Here’s out last positional grouping of potential 2011 BlueClaws, the relief pitchers. We’ve looked at starters, infielders, and outfielders, and today we round out a potential roster. Obviously not everyone on this list will be here (we listed nine for probably seven spots and that doesn’t include some potential starters who could be relievers), but these are a few of the guys we’ll look for when the spring training games start.
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Bradley Blanks: Bradley was undrafted out of University of South Carolina Upstate back in 2008. He played Independent league ball in Evansville after graduating for one year, took a year off of baseball in 2009, then started back in Independent ball in 2010 for the Windy City Thunderbolts. The Phillies noticed him and signed the 25-year-old to a contract last July. He reported to Williamsport where he pitched in relief in 16 games, going 4-1 with a 2.71 ERA and 1 save.
Jacob Borup: The Phillies nabbed Jake with the 23rd pick last June as a redshirt sophomore out of Arizona State. He has started and pitched in relief in his career, but we have him with the relievers here (guess). He was a starter at ASU, and then he went 2-1 with a 2.68 ERA in 16 appearances (4 starts) last year with Williamsport. Great read on Borup from the ASU student paper who has a pretty interesting back story. He graduated Mountain View High School in Mesa, AZ in 2005. Jake redshirted his first year as a Sun Devil, following his freshmen year he headed to Charleston, WV to complete a two year Mission through the Mormon Church. He returned to school, pitched well for two years, and the Phillies took notice selecting him in the 23rd round.
Garrett Claypool: Garrett was a 32nd round pick by the Oakland A’s in 2009, decided to return to UCLA for his senior season, and it turned out to be a smart move. He had his best season as a collegiate going 8-3 with a 2.29 ERA and limiting the opposition to a .174 batting average, best on the team and second-lowest among Pac-10 pitchers, and the Phillies nabbed him in the 11th round last June. He reported to Williamsport and went 3-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 12 appearances (4 starts). He also struck out 45 over just 34 innings for the Crosscutters. Here is a profile on the 6’2, 170 pound righty over on PhuturePhillies.com. Garrett is another young guy with experience starting and relieving and we did put him in the starter list too. He was throwing in the high 80’s at UCLA, but was up to 92-93 in Williamsport.
Juary Gomez: Gomez is a very raw 20-year-old out of Aragua, Venezuela. After two seasons with the Phillies Venezuelan Summer League team, he came to America last season and dominated. He started out with the Phillies Gulf Coast League team and pitched to the tune of a 0.66 ERA in 27.1 IP over 20 appearances. Juary also closed out 17 games and collected 9 saves. He made one appearance for Williamsport late last season and could certainly come right to Lakewood this year.
Matt Hutchison: Matt was picked by Philadelphia in the 25th round last June out of UNLV. He started and closed for the Rebels, going 6-4 with 4 saves and a 4.46 ERA as a senior. Beginning with the GCL Phillies, he threw 34.1 innings over 13 appearances with a 2.36 ERA and a 4-0 record. He made a few appearances with Clearwater at the tail end of the season. Matt is a 22-year-old native of Lancaster, CA. Here is his UNLV bio.
Chase Johnson: The Phillies nabbed Chase in the 21st round of the amateur player draft back in 2009 out of South Mountain Community College. He is a big, bulky righty who just looks like a closer at 6’5”, 245 pounds. In 2009 with the GCL Phillies, he threw 29.2 innings over 15 appearances, striking out 35 and finishing with a 3.94 ERA. Then he followed that up by spending 2010 as the closer for the Williamsport Crosscutters. In 26 appearances he threw 29 innings, posted a 2.79 ERA, and collected 15 saves. With experience the past two years closing out games, he very well could anchor the back end of the BlueClaws bullpen in 2011.
Eric Pettis: We had Eric with the starters, but we’ll put him here too…Almost immediately after being drafted by Philadelphia in the 35th round out of UC Irvine last June, he was thrust into the starting rotation for Williamsport. He started 5 games, pitched in 20 games total and finished the regular season a dazzling 8-0 with a 1.37 ERA (67 Ks and 7 BBs in 59 IP). Williamsport got knocked out on the last day (Sunday before Labor Day), and on the bus home, Chris Truby told Pettis he was coming to Lakewood for their playoffs, and he appeared in three of the seven playoff games. Here is a great interview with Eric over at PhuturePhillies.com and one with BlueClaws Blog in which he talks about Tweeting. His 2011 is kind of a mystery. He could be in Lakewood’s rotation or bullpen (he pitched in the pen to limit his innings), or he could be in Clearwater’s bullpen too. Considering how dominant he was with Williamsport, it wouldn’t be shocking if he skipped Lakewood this year.