Archive for the 'Q&As' Category

Around the System With Field Coordinator Doug Mansolino

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

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Before the BlueClaws game last Sunday, we sat down with Phillies minor league field coordinator Doug Mansolino. Topics ranged all across the system but kicked off with JP Crawford, the former BlueClaws SS who just completed his first week with AAA Lehigh Valley after a promotion from AA Reading, where he opened the season.


You can listen to the interview below:


Anderson Excited for Return

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

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Drew Anderson is back with the BlueClaws – he was activated on Friday and makes his season debut today against Delmrava in the 1:05 pm game.


Anderson, a Reno native, missed last year after having Tommy John Surgery and hasn’t pitched with the BlueClaws in 714 days. We had a chance to sit down with Drew on Friday, and he is obviously, and deservedly, excited to get back on the mound. Ironically, his last game was also against Delmarva, and he is slated to face them in his first two starts back, today here and Saturday in Salisbury.


You can listen to the interview here.


Meet BlueClaws Closer Robert Tasin

Friday, May 6th, 2016

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Before the game Thursday in Asheville, we sat down with BlueClaws closer Robert Tasin. Among the topics:

  • What he was doing when he found out he was drafted (building a grill in the backyard).
  • Watching film of Bob Gibson when growing up, and what he learned from that.
  • His 3/4 arm angle and how that helps him.
  • Ending up at the University of Oklahoma and what he liked about OU.
  • Growing and learning while pitching the 9th inning and trying to close down games.

There’s more in there, enjoy.

Listen: Morvay Minute With Groundskeeper Mike Morvay

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

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A brand new feature this year is the Morvay Minute with BlueClaws groundskeeper Mike Morvay, presented by Rich Green Lawns, the preferred fertilization company of the Lakewood BlueClaws.

We sit down with the BlueClaws groundskeeper Mike Morvay, and will do so each month, and this time, talk about keeping the field ready through rainy conditions and he offers a tip that will help you keep your lawn green. Some select points…

  • “This field is a big USGA putting green, built with an 18-inch gravel blanket with lateral drains back-filled with stone and sand that has Kentucky bluegrass instead of bent grass.”
  • “The warning track has drains every 16 feet around and that moves into one drain pipe and that funnels into a catch basin.”
  • “The tarp is 175 feet by 175 feet, exactly the same tarp the Phillies have at Citizens Bank Park.”

This was recorded on Sunday, May 1st before the BlueClaws game against Greenville was officially called, though we referenced the likely rain-out.

Get to Know: BlueClaws 3B Jan Hernandez

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

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In our next of the Get to Know series, we sit down with BlueClaws third baseman Jan Hernandez. The 21 year old from Puerto Rico homered in Greensboro on both Thursday and Friday nights and then added two hits and an RBI on Saturday.

Hernandez was a third round pick of the Phillies in 2014 and talks about growing up in Puerto Rico playing at the Carlos Beltran Academy, waking up at 4 am to catch a bus to the Academy, where he took classes and played baseball, how he is a better player this year than he was last year and two years ago, when he spent a few weeks with the BlueClaws at 19, and much more.

Meet BlueClaws SS Emmanuel Marrero

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

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Get to know BlueClaws SS Emmanuel Marrero, who had a four-hit game, including his second professional home run, on Thursday night at NewBridge Bank Park.


Marrero notes that he feels much more comfortable at the plate this year, talks about playing third base for the first time, and about some of the players he admired and watched while he grew up in Puerto Rico.

Interview: BlueClaws OF Cornelius Randolph

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

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BlueClaws OF Cornelius Randolph had his first four-hit game on Tuesday night, which also included his first home run as a BlueClaw.

The 2015 first-round pick joined us on the BlueClaws Beat Pre-Game Show on Wednesday and that interview is below.

Among the topics…

  • His favorite player to watch growing up? Robinson Cano.
  • How he started to bat lefthanded? Watching his brother Xavier, who also threw right, but hit left.
  • His relationship with Phillies prospect JP Crawford, who reached out to Randolph on Twitter to wish him well and offer any support even before the Phillies drafted him.

Listen below.


Morvay Minute With Groundskeeper Mike Morvay – April 2nd

Monday, April 4th, 2016

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A brand new feature this year is the Morvay Minute with BlueClaws groundskeeper Mike Morvay – actually more like the Morvay Nine Minutes & 17 Seconds – presented by Rich Green Lawns.

We sit down with the BlueClaws groundskeeper Mike Morvay, and will do so each month, for insight on how he got the field ready for the 2016 season and he shares a special tip that will help you with your lawns this spring.

“The warm fall really helped us. The winter was mild in the northeast, and that helped us come March too. We cut all the dead stuff off and there was green plant tissue near the top and that helped us too.”

“We did the first to third cutout (behind the infield dirt) is all new and we hope to do that every three years.”

“At this time of the year, you want to use a fertilzier with a high percentage of nitrogen to keep the crab grass down.”

“We tilled in 20 tons of infield mix and graded the whole thing so it’s flat again for this year to help with drainage.”

There’s a lot more in there that we hope you listen to.

Note – We recorded this on Saturday, April 2nd and mention the exhibition game scheduled for Monday between the BlueClaws & Brookdale CC, but that game was cancelled due to inclement weather.


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.

(more…)

Giles Recalls Lakewood, Readies for Season

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

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Ken Giles’ rapid ascent through the Phillies system and into the Rookie of the Year race came as a surprise to many, but not to those that saw him and his 100 mph fastballs with the BlueClaws in 2012. Giles came back to Lakewood on Wednesday for the annual Phillies Winter Banquet and recalled his time with the BlueClaws three years ago.

“The fan experience stands out. It’s one of those things you couldn’t really describe in words,” he said. “It’s so special to me that this is where I started to be a professional baseball player. I soaked in every moment of it, I enjoyed myself, and I never had a point where I was stressing out about anything.”

Giles went 3-3 with a 3.61 ERA with the BlueClaws in 2012, making six starts among his 29 appearances and striking out 86 hitters in 67 innings pitched. He only threw 25 innings with Clearwater in 2013, but returned from injury to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, something that Giles considers a turning point in his career.

“That was the biggest point in my career, because I had to learn the different side of baseball and how to come back stronger, better, and smarter,” he said. “That helped me going into the AFL and I brought that into the next spring training too. All my pitching mechanics clicked when I came back from the injury.”

Giles was called in to Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage’s office after a game in June, like had happened several times before.

“You’re going to Cincinnati,” Brundage told him.

Giles didn’t realize the Phillies were in Cincinnati and asked if he’d been traded. He hadn’t. He’d been called up, and after debuting on June 12th, became the  61st player to go From The Shore, To The Show (the total list is now 67).

With the Phillies, Giles went 3-1 with a 1.18 ERA and struck out 64 hitters in 45.2 innings pitched and he’s ready for bigger things in 2015 in a bullpen with Jake Diekman and Jonathan Papelbon (if he doesn’t get traded).

“We’re going to be a hard bullpen to face. People are going to say ‘O man we have to face this bullpen,’ kind of like the Royals.  The starter didn’t go long, but they only needed him to go six, because they have the 7-8-9 guy. They have to score runs early.”

Who’s the toughest guy he’s faced? “Definitely Giancarlo Stanton (of the Marlins). He’s just got great bat ability, can hit hard throwers, and if you make a mistake, he’s going to make you pay.”

What did he learn with his first few months with the Phillies? “Be yourself. That’s not trying to showboat or anything, but being yourself. That’s all I did when I got brought up. I’m not going to change who I am, and I’ll be myself around the clubhouse. Once I cross those white lines, I have to be who I am.”

Now, he’s a reliever the National League will have to contend with for many years to come.

Get To Know: New BlueClaws Manager Shawn Williams

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

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The announcement was made on Tuesday that Shawn Williams will manage the BlueClaws in 2015, coming from Williamsport where he managed the Crosscutters last year.

You can read the press release here and you can read the story in the Asbury Park Press here.

We had a chance to talk to Williams on Tuesday, and we have some quotes below.

On coming to Lakewood: I cannot wait to get up there. I’ve heard nothing but great things. I played in the South Atlantic League with Columbus (Georgia in 2008) but we didn’t play Lakewood. I’ve heard the stadium is an exciting place to play and have heard great things about the area and the fans. Legger (Greg Legg) told me how awesome it is.

Being a first-time manager last year: It was awesome. I learned a lot from Nelson Prada (who managed Williamsport in 2013 when Williams was a player/coach) and Roly de Armas (GCL Phillies manager) in extended spring training. Doug Mansolino (field coordinator) and Andy Tracy (hitting coordinator) have helped me along the way and the amount of knowledge you learn is priceless for me.

When he figured out he wanted to manage: It was always something I wanted to do down the road, but I didn’t know when it was going to happen. I asked my brother (Brady) who manages with the Rays (Double-A Montgomery last year) and he said I’d know when it was time. I was a player two years ago and they offered me the chance to start coaching and it was something I couldn’t turn down.

Hardest part of managing: It’s a combination of everything. Knowing the personalities of your players and getting the most out of them, during the every-day work that we do and making sure you don’t overwork them. The in-game stuff – learning when to hit and run and when to bunt – is the hardest to learn but a lot of that is knowing your players and what they can and can’t do.

Advice he’s received from his father Jimy, who managed the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Astros: He gives me advice pretty much daily. I talk to him almost every day. He listens to the games, and he definitely has some insight for me, and asks questions about why we did this and that. Probably the best thing is when he comes up and visits and critiques how I coach third base, and I definitely use my dad as much as I can.

Experiences as a kid while his dad was a big league coach and manager: I don’t really remember Toronto but I remember Atlanta and especially Boston. We’d go there during the summers, go on a few road trips, and being around those players was a great learning experience, finding out what you’re supposed to do on a daily basis and how to conduct yourself.

Note: We also asked Williams about some of the players he had last year in Williamsport that could be BlueClaws in 2015. Look for that in the coming days.

Talking Hitting With Andy Tracy

Monday, August 25th, 2014

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Andy Tracy is the Phillies Minor League hitting coordinator and is responsible for all of the hitters in the Phillies minor league system. He spent the weekend with the BlueClaws at FirstEnergy Park and we sat down with him to talk about some of the hitters you’ve seen with the BlueClaws this year, a few that have played with the BlueClaws in the past, and a few that will play with the BlueClaws in the future.


Meet Aaron Brown, Off to Sharp Start With BlueClaws

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

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Aaron Brown joined the BlueClaws on Thursday from Williamsport, and has seven hits over his first three games with Lakewood. We sat down with Brown, the Phillies third round pick this year from Pepperdine.

The outfielder has played two games in right field and one game in center with Lakewood. He played centerfield with Williamsport and at Pepperdine, where he was also an accomplished pitcher, going 13-1 with a sub-2 ERA this season.

We talked with Brown about the draft process, if he preferred pitching or hitting, and much more.

(The interview was done on Friday after his first game with the BlueClaws.)

Meet BlueClaws IF Drew Stankiewicz

Friday, August 8th, 2014

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It’s not often that a 21 year old rookie has been around professional clubhouses for 10+ years, but that’s the case with BlueClaws infielder Drew Stankiewicz.

We sat down with Drew, whose father Andy played seven years in the big leagues including several seasons with the Yankees. Andy later managed in the Yankees system and is now the head coach at Grand Canyon University

Drew Stantkiewicz began his season with Williamsport before joining the BlueClaws for a week at the end of June. He then went back to Williamsport, where he hit .390 in July and re-joined Lakewood on July 30th, meeting the team in Delmarva.

Listen to the interview below. Stankiewicz talks about getting drafted (11th round this year out of Arizona State), his time as a kid in clubhouses with his father, some of the big leaguers that took him under their wing, and more.