Archive for the 'Around the Farm' Category

Former BlueClaws Off to Great Starts With Clearwater

Sunday, April 24th, 2016
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MILB.com Photo

The Clearwater Threshers roster should look pretty familiar to BlueClaws fans. All but two players on it played for the BlueClaws (P Victor Arano came to the Phillies to complete the Roberto Hernandez deal two years ago and P Thomas Eshelman came to the Phillies in the Ken Giles trade in December, going straight to Clearwater from the NY-Penn League).

What should also look familiar to BlueClaws fans? Strong pitching from guys that thrived with Lakewood last year. In fact, the Threshers staff has an ERA of 1.89 (!) over 17 games and has already thrown four shutouts. Let’s take a look.

  • LHP Elniery Garcia has given up one run in 19 innings with 17 strikeouts and four walks. He had a 3.23 ERA with the BlueClaws last year, including a 2.64 ERA in the second half.
  • RHP Ranfi Casimiro has given up three earned runs in 16 innings with 20 strikeouts and four walks. He had a 3.35 ERA with Lakewood last year and a 3.10 ERA in the second half.
  • RHP Tyler Viza has allowed two earned runs in 17.2 innings with 17 strikeouts and two walks. Viza had a 3.3.38 ERA with Lakewood last year 3.14 in the second half.

Out of the bullpen, Jairo Munoz has allowed one run in seven innings, Jesen Therrien has allowed one earned run in 9.1 innings with 15 strikeouts, Matt Hockenberry has not allowed a run in 6.2 innings with five strikeouts, and Alexis Rivero has not allowed a run in 8.1 innings with 11 strikeouts.

Pitching coach Aaron Fultz, who worked with these players last year in Lakewood, has done a great job helping them develop, and the early returns in 2016 are very strong.

Here is the Clearwater stats page.

Minor League Spring Training – March 31st

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Phillies teams will be heading north this weekend (except Clearwater, of course) – some players are already up north, playing in the Phillies Futures Series. The Phillies are in Reading tonight to play a team of prospects. For that reason, don’t read much into the placements of players in the games today – a big chunk of players, mostly AA and AAA-bound players, are in Reading tonight.

Games were against the Pirates affiliates today in Clearwater and Bradenton.

Team 1 (6-4 win)

  • David Buchanan started here and gave up four runs in five innings. Hoby Miler threw two scoreless innings and Joey DeNato threw one.
  • Cameron Perkins led the offense. He went 4-4 with a home run. Christian Marrero homered as well, going 2-3.
  • Gabriel Lino, a former BlueClaw, was also 2-3 in the win.

Team 2 (10-9 loss)

  • Ben Lively started and gave up two runs over 4.2 innings of work. Alexis Rivero gave threw a scoreless inning among a slew of relievers to see action.
  • Logan Moore and Jiandido Tromp both homered and drove in three runs in the loss.
  • Zach Green (2014 BlueClaw) went 2-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Carlos Alonso went 1-3 and drove in two.

Team 3 (4-2 loss)

  • Ranfi Casimiro, of course with the BlueClaws the last two years, started and gave up three runs in five innings.
  • Jairo Munoz, Zach Morris, and Ismael Cabrera threw scoreless innings.
  • Wilson Garcia and Cornelius Randolph each went 1-3 with an RBI.
  • Josh Tobias, Kyle Martin, and Drew Stankiewicz all had hits.

Team 4 (5-4 loss)

  • Franklyn Kilome started and gave up five runs, three earned, over four innings of work while striking out two.
  • He was followed by Elniery Garcia who went the rest of the way, throwing five scoreless innings on four hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
  • Brendon Hayden and Juan Luis each had two hits, with both of Hayden’s hits being doubles (he’s your likely BlueClaws Opening Day 1B).
  • Jan Hernandez and Emmanuel Marrero each had a hit and an RBI.

The Phillies minor league rosters should be out Friday or Saturday. We’ll be back with them at that time.

Minor League Spring Training – March 29

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Spring Training 2016The results from yesterday’s games are in with some very good performances across the organization. Phillies prospects played Blue Jays prospects in Clearwater and Dunedin.

Team 1 (3-2 loss)

  • Adam Morgan, who lost the Phillies 5th starter battle to Vince Velasquez, is ticketed for Lehigh Valley and threw five scoreless innings yesterday with two walks and four strikeouts.
  • Colton Murray threw two scoreless innings with one hit and one strikeout.
  • Offensively, Taylor Featherston and Angelys Nina each went 2-3.
  • Andrew Knapp was 1-4 with a home run.

Team 2 (3-2 loss)

  • Alec Asher (Hamels trade) went five innings and gave up one run on three hits with four strikeouts. Severino Gonzalez followed and allowed one run over two innings.
  • Offensively, Aaron Brown led the way, going 3-4 with two doubles, a home run, and two runs scored. Carlos Tocci, who played right field today (Brown played center), went 2-3. Those two had all five hits.

Team 3 (6-0 win)

  • Tyler Viza has had an excellent spring and it continued with five scoreless innings on two hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
  • Cody Forsythe, Joey DeNato, Jesen Therrien, and Jeremy Bleich all threw scoreless innings and combined to strike out seven hitters.
  • Offensively, Kyle Martin hit another home run, his (I believe) 5th of the spring. Jose Pujols and Jiandido Tromp both homered as well. Pujols and Martin each had two hits.

Team 4 (6-3 win)

  • Harold Arauz (Giles trade) threw four scoreless innings with two strikeouts as the starter.
  • He was followed by Alberto Tirado (one run in two innings) and Edgar Garcia (two runs in one inning).
  • Three players had two hits apiece – Cornelius Randolph (2-3, double), Brandon Hayden (2-3, double), and Carlos Duran (2-3, two doubles).
  • Randolph, Duran, and Luis Espiritu stole bases as well in the win.

Just a few more of these until Opening Day!

Minor League Spring Training – March 26

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

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We’re getting closer and closer to the start of the season, which means we’re closer to the end of Spring Training. We’ll have just a few more of these recaps left. Let’s look at Saturday’s games.

Team 1 (6-2 win)

  • Phillies P Aaron Nola started here and gave up one run on six hits over 5.1 innings with three walks and seven strikeouts.
  • Colton Murray, a former BlueClaw, gave up one run in 1.2 innings of work while Severino Gonzalez threw a scoreless inning.
  • The team hit four home runs in the game – two by 2014 BlueClaws OF Dylan Cozens and one by 2012 BlueClaw Angelo Mora and another by Cody Asche. Tommy Joseph and Brock Stassi both hits as well.

Team 2 (6-0 win)

  • They used just two pitchers – both pitched very well. Zach Eflin threw five scoreless innings on three hits with no walks and seven strikeouts and Ben Lively threw four hitless innings with one walk and six strikeouts.
  • Offensively, Mitch Walding led the way with two home runs in the win.
  • Rhys Hoskins went 2-4 with two doubles and Carlos Alonso went 2-3 with two singles.
  • Carlos Tocci, Jorge Alfaro, and Cord Sandberg each had hits.

Team 3 (3-0 loss)

  • Ranfi Casimiro had a very good outing, give up just one run on four hits over four innings of work.
  • Elniery Garcia followed and gave up two runs in 3.2 innings but didn’t walk anyone and added seven strikeouts. Jesen Therrien threw 1.1 scoreless innings as well.
  • Damek Tomscha went 2-3 and Cornelius Randolph, Josh Tobias, and Deivi Grullon all had one hit apiece.

Team 4 (5-4 win)

  • Franklyn Kilome gave up three runs in four innings in what is likely his penultimate start of the spring. He was followed by Adonis Medina, who gave up one run over 3.1 innings with a walk and three strikeouts.
  • Joey DeNato and Hoby Milner (both of whom will be at higher levels) threw scoreless innings.
  • Venn Biter led the offense with a single and two doubles in five at bats while leadoff hitter Juan Luis went 2-3 with a double and a triple.
  • Luis Encarnacion was 2-4. Dylan Bosheers and Emmanual Marrero were each 2-3.

Minor League Spring Training – March 24th

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

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Let’s take a look at some Minor League Spring Training recaps from the games of March 24th, which included a combined 25 runs scored for Teams 2 & 3. Games were played today against Yankees affiliates in Clearwater and Tampa.

Team 1 (7-0 loss)

  • Alec Asher started and gave up five runs, but only two earned, in five innings of work.
  • Miguel Gonzalez, Tom Windle and Edubray Ramos threw scoreless innings and Joely Rodriguez gave up two runs.
  • It was a quiet day offensively, though 3B Taylor Featherston had three hits.
  • Roman Quinn & JP Crawford were each 1-4.

Team 2 (12-6 win)

  • Yacksel Rios started and gave up five runs in four innings.
  • Miguel Nunez (one run), Matt Hockenberry (no runs, three Ks), and Lino Martinez (no runs) all followed with two innings apiece.
  • This team was one of the offensive explosions referenced above. Two players had three hits – Aaron Brown (3-5) and Christian Marrero (3-5, double, triple, 4 RBIs).
  • Jorge Alfaro went 2-5 and scored three times while Carlos Alonso went 2-4.
  • KC Serna went 1-4 but drove in two.

Team 3 (13-6 win)

  • Tyler Viza has had a good spring so far and today he threw three scoreless innings and struck out four.
  • Kenny Koplove threw two scoreless innings in relief.
  • The big story here was the offense, which was led by Kyle Martin. The 2015 BlueClaw hit two home runs as part of a 3-5, 4 RBI day. Damek Tomscha (2-4) and Jose Pujols (1-4) both homered as well in the win.
  • Samuel Hiciano, with the BlueClaws in 2014 and injured last year, went 2-4 and drove in two.
  • Jan Hernandez was 2-3 with a double and scored twice.

Team 4 (7-1 loss)

  • Harold Arauz, who came over in the Ken Giles trade, threw three scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
  • Alejandro Arteaga gave up two runs in two innings of relief.
  • Just for hits for Team 4 in their loss today – one each by Reggie Wilson, Zack Coppola, Dylan Bosheers, and Gregori Rivero.

As we get closer and closer to camp breaking next week and Opening Day (April 7th), we’ll start to see the player placements look more like the rosters will when the season begins.

Minor League Spring Training – Day Seven

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

A full slate of action yesterday in the Minor League Spring Training games in Clearwater and Bradenton as Phillies farmhands took on groups of Pirates prospects.

Team 1 (6-6 tie)

  • Vincent Velasquez, competing for the Phillies 5th starter job, gave up two runs over 5.2 innings while striking out five against just one walk in another good performance.
  • Among the relievers, 2015 BlueClaw Alexis Rivero gave up two runs in two innings.
  • Offensively, Angelo Mora, who has been a middle-infielder to date, played centerfield and went 3-4 with a triple and two RBIs.
  • Dylan Cozens was 2-4 with a double and Andrew Pullin was 3-4.
  • JP Crawford, Logan Moore, Brock Stassi, and Jake Fox also had hits.

Team 2 (4-4 tie)

  • Dalier Hinojosa, another competing for a big league spot, made an appearance here, throwing two scoreless innings before Jake Thompson gave up four runs in four innings – though he struck out five against just one walk.
  • Among the relievers, former BlueClaws Ulises Joaquin threw a 1-2-3 inning.
  • No multi-hit game but Aaron Brown, Rhys Hoskins, and Mitch Walding, all former BlueClaws, had doubles.

Team 3 (5-2 loss)

  • Ricardo Pinto, who of course pitched for the BlueClaws in the first half last year before a promotion to Clearwater, gave up three runs on four hits over four innings with a walk and two strikeouts.
  • Jairo Munoz followed, allowing one run in three innings. Alberto Tirado threw a scoreless inning and Calvin Rayburn gave up one run in one inning.
  • Austin Bossart, a catcher from UPenn, homered in two at bats. Damek Tomscha drove in the other run, going 1-2 with an RBI double.
  • Grenny Cumana, Jorge Alfaro, Drew Stankiewicz, and Carlos Duran also had hits.

Team 4 (3-3 tie)

  • Shane Watson, who has pitched with the BlueClaws in parts of two seasons, gave up three runs on four hits in 3.1 innings. He was followed by Mitch Guellar, who threw two scoreless innings.
  • Zach Morris (one) and Robert Tasin (two) combined for three innings of scoreless relief.
  • Luis Encarnacion homered in the tie, while Dylan Bosheers went 2-3 with a double. Zack Coppola, Deivi Grullon, Brandon Hayden, and Emmanuel Marrero also had hits.

Please Note: Wednesday is a scheduled “Camp Day” so we won’t have a report. We’ll be back following Thursday’s games.

Minor League Spring Training – Day Six

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Spring Training 2016We have recaps up from the Monday action in Florida as part of the minor league spring training games. Only recaps for teams 3, 4, and 5 today.

Team 3 (5-1 loss)

  • Ranfi Casimiro started and gave up one run over two innings with three walks and four strikeouts.
  • Luis Morales followed with two scoreless innings. Sutter McLoughlin threw a scoreless frame as did Jacob Waguespack, who struck out all three hitters he faced.
  • Jan Hernandez was 2-3 and the lone player with a multi-hit game.
  • Drew Stankiewicz, Kyle Martin, and Jose Pujols.

Team 4 (2-0 win)

  • Tyler Gilbert, a 6th round pick last year from USC and a potential BlueClaw, threw three scoreless innings allowing one hit and striking out four.
  • Alejandro Arteaga, another potential BlueClaw, threw two perfect innings with two strikeouts.
  • Ismael Cabrera and Jose Taveras also threw two scoreless innings, each striking out four.
  • Zack Coppola led the offense with two hits in two at bats, plus two wlaks and a stolen base.
  • Cornelius Randolph, batting third playing left field, went 2-4 as well. Brandon Hayden was 2-3 with an RBI and a walk.

Team 5 (11-2 win)

  • Felix Paulino started and gave up two runs on three hits in two innings.
  • Geury Ortiz, Steiner Carmonda, and Oskerlly Sanchez threw two scoreless innings while Evan Crower threw one.
  • Offensively, Daniel Brito went 2-4 with three runs scored and an RBI. Jesus Alastre was 3-4 with two RBIs. Jake Sweaney was 3-4 and Jhailyn Ortiz was 2-4 with a double and two RBIs.

Minor League Spring Training – Day Five

Monday, March 21st, 2016

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After Saturday’s games were rained out, we’re back with another set of recaps from Sunday’s action as Phillies prospects took on Pirates prospects in Clearwater and Bradenton. Phillies farmhands swept the four games.

Team 1 (8-1 win)

  • Mark Appel, acquired from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade, threw four scoreless innings on two hits while striking out three.
  • Edubray Ramos gave up the lone run over two innings of work.
  • The offensive outburst was led by Cameron Perkins, who went 3-4 with a double and three RBIs, and Andrew Pullin, who was 3-3 with an RBI and a walk.
  • Taylor Featherston had two hits, including a double, and scored twice. Brock Stassi, Jake Fox, Nick Williams, and Jesmuel Valentin also had hits.

Team 2 (5-3 win)

  • Nick Pivetta, acquired for Jonathan Papelbon last year, gave up two runs in three innings but struck out five without walking anyone.
  • Former BlueClaw Miguel Nunez gave up a run in two innings while former BlueClaws Joey DeNato, Cody Forsythe, and Hoby Milner threw scoreless innings.
  • Malquin Canelo, Carlos Tocci, Aaron Brown, and Zach Green all had two hits in the win, while Canelo had a double and scored twice. Green had a double and scored once.

Team 3 (4-2 win)

  • Phillies reliever Andrew Bailey made a spot appearance here and struck out four without allowing a run over 1.1 innings of work. Colton Murray threw two scoreless innings behind Bailey.
  • Thomas Eshelman gave up two runs on three hits over three innings – Eshelman was a 2nd round pick of the Astros last year (Cal State Fullerton) and came to the Phillies in the Ken Giles trade. He’s a potential 2015 BlueClaw if he doesn’t jump the level and go straight to Clearwater.
  • Josh Tobias went 2-3 with a pair of runs scored in the win while adding a double.
  • Kyle Martin doubled and drove in a run while Damek Tomscha and Jan Hernandez both had hits and RBIs as well.

Team 4 (3-0 win)

  • James Russel (one), Chris Leroux (two), Franklyn Kilome (three – on one hit with three strikeouts), and Elniery Garcia (three – on three hits with three strikeouts) combined to pitch a shutout.
  • Luis Encarnacion was the only player in the lineup with two hits – Rodolfo Duran and Juan Luis had RBIs.
  • Cornelius Randolph got his first action and went 1-4 batting third and playing left field.
  • Zach Coppola had a hit and a walk while Venn Biter had a hit and stole a base.

That’s it for Sunday. Back later with Monday.

Minor League Spring Training – Day Three

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

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Phillies minor leaguers were in action yesterday in Florida, splitting time between Dunedin and Clearwater in games against Blue Jays prospects.

You can follow the results all spring using the Spring Training tag of posts.

Team 1 (2-1 win)

  • David Buchanan threw a scoreless inning while Anthony Vasquez followed with three scoreless frames. Joely Rodriguez added two scoreless innings of relief as well.
  • Tommy Joseph, who has earned mentions here all three days, led the offense with three hits. He and Carlos Alonso drove in the two runs.
  • The top six in the lineup – Roman Quinn, JP Crawford, Andrew Knapp, Jake Fox, Nick Williams, and Dylan Cozens.
  • Fox, Williams, Cozens, Harold Martinez, and Alonso also had hits.

Team 2 (8-5 win)

  • John Richy and Victor Arano each threw two scoreless innings while Ulises Joaquin and Alexis Rivero each gave up two runs.
  • A big day at the plate for several players, led by Rhys Hoskins. The 2015 BlueClaw went 2-2 with a home run and three RBIs.
  • Herlis Rodriguez was 2-4 with a triple, walk, and stolen base. Carlos Tocci had a triple, two RBIs, and a stolen base.
  • Cord Sandberg and Jorge Alfaro both also had a pair of hits in the win. Mitch Walding and Scott Kingery also had a hit apiece.

Team 3 (5-0 win)

  • Phillies LHP Adam Morgan started this game with the minor league players and threw five scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out five.
  • Will Morris (three) and Jason Zgardowski (one) combined for four scoreless innings behind Morgan.
  • Jose Pujols went 1-4 with a home run to drive in two of the five runs in the win.
  • Kyle Martin was 2-4 with a triple and Phillies C JP Arencibia was 2-4 with two runs.
  • Jan Hernandez, Josh Tobias, Damek Tomscha, Chase Harris, and Samuel Hiciano had hits as well.

Team 4 (4-0 win)

  • Phillies reliever David Hernandez threw a scoreless inning and was followed by Brett Oberholtzer, who threw three scoreless frames.
  • Luke Leftwich retired all six hitters he faced, striking out four (he’s a potential 2016 BlueClaw).
  • Offensively, Reggie Wilson was 2-4 with a triple and an RBI.

Minor League Spring Training – Day Two

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Spring Training 2016We posted the day one recap on BlueClaws.com but we expect the rest of them will be here on BlueClaws Blog. Let’s get to it. Today, Phillies farm hands took on a group of Pirates prospects in Clearwater and in Bradenton.

Team 1 (10-5 loss)

  • Jake Thompson started and gave up one run over three innings with a strikeout. Zack Eflin followed and gave up three runs/one earned in three innings while adding four strikeouts.
  • JP Crawford went 1-3 with two RBIs while other runs were driven in by Tommy Joseph (2-4, double), Dylan Cozens (1-3) and Nick Williams (1-3).

Team 2 (7-4 win)

  • Ben Lively started and gave up three runs over two innings with four strikeouts.
  • Matt Imhof, a former 2nd rd pick who played for the BlueClaws in 2014, threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
  • 2015 BlueClaw Matt Hockenberry made his spring training debut with a scoreless inning, as did 2014 BlueClaw Yacksel Rios.
  • Carlos Tocci led the offense, going 3-3 with a double and stolen base while Jiandido Tromp homered, going 1-3.
  • Mitch Walding drove in two while Rhys Hoskins, Zach Green, Deivi Grullon, Herlis Rodriguez, and Emmanuel Marrero all had one.

Team 3 (6-4 win)

  • Ranfi Casimiro, a 2014-15 BlueClaw, threw two scoreless innings in his 2016 debut. Luis Morales followed and gave up two runs in two innings.
  • Alberto Tirado, Kenny Koplove, Jacob Waguespack and Robert Tasin all threw scoreless innings.
  • Offensively, Zack Coppola went 3-5 as the leadoff hitter.
  • Kyle Martin, with the BlueClaws last year, was 2-4 with a double and a home run. Reggie Wilson, 32nd rd pick last year from Oklahoma City University, also added a home run.
  • Damek Tomscha had a double and Josh Tobias added a triple.

Team 4 (8-5 win)

  • Tyler Gilbert and Alejandro Arteaga each threw two scoreless innings to open the game.
  • Jeff Singer and Gandy Stubblefield threw scoreless innings in relief.
  • Jhailyn Ortiz had two RBIs in going 1-4 while Enmanuel Garcia was 2-5, also driving in a pair.
  • Jesus Alastre, Lucas Williams, Luis Encarnacion, Daniel Brito, and Juan Luis all had a hit.

We’ll be back tomorrow.

Road to Lakewood: Outfielders

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

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We continue our annual look at players that could be with the BlueClaws in 2016. We previously looked at infielders (here) and will have outfielders today. Pitchers will follow.

As always with this series, nothing is set in stone as the players report to Clearwater and begin minor league spring training games. This is a look at potential BlueClaws. Typically the team carries two catchers, but they have carried three in the past, and that, among many other factors such as positional versatility, could impact this list.

This series is one of our favorite things to do on this blog. We hope you enjoy.

(Pictured above are Zach Coppola [left] and Mark Laird])

Outfielders
Cornelius Randolph – We’ll start with Randolph, the Phillies first-round pick last year (9th overall) from Griffin, Georgia. Baseball America ranks him 6th best in the system. Last year, he hit .302 with 1 home run and a 32 BB/K ratio for the GCL Phillies, ranking second in the league in doubles, on-base percentage, and walks. Randolph was drafted as a shortstop but was immediately moved to left field upon being drafted, and he seems likely to be the BlueClaws Opening Day left fielder this year.

Mark Laird – Laird was drafted by the Phillies in the 9th round out of LSU and hit .285 with 11 stolen bases with Williamsport last year. He played right field in college but was a teammate of Andrew Stevenson, a high Nationals draft pick, who played center in Baton Rouge. His college coach was very complimentary of his defense.

“Mark Laird would be one of the top 10 percent of the center fielders in the country,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “I guarantee you he’s better than 90 percent of the center fielders in college baseball. It just so happens he plays on the same team with who I think is the best center fielder in the country — Andrew Stevenson.”

Laird will turn 23 at the end of March, so it’s certainly possible that he goes to Clearwater to open the 2016 season (where he would play a corner since Carlos Tocci is expected to play center for the Threshers).

Jose Pujols – Pujols signed with the Phillies in 2012 for $540,000 from the Dominican Republic and has been working his way up the system over the last few years. His calling card is his power and he’s hit 15 home runs in three minor league seasons thus far. Last year, he hit .238 with Williamsport, adding four home runs and five stolen bases while serving as their primary right fielder. Pujols hit .300 over the first month of the season before fading at the end, though all four of his home runs came in the season’s final month. He’s still just 20, and won’t turn 21 until September, so more seasoning in extended spring training and Williamsport certainly isn’t out of the question, but could be with the BlueClaws this year.

Venn Biter – A 21 year old from Tennessee, Biter was drafted in the 30th round of the 2013 draft and spent two years in the Gulf Coast League before joining Williamsport. With the Crosscutters last year, he hit .265 with two home runs and nine stolen bases. He hit in the 2-hole more than any other spot for the Crosscutters last year.

Zachary Coppola – A speedster from South Dakota State, Coppola was a 13th round pick last year that hit .271 with 15 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. He was 39 for 39 on the bases in college and is a 5′ 10″ left-handed hitter that profiles as a Ben Revere type of slash hitter. He’s another potential centerfielder for the BlueClaws with Mark Laird (it would likely be Coppola if Laird is in Clearwater). Here is some pre-draft video on Coppola, who was just the 12th Jackrabbits player ever to be drafted.

Carlos Duran – The 21 year old from Venezuela spent most of last year with Williamsport, where he hit .236 with two home runs and 10 stolen bases, while also filling in over a four-game stretch with Hi-A Clearwater. Duran hit .299 with the GCL Phillies in 2014 and began his career with two seasons in the Gulf Coast League.

Juan Luis – The Gulf Coast Phillies had, among their outfielders, Randolph (see above) and several younger options, most of whom seem more likely for Williamsport. If one of those players breaks through to Lakewood, it seems like it would be Luis. He’ll turn 20 on March 23rd and hit .244 with two home runs with the GCL Phillies, but his most notable skill was his speed – he was 14 for 15 on the bases

Road to Lakewood: Infielders

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

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This begins our annual look at players that could be with the BlueClaws in 2016. We will start with infielders, and will have upcoming posts on outfielders, starting pitchers, and relief pitchers in the coming days.

Minor leaguers report to Spring Training this week (photo day is March 7th) and will begin playing games in Florida against other local clubs (the Blue Jays in Dunedin, the Tigers in Lakeland, the Pirates in Bradenton, and the Yankees in Tampa) around March 14th.

As always with this series, nothing is set in stone as the players report to Clearwater and this is a look at potential BlueClaws. Typically the team carries two catchers, but they have carried three in the past, and that, among many other factors such as positional versatility, could impact this list.

This series is one of our favorite things to do on this blog. We hope you enjoy.

(pictured above are C Austin Bossart and 2B Josh Tobias)

Catchers
Deivi Grullon – A would-be returnee, Grullon ranks 20th in the Phillies system per Baseball America. He hit .221 with eight HRs with the BlueClaws last year, though it is certainly noteworthy that he finished the year strong, hitting .288 in his final 32 games (August 1st through the end) with four of his eight HRs and 22 of his 50 RBIs. He’s also considered an excellent defensive catcher and threw out 32% of opposing base-stealers last year. Grullon could obviously go to Clearwater, but if the Phillies want to take it slower with him (he just turned 20 on February 17th), we could see him back with the BlueClaws this year.

Austin Bossart – A 14th round pick last year out of the University of Pennsylvania, Bossart, last year’s Big 5 Player of the Year, is hoping to be the first Quaker to reach the big leagues since Mark DeRosa (1998-2013) and Doug Glanville (1996-2004). He had an excellent debut with Williamsport, hitting .333 in 37 games with one home run. He only struck out 18 times against 19 walks and threw out 39% of opposing base stealers. Here is an article on Bossart from MILB.com last year.

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Q&A: Josh Norris of Baseball America

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Several weeks ago, Baseball America released their annual Phillies Top Ten Prospects listings, which you can view here. In conjunction with that list, we spoke to Josh Norris of Baseball America. Josh was in charge of the Phillies rankings this year. You can read our conversation below.

  1. The Phillies were obviously able to re-tool their entire system in a relatively short period of time through several trades of established big league players. How does the system now compare with others in terms of overall top-end talent and depth?

The system is much-improved, for sure. Crawford is a Top 10 prospect in the game, and Williams and Thompson are in consideration for the Top 100 prospects as well.  That’s a good start. Andrew Knapp made one of the biggest jumps in recent memory with his run through Reading, Cornelius Randolph put together an excellent start to his professional career and the Top 10 rounds out with a pair of lottery tickets in Franklyn Kilome and Adonis Medina. It’s a much deeper system than it was a year ago.

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Williams to Manage Claws in 2015

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

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(press release below)

LAKEWOOD, NJ – Shawn Williams has been named the 11th manager in BlueClaws history and will lead the team in 2015, it was announced by the Phillies on Wednesday.

He will be joined on the staff by hitting coach Nelson Prada and pitching coach Aaron Fultz.

Williams, 31, managed Williamsport in 2014, his first as a manager. He was a player/coach with the Crosscutters in 2013 follwing the conclusion of his playing career. He spent four seasons (2007-10) in the Tampa Bay minor league system while also playing in the American Association (2006), Can-Am League (2010-11) and the Atlantic League (2010 & 2012).

“I cannot wait to get up to Lakewood and start the season,” said Williams. “I played in the South Atlantic League with Columbus (GA), and that year we didn’t play Lakewood, but from everything I’ve been told, the stadium is an exciting place to play. I’ve heard nothing but great things.”

His father, Jimy, managed the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Astros and is a former Phillies bench coach.

Prada comes to Lakewood after serving as Clearwater’s manager in 2014 and Williamsport’s manager in 2013. Prior to joining the Phillies, Prada spent eight years managing in the Twins organization, five with Beloit in the Midwest League and three with the Gulf Coast League Twins.

Fultz, who was Lakewood’s pitching coach in 2013, is the lone member of the coaching staff that has coached for the BlueClaws before. He joined the Phillies as a coach in 2012 and spent that season and 2014 as the pitching coach with Williamsport. He pitched for the Giants, Rangers, Twins, Phillies, and Indians over an eight-year big league career.

Greg Legg, who managed the BlueClaws last year and had been on the coaching staff for eight of the team’s 14 seasons (2001 and 2014 as the manager and 2008-2013 as hitting coach), will serve as Clearwater’s manager in 2015, his 34th in the Phillies organization. Dusty Wathan, who managed the BlueClaws to a league title in 2009, will return to Reading and Chris Truby, who managed the BlueClaws in 2011, will embark in his second season as the Phillies roving infield coordinator.

2015 BlueClaws ticket packages and group outings are now on sale. Additional information is available by calling 732-901-7000 option 3 or online at BlueClaws.com.

The BlueClaws are the Jersey Shore’s top stop for affordable, family entertainment. They will celebrate their 15th season of family fun this year, with programs and promotions throughout the summer. For more information, visit BlueClaws.com/15.

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