Six former BlueClaws, plus a former manager, will take the field beginning Tuesday in Arizona as part of
the prestigious Arizona Fall League. Let’s take a look.
Spending his first year as an Arizona Fall League manager is 2009 BlueClaws manager Dusty Wathan. Wathan led the BlueClaws to the 2009 Sally League title and this year managed Reading to the post-season. He manages the seven Phillies prospects, four former BlueClaws among them, on Peoria.
LHP Jay Johnson was with the BlueClaws in 2011, when he had a 2.94 ERA and 49 Ks in 49 IP. A side-arming Canadian left-hander, Johnson was drafted out of Texas Tech by both the Blue Jays and the Orioles but never signed with either team due to an arm issue. The Phillies signed him in March of 2011 after seeing him throw in Arizona. He passed their physical and joined the BlueClaws a month into the season. This year, he spent the majority of the season with Reading, going 2-1, 5.02. He also made three appearances with Clearwater and two rehabbing with the GCL Phillies.
RHP Tyler Knigge, like Johnson and Shreve, also spent time with Reading this year, though Knigge started the season with Clearwater. With the Threshers, he was nearly unhittable, allowing just three runs in 45 innings. With the R-Phils, he gave up eight ER in 24.2 IP. Knigge went 4-3, 3.32 in 2011 with the BlueClaws after being picked in the 12th round in 2010 from Lewis & Clark State.
RHP Colby Shreve is no stranger to BlueClaws fans, having spent parts of three seasons with Lakewood. Drafted in the 6th round in 2008, Shreve had arm surgery and did not make his pro debut until 2010. He spent 2010 and 2011 with Lakewood, moving from the rotation to the bullpen in April of last year. This year, he surprisingly started with Lakewood, but after six games moved to Clearwater, and after 13 games went to Reading. With the R-Phils, he made 28 appearances and went 3-1, 4.40.
Wathan managed OF Zach Collier when he was a BlueClaw in 2009. After an injury cost him 2010, Collier was back with Lakewood in 2011 when he hit .255 with 35 stolen bases. This year with Clearwater, Collier, a supplemental first round pick in 2008, hit .269 with six home runs and 11 stolen bases.
There are three other Phillies prospects in the AFL, all on Peoria. C Tommy Joseph hit 11 HRs this year in the Eastern League and came over from the Giants in the Hunter Pence trade. 3B Cody Asche hit .324 this year between Clearwater and Reading. He was a 4th round pick last year from Nebraska who skipped Lakewood. The final player is RHP Kyle Simon, who came over from the Orioles with Gabriel Lino for Jim Thome on July 1st. Simon, who was drafted by Phillies farm director Joe Jordan when Jordan ran the Orioles draft last year, was originally a 4th round pick from Arizona, pitched for both Clearwater and Reading.
The other two former BlueClaws, both with the Astros, play for Mesa, and were sent to Houston together in the original Hunter Pence trade in July of 2011.
RHP Jarred Cosart went 7-3, 3.79 in 14 starts with the BlueClaws in 2010. This year, he went 5-5, 3.52 with Double-A Corpus Christi and made six appearances at the end of the year for Triple-A Oklahoma City. He turned 22 in May.
Finally, 1B Jonathan Singleton, who turned 21 in September, rounds out the list. Singleton hit 14 home runs and .290 with the BlueClaws in 2010, leading the BlueClaws offense in the championship season of 2010. This year, Singleton hit .284 with 21 home runs with Corpus Christi and played in the MLB Futures Game in July. He’s considered a top 30 prospect in all of baseball.
Here is the Arizona Fall League’s official site. Check there for updates and features and we’ll of course update you here throughout the six weeks.