Archive for January, 2013

Test Post

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

This is a test. Happy Thursday.

All-Star Game Alumni: Steve Carlton

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Each week leading up to the 2013 South Atlantic League All-Star Game at FirstEnergy Park, we’ll look back at one of the game’s alumni. This feature will run 20 weeks, as we are 20 weeks from the game, and include some outstanding players, perhaps none better than the one that we chose to start the feature with, Steve Carlton.

In 1964, Carlton pitched for the Rock Hill Cardinals and made 11 starts in the South Atlantic League (formerly the Western Carolinas League). He went 10-1 in those starts with a 1.03 ERA and was tabbed a league All-Star. In the same year, “Lefty” advanced to Double-A Tulsa and finished the season 15-6 with a 2.22 ERA with three different teams. In 1965, Carlton made 15 appearances with the St. Louis Cardinals, in just his second year as a professional baseball player.

In 1966, Carlton started in Triple-A Tulsa and made 19 starts before he was promoted to the MLB for good. He went on to play 24 seasons for six different teams, but it was his time with the Philadelphia Phillies (1972-1986) that earned him the most praise. While with the Phillies, Carlton won four Cy Young Awards and a World Series. Overall the southpaw was a 10-time All-Star, two-time World Series Champion, and a Gold Glove Award Winner.

He finished his career with 329 wins, a 3.22 ERA, and 4,136 strikeouts.

In 1994, Carlton was enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame, garnering 95.8% of the vote. The Phillies retired his number, 32, and honored him with a statue that stands outside Citizens Bank Park.

All-Star Game Quick Links: BlueClaws.com/AllStar, All-Star Game Ticket Timeline, Celebrity Hitting Challenge

Adam Buschini Wins ABL Triple Crown

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Winning the Triple Crown in any league is quite the task, so we’d like to congratulate 2010 BlueClaws IF Adam Buschini, who accomplished that feat in the Australian Baseball League while playing for the Canberra Calvary this winter.

Buschini hit .363 to win the batting title by 16 points over Mitch Dening (his BlueClaw teammate Jeremy Barnes finished 3rd at .343). Buschini’s 15 home runs were seven more than anyone else and his 50 RBIs were 18 more than anyone else.

He was a 4th round pick of the Phillies in 2009 out of Cal-Poly, and played with Lakewood in 2010. After being released by the Phillies, he spent 2011 with Chino in the North American Baseball League and 2012 with Amarillo of the American Association.

We hope Adam gets a chance to earn a spot on an affiliated roster this spring.

The Handbook

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Every year, Baseball America puts out what is likely the most comprehensive look at prospects every year, through their Baseball America Prospect Handbook, which arrived in the mail late last week.

Baseball America has previously released their Top Ten prospects in each organization (Phillies here) and we did a Q&A with their Phillies writer, Matt Forman (here).

Below the fold, however, you can see 11-30. We’ve put their 2012 finishing level in parentheses. Many of those on this list could be BlueClaws in 2013.

Enjoy.

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Winter Tour Wrap-Up

Friday, January 25th, 2013

There’s a bunch of different content out there from us and from outside sources from the Winter Tour event on Wednesday night. We wanted to consolidate that all in one place, and we’ve done that below.

From BlueClaws.com / BlueClaws Blog

From the Asbury Park Press

From the Press of Atlantic City

From PhoulBallz / Phillies Nation

There’s a lot of stuff there and I hope you enjoy it!

From The Winter Tour – Our Interview With Jesse Biddle

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

As we mentioned in our previous post, we had some other comments from Jesse Biddle that didn’t quite make the story and wanted to share with you here.

On his off-season work…I’ve thrown a bullpen once a week for the last six or so weeks. I’m getting there. More and more game ready, closer to where I want to be, but I’m light years from where I need to be in May, June, July.

When he turned his season around in May (2012) - One of the things that happened was I started to throw a slider, which is something I was throwing in high school. That helped me with all my other pitches, and I felt a lot more comfortable with all my other pitches.

Ready for Double-A…Hopefully if the Phillies believe I’m ready for AA coming out of Spring Training and they put me there, the way it works is it seems they take the best hitters from Hi-A and put them in AA and you face the best of the best. I just have to really focus and bring my A-game every time and I can’t take a pitch off. Everyone says the biggest jump is from A ball to AA so it’s something that I’m really excited about, to see if you’re ready or not. We’ll see.

What he’s heard about Reading’s FirstEnergy Stadium…I’ve heard from pitchers that the wind blows out and the park isn’t very big, but the way I see it is if I keep the ball down and throw the pitches where I want, they can’t hit too many out. They’ll still have to get a hold of it to get it out. Unless I’m pitching against Darin Ruf, I can’t worry about it too much.

About Ruf and his major run last year (20 HRs in August), do the players on other teams in the system follow that and get into that?…We did. A guy hits 20 home runs in a month…that doesn’t happen very often. Especially for a guy like Ruf who you hear nothing but nice things about. For him to be able to ride that wave into the big leagues is a great opportunity and something that we were all rooting for.

Most interesting thing he did in the off-season…I just went to the inauguration. I had an amazing time there. One of my friends goes to George Washington and is in the ROTC program. He has a lot of connections and works on a few congressional campaigns, and got us some tickets. We were pretty close to the front. It was a great experience and something that I”ll remember for the rest of my life.

More on the inauguration…It’s not something you see every day. Watching on tv is great, but it’s nothing like in person. You can’t really understand having 800,000 people in the same area. The Phillies parade was a million people but it’s on a long stretch of Broad Street. So to have this many people crammed into one area is very overwhelming, but everyone was extremlely happy. You didn’t realize how cold you were.

From the Winter Tour, Joe Jordan

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

More from last night’s Phillies Winter Tour stop in Lakewood…We sat down with Phillies Director of Player Development Joe Jordan for an interview.

You can listen to the interview by clicking here or by listening below.

Or, take a look at some article snippets…

How spring training and his off-season are different now that he has a year in the system (Jordan came to the Phillies from the Orioles following the 2011 season)…I talk about it all the time. It’s going to be a lot different and more enjoyable. I don’t have 170 players or a complete staff to get to know. I want to go down and concentrate on the job and the players. It’s going to make all the difference in the world for me. I can give my staff more of what they need and not trying to learn everyone’s name.

On Jesse Biddle - No one had a better year, developmentally, than him. At the end of the year he’s throwing four pitches at Hi-A as a young pitcher. His command was good and no one had a better year. But when you get to know him and see him work, there are reasons why he’s successful. He has as much pride as anyone. It’s very important for him to one day pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies, we all know that. As far as this year is concerned, he’s scheduled to go to Reading and I’m excited to see how he handles the challenge.

Do you agree that the jump from Hi-A to AA, which Biddle will make this year, is the biggest in Minor League Baseball? I do agree with that. The strike zone is smaller and the hitters are more patient. For me it’s definitely the first real separator they run into.

On Jonathan Pettibone (2010 BlueClaw) and the strides he made in 2012 – Last winter at this time, he was the player that was as accurately described to me by the staff as anyone. He was a pitcher. He doesn’t throw the ball 95 mph but he was going to throw it where he wanted to and use his change-up. He was exactly as they said. I love his consistency, and that’s going to allow him to be a good major league pitcher. His year was phenomenal. When he went to AAA he didn’t miss a step.

There’s a lot more below the fold, including on some potential 2013 BlueClaws.

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Biddle Gearing Up For Season

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Also from last night’s Winter Tour…

Jesse Biddle finished 2011 as a South Atlantic League Post-Season All-Star, and after a big season last year with Clearwater, he finished 2012 as the Phillies top prospect, at least in the eyes of Baseball America. The Philadelphia native was at the Phillies Minor League Week stop in Lakewood on Wednesday, and is anxious to get down to Clearwater for spring training.

“You try to enjoy your last couple of weeks in the off-season, but you have to make sure you’re in shape,” he said. “I’m enjoying time with my family and friends but I can’t stop picking up my glove. I can’t wait to have some hitters in the box and get ready for the season.”

Joe Jordan, the Phillies Director of Player Development, was impressed with Biddle’s year.

“No one had a better year, developmentally, than him,” said Jordan, who was also at Wednesday’s Winter Tour. “But when you get to know him and see him work, there are reasons why he’s successful.”

Read the rest of the story on BlueClaws.com.

We’ll have a companion to this story in a little bit, which will be more long-form Biddle quotes on a variety of topics.

Manuel Helps “Restore The Shore”

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

The plan today is to roll through a bunch of content and interviews that we did last night at the Phillies Winter Tour in Lakewood. That event started at 6, but Phillies manager Charlie Manuel came over earlier in the day to volunteer as part of Restore The Shore efforts.

Here is a story from BlueClaws.com.

“I really enjoyed meeting the people that are out there working and the people that are trying to clean up and still got quite a ways to go,” said Manuel.

He was pleased he was able to donate his time for service on the Shore, but Manuel added that attention needs to stay on the area and that there is still a greater need for aid.

“I really enjoyed it, but the biggest part about it was that they need help and I think that everybody in the United States knows that.”

And here is one from Tony Graham of the Asbury Park Press.

“I’m glad I got to see that,” Manuel said Wednesday night at the Phillies Winter Tour at the Woodlake Country Club. “It kind of brings reality back to you, how bad and how quick things happened, and how destructive a storm like Sandy was.”

[snip]

“We talked to them and also went around the whole area over there,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to believe and this is three months after it happened. They’ve been cleaning up ever since and there’s still a lot of work there. It’s unbelievable when you think about it. It’s every bit as bad as I heard it was.”

We will have interviews with Jesse Biddle, Joe Jordan, and more Manuel, this time on the upcoming season.

In Case You Missed It…

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

In 12 years of play, the BlueClaws have had 10 different field managers. Only Steve Roadcap (2007-2008) and PJ Forbes (2004-2005) have come back for multiple seasons (though Mickey Morandini will be added to that list this year). But in those 12 years, the BlueClaws have had only one General Manager, Geoff Brown.

That streak is ending, as Geoff accepted a position with Rutgers Athletics and will begin there on February 11th as the new Senior Associate Athletic Director/Chief Marketing Officer.

“This is a bittersweet day for me,” said Brown. “For 13 years, this has been my home and my second family. Leaving Lakewood and the BlueClaws was certainly a difficult decision, but the opportunity to work for Tim Pernetti [Rutgers Director of Intercollegiate Athletics] in this new position as they join the Big Ten was something that I could not pass up.”

He added: “I’d like to thank the hundreds of staff members we’ve had over the years that have put so much into the BlueClaws, and helped make the BlueClaws a special place,” he said. “I’d also like to thank the fans of Ocean and Monmouth Counties, who have been so supportive over the years.

“The people we work with and the fans that support the BlueClaws are what made this decision so difficult.”

Brown was the first employee hired by the BlueClaws and started with Lakewood in November of 1999, a full 17 months before the first game was played and five months before they broke ground on FirstEnergy Park.

Here is a story from the Asbury Park Press and here is the official BlueClaws release.

The plan is to sit down with Geoff before he leaves for a podcast-style interview that features some reminiscing, but that will come in a few weeks.

Everyone here with the BlueClaws congratulates him and wishes him the very best with Rutgers.

“70 Sandy Ovations”

Monday, January 21st, 2013

The BlueClaws unveiled a program this morning on the main site through which we will honor one individual, group, or company, that has contributed to local Restore the Shore efforts.

“While Sandy did great damage all across our area, the positive response that came from the community and from grassroots organizations was overwhelming and inspiring,” said BlueClaws General Manager Geoff Brown. “This is our way of saying thank you to these individuals or groups that went out of their way to help those in need at such a difficult time.”

To apply, please return this order form to sandyovations@blueclaws.com.

Once the season starts, we’ll be interviewing on the radio many of these honorees and we’ll be sure to share their stories and work with you here on this blog.

Yesterday, we went to the annual NJ Sportswriters Association luncheon up in Edison.

Steve Falk has a recap here of many of the Shore-area honorees.

The most touching moment of the luncheon, without question, was the standing ovation received by Manasquan High School football coach Jay Price, who was honored to represent Hurriacne Sandy First Responders.

His work was chronicled back in November here.

 

Roman Quinn & Billy Hamilton

Friday, January 18th, 2013

This was sent over to us by our buddy Todd a couple of days ago.

You may have heard of Billy Hamilton, the speedster in the Reds farm system that stole 155(!) bases last year.

Roman Quinn, who could well be the BlueClaws SS this year (and stole 30 to lead the NYPL last year), might be as fast, according to this Fangraphs post from Mike Newman of Scouting the SAL.

In a foot race, I’d place my money on Roman Quinn over any prospect not named Billy Hamilton. Heads up, it would be close — very close.

[snip]

On the surface, comparisons to Billy Hamilton are difficult to ignore. Quinn is lightning quick, is considered to be suspect as a long term shortstop and is learning to hit from the left side to maximize his speed. The body type is different as Quinn is a few inches shorter, but his being more compact helps the up-the-middle infield profile.

[snip]

Roman Quinn is a sleeper, but not for long. As he begins to post gaudy stolen base totals in full season baseball, he’s bound to gain momentum much like Reds Billy Hamilton. Quinn may never steal as many bases as Hamilton, but his all-around game has the potential to become more well-rounded due to defensive projection and cleaner swing mechanics from the left side. This time next season, he’s my bet for top prospect in the Phillies organization.

Quinn was #2 on the Phillies top prospect list from Baseball America, behind only Jesse Biddle, and he’ll be one to watch this summer at FirstEnergy Park.

A BlueClaw-centric Photo

Friday, January 18th, 2013

This was sent to us by Dave Schofield, BlueClaws team photographer, who has been up in Bufflao for the past couple of days.

Last night was the Buffalo Bisons Hot Stove Dinner. The Bisons are the new AAA affiliate of the Blue Jays. You may recognize the two in the photo. On the left, is 2009 BlueClaws OF Anthony Gose, and on the right is former BlueClaws broadcaster Ben Wagner.

Dugan Ready for 2013

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

This off-season was a special one for 2012 BlueClaws outfielder Kelly Dugan – he got to enjoy his first “white Christmas.”

“Our family went up to Yosemite with my girlfriend and best friend. They had never seen snow before,” said Dugan. “You don’t get a white Christmas in LA.”

Now that the holidays have passed, however, the only white Dugan will be seeing is a baseball. He’s spent the last few months, and will spend the next month, diligently preparing for the baseball season that will begin when he reports to Clearwater for Spring Training next month.

“Being able to spend time with family is great, but one of the best parts of the off-season is being able to spend so much time in the gym and working on my craft,” he said. “That part makes you feel confident heading into a long year.”

Dugan took about a month off but beginning in October, got back in the weight room and has been hitting with former Dodger Reggie Smith at his facility five minutes from the Dugan residence.

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