Archive for the 'General Baseball' Category

Happy Opening Day

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

The BlueClaws open the season tonight at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington with RHP Franklyn Kilome on the mound. We’ll have more on the game later but I wanted to share this one from Indians manager Terry Francona via Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.

Nine Claws Set For Arizona Fall League

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013


Nine former BlueClaws are in Arizona for the prestigious Arizona Fall League, which opens today. We’ll cover the league over the next month and you can follow them on Twitter here.

Here is a rundown of BlueClaws participants:

Kenny Giles – The Phillies drafted Giles in the 7th round of the 2011 draft and he made it to Lakewood in 2012, striking out 86 hitters in 67.1 innings with five saves and a 3.61 ERA. He was promoted in July to Clearwater, where he made 10 appearances and returned this year, going 2-2, 6.31. He’ll be one of the hardest throwers in the AFL this year.

Mike Nesseth – The Minnesota native played collegiately at Nebraska and the Phillies took him in the 17th round in 2010, though because of Tommy John Surgery did not debut until 2011. He opened 2012 with the BlueClaws, going 5-1, 3.06, most of it in relief after he made four early-season starts. He moved to Clearwater for the 2nd half of 2012, pitching to a 2.76 ERA in 21 games. He made 35 of his 48 appearances this year with Reading, going 1-4, but had a 1.64 ERA and threw seven innings allowing one unearned run with Lehigh Valley in three games at the end of the year.

Austin Wright – The BlueClaws have had current-year college starters finish the year in Lakewood the last few seasons (Hoby Milner in 2012, Jon Prosinski and Mark Leiter in 2013). Wright, a 7th round pick from Ole Miss, filled that role in 2011, making seven starts with a 2.67 ERA. He went 11-5, 3.47 with Clearwater in 2012 and went 6-5, 5.92 with Reading this year.

Cameron Rupp – 2013 was a special season for Rupp, who finished the year with the Phillies after opening the season with Reading. He hit a combined .258 with 14 home runs between Reading and Lehigh Valley this year, and took advantage of an opportunity at AAA after Tommy Joseph’s injuries. A 3rd round pick from Texas in 2010, Rupp was the every-day catcher for the BlueClaws in 2011, hitting .272 with four home runs.

Aaron Altherr – BlueClaws fans are very familiar with Altherr, who played 151 games with Lakewood between 2011 and 2012. He spent all of 2012 with the BlueClaws, hitting .252 with 8 home runs and 25 stolen bases after splitting 2011 between Lakewood, where he started the year, and Williamsport. This year, Altherr had his best professional season, hitting .275 with 12 home runs and 23 stolen bases (he has 85 over the last three years).

Kelly Dugan – Whatever clicked in for Dugan at the 2012 All-Star break has propelled him into one of the best hitting prospects in the minors. After hitting .253 with Lakewood in the first half of last year, he hit .331 in the second half (to finish at an even .300). This year, he picked up where he left off, hitting .318 with Clearwater and .264 with Reading, to split his year at .291 with 20 home runs (10 in each stop). He was a 2nd round pick of the Phillies in 2009 from Encino, California.

(Rule-5 draft implications – Wright, Altherr, and Dugan all have to be placed on the Phillies 40-man roster to avoid being unprotected for the Rule-5 Draft. Rupp is on the 40-man already after serving as a September call-up.)

Mickey Kozack – Mickey has been the BlueClaws trainer since 2008 (save one year in 2011 when he was with Clearwater). He will be the trainer for the Peoria club in the AFL.

Lendy Castillo – Castillo is an interesting case. He began the year as an outfielder with the Phillies before they made him a reliever in 2010. He was so good with the BlueClaws in 2011 (4-2, 2.54 with 46 strikeouts in 46 innings) that the Cubs took him in the Rule-5 draft and carried him on their Major League roster for most of 2012. This year, they wanted to make him a starter so they sent him to Low-A Kane County. It didn’t work. He allowed 26 runs in 24 innings and he went back to the bullpen. After 14 relief appearances with Kane County, he got promoted to Hi-A Daytona where he went 2-0, 3.60 in 20 innings. He was outrighted off the 40-man roster and cleared waivers last year and will try to bounce-back in the Fall and hopefully reach AA in 2014.

Trevor May – May, a 4th round pick of the Phillies in 2008, is the rare two-time champion in the minors, winning titles with the BlueClaws in both 2009 and 2010. In 2009, he went 4-1, 2.56 after joining the BlueClaws in June. He opened 2010 with Clearwater, but 61 walks in 70 innings got him sent back to Lakewood, where he went 7-3, 2.91 in 11 games. After a year in Clearwater and another in Reading, after the 2012 season, he was sent to the Twins (with Vance Worley) for Ben Revere. This year with Double-A New Britain, he went 9-9, 4.51, and while he struck out 159 hitters in 151 innings, he also walked 67, which has been his bugaboo. He’ll work on his control under pitching coach Tom Browning (former Reds pitcher). He is on the Twins 40-man roster.

Travis Mattair – “Moose,” as he is affectionately known, has been in professional baseball since the Phillies took him in the 2007 draft’s 2nd round, save one year, 2010, when he played basketball at Boise State. He spent 2008 and 2009 with the BlueClaws, serving as the 3rd baseman on their first championship team. In 2011, he returned to Lakewood, playing 33 games (and hitting a grand-slam single on the 4th of July) before finishing with Clearwater. The Reds picked him up before 2012 (his first Claws manager, Steve Roadcap, is now a scout with the Reds). He spent last year with Hi-A Bakersfield and this year hit .242 with 13 home runs with Double-A Pensacola.

One BlueClaw On Tonight

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Do you know the one BlueClaws alum who is on an active roster for tonight’s Wild Card Play-In Game between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati?

It’s 2003 BlueClaws RHP Alfredo Simon, who has had an excellent year with the Reds, going 6-4 with a 2.87 ERA.

He went 5-0, 3.79 with the BlueClaws in 2003, which was his final year with the Phillies.

Go Reds.

#52: Villar Debuts With Astros

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

One of the most fun parts of this job is updating this page – the Shore to the Show page – on We got to do it again yesterday, as 2010 BlueClaws SS Jonathan Villar made his big league debut with Houston.

Villar becomes the 52nd BlueClaw to go From the Shore, to the Show, and third this year, joining 2010 BlueClaws teammates Jonathan Pettibone, who debuted with the Phillies in April, and Jarred Cosart, who debuted with the Astros just last week.

While Pettibone was the winning pitcher in two of the five BlueClaws playoff wins that year, including the clincher in both rounds of the post-season, neither Cosart nor Villar were playoff participants. Cosart was injured, and Villar was traded, sent to the Astros in the Roy Oswalt trade just two days before the July 31st deadline.

Villar hit .278 with 31 stolen bases with Triple-A Oklahoma City before his promotion to Houston. In 100 games with the 2010 BlueClaws, he hit .271 with 38 stolen bases in 100 games and countless highlight-reel defensive plays. He spent 2011 between Hi-A (where he went after the trade) and Double-A, and all of last year in Double-A Corpus Christi before joining OKC this year.

I remember the day Villar’s trade went down – he was sent to Houston with Anthony Gose (flipped to Toronto minutes later) and JA Happ for Oswalt. Villar was in the Lakewood lineup that day, until about 3 pm, when Chuck LaMar, then the Phillies Assistant GM of Player Development, called manager Mark Parent. They took him out and put in Keoni DeRenne, who got the game-winning hit in a walk-off win. Here’s an old post from that day.

Congrats to Villar.

There are several other former BlueClaws in the Astros system right now.

  • Josh Zeid is in Triple-A with Oklahoma City, where he is 4-1 with 12 saves and a 3.38 ERA. He could certainly be called up at some point, especially as a September call-up. Zeid, of course, was traded to Houston in 2011 as part of the Hunter Pence trade with Cosart and…
  • Jonathan Singleton is hitting .210 with three home runs with Oklahoma City in 34 games there. He missed the first 50 games before playing a couple of weeks in Low-A and Double-A.
  • Domingo Santana was the player to be named later in that trade, going to Houston in August of 2011. This year, with Double-A Corpus Christi, is hitting .233 with 14 home runs. Santana is still two weeks (August 5) shy of his 21st birthday.

Who’s the next BlueClaw to make his big league debut? We shall see.

The Phillies and Nebraska

Friday, March 15th, 2013

I thought this was a good article by Matt Gelb about the Phillies and their players from Nebraska. Click here to read.

Several former BlueClaws are mentioned, including Darin Ruf, Tyler Cloyd, and Jake Diekman.

Why Nebraska? Scouting director Marti Wolever used to live there, for one:

“It’s a big advantage to scouting the area where your boss lives,” said Dave Seifert, the Phillies’ Midwest-area scout. “The few days he’s home, he’s going to get out and see that area’s guys. That’s a huge advantage. I don’t know any other scouting directors that live in Omaha.”

Seifert’s coverage area spanned nine states in 2012. He said he spent four weekends from last March to May in Nebraska. The reason is Wolever; if Seifert can recommend a player Wolever has seen even just once, he may be more inclined to use a late-round pick on that name.

Unrelated to this article, but related to Ruf – He is believed to be the only BlueClaw to play for a Jesuit school (Creighton). We mention this because the recently elected new Pope is the first-ever Jesuit Pope. That’s your fun fact of the day.

Recommended Read: MiLB Park Effects

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Ashley Marshall of has written an excellent article on park effects in various Minor League ballparks. You can read the full article here. This is a topic that we have talked about sometimes on this blog and frequently on BlueClaws game broadcasts, how pitching at FirstEnergy Park is a significant advantage for pitchers. This certainly re-affirms that long-standing belief of coaches, scouts, and other observers.

First, see below for the numbers:

Where the Numbers Come From:

((Runs scored at home + runs allowed at home)/(Home games)) / ((Runs scored on the road + runs allowed on the road)/(Road games))

What the Numbers Mean

A park factor of 1.000 is considered neutral and represented an equal number of runs/homers/hits at home as on the road. A factor over 1.000 favors hitters, while a factor under 1.000 favors pitchers.

FirstEnergy Park is considered to be the second best park for pitchers in the South Atlantic League, especially so when it comes to home runs. Asheville’s McCormick Field is three times more likely to yield a home run than FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood.

Generic player X hits 7 home runs on the road in 208 bats against an average ballpark mixture. If he had the same 208 at bats in Lakewood, he would in theory hit just 3.5 home runs in those games, while hitting 11 if he had those same 208 at bats in Asheville.

That’s a general example. Let’s look at two recent BlueClaws players.

Maikel Franco, 2012

  • He hit seven home runs in 254 home at bats last year. Using these park effects, he would have hit 13.5 home runs in a league average ballpark. Adding that to the seven he hit on the road and suddenly he is a 20 home run player. He would have hit 21 home runs with a home schedule in Asheville, bringing his season total to 28.

Jim Murphy, 2011

  • This is an interesting one to pick because in 2011, Murphy hit 22 home runs, tying the BlueClaws single-season franchise record. Of those 22 home runs, he hit 11 in 234 home at bats, or one every 21.3 Lakewood at bats. Against a league average ballpark, that’s 20 home runs at home, 31 total. In Asheville, that’s 33(!) home runs at home and 44 total. One home run every seven at bats sounds a little goofy and not realistic, but it does illustrate pretty well how much this ballpark favors the pitchers.

Jonathan Singleton in 2010 had roughly the same home run rate at home (7 in 185) as on the road (7 in 191) and this exercise would add a bunch to his total as well.

The point of the exercise is to keep these numbers in mind when looking at power numbers for this ballpark, and also when analyzing pitcher performance as well.

For what it’s worth…

  • Clearwater has the 4th best offensive park (of 12) in the Florida State League.
  • Reading has the 4th best offensive park (of 12) in the Eastern League.
  • Lehigh Valley has the 4th best pitchers park (of 14) in the International League.

They did not break down the NY-Penn League but Williamsport is considered an extreme pitchers park.

Read the article and bookmark it as the season gets going in a few weeks.

Recommended Read

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

This from 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.

Roman Quinn & Billy Hamilton

Friday, January 18th, 2013

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Former BlueClaw Into Managing

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

On a relatively obscure winter Friday, the Pirates made the announcement of their 2013 minor league coaching staffs. Normally this wouldn’t really catch our eye, but we were excited to see that Keoni De Renne, who was with the BlueClaws in 2010, will manage one of their entries in the Dominican Summer League.

De Renne bounced around the Phillies minor league system in 2010, playing for Lakewood, Clearwater, Reading, and Lehigh Valley (from a July 27, 2010 post):

The Keoni De Renne Eastern Tour…IF Keoni De Renne has rejoined the BlueClaws, his third stint with the team this year…He began the season with the BlueClaws before going to Reading for two weeks (where he was the only R-Phil to get a hit off Stephen Strasburg)…He then went to Clearwater, was sent to extended spring training, then was re- activated by Clearwater…In early June, he was sent to Lakewood again, where he finished the half…On June 21st, it was back to Clearwater…In early July, he was sent to Reading and then Lehigh Valley, before re-joining the BlueClaws…Overall he is 24-78 (.308) and has played with four Phillies affiliates this year.

We wish Keoni the best of luck in his new role, which he begins after serving as a player/coach for the GCL Pirates last year.

Catching Up – d’Arnaud to the Mets

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Obviously you knew this already but we just wanted to share our best wishes and congratulations to Travis d’Arnaud, 2009 BlueClaws catcher, who was traded from Toronto to the Mets, a deal completed on Monday which sent RA Dickey to the Blue Jays.

d’Arnaud has now been a centerpiece of two trades for Cy Young winners (he was sent to Toronto in the Roy Halladay trade in December, 2009) and he hasn’t even played a Major League game, though that will surely change quickly.

In this Daily News article, Andy Martino talks with d’Arnaud’s Lakewood manager, Dusty Wathan.

“He didn’t take his offense to his defense,” Wathan recalls. “That is when you can tell when a guy is young that he is going to be a good catcher.”

That’s similar to what he told us in this podcast from way back in August of 2009. Remember, he hit just .207 in the first half but d’Arnaud then hit .302 in the second half and led the BlueClaws to the SAL title.

d’Arnaud becomes the 5th former BlueClaw to be traded this off-season (Trevor May and Vance Worley from Philadelphia to Minnesota; Lisalverto Bonilla from Philadelphia to Texas; and Jason Donald from Cleveland to Cincinnati).

49 BlueClaws have gone “From The Shore, To The Show,” and d’Arnaud would be the first player to make his big league debut with the Mets.

Another Alum On The Move

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Several BlueClaws alums have been traded in the last week (Trevor May and Vance Worley to Minnesota and Lisalverto Bonilla to Texas), and the movement continued last night with Jason Donald traded from the Indians to the Reds as part of a three

-team trade headlined by Shin-Soo Choo (Cleveland to Cincinnati) and former #2 overall pick Trevor Bauer (Arizona to Cleveland).

Donald was a 3rd round pick of the Phillies in 2006 (U of Arizona) and played two months with the BlueClaws in 2007, hitting .310 with four HRs in 51 games, earning a promotion to Clearwater.

He was a part of the trade in 2009 that brought Cliff Lee to the Phillies (the first time), going to the Indians with Jason Knapp, Lou Marson, and Carlos Carrasco, all former BlueClaws themselves.

Donald made his big league debut in 2010 and played 170 big league games over the last three seasons, splitting time between Cleveland and Columbus.

“There’s a definite excitement on my end,” Donald said. “I’m thrilled for the opportunity. There are a lot of close relationships that I’ve built in Cleveland. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the organization and the people in it.”

We wish Jason the best.

Former BlueClaws Recognized By Baseball America

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Several former BlueClaws that are currently in other organizations were recognized by Baseball America in their annual “Top 10 Prospects” lists (link here) for various organizations.

Blue Jays
#1. Travis d’Arnaud (2009) – d’Arnaud helped the BlueClaws win their second South Atlantic League title (in 2009), and was traded to the Blue Jays after the season as part of the deal that brought Roy Halladay to the Phillies. d’Arnaud finished his third season with the Blue Jays and playing in AAA Las Vegas, he hit .333 with 16 HRs and 52 RBIs before an unfortunate knee injury (torn PCL) in late June ended his season. He’ll be healthy for spring training and will almost certainly make his big league debut at some point in 2013. GM Alex Anthopoulos said the following:

“We just want to see him get back, hopefully have a good spring training, go down to the minor leagues, get his swing back and we’ll worry about him hopefully when he’s having a great year down there and he can make our decision hard.”

The other former BlueClaw with Toronto, d’Arnaud’s 2009 teammate Anthony Gose, is obviously no longer considered a prospect after playing 56 games with the Blue Jays this year.

#2 Jonathan Singleton (2010) – Singleton joined the BlueClaws from extended spring training in May of 2010 and hit 14 home runs and drove in 77 runs in helping the BlueClaws win their second straight title. He was traded to the Astros in July of 2011 as part of the deal that brought Hunter Pence to Philadelphia. This past year, he hit .284 with 21 home runs and 79 RBIs with Double-A Corpus Christi. He had a great Arizona Fall League as well and will likely start 2013 in Triple-A and make his big league debut at some point later in the season.

Note that the only player ranked ahead of Singleton on the Astros list was SS Carlos Correa, who was the #1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. BA did note they consider Singleton the best first base prospect in the minors. The other noteworthy thing for Singleton is that with the Astros moving to the American League, there are potential at bats as a DH for him (or someone else) that weren’t there last year.

#7 Jarred Cosart (2010) – Cosart made 14 starts, going 7-3, 2.79, with the BlueClaws in 2010. He was then traded to the Astrros, with Singleton, in 2011 as part of the Hunter Pence trade. Last year, Cosart, a native of League City, Texas (just 25 miles from Minute Maid Park), pitched for both AA Corpus Christi (5-5, 3.52) and AAA Oklahoma City (1-2, 2.60). He’ll open 2013 in the starting rotation at Oklahoma City and is another that could debut in the big leagues this year.

BA notes that while he is a starter for now, some think he will end up a closer at some point in the future.

Misc Notes…All three of these players were ranked in the Baseball America Top 50 (overall) entering the 2012 season (click here)…d’Arnaud and Singleton were both top 25 in BA’s mid-season list this year (here)…We were a little surprised that fellow 2010 BlueClaw Jonathan Villar didn’t make the Astros top ten. Villar hit .261 in Double-A this year adding 39 stolen bases and just turned 21. I’m sure he’s in the top 15, but those aren’t revealed until the Prospect Handbook comes out in late January.

If you’re wondering, the Phillies list is slated to be revealed on Monday, December 17th.

Four Pitches – From Jesse Biddle

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Cool article from in which Jesse Biddle, now with Clearwater and a 2011 BlueClaw, talks about his four pitch repertoire. Click here to read the full article. Here’s a snippet:

Pitch one: Four-seam fastball

Origin: That’s the first pitch every kid should learn how to throw. It’s the most important one. At Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia, I usually just threw that until hitters started hitting it and then I changed it up. The biggest thing as a pitcher — at least what the Phillies preach — is fastball command first and foremost. If you don’t have that, you’re not going to be successful.

Purpose: I probably throw 75 percent fastballs in a game and I don’t try to fool anybody, just get quick outs. It’s my go-to in any count, and I feel comfortable throwing it.

Read the whole thing. Well worth it.

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

Basta De Psoriasis. Nuevo Nicho!

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.