Skip to main content

PhoulBallz Interview: BlueClaws manager Shawn Williams discusses his team

Shawn-Williams
Shawn Williams, image- Jay Floyd
The Class A Lakewood BlueClaws got their season underway on Thursday with a new roster and a new manager. Shawn Williams, son of long-time big league coach Jimy Williams, takes over the reigns with the 'Claws after a year as skipper of the Class A Short-season Williamsport Crosscutters.

Prior to their season opener on Thursday, I chatted with the 31-year-old about his club. Read ahead for comments from Williams about several names including Rhys Hoskins, Carlos Tocci, Deivi Grullon and many more.

-Is there anyone on the roster that stood out in spring training as a guy that was a catalyst for the club?

I look at our whole lineup and, really, all the guys are catalysts. There are guys that do the little things to help your team win. They're great guys in the clubhouse, they play hard, they give you 100 percent every night and they do everything to kind of help your team win.

-Carlos Tocci returns to Lakewood for his third season. At 19 years old, he's still one of the youngest guys on the team, probably one of the youngest guys in the league. What do you think about where he's at right now?

I haven't seen him much until this year, but he has really, for me, really improved. He's really swinging the bat well. He had a good spring training. Obviously, his defense is outstanding. He's running the bases. His instincts are there. I'm looking for him- and I know he's looking to have a great year here and see what happens.


-I know, typically, the Phillies' wish for Tocci is for him to add muscle and weight each off-season. Is that still of concern for the Phils?

He put on, I'm not sure exactly, I want to say 15 pounds this off-season. That's a goal of ours and his- like you said- to put on some weight, so he has done that, which has helped with swinging the bat and he's getting stronger. He's got a good idea up there at the plate and just (a key is) getting bigger and stronger and that will come with time and age and working out. He's always here ready to go and has been doing that.

-Hoping you can provide health updates on a few disabled list guys. Drew Anderson missed some time here last year. What's his situation right now?

He's down in Clearwater right now in (extended) spring training, just rehabbing some shoulder things. Other than that, he should be alright right now.

-Nick Rodesky was here last year as well. What's his status?

His is the same thing. He's down in extended, rehabbing, making sure his arm's ready to go.

-And then Samuel Hiciano was here last year with the BlueClaws. What's got him out of action?

He had an injury with three days left in spring training- ankle- where he's probably going to be out for the year.

-Grenny Cumana is a guy that I've heard good stuff about. What can you tell me about him?

He's very exciting. He brings a lot of energy. For me, he's probably just going to be a fan favorite. Just how he plays, he's energetic. He can swing the bat, he handles the bat, he's got more power than you think looking at him. He swings the bat extremely well and he's an outstanding defender. For me, he does a little bit of everything. He can run too. He's just a good ballplayer.

-What is your starting rotation going to be?

Right now, we're going with a six-man rotation. We'll go with Ricardo Pinto, Josh Taylor, and Tyler Viza, Ranfi Casimiro, Chris Oliver and Elniery Garcia.

-Is there anything that stands out among those guys that maybe resulted in their placement in that order?

No particular order for me. It's just kind of how between spring training and how it kind of worked out to how that's how they're going to appear in the rotation. Pinto, he's starting us off, he's a competitor, a strike thrower, gives you all he's got. He can really pitch and I know he's looking forward to this challenge and getting us going.

-In the bullpen, are there any defined roles for the back end or for closer duties?

They can all handle it. The two main guys will be Matt Hockenberry and Calvin Rayburn. You know, they can do it. I've seen a couple guys last year and they'll be the middle relief/set up guys helping us out.

-Rhys Hokins played for you in Williamsport last year. Fresh out of the draft, he showed some power, but didn't hit for great average. What can you tell me about him?

He hit a lot better than what his average showed last year. He hit a lot of hard outs, line outs. He's, for me, a very impressive hitter. He's fun to watch. He's got some power, but is, more importantly, a hitter first where, like I said, last year- if you saw him play every day, you would have thought he was hitting .320. So, I think he's going to have an outstanding year this year and swing the bat extremely well.

-A guy that has a lot of buzz is catcher Deivi Grullon. He got some tastes of full season ball last year. What can you share about his progress?

Another exciting guy. His arm is impressive, back there catching. He is very good blocking and receiving. He's learning the game, learning how to call a game. Swinging the bat, he's got a different sound off his bat. He had an outstanding spring training. He's a younger guy, but he is a leader as a catcher, a guy that others look up to. He's got a good personality and other guys love to be around him.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PhoulBallz Interview: RHP Ben Brown talks TJ recovery, O'Hoppe, cancelled season

Image- MiLB.com Out of action since last May when it was determined he required Tommy John surgery, righty pitching prospect Ben Brown is using the downtime of the pandemic hiatus to continue his physical recovery.  A 33rd round draft selection of the Phillies back in 2017, Brown made his professional debut that same year, posting a 2.57 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP in 10 appearances in the rookie level Gulf Coast League.  The following season, Brown began to make a name for himself in the GCL, striking out 16 batters in one July appearance.  He would post a 3.12 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in 10 games (eight starts) before earning a promotion and finishing the season with a pair of outings with Class A short-season Williamsport. Brown, a Long Island, NY native, opened last year with Class A Lakewood.  In four appearances with the BlueClaws, he struck out 20, walked four and allowed no runs in 13 2/3 innings and looked well on his way to making an impact on betting odds and available promo codes

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #7 LHP JoJo Romero

JoJo Romero, image- Jay Floyd With a growing crop of very talented pitching prospects in the Phillies organization, left-hander JoJo Romero is certainly among the standouts. The five-foot-11 200-pounder was the Phils’ 4th round draft selection in 2016. That year he helped Yavapai College, the same school that the Phillies drafted Kenny Giles from in 2011, clinch the JuCo World Series, leading the way with an 11-5 record, a 3.64 ERA and a 10.2 K/9 mark. He also tossed a complete game gem to earn the win in their title game. After signing with the Phillies, Romero made his professional debut as a member of the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters. There, he notched a 2-2 record with a 2.56 ERA while striking out 31 and walking 11 in 45 2/3 innings. In 2017, he got off to a terrific start with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. In 13 starts, Romero tallied a 5-1 record with a 2.11 ERA and a 9.3 K/9 mark and was honored as a South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star. R

Rappers in Phillies Caps

Weekend greetings to you phine pholks out there. Today's post features pictures of rappers wearing Phillies caps. Why rappers in Phillies caps, you ask? Because... Any other questions? We will start things off properly by going with a highly recognizable hip hop star. 50 Cent stays constantly relavant by consistantly creating radio friendly material to help sell (G) units, while he "keeps it real" by still rapping about the thug life he lived before becoming the 2nd highest earning black entertainer in America. 50 is seen here in a recent interview rocking a throw-back Phillies cap. Next up we'll use a throw-back screen cap from what may be the very first major appearance by a rapper wearing Phillies gear. Chuck D, of legendary rap group Public Enemy, wore a Phillies cap in the music video for rap anthem Fight The Power in 1989. The song was the lead single from the soundtrack for Spike Lee's film Do The Right Thing . Next up we'll go with some home grown tal