Thursday, July 9, 2015

BlueClaws Quotables: Coaching staff talks prospects

This week I chatted with Class A Lakewood manager Shawn Williams and pitching coach Aaron Fultz about several young players currently in the thick of things with the BlueClaws. Williams, in his first season with Lakewood, spoke about new additions and 2015 Phillies draft picks Scott Kingery and Kyle Martin along with June's Sally League player of the month Herlis Rodriguez. Fultz took time to comment on hurlers Elniery Garcia, Ranfi Casimiro, Alexis Rivero plus more. Read ahead for comments from both coaches.

Shawn Williams:

-Speaking on 2nd round draft choice Scott Kingery and his impressions of the youngster thus far...

He's an exciting player. He's a baseball player. He fits in with the rest of us here and he's an exciting player out there, especially defensively. He's outstanding at second, turning double plays. He can run. He puts together great at bats every game. He's had some tough luck where he's had a lot of hard outs. Jut looking forward to a couple of those falling, 'cause with a couple of those falling (in), who knows what's going to happen, he's really swinging a good stick here.

K Martin
Kyle Martin, image- Jay Floyd
-Offering thoughts on 4th round selection Kyle Martin's early contributions for the team...

Martin is another guy who has fit in right away. He swings the bat very well. He's putting together good at bats. The thing that has impressed me most is that he's a hitter. Very good two strike approach. He hits the ball hard consistently, he barrels it up. It looks like he's got some big power too, but probably more importantly, he is a hitter and he's fun to watch out there with his at bats. He's good defensively.

-Speaking on outfielder Herlis Rodriguez and his terrific production (.373, four HR, 15 RBI in June)...

He's- in a positive way- he's a very annoying player. He is 'cause I think he's got like 15 bunt hits on the year. So, you got teams that if they play him in, he pulls the ball very well, so if the first baseman's playing in, he hits a double past him or hits a double in the gap. Obviously, there's some power that and he's hit some home runs. But if they ever play him back, he gets his bunt hits. He's very good at bunting. He's, like I said, in a positive way, he's very annoying, he's dangerous, he can run, just everything. He's been swinging the bat very well and he's helped us in all areas, defensively, everything.


-Talking about if notifying Josh Taylor and Chris Oliver that they were traded to Arizona this week was his first time notifying players about being swapped...

Yeah, it is. It was pretty cool. It was different. 'Cause, you know, obviously the best thing is telling somebody when they're promoted and you don't enjoy when somebody is getting released. But telling someone they're traded, for me it's not necessarily a promotion, but it's still a very positive thing. You know, it's a great thing that the guys are wanted. Of course, we wanted them here, but the Diamondbacks, they wanted those guys and it was pretty cool to tell those guys. And I'm sure it was mixed emotions on their part, of course they're sad leaving here and they have buddies in this club house, but they get to continue their careers and continue to climb up the ladder.

Aaron Fultz:

-Sharing thoughts on if reliever Joey DeNato should expect a promotion, based on his solid production...

I hope so. He's done a great job. And he came up here last year and did a great job and he's been great for us this year in a variety of different roles, so hopefully when a need arises, he can get out of here.

-Speaking about another key reliever for the BlueClaws, Alexis Rivero...

Stuff wise, he's pretty impressive. I think he still pitches up in the zone a little too much and he's still learning pitch sequences, but as far as pure stuff and everything he's been phenomenal. He lights up the radar gun and has a quality slider and just looks really good.

-Talking about starting pitcher Elniery Garcia's season...

His last two outings have been outstanding. I thought (on Saturday) the first inning or two, he started out kind of slow, battling a little bit, then pretty much put it on cruise control after that and just dominated. His last start was about the same thing. He just keeps getting better and better and that's what I'm hoping he does.

-On the topic of what other hurlers he has seen progress from this season...

Yeah, I mean I think we've had some ups and downs. We've had some cycles going, getting better then worse, which is normal for a season. (Ranfi)  Casimiro struggled a lot the first three starts, then he turned it on for seven or eight starts, then the last couple have just been okay, but I've seen good things from him. Taylor, who we just traded showed me a lot. The bullpen, Austin Davis is up and down. Just, most of our guys at this level have shown me some good things and some bad things, so it's just a learning process and we''ll see.
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