We’ve done this the last few years and it’s always a fun post – the BlueClaws Year In Review. Previous years in review are available for 2011, 2010, and 2009. Here’s our 2012 Year In Review (thanks to Adam Giardino for his help as well).
Kurt Bevacqua Award – To Stephen Malcolm…Bevacqua, who hit one home run during the 1984 season and 27 in 2117 career at bats, homered hit a 3-run home run in game two of the ’84 World Series to key the lone Padres win in a series loss to Detroit. Malcolm hadn’t homered in 242 career at bats, until he went deep in the bottom of the 9th inning of the final game of the season. His home run tied the game, though the BlueClaws ended up falling in 10 innings.
Spiderman Award – We stay in the same game, and give this to Brock Stassi, who in the top of the 6th inning jumped on the tarp to catch a pop-up. Unfortunately, he left the field of play in the process, and instead of an out, it was a foul ball. Stassi smiled, but didn’t get the defensive play of the year award.
Mariano Rivera Award – The best finisher award goes to Kelly Dugan, who went 3-3 on the season’s final day to get his average to an even .300, his first time at .300 since going 2-4 on Opening Day. Dugan hit .350 from July 1st through the end of the season.
Best Use of All-Star Break Award – This goes to Maikel Franco, who hit just .207 in the first half with 27 RBIs. After the break, he hit .346 with 57 RBIs and a .925 OPS. This would seem like a good time to mention that the 2013 SAL All-Star Game is coming to Lakewood.
Steve Lyons Award – Colin Kleven didn’t play all nine positions for the BlueClaws in a game this year (he only played one), but he did take on a bunch of different roles during the final game of the season as a BlueClaws staff member (link).
Out of Position Award – This is shared by two players – Carlos Perdomo and Matt Campbell. Perdomo, an infielder, was Lakewood’s emergency pitcher this season, and he threw two scoreless innings. Matt Campbell, a pitcher, had to bat in a game that the BlueClaws lost the DH. He got a single in his June 11th at bat, but eventually took the loss in an 11-inning defeat.
Jordan Award – Jordan’s famous un-retirement was a big headline in 1995, and in BlueClaws-ville 2012, Ryan Howard’s “jersey unretirement” was a big headline. Howard, whose number 29 was retired by the BlueClaws in 2010, but it was un-retired when he rehabbed with the BlueClaws over a three-day period. Technically, he only wore 29 in two of the games because the first game included special jerseys…
Donation of the Year – June 28th was Prostate Cancer Awareness Night, and the BlueClaws wore special “baby-blue” jerseys which were auctioned off for BlueClaws Charities. Howard’s jersey (#52) went for just shy of $5,000.
Game of the Year – That was also our game of the year, as the BlueClaws trailed 6-0 after three innings become coming back to win. In the 9th, down 6-4, Howard came up with the bases loaded and nearly hit a walk-off grand slam; his long fly ball was caught on the warning track in left-center. Chris Duffy stepped in next and his 2-run single capped the comeback and won the game for the BlueClaws. Howard after the game said the following: “My focus was (in the ninth inning) making sure to get one run home and let big Duff take care of the rest.”
Quote of the Year Award – To Ryan Howard, who after the June 28th game in which he hit a SAC fly prior to Chris Duffy’s two-run game-winning single, said: “My focus was (in the ninth inning) making sure to get one run home and let big Duff take care of the rest.” (side note – one of the nicest parts about having a big leaguer around is his interaction with the minor league players, and Howard’s presence and support for Duffy clearly meant a lot to Chris).
8th on Team in Steals Award – To Brock Stassi, who stole six bases on the season. He’s here because on July 3rd, he hit an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the 8th inning of a win over Hagerstown. It was the first inside-the-park home run by a BlueClaw since Domingo Santana hit one on July 13th, 2011.
Will White Award – To Colin Kleven. Will White started 75 games, and completed all 75, for the 1879 Cincinnati Red Stockings. Kleven made all 27 starts for the BlueClaws this year, going 9-8, 3.99 (lowering his ERA under 4 in his final start). He also finished seven innings in six starts, two more than all other BlueClaws starters, combined.
Almost Award – Also to Kleven, for his start on July 30th at Delmarva. In that game, he threw eight shutout innings, facing the minimum 24 batters. He gave up two hits and induced two double-plays. Had the BlueClaws not scored four runs in the top of the ninth and hit for almost 20 minutes, he would have come back out for the bottom of the ninth.
Rivals-Turned-Teammates Award – To Josh Ludy and Hoby Milner. In college, Ludy (Baylor) hit a monster home run off Milner (Texas). Both were drafted by the Phillies this year, a round apart in fact. Ludy ended up catching six of Milner’s 12 BlueClaws starts and Milner gave up just 5 ER in 33.2 IP (1.34 ERA), compared to a 4.04 ERA with other catchers.
Adrian Peterson Award – For carrying his team’s offense, goes to Chris Duffy, who from May 27th – July 30th hit .388 with 11 home runs and 53 RBIs in just 53 games.
Nice Weekend Award – Also to Chris Duffy, who, in a series against Savannah (July 14-17), started 12-14 with 13 RBIs, 5 runs scored, 2 2b, and 3 HR (including a grand slam). He went hitless in his final three at-bats to only hit .706 in the series.
Mickey Morandini Award – The BlueClaws manager turned an unassisted triple play in 1992. Nobody on the BlueClaws did that this year, but the BlueClaws did turn a 5-4-3 triple play in Delmarva on August 28th. Wynston Sawyer grounded to Maikel Franco, who threw to Alejandro Villalobos at second, who relayed it to Brock Stassi at first. 5-4-3.
Hit Ball Where He Can’t Go Award – This goes to Maikel Franco, who early in the season hit an opposite field home run into the tiki bar (he was 19 at the time and is now 20). It’s the first time that I could, or Superfan John Stanicia could, remember a right-handed hitter hitting a ball into the tiki bar above a 24-foot high wall in right-center field.
Anti-Hershiser Award – 2011 first round picks Dylan Bundy of the Orioles and Matt Barnes of the Red Sox combined to allow one earned run and three runs total in 56.2 innings in the Sally League this year. The BlueClaws scored one of the two unearned runs charged to Bundy and the only run off Barnes (though he left with two out and a runner at first – that inherited runner, and six others scored off Hunter Cervenka in a 7-run sixth inning in Lakewood on April 29th).
That’s all folks. Hope you enjoyed. Have a great New Year’s. We’ll check back in soon with a Phillies/Baseball America Top Ten Q&A.