Archive for February, 2013

Prizes If You Build-a-Bushel? Yep.

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Last week, we posted the annual BlueClaws Staff Build-a-Bushel post, where BlueClaws staff members posted their Bushel packages of choice – mainly, if they were going to get a Bushel package for themselves, which seven games would they pick?

Click here to view a copy of the BlueClaws 2013 promotional schedule (pdf file).

We’ve decided to take this annual exercise a step further, offering a series of prizes for anyone that orders one of these Bushel packages – off the rack. You’ll have to order the package exactly as it appears, meaning, select these exact seven games.

If you do that, order ‘The Greg Giombarrese Bushel,’ for example, you’ll receive the following:

  • A Ceremonial Pre-Game Pitch
  • A $25 Restaurant Gift Card (subject to availability)
  • A Photo on the Field (with the staff member in question)

To order in this regard, you must call Pat Girard at 732-901-7000 ext 196.

We’ve re-printed the list of Build-a-Bushels below the fold for you to read, and added one that was submitted by BlueClaws fan and loyal blog reader, the ToddFather.

Enjoy!

(more…)

BlueClaws GM Hits the Airwaves

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

BlueClaws General Manager Brandon Marano was on the radio this morning, joining both WOBM stations to talk about FanFest, at FirstEnergy Park this Saturday.

He was on the AM with Bob & Marianne, an interview which you can listen to by clicking here or using the embed player below. 1160/1310 WOBM-AM, by the way, is the radio home of the BlueClaws.

Brandon was also on with Shawn & Sue (participants in the June 17th Celebrity Hitting Challenge) on 92.7 WOBM FM, which you can listen to by clicking here.

The Revamped BlueClaws.com

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

We’ve made some upgrades to BlueClaws.com including a nice new, larger media wall panel across the front, a new features section where we’ll be able to highlight a lot of the stuff we post at this blog, easy access to our social media sites, and much more.

Take a look!

Thanks to our friends at Baseball Advanced Media for their help.

Road to Lakewood: Infielders

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Each year leading into the season, we bring out our Road to Lakewood series, in which we look at players that could be with the BlueClaws when the team comes north in April. This is one of our favorite things to do on this blog. We hope you enjoy it.

This week in the Road to Lakewood series, we look at some potential BlueClaws infielders in 2013. This is the first part of a four-part series, which will include outfielders later this week, and starting and relief pitchers next week. That will lead us to March 12th, when the first Minor League Spring Training games are played.

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 two catchers, but they have carried three. How many infielders might depend on if any can play the outfield, and vice versa.

SS Roman Quinn – Quinn skyrocketed up prospect lists after a tremendous 2012 season in which he led the NY-Penn League in stolen bases (30) all while learning shortstop for the first time and learning how to switch-hit for the first time. He hit .281 last year (.256 right-handed and .347 left-handed), while walking an impressive 9.5% of his plate appearances (including HBPs, he reached base 12.7% of his plate appearances without a hit). Baseball America ranked him second in the Phillies system and 100th overall in the sport. Quinn was a 2nd round pick in 2011 from Port St. Joe, Florida, who last year learned both shortstop and switch-hitting.

Here’s what Phillies Director of Player Development Joe Jordan had to say about Quinn when we interviewed him at the Phillies Winter Tour in January -

Moving Quinn to SS and teaching him to switch-hit in the same season - It speaks to the character and toughness and the ability of the player. Those are major things. What he was able to do left-handed is amazing. How much progress he made there – he made that or more progress at shortstop. We’ll see how it goes, but he’s heading in the right direction.

As we noted here, Quinn’s rating of 80 on the 20-80 scale in the speed category is not something that is handed out often. He’s quite fast, and will probably be the player that receives the most pre-season hype among those on this roster.

1B Chris Serritella nearly won the Missouri Valley Conference Triple Crown last year and the Phillies took him in the 4th round out of Southern Illinois. The everyday 1B for Williamsport, Serritella hit .297 with 6 HRs and 47 RBIs while leading the NYPL with 24 doubles, one more than teammate Cameron Perkins and two more than teammate Larry Greene.

Serritella just turned 23 (February 21st) and spent four years on campus at SIU, missing his junior season with an injury. He was drafted in the 31st round by the Royals in 2011 despite not playing, but wisely returned to school and significantly improved his draft stock. He’s the type of player that could certainly skip Lakewood for Clearwater with a good spring, especially considering the Phillies just added a first baseman, the next player on our list.

1B Art Charles - Charles was acquired by the Phillies over the weekend in the trade that sent RHP Michael Schwimer to the Blue Jays. A 20th round pick in 2010 from Bakersfield College, the 22-year old Charles split last year between the Appy League and the Northwest League, hitting .236 with 13 home runs in 212 at bats. That’s impressive power, though I’m not sure if either of his home parks is considered a heavy hitter’s park. The Phillies did trade a reliever who is close to the big leagues so they likely had a pretty good write-up on Charles.

1B Willie Carmona was drafted in the 11th round last year out of Stony Brook, where he helped the Seawolves reach the College World Series. Carmona spent time with the GCL Phillies, hitting .348 with a grand slam, before an August call-up to Lakewood, where he hit .227 with 2 home runs in 27 games. After starting 4-39, Carmona finished 19-65. He’s semi-local, from Hempstead, Long Island. He played both 1st base and 3rd base with Williamsport and if he doesn’t go to Clearwater, could be in the first base/designated hitter mix with Charles.

3B Mitch Walding – Walding, a 5th round pick in 2011 from a Lodi, California high school, is a left-handed hitting third baseman who hit .233 with Williamsport last year in 69 games (. Baseball America ranked him 16th in the system, liking his upside and noting he missed some time on the showcase circuit because of football and missed some time as a senior. The 20-year old got off to a blazing start (he hit .326 over his first 28 games, and had two four-hit games in his first five) before slowing down a bit but it was still a productive season. He signed with the Phillies out of a commitment to the University of Oregon.

Here is an interview with Walding from last January and here is a FanGraphs profile of Walding, who seems a solid bet to again share the left-side of the infield with Quinn.

(Note – among the corner infielders with Williamsport from last year was Cameron Perkins, a 6th round pick from Purdue. Perkins spent time at first base, third base, and the outfield. We are going to put him with the outfielders, as Joe Jordan mentioned to us at the Winter Tour that they like Perkins out there, and there, at least on paper, seems to be slightly less of a numbers crunch. We’ll have more on Perkins later this week.)

(more…)

Featured All-Star: Tom Glavine

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Each week, we are profiling a former South Atlantic League All-Star, as we count down to the 2013 game in Lakewood on June 18th, 16 weeks from today.You can view the previous profiles by using the category sorter along the right side.

For more on the 2013 SAL All-Star Game and Celebrity Hitting Challenge, please click here.

NOTE: Individual game tickets for the SAL All-Star Game and Celebrity Hitting Challenge go on sale for the first time at FanFest on Saturday, along with single-game tickets for all 70 BlueClaws regular season home games.

This week’s SAL All-Star player profile is of 1985 Sumter Braves, Tom Glavine:

Tom Glavine was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1984 out of Billerica High School and began his career with the Gulf Coast League Braves that season. The southpaw went 2-3 with a 3.34 ERA in his first season before jumping to the Sumter Braves of the South Atlantic League in 1985.

With Sumter, Glavine posted a 9-6 record with a miniscule 2.35 ERA. He had two complete games, one of which was a shutout, and struck out 174 opposing batters in 168.2 innings. With those incredible numbers, the southpaw was tabbed a South Atlantic League All-Star.

Following his break out year in Sumter, Glavine backed it up with a 12-11, 3.88 ERA effort between Double-A Greenville and Triple-A Richmond. He made 22 starts in Greenville and won 11 of them with a 3.41 ERA. He struggled a little at the end of the Triple-A season, but made 22 starts for the Richmond squad before heading up to The Show for good in August of 1987.

1988 proved to be a rocky year for Glavine as he posted a 7-17 record with a 4.56 ERA, but he really never looked back after that. Over his 22-year career he went on to win 305 games and posted a 3.54 career ERA. He won 20 games five times, with a 22-6 record in 1993 being the high-water mark. Over his career he won a World Series, two Cy Young Awards, four Silver Slugger Awards, and made 10 MLB All-Star appearances.

Extra Base: Joining Glavine on the 1985 Sumter Braves were Jeff Blauser, Mark Lemke, and Ron Gant…All four would play in the 1991 World Series against the Minnesota Twins.

Baseball’s Hardest Throwing DJ

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Could it be former BlueClaws RHP Trevor May? Here’s a story on May from the St Paul Pioneer Press that ran today.

“I was just playing my stuff in the weight room,” Mazr (May) said. “It got turned off in about four minutes.”

Four minutes into a one-hour mix means it didn’t take long for the audience to cry “uncle.” Undaunted, Mazr glanced around the Twins’ clubhouse.

“I’m taking it slow,” he said. “I’m approaching the Australian guys first because they love house music there. Then I’ll go from there and try to convert the others.”

May spent most of 2009 and half of 2010 with the BlueClaws, helping them win back-to-back South Atlantic League titles (he gave up 1 earned run in four playoff starts over two seasons). In December, he was sent, along with Vance Worley, to Minnesota for Ben Revere.

Click here to read the rest of the story on May.

Quick Weekend Round-up

Monday, February 25th, 2013

A couple of quick notes from Spring Training action over the weekend, besides the obvious – it’s good to see actual spring training baseball!

Saturday – Three former BlueClaws played for Houston against the Phillies at Bright House Field. Jarred Cosart threw two perfect innings, including a strikeout of Ryan Howard, while Josh Zeid threw a scoreless inning and Jonathan Villar went 0-2…Cole Hamels threw two scoreless innings for the Phillies.

Sunday – Travis d’Arnaud worked with future battery-mate Matt Harvey yesterday. The rundown from the NY Daily News:

The catcher admitted he did not have the same comfort going into Sunday’s game, his first since a knee injury in June. He was so “amped” up about getting back in a game he listened to classical music beforehand to try and calm himself down.

“Not playing for nine months, I was ready to play all year long and all offseason,” d’Arnaud said. “So I was excited.”

Be sure to read Phillies Insider from Larry Shenk. He has some great spring training insight at his blog on the MLBlogs network.

Build-a-Bushel

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

FanFest, the day that individual game tickets for the 2013 season go on sale for the first time, is coming up on March 2nd (details). That means that fans have until then to lock in the best seats for the best games prior to then (through March 2nd) 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.

The answers from our staff are found below the fold.

(more…)

Cosart Could Face Former Teammates

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

2010 BlueClaw Jarred Cosart could face some former Phillies teammates when he pitches for the Astros on Saturday in their Grapefruit League opener against the Phillies.

David Murphy has more on Philly.com.

Several of his teammates from that season, including one-time roommate Jonathan Pettibone, are in camp with the Phillies. Other 2011 Threshers who will be on hand for Saturday’s game include Tyler Cloyd (13 games in 2011), Justin Friend (26 appearances), Darin Ruf (133 games, .308/.388/.506 w/ 17 HRs), Cesar Hernandez (119 G, .268/.306/.333), Sebastian Valle (91 G, .284/.312/.394) and Joe Savery (54 G, 228 PA, .307/.368/.410).

Josh Zeid, Cosart’s 2010 BlueClaws teammate, who was also traded to the Astros in the Hunter Pence trade (with Jonathan Villar) is also slated to pitch for Houston on Saturday.

From MLB.com:

“It’s exciting,” Cosart said. “I’m going to have to try to keep my emotions down. It’s going to be a good experience and a good time to see a lot of old guys, old friends. I hopefully get to talk to them a little bit. Being back in that environment I was familiar with for three years, it’s going to be great.”

(snip)

“I had a really good relationship with everybody over there, and I want to go back and show them what I’ve learned the last couple of years and how far I’ve come,” he said.

Should be fun.

Recommended Read

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

This from MiLB.com as part of a Black History Month series on the minor leagues. We pass this along because it has to do with New Jersey’s place in baseball history – specifically Jersey City’s Roosevelt Stadium. One excerpt:

After spending Spring Training with the Giants in 1950, Monte Irvin found himself headed to Jersey City again, telling reporters as he packed for a return to the Minors, “I’ll be back.”

That April in Jersey City, he found the confidence that would carry him through the rest of his Major League career.

“In Jersey’s stadium, with its 420-foot wall [in center field], he smashed towering Ruthian flies over the scoreboard,” Baseball Digest‘s Charles Dexter wrote in 1951 of Irvin’s 1950 stint in Jersey City.

Indeed, sell-out and near-sell-out crowds of close to 25,000 packed Roosevelt’s seats and aisles that spring to see Irvin devastate International League pitching — he hit 10 home runs and put together a .510 batting average over 18 games. By mid-May, New York was in seventh place and couldn’t ignore Irvin’s success. He was promoted and remained a staple in the Giants lineup for the next five seasons.

In 1951, one year after his ferocious tear with Jersey City, Irvin became the first African-American to lead a league in RBIs, with 121. At the end of that season, along with Willie Mays and Thompson, he formed part of the first all-black outfield in Major League history when Thompson started in right field in place of the injured Don Mueller in a World Series game.

But all this Major League history created by Thompson and Irvin didn’t originate in New York … it began on the other side of the Hudson River.

“What a wonderful stadium,” Irvin told The Jersey Journal. “It was the class of the International League and better than many [Major League] stadiums. I had a lot of thrills there.”

Click here to read the full story.

80

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Yesterday, we passed along the annual Baseball America top 100 prospects rankings, a list which contained three former and one future BlueClaw. The future BlueClaw on that list is Roman Quinn, a shortstop who will likely be Lakewood’s Opening Day (April 4th is 43 days away!) SS and lead-off hitter.

In the scouting reports that accompanied the BA rankings, they pass along player ratings along the 20-80 scouting scale, with 80 being the best.

We noted in our write-up of Quinn that he was given a speed rating of 80, which made us curious as to the numbers of 80s handed out. Here are the players on the list who received a rating of 80 in one category.

  • RHP Gerrit Cole, #7 overall, Pirates – 80 fastball
  • 3B Miguel Sano, #8 overall, Twins – 80 power
  • CF Byron Buxton, #10 overall, Twins – 80 speed
  • OF/SS Billy Hamilton, #20 overall, Reds – 80 speed
  • RHP Bruce Rondon, #95 overall, Tigers – 80 fastball
  • SS Roman Quinn, #100 overall, Phillies – 80 speed

That’s the list. Six players. Cole was the #1 overall pick in 2011 by the Pirates. Sano is a top Twins prospect who signed for over $3 million out of the Dominican Republic. Buxton was the #2 overall pick in the 2012 draft. Hamilton stole 155 bases in 2012 between Hi-A and AA. Finally, Rondon is expected to contend for the closer’s role this year with the Tigers.

BlueClaws Connections in Baseball America Top 100

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Baseball America today released their annual Top 100 Prospects list and there are several connections to the BlueClaw. Year listed is their year with the BlueClaws.

23. Travis d’Arnaud, C, 2009 – Now with the Mets, they expect d’Arnaud to make his big league debut at some point in 2013. Could he be the 50th player to go From The Shore to the Show? He’s on the list of possibles, certainly. BA gives him a 60 bat tool and a 60 power tool on the 20-80 scouting scale. He hit .333 with 16 HRs in 67 games with AAA Las Vegas before an injury. He was traded to the Mets as part of a package for RA Dickey in the winter.

27. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, 2010 – The Astros 1B prospect, who was acquired in 2011 as part of the deal that sent Hunter Pence to the Phillies, hit .284 with 21 home runs with AA Corpus Christi last year. BA gives him a 65 bat with 60 power and an ETA of 2014.

89. Jesse Biddle, LHP, 2011 – Biddle has put together back-to-back dynamite campaigns in his first two full seasons, including 10-6, 3.22 year in 2012 with Clearwater in which he struck out 151 hitters in 142.2 innings. He’s just 21, and BA gives him steady ratings across the board, ranging from 50-60 in fastball, curveball, command, change-up, and control. He’ll get tested this year moving to AA Reading and a hitter-friendly FirstEnergy Stadium.

100. Roman Quinn, SS, 2013 – Quinn is one of just a few players on this list who have not yet played in a full-season league. BA gives him an 80 speed (best possible), and he is one of just a few players to receive an 80 in any category (more on this later). Last year was his first as a switch-hitter and a shortstop, and Quinn hit .281 and led the NYPL with 30 stolen bases. He’ll likely be Lakewood’s shortstop and leadoff hitter in 2013.

Links: Full List, Scouting Reports, Helpful Tidbits.

Featured All-Star: Jimmy Rollins

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

We are now just 17 weeks away from the 2013 South Atlantic League All-Star Game at First Energy Park. Each week, we are profiling a South Atlantic League All-Star (previously).

This week’s profile of a former South Atlantic League All-Star is of Jimmy Rollins.

Rollins was only 17 years old when the Philadelphia Phillies picked him in the 2nd round of the 1996 MLB Draft. He immediately went to Rookie ball and played in 49 games for the Martinsville Phillies of the Appalachian League. In his first campaign, the shortstop hit .238 with a homerun and 16 RBI.

In 1997, the California native broke spring training with the Piedmont Boll Weevils of the South Atlantic League.  He played in 139 games with Piedmont and hit .270 with 36 extra-base hits and 59 RBI. He also collected 94 runs, was 46-for-52 (88%) in stolen base attempts, and was named a South Atlantic League All-Star.

“J-Roll” spent the next three seasons progressing through the Phillies system and found himself in Philadelphia as a September call-up in 2000. He hit .321 (17-for-53) in 14 games for Phillies that year and made his final case to be the starting shortstop for the big league club in 2001. In his rookie campaign, he was tabbed an MLB All-Star and finished the year with 12 triples, 46 stolen bases, and a .274 batting average.

His best year came in 2007 when he played in all 162 games, hit .296, with 139 runs scored, 38 doubles, 20 triples, 30 home runs 94 RBI and 41 stolen bases. With those mind-boggling stats he earned the league MVP award as well as his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. In 2008 he directed the Phillies to the 2008 World Series title. 2013 marks Rollins’ 14th year in the majors. The 34-year old enters the season with 1792 games played, 2024 hits, and a career .270 batting average.

Extra-Base…Can you name the Heisman Award winner that joined Jimmy Rollins on the 1997 Piedmont Boll Weevils roster? Answer below the fold.

(more…)

BlueClaws Promos and Presidential Birthdays

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Today is President’s Day, situated between Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th and Washington’s on February 22nd. We thought it would be interesting to see what Presidents have birthdays on days the BlueClaws are home this year, and the corresponding promotions (admittedly, you might not think of this as interesting).

April
The BlueClaws have road games on all presidential birthdays in April: Thomas Jefferson (born April 13th), James Buchanan (23rd), Usysses S Grant (27th), and James Monroe (28th).

May
Harry Truman’s birthday (8th) is a BlueClaws off day, while they are home on John F Kennedy’s Birthday (29th). That is one of two Education Day games this year with an 11:05 am first pitch.

June
George H W Bush was born on June 12th, the day the BlueClaws welcome in Cecil Fielder for an autograph signing.

July
Calvin Coolidge is the only President to be born on the 4th of July, when the BlueClaws are in Greensboro. They’re on the road for George W Bush’s birthday (6th). July 11th is John Quincy Adams’ birthday, and the BlueClaws will welcome Dennis Haskins (Mr Belding) of Saved by the Bell fame. The BlueClaws are also home on July 14th (Kids Eat Free), a Sunday and Gerald Ford’s birthday.

August
Of the five presidents born in August, the BlueClaws are home for two of their birthdays this year: Herbert Hoover on August 10th (post-game fireworks) and Benjamin Harrison on August 20th (Senior Day Tuesday). They are not home for the birthdays of Barack Obama (4th), Bill Clinton (19th), and Lyndon Johnson (27th).

September
Should the BlueClaws reach the SAL Championship Series, and should that series go the full five games, game five would take place on September 14th, the day before the lone presidential September birthday – William Howard Taft.

For the full list of BlueClaws promotions that have been released, visit BlueClaws.com/Promotions.