Archive for the 'Q&As' Category

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.

Interview: Quinn Shining In Arizona Fall League

Friday, November 7th, 2014

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Roman Quinn’s 2014 season started on the disabled list but it’s ending in the All-Star game of the prestigious Arizona Fall League, as the 2013 BlueClaw continues to thrive against some of the top prospects in baseball.

“I think I’ve stacked up pretty well,” he said on Thursday from Arizona. “I’m working on getting better every day. It’s great being out here and I’m learning a lot from the older guys. They’re giving me some great advice.”

Through games of November 6th, Quinn was leading the league in stolen bases (13 in 15 attempts), tied for the lead in runs scored (18) and tied for the league lead in walks (15). Because of his ability to walk, 15 in 92 plate appearances (16.3%), his on-base percentage is .370 and it’s given him ample opportunity to utilize his best tool, his speed. That this improved walk rate (he was just under 9% with Clearwater this year, has come against some of the best pitching prospects in the game, is all the more impressive. Quinn, who was a right-handed hitter growing up, began switch-hitting in 2012 while with Williamsport in the NY-Penn League and attributes his improved patience and plate discipline to the increased amount of reps he’s accumulated from the left side.

“It’s definitely something I wanted to work on. I figure it all came together from the reps I got and seeing more pitches and getting more at bats from the left side,” he said. “That [plate discipline and pitch selection] was the last part to come around from the left side.”

(more…)

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.

Legg Recalls Boll Weevils

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

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With the BlueClaws taking on Kannapolis this week, we thought it was a good time to talk to BlueClaws manager Greg Legg about the year he managed in Kannapolis – 2000, the season before the BlueClaws came into existence.

Legg managed the Piedmont Boll Weevils, who played in Kannapolis in the same stadium used by the Intimidators today (they became the Intimidators in 2001, their first year with the White Sox).

The 2000 Boll Weevils were a great team – they won 90 of their 137 games, six more wins than the BlueClaws have ever accumulated in a season. Led by Marlon Byrd, Brett Myers and Ryan Madson, the team made the playoffs and lost in the first round of the post-season, two games to one to Delmarva (Erik Bedard beat them 1-0 in the series-deciding game).

Click here to view the team stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and listen to the interview below.

Meet Joe DeNato, BlueClaws LHP Drafted This Year From Indiana

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

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The BlueClaws current roster has three current-year draftees – 2nd rd pick Matt Imhof, 9th rd pick Matt Hockenberry, and now 19th rd pick Joe DeNato.

DeNato was drafted by the Phillies in the 19th round of the 2014 draft from Indiana and was the first player the Phillies drafted out of IU since 1999. He’s also the first Hoosier to ever play for Lakewood, though a notable IU grad managed the BlueClaws the last two years – Mickey Morandini.

A San Diego native, DeNato gave up four runs in 11.1 innings with 15 strikeouts with Williamsport and tossed two scoreless innings in his BlueClaws debut.

We sat down with DeNato before Thursday’s game in Hickory.

From Philadelphia to the Phillies Minor Leagues, Meet Matt Hockenberry

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

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After a four-year career at Temple in Philadelphia, Matt Hockenberry was drafted by the Phillies in the 9th round in June. In less than two months, he’s gone from the Owls to the BlueClaws.

Tuesday night against Hagerstown, he came into a 2-1 game in the 9th inning and got the last three outs to earn his first professional save.

He talks about the last two months, his time at Temple, moving forward with the Phillies, and more.

Meet Scott Harris

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Scott Harris was drafted by the Phillies in the 27th round of this year’s draft, and entering Monday night, had made two appearances with Lakewood and one with the GCL Phillies.

The former Buena Vista University (Iowa) left-hander retired all 7 hitters he faced on Friday against West Virginia and sat down for an interview prior to Monday’s game.

Knapp On The Way Back

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

BlueClaws catcher Andrew Knapp is on the way back after having Tommy John Surgery in the fall. The Phillies 2013 second round pick out of the University of California joined the BlueClaws on June 2nd and after starting 5-29, he is 17-50. He hit his second BlueClaws home run on Friday in West Virginia.

We caught up with Knapp on Saturday.

Checking In With Andy Abad

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

An interview with Phillies OF/Baserunning Coordinator Andy Abad before Saturday’s game. He talks about developing the young outfielders, honing their baserunning craft, and teaching agression.

Checking In With Tyler Viza

Friday, May 16th, 2014

An interview with BlueClaws pitcher Tyler Viza.

Meet Drew Anderson

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Before Sunday’s game in Asheville, we sat down with BlueClaws RHP Drew Anderson, who went 6-3 with a 2.00 ERA with Williamsport last year and won his first game with Lakewood on Thursday in Lexington.

Anderson will start the opener of the upcoming series with Kannapolis, Wednesday night at FirstEnergy Park.

Checking In With Mitch Walding

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

The beginning of spring training was not kind to Mitch Walding, who re-injured a rib just before flying to Florida, causing to miss spring training. But after a few games with the extended spring training team, he re-joined the BlueClaws and has three hits in his first three games.