Archive for the '2009 BlueClaws' Category

Oswalt Official: Happ, Gose, Villar

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

oswaltfullThree BlueClaws, including current Lakewood shortstop Jonathan Villar, have been traded by the Phillies to the Houston Astros as part of a deal to land coveted starting pitcher Roy Oswalt.

The Phillies announced the deal on Thursday afternoon.

Villar, 19, was hitting .272 with Lakewood and was fourth in the South Atlantic League with 38 stolen bases. He entered the season as the 20th ranked prospect in the system per Baseball America.

He is the sixth active BlueClaw to be traded (2004, Javon Moran and Joe Wilson for Cory Lidle; 2006, Andy Barb in a package for Jamie Moyer; 2007, Michael Dubee for Tadahito Iguchi; 2009, Jason Knapp in a package for Cliff Lee).


Happy Anniversary

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Phillies acquiring Cliff Lee for four prospects, including then-BlueClaws RHP Jason Knapp (the others were Lou Marson, Jason Donald and Carlos Carrasco).

Here is a running log of the day last year when Knapp was traded.

About 2:00: Knapp, walking around the mall with BlueClaws relief pitcher Rob Roth, hears first from his agent that a deal went through.

2:45: On the bus to the ballpark with SportsCenter on the tv, Jayson Stark notes that Knapp was the centerpiece of the deal from the Indians perspective, leading to ooohs, aaahs, and nagging from Knapp’s soon-to-be former teammates.

3:00: At the ballpark, Knapp waits to hear something official, while the BlueClaws head out onto the field to begin stretching, or head to the cages to start hitting, without him. Everyone shook his hand and wished him well in case he was gone before they came back inside.

Seems fitting to bring this up with a bunch of rumors swirling around today about a possible Phillies trade for Roy Oswalt.

  • We’ve seen Jonathan Singleton in the deal, we’ve seen Singleton not in the deal.
  • We’ve seen Vance Worley in the deal, we’ve seen Vance Worley not in the deal.
  • We’ve seen Matt Rizzotti in the deal, we’ve seen Matt Rizzotti not in the deal.

Who knows? Just pay attention.

UPDATE: Today’s BlueClaws lineup: James CF, Villar SS, Castro LF, Singleton 1B, Valle C, Dabbs RF, Batts 3B, Barnes DH, Schoenberger 2B, Shreve P

Players who have been traded as BlueClaws:

  • Jason Knapp in 09 as part of a deal for Cliff Lee
  • Michael Dubee in 07 for Tad Iguchi
  • Andy Barb in 06 as part of a deal for Jamie Moyer
  • Javon Moran and Joe Wilson in 04 for Cory Lidle

Knapp is rehabbing in Arizona and should join Hi-A Kinston next month.

Here are tonight’s game notes.

Garcia Chasing Altobelli

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

garcia-batHarold Garcia, Lakewood’s second baseman last year, is up to 34 games on his hitting streak, two off Joe Altobelli’s Florida State League record, set with the 1951 Daytona Beach Islanders.

Garcia has hit in all but two games this year after missing six weeks with a hamstring injury. We spoke to Chuck LaMar the other day and Garcia came up.

“We had two guys that had hammy problems in spring training, and Garcia beat the other guy back by six weeks,” said LaMar. “Anytime you hit in 31 straight, that’s pretty good even in slow-pitch softball. Hopefully we’ll get him up to Double-A in a few weeks.”

A great article here in the Rochester Press Democrat, where you learn some cool things, such as:

  • He lived by the beach in a tourist home with roommate and future big-league slugger Rocky Colavito, who tied for the FSL lead with 23 home runs that season.

Of course, he managed the Orioles to the 1983 World Series title where they beat none other than the Phillies.

Steve Noworyta, Phillies farm director, said in a January ClawCast that the Phillies were concerned about losing Garcia in the Rule 5 Draft. Safe to say he’ll have a spot on the 40-man roster come this December.

Philly Inquirer on Gose, More

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Bob Brookover has an article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer on 2009 BlueClaws OF, and current Clearwater Thresher Anthony Gose (click here to read).

In the words of one NL scout:

I met him and made a point to shake his hand. I asked him if he thought he’d play in the big leagues. He looked at me like I had three heads. He has great a makeup. He’s confident but not cocky and strong as an ox. He has a great build to play the outfield and he plays every day. He’s not dying in that Florida heat.

Gose hit .232 in April (3 BB, 25 K). But since then, he’s batting .299 (18 BB, 39 K).

Here is a Q&A we did with Gose in January.

Philles LHP (and 2005 BlueClaw) JA Happ makes a rehab start for Reading on Sunday.

Checking in With Dusty Wathan

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

While we were hosting the Shore Sports Report yesterday as part of the Shore Sports Switcheroo, we interviewed 2009 BlueClaws manager Dusty Wathan, who is now managing the Clearwater Threshers down in Florida. Some quick comments from Dusty…

On managing the more experienced players at the higher levels: You don’t have to teach the daily routine or the little things. They know what time we’re going to the ballpark. They know the rules and college is really out of them. You don’t have to tell them to stay in the dugout after we hit a home run in the 3rd inning (great line).

On managing the same core of players for a second (or third) year: It’s always fun to be able to stay with a small core group of guys. You’ve already earned his trust the year before. Anytime you get a new manager or coach, it takes a while to build that rapport. Now we can get to them in April instead of in June.

On Anthony Gose: Everyone says this league is a big adjustment. For 19, he’s young for the league again this year, which is what you want. He had to make some adjustments which was a wake-up call for him. Everyone has worked their rears off all winter. Sometimes a step back is real nice to see because it gets the guy back focused on what he needs to do.

On Trevor May: He’s walked a few more guys…He’s only 20, power pitcher, who is going to walk guys. Once he commands the fastball better, he’ll shoot through the organization real quick.

His biggest progress as a manager: My biggest progress is seeing more games and working a bullpen. A lot of guys can say when to hit and run, bunt, or use the infield in or back. But managing seven relievers is hard and that’s the biggest thing to learn.

Worth a Mention

Monday, May 31st, 2010

While four of his teammates will play in the Florida State League All-Star Game on June 12th, Jesus Sanchez will get to take a few days off. But that doesn’t mean the right-hander didn’t deserve a spot in the game.

In just his second-year as a pitcher, Sanchez is 5-4, 2.97 with Clearwater this year having been a model of consistency for the Threshers.

In his 10 appearances, he has allowed more than two earned runs just twice (three runs both times) and in his last five starts, he’s gone at least six innings, has given up two earned runs or less, and is 4-1.

Still just 22, keep in mind that he began pitching in Instructional League back in 2008. We remember his first start, Easter Sunday of 2009, when he didn’t get out of the first inning. But from May 10 last year (31 appearances), Sanchez is 14-8, 3.0 over two leagues.

Not bad for a guy who was considered the least important part of the Bobby Abreu trade in 2006, and is the last one standing in the Phillies organization from the trade.


Happy Baseball Card Day

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

It’s always cool when the starting pitcher throws on a day when he’s on the giveaway item, and that’s the case this morning.

Nick Hernandez throws for Lakewood as we give out oversized Nick Hernandez Baseball Cards (first pitch 11:05).

Last year (April 21st), Jason Knapp threw in this same situation. He only tossed seven shutout innings, equalling the franchise record with 14 strikeouts (though Lakewood would lose the game 2-0). So no pressure, Nick.

The cards are modeled after the 1986 Topps set. I’ll try to get a picture up here for you later.

Colby Shreve is 2-2, earning the win in his 2nd and 3rd appearances after throwing one inning last Monday in Greensboro. He tossed five shutout innings last night behind Jarred Cosart, who came out after 72 pitches (note: all three of the runs he gave up were unearned).

Lakewood went 3-9 last night with runners in scoring position. They were 3 for their previous 50.

Dave Schofield From Spring Training

Monday, March 29th, 2010

leggdirectingBlueClaws team photographer Dave Schofield is in Clearwater for spring training and filed this blog post on BlueClaws hitting coach (and first manager) Greg Legg:

For 21 years Greg Legg has reported to spring training with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was drafted by the Phillies in the 22nd round of the 1982 draft out of Southeastern Oklahoma State University. For parts of the 1986 and 1987 seasons “Legger” played in 14 games for the Phils and went 9 for 22 for a .409 batting average and fielded at a .960 clip playing both 2B and SS. Most of his career was spent in places like North Carolina, Reading, and Old Orchard Maine. He finished his playing career in Scranton playing for the Scranton Wilkes Barre Red Barons, then the AAA affiliate of the Phillies.Since then Legger has been a coach or manager in the Phils farm system.

On the 19th of March, 2010, something happened that pleased not only Greg Legg, but everyone in the Phillies organization who has known and loved him since 1982. On March 19th at Bright House Field, Greg Legg accepted his first Championship ring.


From the Ring Ceremony

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

The 2009 BlueClaws received their championship rings last night in a Clearwater ceremony before the Phillies spring training game.

The championship ring.

The championship ring


Defense Wins Championships

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Got an email this morning from South Atlantic League President Eric Krupa mentioning two things I had forgotten about the 2009 BlueClaws (who will be honored before tonight’s Phillies game and receive their championship rings). Since 1960, when these records were kept for the first time:

  • The 2009 BlueClaws made the fewest errors, 111, shattering the league record. The previous record was 132 set by Rome in 2005.
  • Lakewood had a .978 average in 136 games, breaking the old record of .974 set by several teams (Lexington, KY 2001 in 140 games; Hickory in 2004 in 140 games; Rome in 2005 in 137 games; Greensboro in 2006 in 137 games; and Augusta in 2007 in 140 games).

Someone forgot to tell Georgetown that defense wins championships (or first round games).

Some other notes from that team:

  • Anthony Gose’s 76 stolen bases were the most of anyone in professional baseball (majors, minors, independent).
  • As a team, the BlueClaws swiped 210 bases, the most in the minors.
  • The BlueClaws hit 56 home runs, the 3rd lowest total in the 16-team league.
  • Lakewood won the league title as a first-half champion, becoming the first team since 2001 to do so.
  • The BlueClaws are 10-2 all-time in playoff games.
  • Gose finished the season in a 1-25 slump and then went 11-27 in the playoffs.
  • Harold Garcia went 8-22 and Travis d’Arnaud 9-23 in the playoffs as the BlueClaws hit .305 as a team and gave up just nine runs.
  • Finally, in the six playoff games, the BlueClaws made one error.

Ring Ceremony: Friday Night

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

06ringMembers of the 2009 South Atlantic League champion Lakewood BlueClaws will receive their rings on Friday night in a ceremony in Clearwater before the Phillies spring training game against the Orioles.

Below, find some quotes from BlueClaws players and coaches throughout the off-season about the anticipation of getting those rings.

(picture is from the 2006 ceremony)

  • Hitting Coach Greg Legg, who gets his first minor league ring after 27 years in the game: “I think [the best part] is the journey,” he said in a ClawCast the night the BlueClaws clinched the title. “27 years, losing to Clemens 2-1, Erik Bedard 1-0. I could tell you horror stories.”
  • Manager Dusty Wathan: It’s an exciting time. It will be my first ring on the coaching side. I got a World Series ring from 2008, but someone like Legger felt more passionate about that. Being my first year in the org as a manager, you don’t feel you put your stamp. Legger got to work with a lot of those guys. But on the other hand, I did play with a lot of those guys whether it be spring training or AAA. But to get one as a manager, it’s a different feeling, really proud of the players. You feel even more proud as a mgr or coach because you see all the hard work the players put in. It’s something they’ll never forget.
  • Pitcher Trevor May: Oh yeah…that’s the best thing about Spring Training!
  • Outfielder Anthony Gose: I’ve been bragging about that ring to everyone. Can’t wait.
  • Pitcher Justin De Fratus: That’s going to be sweet. I’ll have that one on all the time.

Today’s Inquirer on BJ Rosenberg

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Matt Gelb in today’s Inquirer on BJ Rosenberg, a 2009 BlueClaw closer.

When B.J. Rosenberg arrived at the Lakewood BlueClaws clubhouse and saw teenagers Anthony Gose and Jason Knapp fresh out of high school, he had an idea he was a little out of place.

Then the players started talking.

“Some guys would be talking about their girlfriends coming to town,” Rosenberg said. “They asked, ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ I said, ‘I have a wife.’ “

Read the rest of the article here, and read our Q&A with BJ from earlier this off-season here.

Nice Start for Sanchez

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

sanchezbruceclawsJesus Sanchez struck out the side in his Phillies debut last night as part of a 13-6 win over Florida State. He pitched the 8th inning and perfect innings from Joe Savery and Drew Naylor (two, got the win).

Sanchez, who has just pitched for one year (2009 with the BlueClaws), was added to the Phillies 40-man roster this year to protect him from the Rule-5 draft, which is how he got to big league camp.

The transfer from catcher to pitcher came at the end of 2008, when he was a struggling catcher with the BlueClaws. He came back in April of 2009 and by the end of the year was one of the better pitchers in the league (he had a 2.40 ERA in the second half).

“He’s opened up some eyes, and you pull for him because he’s got outstanding makeup, just a fine young man and a great worker,” Phillies AGM Chuck LaMar said. “He comes out every day trying to get better. He will tell us whether he’s a starting pitcher or a reliever, but he will start in 2010.”

Sanchez added: “I think you’ve got to take every opportunity in this business. You do your best and see what happens. It’s worked pretty well for me. I thought it was going to be harder, but changing positions isn’t easy. I pitched a couple times when I was little, but that was the thing that scared me. I had never done it before. It’s been OK. I’ve been learning every day and I try to practice everything they tell me.”

From last year…

We did a ClawCast with Sanchez (here), where he noted that he’s been able to benefit from his background as a catcher: “It’s a little bit easier looking at swings and figuring out what kind of pitches can hurt hitters. It helps a lot.”

And another ClawCast with Phillies minor league pitching coordinator Gorm Heimueller (here), who said: “He’s not only a hard worker but he’s very smart. He picks up stuff.  A lot of it has been fastball change-up, he needs to improve on his breaking ball, he knows that. From a year ago, his improvement has been great to see.”

By the way, Sanchez pitched in the Mother’s Day jerseys, BruceClaws jerseys (pictured), and the Irish Heritage Night green jerseys.

Sign of Spring: the Bios Are Here

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

pink-flowerOne of my favorite signs of spring, like the flower on the right, is the massive file of player bios that the Phillies send over. This year: 64 pages in Microsoft Word. Draft information. Statistical information, and so much more.

Some of the good stuff…

  • New BlueClaws manager Mark Parent caught 24 innings in a doubleheader on July 24, 1998, at age 36. Two 12 inning games because starter Mike Lieberthal was injured and Parent was the only other catcher on the roster.
  • Ernie Whitt, who managed Clearwater in 2009 (Dusty Wathan manages them in 2010), led the 2004 Canadian Olympic team to a 4th place finish (ironically better than their hockey team might do at these Olympics). He also managed them in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics.
  • BlueClaws coach Greg Legg begins his 29th straight year in the system after being drafted in 1982. That is truly amazing when you think about it. Even more amazing was that last year’s championship with Lakewood was his first!
  • Luis Arzeno, who was a system catcher for six years, and spent part of 2009 with the BlueClaws, is now a coach for the Guanama Phillies in the Dominican Summer League.
  • Jeremy Barnes, who played SS for Williamsport last year, is the only player in the system who went to Notre Dame (and would be the first BlueClaw to have played there, unofficially).
  • Kelly Dugan, a 2nd round pick last year, went to Notre Dame HS, however.
  • While he was just 10-66 with Lakewood in the early part of last year, Leandro Castro ended up leading the Penn League in hits and total bases. Would expect him to be here this year again.
  • Siulman Lebron pitched for Williamsport last year. I smell a Lebron Chooses BlueClaws Over Knicks, Cavs press release right around the time of July 1st.
  • Last year, the BlueClaws had Tyler Cloyd and Jacob Diekman from the baseball powerhouse state of Nebraska. Could 2010 bring Darin Ruf here? He hit .207 between GCL and Williamsport (176 ABs) after being drafted in the 20th round out of Creighton.

We’ll sift through these bios and start to build some mock BlueClaws rosters. Also, this year’s media guide will be made available on-line, likely around April 1st.