LAKEWOOD, NJ - The defending South Atlantic League Champion BlueClaws unveiled their 2010 Opening Day roster on Monday, one that features five of the top 12 and nine of the top 30 prospects in the organization according to Baseball America.
The BlueClaws, single-A affiliates of the Phillies, begin their 2010 campaign on Thursday in Asheville (NC) and will open at home on Friday, April 16th.
Click here to see the full roster.
The highest-ranked prospect on the BlueClaws roster is catcher Sebastian Valle, ranked seventh. The 19-year old split last year between Lakewood and short-season Williamsport, and returned to the BlueClaws for the playoffs.
17-year old Domingo Santana, ranked 10th, becomes the youngest player ever to play for the BlueClaws. Santana, who hit six home runs with the Gulf Coast Phillies last summer, will not turn 18 until August 5th. Freddy Galvis (2008) was previously the youngest BlueClaw, and Galvis was nine months older on Opening Day in 2008 than Santana will be on Opening Day in 2010. .
Jiwan James (11th), a former pitcher in his second season as a full-time outfielder, Leandro Castro (25th), Zach Collier (30th) and Anthony Hewitt round out the talented outfield.
Hewitt, a Brooklyn native, becomes fifth first-round pick to play for the BlueClaws (Gavin Floyd, Cole Hamels, Greg Golson, Kyle Drabek), and first since 2006 first-round pick Kyle Drabek did so in 2007.
Among the pitchers, Matthew Way will lead the starting rotation. A 5th round pick last year (Washington State), Way made eight starts for the BlueClaws, going 4-1 during the regular season and 1-0 in two playoff starts. Between Williamsport and Lakewood, Way (ranked 28th) struck out 85 and walked just 12.
Jarred Cosart (8th) and Brody Colvin (12th) will both be in the rotation as well after pitching for the GCL Phillies last year. Also on the pitching staff are Nick Hernandez, a 12th round pick last year (Tennessee) who went 8-1 with Williamsport, and Joshua Zeid, a 10th round pick last year (Tulane), who went 8-5 with Williamsport.
Five players (Jacob Diekman, Matthew Way, Luke Wertz, Kyle Lafrenz, Sebastian Valle) were with the BlueClaws when they clinched the 2009 South Atlantic League Championship in September and four others (Jordan Ellis, Alan Schoenberger, Leandro Castro, Zach Collier) spent part of last year with Lakewood.
Seven players were drafted in the first ten rounds of the draft.
Among countries, 21 are from the United States, four from the Dominican Republic, one from Australia (Alan Schoenberger) and one from Mexico (Valle). Two players (Zach Collier and player-coach Keoni deRenne) will open on the disabled list.
Mark Parent will manage the BlueClaws in 2010. A former big league catcher, Parent managed Chico in the Golden League from 2005-2007. He is the eighth manager in BlueClaws history. Greg Legg returns for his third straight season as hitting coach. Steve Schrenk, who was the pitching coach in the championship season of 2006, returns in the same role.
The BlueClaws will start their 10th season at FirstEnergy Park on Friday, April 16th when they raise the 2009 South Atlantic League Championship Banner and have post-game fireworks. Saturday, April 17th and Sunday, April 18th are Dollar Weekend, with all reserve and general admission tickets just $1, thanks to the Asbury Park Press.
For the first time, the BlueClaws will have a new logo and uniforms as they celebrate 10 years of affordable, family entertainment at the Jersey Shore. For tickets or more information, call 732-901-7000 or visit www.blueclaws.com.
- BlueClaws -
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.