LAKEWOOD, NJ - Marty Malloy, who spent the last three years managing the Gulf Coast League Astros, has been named the new manager of the BlueClaws. The announcement was made by the Phillies on Friday. He will be joined on staff by pitching coach Brian Sweeney, hitting coach Nelson Prada, and trainer Takayuki Sakurai, all three of whom were with the BlueClaws last year.
Malloy becomes the 12th different manager in BlueClaws history and replaces Shawn Williams, who led the BlueClaws to a 147-130 record over the last two seasons, including an appearance in the 2016 South Atlantic League Championship Series in 2016. Williams will manage Hi-A Clearwater in 2017.
This will be Malloy's first year with the Phillies after the Florida native managed the GCL Astros from 2014 - 2016. He spent Major League time with the Braves (1998) and Marlins (2002) and hit .284 over a 12 year minor league career that included time in the Braves, Tigers, Reds, Marlins, Cardinals, and Dodgers organizations.
2017 will be Prada's third year as the BlueClaws hitting coach. Last year, he oversaw the development of 20-year old Jose Pujols, who led the South Atlantic League with a BlueClaws franchise record 24 home runs. Additionally, several BlueClaws hitters that worked under Prada earned in-season promotions: catcher Austin Bossart, second baseman Josh Tobias, and outfielder Jiandido Tromp.
Before joining the BlueClaws in 2015, Prada managed Clearwater in 2014 and Williamsport in 2013. He also spent 1995-2012 with the Twins as a minor league player, manager, and coach. He managed the GCL Twins from 2005-07 and Beloit in the Midwest League from 2008-12.
Sweeney enters his third season with the Phillies and second season with the BlueClaws. In 2016, his pitching staff finished fourth in the league with a team ERA of 3.53 with a staff ERA below 3.00 in the second half of the season. Under his development, pitcher Alberto Tirado went 7-1 with a 2.19 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 53 second half innings, earning a spot on the Phillies 40-man roster last week. 19-year old Franklyn Kilome improved to a 2.77 second half ERA after a 5.09 ERA in the first half, and threw seven scoreless innings in a SAL Championship Series Game One win at Rome. Several pitchers earned in-season promotions to Clearwater including Drew Anderson (also added to the 40-man roster), Luke Leftwich, Jeff Singer, and Shane Watson.
Sweeney, who had Major League playing stints with the Mariners and Padres, joined the Phillies in 2015, serving as the pitching coach for the Gulf Coast Phillies. He helped the GCL Phillies to a 36-24 mark and their team ERA of 2.72 was tied for the third best in the league.
Sakurai returns for his 10th season with the Phillies and fourth with the BlueClaws after spending the previous three seasons with Williamsport in the New York-Penn League.
In addition to Williams in Clearwater, there will be former BlueClaws managers in Double-A and Triple-A this season. Greg Legg, who managed the BlueClaws in 2001 and 2014 and served as the team's hitting coach from 2008 - 2013 will manage Double-A Reading while Dusty Wathan, who managed the BlueClaws to the 2009 South Atlantic League title, will mange Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The BlueClaws open the 2017 season in Kannapolis (White Sox) on April 6 and Opening Day at FirstEnergy Park is Thursday, April 13 at 6:35 pm against Greensboro (Marlins).
2017 BlueClaws ticket packages and group outings are currently on sale by calling 732-901-7000 option 3 or online at BlueClaws.com.
The BlueClaws are the Jersey Shore's top stop for affordable, family entertainment. They have led the South Atlantic League and New Jersey in attendance in all 16 years of existence. The team will reach the 7-million fan plateau during the 2017 season.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.