Friday, April 15, 2016

BlueClaws Quotables: Manager Shawn Williams speaks on new team

Entering his second season in the role, Class A Lakewood manager Shawn Williams took time to comment on various topics before and after the BlueClaws' home opener on Thursday. Read ahead for the skipper's remarks

Jiandido Tromp, image- Jay Floyd
Speaking about outfielder Jiandido Tromp, who got off to a hot start this season...

He's just been having good at bats. Really battling with two strikes. He's been getting into hitters counts and he's not missing his pitch. You can just tell his whole mindset- he's on a mission right now.

Commenting on backstop Deivi Grullon and if his improvements are a direct relation to repeating the level...

I think it's a combination of a lot of things. You get older you get more mature, you get smarter, you keep learning the game and I think even a lot of times, like we saw last year with Tocci, guys coming back, you come back and it gives you some confidence and it gives you something to work for, because you want to move up, you want to get out of here, so that's why a lot of those guys, they come back here and they just take off, like (Carlos) Tocci did last year and Deivi (Grullon) and Trompy have gotten off to good starts here this year.

Talking about early struggles at the plate for last year's Phillies first round pick Cornelius Randolph...

For me, he just needs to keep getting at bats. He's been competing in there. You know, he's having good at bats, he's just had a couple guys come out with a diving play here. He's barreling balls up, right at first basemen, borderline balls that could be hits, but they're called errors. He's been having good at bats, he's been competing. It just takes one hit, one clinker, one bunt hit, to get him going.


This has been, really the first time I've ever seen Cornelius play is right now, these seven games and a little bit during spring training, but for me, what I've seen, you forget how young he is because he acts mature for his age. He's only 18. Playing here, which is awesome, it's a good challenge for him and I think he's up to it. I know he hasn't gotten off to the greatest start, but he's had good at bats thus far and he's a tough out. I think it's going to turn around (for him).

Cornelius Randolph, image- Jay Floyd
More on Randolph, speaking about his transition to the outfield after being drafted as a shortstop...

Very quickly he's really taken to the outfield because he looks like he's been playing out there throughout high school and everything. He's getting good jumps, he's making good throws, I mean he looks fine, he's made a transition look easy.

Commenting how he might address the pitching staff issuing a considerable amount of walks in the early going...

It's been addressed. Just be more aggressive early in the count, just attacking hitters. These guys have great stuff, you know, let it show and let it show early in the count, so you can keep pitch counts down and pitch deeper in the ball game.

On the subject of updated ground rules at Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park, which are related to the home run boundary being lowered around much of the outfield...

It's going to be a little bit different, having the pad as the home run. I think it's going to be tricky for these umpires here and for everybody, I mean you've got the little cement part that goes between the pad and the little chain link and if it hits that, it's a home run, but it's going to be tough because it's going to bounce off that thing, bounce off poles. I know looking at last year, I wish we would have had these (current) ground rules because it would have helped us in two games. You know, back to back days it would have saved us six innings in one and it would have probably helped us win another one because it would have been a home run to tie the game. But, it should be interesting.

Speaking about how the home park in Lakewood has often been considered spacious and played very big...

It makes you become a hitter first and I think it really helps with someone like Pujols and Randolph and playing defensively in the outfield, you've got a lot of ground to cover, so for me it helps you become a better outfielder because you've got to cut balls off and you're backing up bases and you're covering so much ground out there, it's going to help you tremendously defensively.

Franklyn Kilome, image- Jay Floyd
Commenting on 20-year-old righty pitching prospect and Dominican native Franklyn Kilome having a pair of rough outings (0-2 record, 14.85 ERA)...

He's learning. And I think the biggest thing he's learned so far, with this being the first times he's ever pitched in the cold and it's been really cold both days, I think it's just something that he's learning. He came in here today and it's almost as if he wanted to pitch today, which is awesome to see. We even saw glimpses his last two innings (of his last start), so I'm looking forward to him turning that into the next start.

I think the biggest thing is learning the cold. It's a little thing, but I think it means a lot for a lot of these kids that have never been in anything less than 50 degrees and they're playing and it's snowing one day and it's ice and it's 30 degrees by game time and they're out there and they've got to try to find a feel for a ball. And it's something they've got to learn and they will, especially when they want to pitch at the most important time- in the World Series in October, and it should be cold then in Philly. I think it's just one of those things you've got to learn and you've got to play in more and more.
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