Today, we look at potential 2013 BlueClaws starting pitchers as part of our annual Road to Lakewood series. This series is one of our favorite things to do on this blog. We hope you enjoy it.
This is the last part of a four-part series.
(EDIT – Obviously we copied some text from the starting pitcher post that didn’t fit this one. We edited that out. Apologies.)
Keivi Rojas had a stellar 2012 in the GCL and is primed to join the bullpen of the BlueClaws in the upcoming season. In 17 appearances for the GCL Phillies the righty posted a 4-1 record with a 1.67 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 32.1 innings pitched. The Venezuela native made an appearance with the Clearwater Threshers last season and pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. He finished the season on a 4-game winning streak 7/28-8/16, averaged 11.88 K/9, and held opponents to a .191 BAA.
Matthew Sisto landed with Williamsport following the draft in 2012 (20th round pick) and pitched well in his first pro season. The California native made 24 appearances for the Crosscutters and logged 41.0 innings with a 1-3 record and a 3.51 ERA. He was a four-year letterman for the University of Hawaii and finished his senior season with an 8-4 record and he allowed just 11 walks in 14 starts with the Rainbow Warriors.
Steven Inch, a 6th round pick in 2009, is a very likely member of the BlueClaws bullpen this year. With Williamsport in 2012, the righty made 22 appearances and logged 43.1 innings while posting a 3.74 ERA. The Alberta, Canada native continues to make his way back from missing the entire 2010 season with tendinitis in his throwing shoulder. Drafted in 2009 out of high school, Inch enters his fifth season as a pro and should be in Lakewood to begin the 2013-year with a good spring training. Draft article.
Andrew Aizenstadt was signed by the Phillies out of the Independent American Association in 2012 and made eight appearances between Williamsport and Clearwater. The Hudson, Massachusetts native went 1-0 with a 2.65 ERA in 18 total relief appearances between Wichita (Ind.), Williamsport, and Clearwater. A 2012 Graduate of Virginia Tech University, Aizenstadt was one of three Hokies named to the All-ACC Academic Team in his only season with Va.-Tech. He spent the first three years of his collegiate career posting a 17-4 record with the Babson College Beavers.
20-year old Delvi Francisco is a former infielder who was converted to pitcher in 2012 and gave up three ER in 17.1 innings pitched (8 hits, 24 strikeouts, 9 walks). The Phillies have had some success with these conversions recently with Lendy Castillo pitching now for the Cubs (Rule-5 pick) and Luis Paulino making his way through Lakewood. We would not be surprised at all to see Francisco with the BlueClaws in 2013.
Marek Minarik won’t turn 20 until June 28th and only threw 17 innings in the GCL last year, but we did want to mention him here. He’s a native of the Czech Republic and signed with the Phillies out of a tryout in Prague at the MLB European Academy. He only walked two in 17 innings last year.
Andre Kinder played at three levels last year without pitching in Lakewood. That could change this year. Last season the southpaw made 23 appearances between, Williamsport, GCL Phillies, and Clearwater. 18 appearances came with the Crosscutters, in which he posted a 3.48 ERA in 31.0 innings. The Albion, New York native was selected in the 2011 draft out of Peru State College (NE) where he was named to the All-MCAC First Team his senior season.
Chris Nichols made a brief stint with the BlueClaws in 2012, but could secure a spot in Lakewood’s bullpen to begin the upcoming campaign. Nichols was picked in the 31st round of the 2012 draft and went 3-0 with a 3.67 ERA in his first professional season among three squads, Lakewood, Williamsport, and the GCL Phillies. The Colorado native attended the University of Sioux Falls (SD) and had most of his success with the Crosscutters last season. In 10 appearances he picked up three straight wins (7/17-7/26), and posted a 3.54 ERA in 20.1 innings. He is the son of former BlueClaws pitching coach and current Phillies bullpen coach Rod Nichols.
Geoff Broussard made one appearance with the BlueClaws last season (as a fill-in when the BlueClaws were in deep need of an extra bullpen arm) and hopes to return to the Garden State to open the 2013 campaign. Last season the righty made 20 appearances, all in relief, between Williamsport and Lakewood and he went 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA. In 33.2 innings the California native allowed nine earned runs and eight walks, while he struck out 36. As a senior at Cal Poly Pomona, Broussard went 11-1 with a 1.58 ERA, and earned numerous All-American honors for Division II. Over the course of his four years with the Broncos, he compiled a 23-7 record.
Among those that pitched with Lakewood last year, Felix Santos and Zach Cooper both joined the BlueClaws in July and either could conceivably be back, though both figure to be with Clearwater with a good spring.