49 players have gone From The Shore, to the Show in the 12-year history of the BlueClaws (link). #1? Ryan Howard, who made his big league debut on September 1st, 2004. #49? Tyson Brummett, who was called up to make an appearance for the Phillies on October 3rd last year, getting the final two outs of the final regular season game of the season.
The next player to make his big league debut will be the milestone #50, but while in years past there have been a few guys that are on the short-list entering the season (for example, last year Freddy Galvis [Phillies] and Lendy Castillo [Cubs] both made Opening Day rosters and debuts before Tax Day), this year, there are no obvious early-April candidates.
One of the reasons for that, of course, is that 10 former BlueClaws made big league debuts last year, compared to five in 2009, six in 2010, and three in 2011. Those 10 included two Cubs (Castillo and Adrian Cardenas), a Tiger (Quintin Berry), and a Blue Jay (Anthony Gose). #50 could be…a Met.
One player that we know for sure will make his debut this year, and almost certainly before the All-Star break, is Travis d’Arnaud, the catcher on the 2009 BlueClaws championship club. Traded to Toronto for Roy Halladay, and to the Mets for RA Dickey, he’s already been traded for two Cy Young winners before reaching the big leagues. d’Arnaud had a strong camp, hitting over .340 in 35 at bats, and while he will open the year in Triple-A, he’ll be back soon.
“I know people talk about control and ‘Super Two’ and all of that. If John Buck gets hurt tomorrow, Travis d’Arnaud is the frontline catcher,” Mets GM Sandy Alderson said.
If he hits like he did last year in Las Vegas (he’s familiar with Vegas, as last year, that was Toronto’s AAA affiliate – now it’s the Mets AAA affiliate), where he hit .333 with 16 HRs in 279 at bats, he’ll be up by Memorial Day.
We know that d’Arnaud will be up in the big leagues. We know when he will be up in the big leagues (early June-ish). What we don’t know is whether or not he will be #50. That depends on the situations of the other people on this list.
Jonathan Pettibone, a BlueClaws RHP in 2010, shot through Reading and up prospect lists last year, and threw very well in Lehigh Valley (2.55 ERA in seven starts) at the end of the season. He’ll start in Lehigh, but figures to be one of the first guys called, along with Tyler Cloyd, if the Phillies need a starter. In fact, the release of Aaron Cook yesterday is a big boost for Pettibone:
“Aaron’s a proven guy, but the decision was made, and I think it had a lot to do with the fact that the guys that we plan on having in the rotation at Triple-A are guys we think are going to be ready soon,” said Phillies minor league director Joe Jordan.
Pettibone will almost certainly make his debut this year. The question is when.
If I had to guess who would be #50, I would certainly take one of these two players. However, there are a few other candidates that could, in theory, be up this year.
Jesus Sanchez, a BlueClaw in 2009 when he was just learning how to pitch, had a superb year last season with the Brewers, pitching to a 1.6 ERA between AA and AAA with 64 strikeouts in 71.2 innings pitched. He made five appearances in big league camp before getting sent down, and if he repeats that effort, he’ll be back.
Jarred Cosart, a BlueClaws RHP in 2010, is a big part of the Astros future. He was acquired from the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade in 2011 and made it as high as AAA last year, where he had a 2.60 ERA in 27.2 innings. He got sent down a few weeks ago, but he’ll be back, and could debut this year.
“He’s a guy that’s going to be a big part of our future,” Astros Assistant GM David Stearns said of Cosart. “He knows that and we know that.”
When the Phillies acquired Michael Young to play third base, they sent Lisalverto Bonilla, a 2011 BlueClaw, to the Rangers. Bonilla spent most of last year in AA Reading, where he had a 1.64 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 33 innings. He is expected to start the year with AA Frisco.
Trevor May, a BlueClaw in 2009 and 10 was traded to Minnesota (with Twins Opening Day starter Vance Worley) for Ben Revere in December. Last year, he had a 4.87 ERA in Reading with 151 strikeouts in 149 innings pitched. A return to Double-A or an assignment in Triple-A awaits May to start 2013.
D’Arby Myers, a BlueClaws OF in 2009, is a longshot but earns a mention after getting into five spring training games with the A’s this spring. He hit .305 last year between Clearwater and Reading and will likely play in AA with Oakland.
Here’s a blast from the past: 2007 BlueClaw Darren Byrd, who was a teammate of Sanchez in AA with Milwaukee last year, pitching to a 2.59 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 73 innings. He was traded to the Athletics last week and will open in the minors.
Thanks to BlueCalws SuperFan John Staniscia for his help with this list. Read his blog here – the best way to track former BlueClaws.