LAKEWOOD, NJ - The BlueClaws and their parent club, the Phillies, have unveiled the BlueClaws Opening Day roster that will start Lakewood's 14th season on April 3rd in Savannah.
Click here for a pdf version of the Opening Day roster.
The team, broken down with 12 position players and 13 pitchers, includes 2013 Phillies 1st round pick (16th overall) SS JP Crawford and RHP Mark Leiter Jr., a Toms River North graduate. Both Crawford and Leiter spent the last two weeks of 2013 with the BlueClaws.
The roster also includes five players ranked among the Phillies Top 31 prospects per Baseball America: Crawford (3), OF Carlos Tocci (5), 3B Zach Green (15), OF Dylan Cozens (22), and OF Larry Greene, Jr. (31).
Further, five players were selected in the top five rounds of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft: Crawford (1st round, 16th overall in 2013), Larry Greene, Jr. (supplemental 1st round, 39th overall in 2011), Cozens (2nd round in 2012), Zach Green (3rd round in 2012), and 2B Andrew Pullin (5th round in 2012).
2014 Opening Day Roster By Position
Catchers: Willians Astudillo, Gabriel Lino, Jose Mayorga.
Infielders: JP Crawford, Zach Green, Wilmer Oberto, Andrew Pullin, Robinson Torres
Outfielders: Dylan Cozens, Greene Jr., Samuel Hiciano, Carlos Tocci
Pitchers: Alejandro Arteaga, Tyler Buckley, Ranfi Casimiro, Cody Forsythe, Ulises Joaquin, Mark Leiter, Jr., Shane Martin, Manaure Martinez, Julio Reyes, Yacksel Rios, Keivi Rojas, Jesen Therrien, Tyler Viza
Astudillo hit .318 with the GCL Phillies in 2012 before missing last year with an injury. Lino returns to Lakewood after spending parts of the last two years with the BlueClaws. He was acquired in a trade with the Orioles in 2012.
Crawford led the Gulf Coast League with a .345 batting average before an August 17th promotion to Lakewood last year. Green joins the BlueClaws from Williampsort where he led the NY-Penn League with 13 home runs. Oberto comes to Lakewood from the GCL Phillies, where he tied for the league in home runs (6) and led the league in RBIs (45).
Cozens, a former 2nd round pick, hit nine home runs and drove in 35 runs for Williamsport last year. Hiciano hit seven home runs with Williamsport last year and added 14 RBIs in 17 August games. Tocci returns to Lakewood where he played last year as the youngest player in franchise history (he opened the season at age 17 and turned 18 on August 23rd). He again opens this year as the youngest player on the team.
Among the pitchers, Martin was a 9th round pick last year from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and went 5-4 with a 3.31 ERA for Williamsport. Leiter, Jr., a Toms River North product, threw 16 shutout innings for the BlueClaws last year and is the second Shore Conference alum ever to play for the BlueClaws. Buckley had four saves and a 2.22 ERA with Williamsport and was named a mid-season NY-Penn League All-Star.
Greg Legg, who has been the BlueClaws hitting coach since 2008, returns to the manager's office he first held during Lakewood's inaugural season in 2001. He is joined on the staff by pitching coach Les Lancaster and coach Lino Connell. Both were on the BlueClaws staff in 2012 and with Williamsport last year.
Takayuki Sakurai joins the BlueClaws from Williamsport and is the team's Athletic Trainer while Jeremy Kneebusch returns to Lakewood and will again serve as the Strength & Conditioning Coach.
The BlueClaws open the 2014 season in Savannah, GA on April 3rd. After four games against the SandGnats, they will play three games in Greensboro against the Grasshoppers before coming home. Opening Day at FirstEnergy Park is Thursday, April 10th.
Opening Weekend games (April 11th, 12th, and 13th) are part of Asbury Park Press Dollar Weekend and tickets to those three games are available for just $1.
Tickets to all 2014 BlueClaws home games are currently on sale by calling 732-901-7000 option 2 or online by clicking here.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.