Archive for the '2012 BlueClaws' Category

UCF Interview With Chris Duffy – Note the Shirt

Friday, March 1st, 2013

2012 BlueClaws 1B Chris Duffy went to the University of Central Florida and was interviewed at their facility for their website.

Note the shirt. BlueClaws hitting coach Greg Legg gives out these shirts to players after big performances. Duffy is making good use of it.

Anyway, watch the interview.

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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End Of Year Podcasts with Morandini, Lancaster

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Last weekend we recorded two season wrap-up podcasts with BlueClaws manager Mickey Morandini and pitching coach Les Lancaster, talking about some of the players and performances we saw with the BlueClaws in 2012.

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First, some snippets from the interviews.

Morandini

On Maikel Franco – “Shorter to the ball. Starting to use all fields a bit more. He realizes he doesn’t have to swing for a home run every time and he’s done a great job laying off the curveball in the dirt to put himself in more hitters counts.”

On Kelly Dugan – “Once Duffy left, he didn’t lose anything…I think the thing that he’s gotten better at is hitting left-handed pitching, which is something he had to work on. If he can continue to hit lefties he’s going to be a force offensively. He hits the ball the other way as good as anybody and drives it that way, and once he gets better at recognizing off-speed stuff, he’s going to be a force offensively.”

What are you looking for, outside the numbers, do you look for – “How they’ve progressed. We told them at the All-Star Break, that it doesn’t matter what you did in April. It’s what you do in July and August that’s going to determine what you’re going to do this year. A lot of guys have been very consistent. How they’ve improved, is there anything else they need to learn in this league or are they ready for that next challenge?”

That’s just two snippets, but here are comments on Aaron Altherr, Tim Carver, Josh Ludy, Willie Carmona, Kyrell Hudson, and much more.

Les Lancaster

Noted that many of the bullpen guys from the start of the season have been moved up (including Ryan Duke, Mike Nesseth, Colton Murray, Kenny Giles)

Most important thing a player learns over a 140-game season – “They definitely have to stay strong through starts and relief appearances, the weight program, conditioning program. But they have to make adjustments on their own without having someone come out and tell them, and they’ve done that, within one or two pitches, plus trust their fastball and pitch inside.”

On Colin Kleven – “Believing in himself more and pitching more inside. We taught him a new slider grip during spring training and it’s been a big out pitch for him against righties and lefties. We finally found a change-up grip he’s had success with and he’s a better pitcher for it.”

On Ethan Stwart – “Pitching inside. He still shies away a little bit but he’s getting better. He’s always had a plus-curveball and the change-up is coming along a bit too.”

On Hoby Milner – “When he first got here, most of the time in college he was a reliever so it took a little bit to get the starting routine down, and he stopped trying to strike out everyone and make the perfect pitch, he just took off.”

On Kenny Giles – “I had him last year for the first time. The velocity and arm speed were there. He was wild, just rearing back and throwing, wherever it went it went. We slowed his delivery down, and smoothed it a bit and he can still get it with good angle without losing velocity. Middle part of the way, once he went back into the reliever role, we changed his grip on his slider and the slider became 86-89 and nobody could sit on.”

Again, there are comments in the interview on several more players than what we just covered here.

Listen to the interviews in the player or clicking here (Morandini, Lancaster).

Mickey Morandini:

Les Lancaster:

Claws Can Earn Split With Win Tonight

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

The BlueClaws finish up an eight-game road trip tonight in Hagerstown, and after dropping the first two games of the series, can earn a split of the trip and the series with a win tonight. RHP Moises Rivas takes the mound for the BlueClaws. First pitch is at 7:05.

Click here for today’s game notes.

What’s At Stake Today…The BlueClaws sit in third place in the Northern Division, tied with West Virginia and one game back of both Hagerstown and Hickory…The BlueClaws started the current road trip in a three-way tie with Hickory and Hagerstown for first place and have not yet held sole possession of first place in the second half, but have been tied for first in seven days…Their largest first-half deficit was 22 games behind eventual champion Greensboro…A win today means the BlueClaws split this series and the eight-game road trip.

Nice Game…Chris Duffy went 5-6 in Wednesday night’s game and in the process tied the BlueClaws franchise record for most hits in a game…He is the 7th person to reach that mark, the previous being Jiwan James in July of 2010 against Kannapolis…His fifth hit was his 10th home run of the year and came with two outs in the top of the 9th inning.

Top of the Table…BlueClaws 1B Chris Duffy leads the South Atlantic League in all three triple crown categories during the second half (beginning June 21st)…In the second half, he’s batting .397 with nine home runs and 39 RBIs in 33 games…Since Duffy’s 19-game hitting streak ended on July 3rd, he is 27-69 (.391) with two grand slams, 5 HRs, 23 RBIs, and 12 walks (17 games)…Since re-joining the BlueClaws on Memorial Day, Duffy is hitting .385 (69-179) with 49 RBIs in 49 games…He has been named Phillies Minor League Player of the Week in two of the last three weeks.

A Friendly July…Kelly Dugan entered July hitting .246 but has raised his average to .291 (highest since going 2-4 on Opening Day was .296 through July 21st)…In July, Dugan is 35-87 (.402) with 22 runs scored in 23 games…That average is the third best in the league during the current month behind West Virginia’s Greg Polanco, who is hitting .423…Dugan has 11 multi-hit games in July.

A Tale of Two Halves…3B Maikel Franco hit .207 with 27 RBIs in the first half and is now hitting .310 with 32 RBIs in the second half…Franco is Lakewood’s youngest regular and will not turn 20 until August 26th.

Rained Out

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

The BlueClaws and Crawdads were rained out on Saturday night due to a torrential storm that knocked out both the game and a Selah concert schedule for after the game.

Double-header on Sunday starts at 3 pm. LHP Lino Martinez and RHP Gabriel Arias

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will start the two games for Lakewood.

Duffy Wins Player of Week, Again

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

BlueClaws 1B Chris Duffy has won Phillies Minor League Player of the Week for the second time in three weeks. Courtesy of Larry Shenk (read his Phillies Insider blog here).

Players of the We

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**Player: 1B Chris Duffy, Lakewood. Winner for the second time in the last three weeks. Last week: .458 average, club-high 11 hits, 9 RBI. Scored 5 runs. Has two grand slams this month, July 8 and last Saturday. 19-game hitting streak (.438) ended on July 3. Since then, .417 (15-36). Began season at Lakewood (.350, 7 games), went to Clearwater (.205, 20 games) and returned to BlueClaws on May 29. Since returning on Memorial Day, .390, 38 RBI, 40 games. The 24-year-old was selected in the 26th round in 2010 out of the University of Central Florida and signed by Chip Lawrence.

**Pitcher: RHR Tyler Knigge, Reading. Following promotion from Clearwater, make his AA debut on Thursday and got his first save there the next night. Allowed 1 hit, no runs, no walks in 2 innings and struck out 2. Two scoreless outings stretched his streak to 16 games, 18.2 innings, 24 strikeouts. Last run he allowed was May 29. Only other time he allowed a run was 2 on April 27. For the season, 4-1, 0.58 ERA, 36 games, 46.2 innings, 46 strikeouts, opponents batting .168. The 23-year-old was selected in the 12th round in 2010 out of Lewis-Clark State College (ID) and signed by Tim Kissner.

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Duffy Named Topps SAL Player of June

Monday, July 9th, 2012

LAKEWOOD, NJ – BlueClaws 1B Chris Duffy was named Topps South Atlantic League Minor League Player of the Month for June. The award was announced by Minor League Baseball on Monday.

Duffy hit .420 in June (34-81) with three HRs and 19 RBIs. He re

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ached base safely in all 23 games he played in June and hit safely in all but three.

On June 19th, he began a 19-game hitting streak that lasted through July 3rd. The streak was the 3rd longest in BlueClaws history and Duffy went 32-73 (.438) over the hitting streak.

In June, he led the South Atlantic League in batting average (.420) and slugging percentage (.617), was second in on-base percentage (.479) and was third in RBIs (19).

Duffy was recently named Phillies Minor League Player of the Week (June 25-July 1) and Phillies Minor League Player of the Month for June.

He was drafted by the Phillies in the 26th round of the 2010 draft from the University of Central Florida, where as a senior he was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award for the nation’s top amateur player.

Duffy is the first BlueClaws player to win this award since David Buchanan was named Minor League Player of the Month in May last year.

For the full release from Minor League Baseball, check below the fold.

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Tuesday Notes Sees an 11-Game Hitting Streak

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Chris Duffy, 19-40 over a current 11-game hitting streak, and the BlueClaws take on West Virginia tonight at FirstEnergy Park in the second game of a four-game series. LHP Ervis Manzanillo, who got his first win of the year on Thursday at Hagerstown,

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takes the mound for the BlueClaws.

Click here for today’s game notes.

Home Cooking…Lakewood is now 1-0 in a stretch where they will play 17 of 22 games at FirstEnergy Park, with the only road games coming from July 4-8 in West Virginia…It’s the longest such stretch of the season, and will be followed by 16 of 19 games on the road between July 19 and August 6…The BlueClaws are 19-18 at home this year with a 3.64 ERA compared to 10-27 on the road with a 5.58 ERA.

28 and 11…Chris Duffy has reached base by either hit or walk in all 28 games he has played with the BlueClaws this year and has a 11-game hitting streak…He is 36-94 with 13 walks and has walked in the four games that he has not hit safely…The on-base streak spans two stints with Lakewood – seven games from Opening Day through April 17th and 21 games since returning to the BlueClaws on May 29th…He hit his first home run with Lakewood (he hit two with Clearwater) on June 11th.

About the Hitting Streak… Duffy is 19-40 over the current 11-game hitting streak…Duffy’s 11-game hitting streak includes one game in which he delivered a pinch-hit single in his lone at bat…The hitting streak includes five two-hit games and two three-hit games (seven multi-hit games of 11)…It’s the longest by a BlueClaw this season…Last year, Jim Murphy had a 16-game hitting streak…The franchise record is 24, set by Jiwan James in 2010.

BlueClaws and On-Base Streaks…Chris Duffy has a current 28-game on-base streak for the BlueClaws, the longest such streak by a BlueClaw this season…Following are the longest on-base streaks for the BlueClaws in the last several seasons…2011 – Zach Collier, 26…2010 – Leandro Castro, 30…2009 – Jeremy Hamilton, 32.

Nine in Four…Aaron Altherr has nine hits over the last four days, going 2-4, 3-5, 2-3, and 2-4 (9-16) raising his average from .231 to .251…Altherr has 16 multi-hit games to tie Maikel Franco for the team lead…His home run on Sunday was his fifth of the season…All of his home runs have come on the road.

Weekly Minor League Review

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Courtesy of Larry Shenk. Read his great blog here.

Players of the Week

**Pitcher: RHR Lisalberto Bonilla, Reading. In 2 appearances, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 innings, 4 hits,

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0 walks, 7 strikeouts. Win came in Wednesday’s 2nd game, 2 scoreless innings; other appearance, 3 scoreless innings on Saturday, 2nd game, striking out 5; threw 40 pitches, 30 for strikes. Hasn’t allowed a run since May 27, 11 total innings, 4 hits, 0 walks, 13 strikeouts. Began season at Clearwater and joined Reading on May 5. Combined, 3-2, 2.02 ERA, for 24 appearances, 2 saves, 35.2 innings, 49 strikeouts, opponents batting .195. The 6-0, 175-pound right-hander turned 22 on June 18. He was signed as an amateur free agent out of Samana, DR, by Sal Agostinelli and Bernardo Perez in 2008.

**Player: RF Anthony Hewitt, Clearwater. In a week shortened by the All-Star Game break, he hit .375 in 4 games. Of his 6 hits, he had a double and 3 homers and led the organization with 8 RBI, coming on back-to-back 4 RBI games. Raised average from .227 to .244, highest in a month. For the season, 8 homers, 28 RBI, 6 doubles, 6 stolen bases in 47 games. Home run total is second in the organization to Darin Ruff (11). The 23-year-old was selected out of high school in the 1st round (24th overall) in 2008 and signed by Gene Schall. Also named the MiLB.com player of the week in the FSL.

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Kleven to Represent Claws in All-Star Game

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Congratulations to BlueClaws RHP Colin Kleven – he’ll be Lakewood’s All-Star representative this year at the 2012 SAL ASG on June 19th

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in Charleston, SC.

From the release:

Kleven is 3-4 with a 3.59 ERA over 10 starts this season. He has allowed three earned runs or less in eight of those 10 starts.

On May 14th, he allowed just one unearned run over a season-long seven innings to earn a win at Delmarva and on May 19th at Greensboro, he gave up just one run over five innings to win his third game of the year, in the process helping to snap Greensboro’s 16-game home winning streak.

Kleven was a 33rd round pick in 2009 from RE Mountain High School in Kamloops, British Columbia and, along with Ethan Stewart, is one of two Canadian pitchers in Lakewood’s rotation.

He is the 40th BlueClaws player to be selected for the South Atlantic League All-Star Game in the team’s first 12 seasons.

For additional information on the 2012 South Atlantic League All-Star Game and related events, please visit RiverDogs.com.

Three 2011 BlueClaws (LHP Jesse Biddle, LHP Austin Wright, and C Cameron Rupp) will represent Clearwater in the 2012 Florida State League All-Star Game.

The full SAL ASG teams are listed below the fold.

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Weekly Minor League Review

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Below, find the Phillies weekly minor league review, courtesy of the great Larry Shenk. Read Larry’s blog here.

Players of the Week

**Pitcher: RHP Tyson

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Brummett, Lehigh Valley. Relieved 3 times, 1-0, 0.00, 5.1 innings, 2 hits, 1 walk and 9 strikeouts. In his last 10 games, 1-0, 1 save, 2.70 ERA. Began the season at Reading and promoted to LV May 6. Combined AA and AAA: 19 games, 2.01 ERA, 31.1 innings, 4 walks, 38 strikeouts. The 27-year-old was selected in the 7th round out of UCLA in 2007 and signed by Tim Kissner.

**Player: CF Tyson Gillies, Reading. Hit .500 in 6 games (11-22) with organization-high 3 triples. Drove in 5 runs and scored 6 times. Ended the week on a 7-game hitting streak that included multi-hit games in his first 5 games. Average improved from .247 to .280. Collided with RF Jiwan James on Saturday and left after the 4th inning. The 23-year-old was acquired from Mariners in 12/6/09 trade for Cliff Lee.

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What Really Happens on the Bus:

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

This week I’m on my first road trip this week with the BlueClaws. This opportunity ranks high on the checklist of getting real experience in the broadcasting industry. More than that, traveling with a professional baseball team is an opportunity that

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few people ever get in their lifetime– and one that many sports fans could only dream of ever doing.

Newspaper beat writers gain access to teams in the clubhouse every day, and they get to gain a certain connection to the players they cover every game over the course of a season. National network broadcasters travel the country on the dime of CBS, ESPN and Fox as they cover the week’s biggest games, but they don’t build a rapport with the coaches and players whose games they cover only a handful of times each year.

However, radio broadcasters in minor league baseball travel with the team. We work with the team on a daily basis and get to see the behind-the-scenes as these players whose incredible baseball talents have landed some of them six-figure signing bonuses get to act like the 19-to-24-year olds that they all are off the field.

Yes, these players all have batting averages and ERAs attached to their names and these coaches have spent time in the major leagues, but they’re all still traveling the country together on a bus grinding out a 140-game schedule—and having a blast while they’re doing it.

As we board the bus at 11:30 p.m. Sunday following that night’s 7:05 p.m. game against Hagerstown, everyone settles-in for the nine-hour bus ride through the night to Charleston, WV. The players and coaches are all in sweatpants and t-shirts locating their pillows and blankets, and getting as comfortable as possible for the long ride ahead.

For those of you who will never get the chance to ride the bus on a road trip with a minor league baseball team, here’s a sample of some of the “Highly Classified” conversations that takes place on a bus full of professional baseball players:

  • A coach on the team telling the players how his “Boise” noise-cancelling headphones will cost less than a dollar a day by the time next season is over, only for the players more than twenty years his junior to break out into laughter and tell him that they think he means “Bose”. As they’re laughing, he asks the group, “You know what the great thing about these are?” and he puts them over his ears and turns back towards the front of the bus.
  • Before taking off from Lakewood the coaches ask around the bus to find out how old a reliever is who isn’t on the bus yet. He has only been with the team a week and this is his first road trip, but they need to know his age to determine when he picks his seat on the sleeper bus. A fellow reliever pipes-in, “He’s 24, but he looks like he’s 18 so put him at the bottom of the list.” One of the coaches looks at the 22-year old who said that and fires back, “Well you look 16 so I guess he still gets to pick his seat before you.”
  • A position player whips out his iPhone that is playing Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”. He turns to anyone who will listen and asks, “How can you say this isn’t a good song?” He is then challenged by a reliever to make that is walk-up song when they start their next homestand… he said he’ll think about it.
  • A reliever sees that I’m reading Catching Fire, the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, and I’m expecting some ribbing for having a Young Adult novel in-tow for a baseball road trip. Instead, he says, “Come on, bro. You’re only on the second one?” We discuss the first book at length and talk about how he finished all three books in a week and how much he used his new Kindle Fire during spring training.

Expecting mandated silence for the players after Sunday’s 7-6 loss to the Suns? Expecting hours of secretive strategy conversation among the coaches hammering out a gameplan for the next three games against the West Virginia Power? Sorry to disappoint you.

Needless to say, conversations died down shortly after midnight and no one was in much of a talking mood when the bus rolled into the Holiday Inn Suites in Charleston at 8:30 a.m. Monday. After a quick stop at the continental breakfast, everyone headed off to their rooms to get as much sleep as possible before the bus took them to Appalachian Power Park at 3:00 p.m. (BlueClaws lost, 4-3)

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The BlueClaws and Power battle in the second game of their three-game series tonight at 7:05 p.m. The BlueClaws will send Ervis Manzanillo (0-3, 6.00) to the mound against Robby Rowland (2-1, 3.60) in Game 2 of a seven-game road trip. Manzanillo has not pitched for the BlueClaws since May 11th when he tossed four innings at Greensboro and allowed five runs.

Listen to all the action on WOBM 1160-AM and WOBM 1310-AM or online beginning at 6:50 p.m. with the BlueClaws Beat pre-game show.

-Adam

ClawCast: BlueClaws OF Kyrell Hudson

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Before Saturday’s game, Adam Giardino had a chance to sit down with BlueClaws OF Kyrell Hudson for this new ClawCast.

Hudson made a sparkling diving catch in right-center on Friday night that Gauntlett Eldemire joked should have been on SportsCenter this morning. They talked about that, his approach at the plate, going through the recruiting process (Hudson could have been a D-1 football player), and much more.

Click here to listen or use the player below:

MiLB Video With Aaron Altherr

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Matt Stucko of MiLB.com was here the other day and filmed some videos with a few BlueClaws players. Here is the one with Aaron Altherr:

The BlueClaws play Hagerstown tonight at 7:05 with RHP Colin Kleven on the mound. Here are today’s game notes.

Kleven gave up just one ER in 12 IP last week over two starts and the British Columbia native was the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week for last week.