what Miles does and shoot all of the Yankees minor leaguers and also headshots for Trenton, Charleston and Scranton. That process goes for two days concluding on March 4. The photos are done at Raymond James Stadium while the players are getting their physicals. Not only the players are photographed but also the Athletic Trainers, coaches and manager.

In my next blog post I will talk about the college games I shot and then the headshots. The weather is promised to be wonderful for the next week.

 

Sunday Links and Coffee

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Here are some of the best stories around Clearwater during the most recent week. Enjoy.

In the Inquirer, Matt Gelb on Sebastian Valle, who is getting a taste of big league camp.

“Can I say something to him? It doesn’t mean anything,” Ruiz said. “You need to watch the game. That’s what I learned from Jamie Moyer when he was here. I can say 100 things and it won’t work. If you watch the game, you’ll learn something.”

[snip]

Ruiz, defensively, was once the same way. He’s a converted second baseman, and the appreciation for calling a game didn’t come until later in his career. So while watching is important, Ruiz can bestow some of his lessons to Valle.

“Some guys have instincts,” Billmeyer said. “It can be taught. Chooch came a long way.”

Making it easier is that Valle speaks enough English to form relationships with the pitchers he’s catching.

“Chooch didn’t speak any English,” Billmeyer said. “There was a language barrier right away. That took a while.”

Matt Gelb on Vance Worley, who is preparing for his second season:

Fan mail comes in larger quantities now, just one adjustment for the 24-year-old righthander now firmly a member of the Phillies rotation. Last spring, Worley was sent to minor-league camp almost two weeks before opening day. By summer, a city was captivated by the bespectacled pitcher who hopped off the mound every time he recorded a strikeout.

David Murphy on the well-deserved promotion of scouting director Marti Wolever to assistant general manager:

Wolever led the drafts that landed Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick, among others. He also helped rebuild the farm system after the current crop of stars landed in the big leagues, putting together a robust talent base that enabled the Phillies to land Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence, among others.

In this Daily News notebook, Rich Dubee talks about former BlueClaws LHP Jake Diekman:

Pitching coach Rich Dubee clearly likes Diekman. He views him as having the potential to become a late-innings reliever, much the same as lefty Antonio Bastardo do last year. Diekman’s delivery makes him more deceptive than the average reliever.

“He’s a little tougher from where his arm slot is, but he’s got some thunder, too,” Dubee said. “That’s a nice combination.”

In Phillies Zone blog post, note that new farm director Joe Jordan was the first to draft Cliff Lee, when he worked for the Expos. They also work in a reference to an obscure 2002 BlueClaw (not Ryan Howard or Gavin Floyd).

Phillies Insider takes you behind the scenes, with some of the extra stuff the players have to take care of outside the diamond.

Road to Lakewood: Relief Pitchers

Friday, February 24th, 2012

This week in the Road to Lakewood series, we look at some potential BlueClaws relief pitchers in 2012. Each week, we’ll look at a different positional grouping. After starting pitchers last week and relievers this week, we’ll continue with infielders and outfielders in the next two weeks.

Previously: Starting Pitchers

Going every Friday for the next four weeks takes us right through March 9th, and the minor league spring training games are slated to start on March 12th.

Disclaimer: These lists are looks at players that could be with the BlueClaws this year, not who will be with the BlueClaws this year. That stuff all sorts itself out at spring training. Typically, the BlueClaws carry a 12-man pitching staff, with five starters and seven relievers, and there are more than seven listed here.

Also – we have some comments sprinkled in here from Steve Noworyta, Phillies assistant director of minor league operations, who we spoke to earlier this week. On with the list:

RHP Gabriel Arias, a native of the Dominican Republic, finished second on Williamsport with seven saves last year and pitched to a 2.97 ERA, striking out 31 hitters in 36.1 innings pitched. He spent the previous four seasons with the Dominican Summer League Phillies and turned 22 in December. He was a NYPL All-Star last year.

LHP James Birmingham is from Pine Hill, NJ (71 miles from Lakewood and just southeast of Philadelphia) and posted a 1.72 ERA while splitting time between the Gulf Coast Phillies and Williamsport. He did not allow a run in his final five outings for Williamsport which included 8 strikeouts in 6.1 innings. Graduated from Coastal Carolina University in 2010, helping the team to the NCAA Super Regionals before being eliminated by eventual-National Champion South Carolina. Birmingham spent one year at Penn before transferring to Coastal Carolina and was spotted at a tryout held here at FirstEnergy Park.

LHP Austin Brough did not allow an earned run his last 11 appearances with Williamsport (21.2 IP). Though he surrendered 7 unearned runs in that time, his ERA dropped from 1.10 on July 22 to 0.47 when the season ended. He began the 2011 season with the Windy City Thunderbolts of the Frontier League before being signed by the Phillies on June 21. He had 23 strikeouts against just five walks last year.

Brough, who was released by Windy City after four years at Western Illinois, almost gave up baseball, as Mitch Rupert details in the Williamsport Sun Gazette. He had spent the previous winter washing cars.

RHP Matthew Campbell , a 2011 graduate from the University of Florida, was the 24th-Round selection of the Phillies in last season’s draft. He made one appearance for the Gulf Coast Phillies before being transferred to Williamsport. He made 14 total appearances for the CrossCutters, but went 3-0 with a 0.61 ERA (1 ER in 14.2 IP) in the month of August. Article on his signing.

RHP Cody Fick began his career with short-season Williamsport, making 15 appearances—including two starts for the Crosscutters. In 13 bullpen outings he held batters to a .202 BA and had a 3.82 ERA. He pitched 2.0+ innings in 14-of-15 appearances in 2011 after being selected by the Phillies in the 23rd round out of Evansville. He thought he would have been drafted as a position player, and gave up rooting for the Cardinals right before they won the World Series.

RHP Juary Gomez is a native of Aragua, Venezuela who converted 10-of-13 save opportunities for Williamsport in 2011, and he got the win in two of the three blown save opportunities. He spent 2008 and 2009 with the Phillies Venezuelan Summer League before splitting time between the Gulf Coast Phillies and Williamsport in 2010 and spending all of 2011 in Williamsport. In 68.0 IP out of the bullpen since the start of the 2010 season, Gomez has allowed 14 ER which accounts for a 1.85 ERA. He’s from the same hometown as 2011 BlueClaws LHP Ervis Manzanillo.

RHP Colton Murray was a 13th round pick last year from the University of Kansas. In the summer of 2010 he posted 0.49 ERA and 8 saves in 18 appearances for the Brewster Whitecaps and was named to the Cape Cod League All-Star Team. In his first professional season, he allowed 10 ER in 30.0 IP after being sent to short-season Williamsport.

He was ranked the 91st player in the country prior to the season by College Baseball Daily.

RHP Jesus Pirela went 3-0, 4.34 out of the Williamsport pen last year, with 31 strikeouts in 29 innings. He moved to the bullpen in 2010 after starting for two years in the Venezuelan Summer League. Pirela is a native of Maracaibo.

Those are the guys from Williamsport that make the most sense. Plus, Bryan Morgado who we mentioned last week with the starters could also be added. Below, find a few others.

RHP Rye Davis joined the BlueClaws at the tail end of the year and pitched in one game. He gave up five runs in 24 innings with the GCL Phillies after signing with the Phillies out of Western Kentucky. Here is his WKU bio.

LHP Fabian Cota went 1-0, 3.52 with the GCL Phillies last year, striking out 25 hitters in 23 innings. He will turn 20 years old on April 13th, the day of the second home game. Cota signed his contract in September of 2010 and made his pro debut in the GCL. He’s from the same town in Mexico (Los Mochis) as former BlueClaws C Sebastian Valle.

RHP Paul Cusick went 3-2, 4.14 in the GCL last year and pitched two games with Williamsport at the end of the season. He was a 29th round pick in the draft last year from…UPenn, becoming the first Penn player drafted since 2004.

“It is surreal,” Cusick said. “I was home watching the Phillies game with my family and we had the computer up as well with the Draft on. We heard my name called and all looked at each other in amazement and we were all just so happy.”

RHP Ian Durham had a 3.62 ERA in 18 games with the GCL Phillies last year, striking out 24 and walking 10 in 36 innings. He was a 28th round pick from Cal-Lutheran and the 18th Kingsmen player ever to be drafted.

That’s 12 guys there, and as we said, probably seven relievers will be on the Opening Day roster. Enjoy, and we’ll continue the series next week.

Former BlueClaws in Spring Training Sites

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

With spring training underway in both Florida and Arizona, it’s time to take a look at the former BlueClaws that are down in these camps. Obviously, the Phillies are the most populated camp with former BlueClaws but there are a number of other camps with several former BlueClaws. Take a look below, and enjoy!

As I type this it’s over 50 degrees at 10:30 am, and we’re headed for 59 today and 61 tomorrow.

Year the player was with Lakewood is in parentheses and NRI denotes a non-roster invitee. MiLC is minor league camp (for players in non-Phillies organizations only). Thanks to John with HomeSide News for his help compiling this.

See below the fold. We came up with 44 players in 14 different organizations 47 players in 18 different organizations, and I’m sure we missed someone (if you want to add to the list, send an email to radio @ blueclaws dot com or use the comments section).

UPDATE (1:32 pm): We added RHP Lendy Castillo (2011), who was taken by the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft, and 3B Travis Mattair (2008-09, 11), taken by the Reds in the minor league Rule 5 Draft, bringing the total to 46 players with 15 teams.

UPDATE (Friday, 9:14 am): Added RHP Will Savage (2006 to the Dodgers) and LHP Josh Outman (2006) to the Rockies.

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Remember This?

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

The picture shown on the right is one of our favorite ones among the many shots that BlueClaws team photographer Dave Schofield has taken over the years. It’s of Matt Maloney, hand raised, after throwing a complete game shutout to clinch the 2006 South Atlantic League Championship Series, Lakewood’s first title.

Not shown is Matt Thayer, the right-fielder who caught the ball. We mention this because today is Thayer’s 30th birthday. He was drafted out of UCLA in the 31st round by the Padres in 2004 and joined the Phillies in 2006, most of which was spent with Clearwater, though he played 25 games for the BlueClaws.

You can see Thayer below, he’s #9 sprinting in on the right.

What you do not see is his glove and the ball. That’s because he immediately threw the ball, after the catch was official, into the seats, and who knows who has it now? That puts Thayer in the majority (two, joined by 2010 OF Leandro Castro) among BlueClaws who have caught the championship-clinching out. The other? 2009 BlueClaw 2B Harold Garcia.

Interestingly enough, who flew out to right to end that game and clinch the title? Current San Francisco Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval, who was then Augusta’s third baseman.

Road to Lakewood: Starting Pitchers

Friday, February 17th, 2012

road-to-lakewoodWe do this every year, and with about seven weeks left until the start of the 2012 baseball season, it’s time to kick off our Road to Lakewood series for 2012! Each week, we’ll look at a different positional grouping, going from starting pitchers to relief pitchers to infielders and concluding with what should be a crowded outfield group again this year.

Going every Friday for the next four weeks takes us right through March 9th, and the minor league spring training games are slated to start on March 12th.

Disclaimer: These lists are looks at players that could be with the BlueClaws this year, not who will be with the BlueClaws this year. That stuff all sorts itself out at spring training. The BlueClaws will have a five-man starting rotation as always but this list is obviously going to exceed that.

Also – we have some comments sprinkled in here from Steve Noworyta, Phillies assistant director of minor league operations, who we spoke to earlier this week. On with the list:

LHP Adam Morgan was a 3rd round pick in the draft last year from the University of Alabama. He had an excellent season in the NY-Penn League, going 3-3, 2.01, an ERA that would have ranked 3rd if it qualified. He gave up two runs or less in nine of his 11 starts, and just three in the other. Morgan turns 22 on February 27th and it wouldn’t surprise us at all if he went straight to Clearwater. Baseball America has him 29th in the system.

Said Noworyta: “He came into camp when we signed him and he seemed more polished – his secondary pitches had command to them and he was really able to handle that level. He knew how to pitch when he entered the minor leagues.”

RHP Perci Garner made a few headlines last week when he was ranked in Keith Law’s Phillies top ten (at #9, Insider). He was 21st in Baseball America’s list (not saying either is right or wrong). He was a 2nd round pick in 2010 from Ball State and after being limited to four innings that year, he threw 30 in 2011, striking out 30 and having just a 1.20 ERA.  The former QB, who passed for over 8,800 yards in high school, has a fastball that touches 96 on the radar gun and figures to be in the Lakewood starting rotation this year.

Said Noworyta: “He’s the one that’s made the biggest strides from the draft. The velocity is back. His work ethic is unbelievable. He’s the guy we thought we had when we drafted him. He’s down in camp now (we talked to Steve on February 14th) and this is going to be a big year for him.

LHP Lino Martinez was Williamsport’s Opening Day starter last year and went 6-2, 2.79, an ERA drop of 2.14 runs from 2010 in the Gulf Coast League. He will not turn 20 until September 17th, so if he comes to Lakewood, which we figure he will, Martinez will be one of the youngest pitchers in the league, like Ervis Manzanillo was last year. Like Manzanillo, Martinez is from Venezuela.

Said Noworyta: “He had a lot of developing to do when he first came to us but we saw the ability for a left-hander that with a little more size and strength and with some time he would be able to have some success.”

RHP Colin Kleven was a 33rd round pick in 2009 from British Columbia, Canada. He turns 21 on April 15th and last year went 4-6, 4.84 with Williamsport. He’s a groundball pitcher (1.49 groundout/airout ratio) and a hard thrower. In a July 16th game, he threw seven shutout innings on three hits, no walks, and got 15 groundball outs. Last year, one BlueClaw came up from extended spring training and was asked who was playing well and he said, without hesitation, “Kleven looks awesome.” Local article from spring training 2010.

Said Noworyta: “He did a real nice job last year. He’s a big, strong kid that needs to put a little more size on him. He’s trying to get used to his body size and develop that and he should be a pretty good package.”

RHP Mike Nesseth was a 17th round pick in 2010 out of Nebraska who was drafted in the 15th round in 2009 by the Angels. He didn’t pitch for the Phillies in 2010 after having Tommy John Surgery and went 3-6, 3.21 with the Crosscutters last year, making the All-Star team. Marti Wolever saw Nesseth as a sophomore and thought he might be a 1st round pick (article) before his surgery. Read that whole article, it’s excellent, and Carlos Ruiz has a nice comparison for Nesseth. Baseball America has him listed under relief pitchers, but all 14 of his appearances last year were as a starter.

That’s five, all from Williamsport. Here are two more who pitched in the Gulf Coast League in 2011:

RHP Ramon Oviedo is a 21 year old from the Dominican Republic who signed as an amateur free agent in April of 2010. He pitched three games last year after a full summer in 2010 with the Dominican Summer League Phillies before joining the GCL Phillies. In the GCL, he went 4-2, 3.86 in 56 innings pitched last year, being only one of two pitchers (the next player listed) to start ten games for the GCL Phillies.

LHP Ethan Stewart was a 47th round pick in 2010 from New Mexico Junior College. He didn’t pitch in 2010 and last year, went 4-4, 3.62 with the GCL Phillies (54 Ks in 54.2 innings, 1.97 groundout/airout ratio). He got a cup of coffee in Williamsport, allowing two runs over nine innings in two outings. Stewart, who is Canadian like Kleven, turned 21 in January. Baseball America had him 16th among GCL prospects, called him a “potential steal in his pro debut this summer” (here, subscription) and he keeps a detailed book on opposing hitters.

One tweener:

LHP Bryan Morgado was a 4th round pick in 2010 from the University of Tennessee, where he was friends with 2010 BlueClaws LHP Nick Hernandez. He began last year with Lakewood but finished it with Williamsport. With the Crosscutters, he went 2-0, 2.36 with 39 Ks in 34.1 innings. Most of his work has been as a reliever (28 of 31 career appearances). There are a few reasons we list him here, however. One, he made three starts at the end of last year for Williamsport, allowing 6 ER in 15 IP with 13 Ks, which shows the Phillies might decide to make him a starter. Two, he’s only thrown 59.1 innings in two years so he needs the innings. And three, Baseball America lists him as a starter in their prospect handbook.

And one potential returnee:

LHP Nick Hernandez was outstanding for Lakewood at the start of the 2010 season, going 3-1, 1.61 in eight starts. However, his last start was on May 16th, 2010 and he took a no-hitter into the 8th inning. However, he was injured between starts, made a few rehab appearances with the GCL Phillies later in the summer, and didn’t pitch at all in 2011. Had he not gotten hurt, he wasn’t going to be with Lakewood too much longer, perhaps only through the end of the first half, but because of the layoff, we could see him for a little bit at the start of 2012.

There’s nine potential Lakewood starting pitchers.

Feed Problems and What’s Upcoming

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

For those of you that subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed using Google Reader, the posts that have appeared here after January 20th have not shown up on there. We’re trying to figure that out. For those that don’t know how to subscribe but would like to, click the orange icon at the bottom of this post.

Earlier this week, I talked with Phillies assistant director of minor league operations Steve Noworyta about a few players that could be here with Lakewood this year. I’m planning to start the Road to Lakewood series tomorrow. We’ll do four groups – starting pitchers, relief pitchers, infielders, and outfielders (go figure).

The plan is to do more podcasts this year too, so we’ll do that with some staff members, fans, and when the season starts, of course the players and coaches.

Philly.com’s Minor League Overview

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

There was an excellent overview that ran this morning from Joe Berkery with new farm director Joe Jordan. Click here to read. There are updates/comments on Sebastian Valle, Jesse Biddle, Larry Greene, Tyson Gilles, Brody Colvin, and more.

Here’s one snippet, on 2011 supplemental first round pick Larry Greene:

The Phils took the powerful 6-1, 230-pound outfielder with the 39th overall pick last June, but he didn’t sign until August. Greene worked out with the Gulf Coast League team late last season and spent time in the Florida Instructional League, but a tender groin limited his time on the field. So he remains a bit of an unknown. As a senior last year at Berrien High School in Nashville, Ga., he hit .562 in 30 games with 19 homers.

“He has the materials to have game-changing power from the left side of the plate,” said Jordan, who scouted Greene with the Orioles. “He has power to all fields. I’ll tell you, real power is hard to find. We think he has it. The challenge now is to make sure he’s healthy, get him in shape, and we’ll see what happens in spring training.”

Meaning the Phils aren’t sure where he’ll start the season. Possibly Class A Lakewood.

Read the whole thing.

ClawCast: Hal Hansen on Bobbleheads, Autograph Signers

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Today, the BlueClaws announced the bobblehead giveaways (click here) and autograph signers (purchase cialis onlineticle.jsp?ymd=20120214&content_id=26681872&vkey=news_t427&fext=.jsp&sid=t427″>click here) for 2012, a great list put together by BlueClaws Director of Promotions Hal Hansen.

If you click below the fold, you’ll see the full lists with details and notes. Click here to download a pdf version of the promotional schedule.

Meanwhile, we sat down with Hal for another ClawCast about the promo schedule.

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Q&A: Jonathan Pettibone

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

pettiboneblogWe had a chance to talk with 2010 BlueClaws RHP Jonathan Pettibone (follow him on Twitter @Jon_Pettibone) for a pre-spring training Q&A that you can read below.

Pettibone went 8-6, 3.49 with Lakewood in 2010 (2.41 ERA in the second half) and helped the BlueClaws win their second of two straight Sally League titles. Last year, he went 10-11 with Clearwater but only because of a lack of run support. He had a sparkling ERA of just 2.96, 5th best in the Florida State League. Baseball America ranked him 4th in the system, his highest ranking.

How would you assess your season last year? It seemed like you picked up right where you left off? It was the main goal going in, first making Clearwater, and staying healthy, that was a big key for me, but also just doing like I did in 2010 and continuing to attack the hitters and throw all three pitchers for strikes and let my defense do the work.

Were the hitters a lot different, a lot better, at that level? They’re more patient and they won’t chase your out pitch, slider in the dirt or whatever it is. For me, not being a strikeout pitcher, I kind of just went after hitters and made them put the ball in play and get the out from there.

So as you prepare to make the next jump to Double-A, what would you say would be the most important thing for you to do? It’s really just keeping the same approach. I would say I’ve gone after it harder in the weight room and running. For one, they’re going to expect a bunch of innings (he threw 161 last year, 131.1 in 2010), so I’m preparing myself to stay healthy and get through another full season. I’m excited for the new challenge. We’ve heard that’s the biggest jump (Hi-A to AA), and plus I get to hit.

Did you hit in high school? Early in HS I did, but later on just pitched.

Are you excited to hit? Right now I’m kind of scared (chuckle), but once I get a little comfortable, I’ll be ok.

What’s your offseason throwing plan been like?
I picked up a baseball in mid-December and light tossed from there. Then I started throwing bullpens about two weeks ago.

What’s the workout regimen been like? At the end of the year, Shawn (Fscani – Phillies minor league strength and conditioning coordinator) gives us a pretty solid program. I’ll throw in a few of my own workouts but I stay on pace on what they want from me each week. The calendar helps guide you to where you need to be leading up to the end of February..

Two of your teammates, Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart, were traded at the deadline. What was that like? It was different. We kind of had an idea it might be coming, at least someone from our team. It was a little easier because of that. But Cosart was my roommate on the road. We were down in Palm Beach, we got the call and then he left the next morning.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the offseason? Play a lot of golf – I play in the season too.

How have you hit them? Let’s not talk about that (laughter). Not that well lately. I’m about a bogey golfer.

Favorite part of your time in Lakewood? Winning the championship, of course. The whole year in general. Winning both halves, but to top it off on the championship, that was the best.

What’s your typical day like in the offseason? Now I’m pretty busy with throwing, running, hitting, lifting. But before, I enjoyed family and friends that I hadn’t seen in awhile, golfing, and a little ping pong.

Your dad played in the big leagues. Has he talked to you about what to expect as you move up? We haven’t really gotten to that point, but the majority of his career was in the minors. I talked to him a lot after my starts on how I feel or how things are going. But we really haven’t crossed the path of what to expect moving up.

You’ve been moving up a lot of the offseason prospect rankings lately. Is that something you pay attention to? I don’t pay attention to it but of course I hear about it. It’s something I try not to get too involved in. I’m not complaining though.

Twitter. How’d you get involved? Last spring training, a bunch of guys, (Jarred) Cosart, (Jiwan) James, were talking about it. And I gave in. I’m not as bad as Jiwan though (laughter).

Thanks to Jon for a few minutes and we wish him best of luck this season.

6,000 On Twitter – Contest!

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

twitter6kfull

We have reached our 6,000th follower on Twitter! Thanks everyone who does follow us (you can by clicking here). In honor of Twitter follower #6,000, we’re going to have a contest and hand out three prizes – Twitter followers are eligible.

How To Enter – Through Friday at 3 pm, tweet: “I love @blueclaws because ___________________.” Be sure to use @blueclaws so we see it, and we’ll pick the winners.

Thanks!

Grand Prize
Press Box Suite on April 13th (four tickets, includes food)
Ceremonial First Pitch
BlueClaws #6,000 T-Shirt
Appearance on the Radio

Runner-Up
Four Tickets to Opening Day
Four Hot Dog, Chip, Soda Vouchers
BlueClaws Baseball Cap

Second Runner-Up
Four Tickets to Opening Day
Buster Bobblehead Doll

Thanks, and good luck!