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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

4/1/24 : Jersey Shore Opening Roster

The 2023 BlueClaws were a South Atlantic League playoff team winning their second half division to qualify.  This year’s team should also be a good one as it’s stocked with multiple players who’ve have both talent and are experienced in winning ways.  Here’s a look at the opening day roster - the average age of the 32 man roster is 22 years of age.

Pitchers :  17 - average age : 23

Starters/Bulk Relievers : pitchers who are expected to throw extended innings each outing.

LH Samuel Aldegheri - 22 years old - signed 7/2/19 - Verona, Italy - made 20 appearances (19 starts) in 2023 with Clearwater (16) and Jersey Shore (4 starts) - had a strong season amassing 83.2 IP - had a great training camp beginning with High Performance Camp in January - will be a key member of the BlueClaws starting rotation.

RH Jean Cabrera - 22 years old - signed 7/2/19 - Maracay, Venezuela - made 21 appearances (15 starts) including two outstanding playoff starts for Clearwater in 2023 - a power arm who grew exponentially as a pitcher last season - is ready to move up a notch and be part of the Jersey Shore rotation.

RH Estibenzon Jimenez - 22 years old - signed 11/27/19 - San Felipe, Venezuela - made 23 appearances (21 starts) with Clearwater in 2023 and pitched very well.  “Jimmy” is a strike thrower who knows how to pitch and can also heat it up in the mid nineties, attacks the hitters, no fear - will be part of the rotation.

LH Braeden Fausnaught - 24 years old - signed 8/1/22 as an un-drafted free agent - West Chester University, West Chester, PA - made 26 appearances (8 starts) for Clearwater in 2023 and pitched for league champion Adelaide in the Australian Baseball League this past off-season.  Has made great strides as a pitcher in understanding how to attack the zone and gain success, had a very solid ST - will pitch in a starter role.

RH Eiberson Castellano - 22 years old - signed 7/2/18 - Maracaibo, Venezuela - made 22 appearances (7 starts) for Clearwater in 2023 primarily as a one/two inning reliever - has big talent - pitched in the Venezuela Winter League  this off-season - power arm that seemed back to form this spring in camp - will spot start and pitch bulk relief.

RH Starlyn Castillo - 22 years old - signed 7/2/18 - Pimentel, Dominican Republic - 2023 was a year of personal growth - made 16 appearances (9 starts) with Clearwater (4) and the FCL Phillies (12) - has the talent to climb the ladder - will spot start and pitch bulk relief.

Relievers :

RH Alex Rao - 24 years old - 2022 8th round draft selection - Notre Dame University - made 17 appearances with the Clearwater Threshers last season - missed some time due to injury - power arm who can reach upper nineties - also features a split finger change-up.

LH Andrew Walling - 24 years old - signed as 8/1/22 as an un-drafted free agent - Mississippi State University - made 41 appearances in 2023 with Clearwater (26) and Jersey Shore (15) - can dominate late innings - was promoted to Jersey Shore on 7/26/23 -  returns to open season with BlueClaws as a back end cog.

RH Jonathan Petit - 22 years old - signed 4/26/19 - Valencia, Venezuela - made 23 appearances (19 starts) with Clearwater in 2023 including two in the postseason.  Will pitch in a multi inning reliever role - has altered his arm slot a bit lower this spring and has garnered more velocity as a result - sits mid nineties with the heat.

RH Gunner Mayer - 23 yrs old - had a very impressive training camp beginning in January with High Performance camp.  Has added muscle weight and velocity has ticked up with both command and control this spring.  Was the 2019 5th round draft selection from San Joaquin Delta JC in California.

LH Danny Wilkinson - 23 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent - 7/25/22 - Villanova University - made 34 appearances for Clearwater in 2023 posting a 6-0 record and a whopping 106 strikeouts in 56.2 IP - often used as a multi inning reliever - has a unique fastball delivery that jumps on hitters and solid secondaries - will be a key reliever for the BlueClaws.

RH Chuck King - 26 years old - signed 2/6/24 as an un-drafted free agent - pitched collegiately at Texas Christian University from 2017 to 2021 accumulating a 16-12 record in 78 appearances (22 starts) with a 3.93 ERA in 254.1 IP.  King posted 186 strikeouts and 58 walks with a 1.337 WHIP.  After his time at TCU he became a Sports Science Intern with the San Diego Padres and then moved into a full time role in the organization in November of 2022 as a Performance Analyst -  Chuck continued to train as a pitcher after his collegiate career ended and on 1/28/24 performed for scouts in a pro day at Driveline Baseball.  He showed a slider (85-86 mph range), a splitter (85-87 mph) and a fastball (sat 96-97 mph - reached 98 mph).  He’s impressed this spring with a power arsenal - potential diamond in the rough.

RH Nate Karaffa - 23 years old - 2022 20th round draft selection - Ohio State - made eight 2023 appearances with the FCL Phillies and fourteen with the Threshers.

RH Daniel Harper - 24 years old - 2022 17th round draft selection - University of Kentucky - appeared in 23 games last season with the Threshers.  Big arm capability - mid to upper nineties fastball - had a solid ST camp.

LH Wesley Moore - 24 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent - 11/9/22 - Kansas State University - appeared in 42 games in 2023 with Clearwater (17) and Jersey Shore (25) - put up outstanding numbers - has one of the best changeups in the system - major league quality put away pitch - will be a big leaguer at some point.

LH Mason Ronan - 24 years old - re-signed 1/25/24 - It’s relatively rare that a minor league player gets released by a team one summer and then re-signed the following off-season by the same organization but that’s what happened for Mason.  Originally signed on 7/25/22 as an un-drafted free agent LHP from the College of Central Florida.  He was released on 7/1/23 primarily due to minor league roster limitations and the need to create space for the upcoming draft.  However he didn’t give up his hope of continuing the pursuit of climbing the ladder in professional baseball as he worked out at Ascent Athlete - a baseball development facility located in Garnet Valley, PA.  Mason has the ability to pitch effective innings. I like the spin on the curve/slider and the drop on his splitter - if he can maintain 93-94 (like he showed during his pro day) on the sinker then he’s gonna be effective - the four seamer flashed 96-97 so that’s a plus also.

RH Jack Dallas - 25 yrs old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 8/1/22 - Lamar University - Jack had an outstanding 2023 season out of the bullpen - in 42 appearances (65.1 IP) between Clearwater and Jersey Shore he recorded a stellar 1.79 ERA with 69 strikeouts and 23 walks, a .206 batting average against and a 1.10 WHIP.  Was often deployed in inherited runner situations as a strike thrower who gets after the hitters, also pitched more than an inning in 28 of his appearances.  He came to pro ball as no stranger to high pressure game spots as he graduated from Lamar as their all-time leader in saves and appearances.  His fastball, a sinker, generally is in the 91 to 94 range and he also features a cutter, slider, curve and change up.  Gets tremendous spin/movement on his cutter and curve in particular, above the big league average.  The movement on those pitches makes it very difficult for hitters to square them up which was reflected in the cumulative batting average against him this season.  Is a great competitor and shows excellent composure in high impact game situations.  He reminds me a great deal of Mark Leiter Jr in build, moxie and approach.  His brother Chad is a top prospect in the Blue Jays organization.

Position Players : Average Age : 21

Catchers : 3

Jordan Dissin - 21 years old - 2022 12th round draft selection - Saddleback Junior College, CA - RH hitter - played in 71 games for the Clearwater Threshers in 2023 including six in the playoffs where he posted a .381 OBP in - very strong throwing arm, take charge receiver.

Ryan Leitch - 22 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 8/1/22 from Marshall University - RH hitter - played in 46 games with the Clearwater Threshers in 2023 after beginning the year in extended spring training - solid defensive skills with pop in his bat as well.

Andrick Nava - 22 years old - signed 7/2/18 - Cabimas, Venezuela - switch hitter who played in 64 games last season (44 as a catcher) for Jersey Shore - played for league champion Adelaide in the Australian Baseball League this past off-season.  Good offensive skill set - has pop - returns for his third stint with JS.  Has steadily improved defensively.

Infielders :  6

Zach Arnold - 22 years old - 2023 14th round draft selection - University of Houston - RH hitter - played in 26 games with FCL Phillies (4) and Clearwater Threshers (22) putting up very solid numbers - played 2B,SS and 3B - primarily 3B - has great hands defensively and patient approach as a hitter.

Erick Brito - 21 years old - signed 11/29/18 - Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela - RH hitter - played in 112 games with Clearwater (44) and Jersey Shore (68) in 2023 primarily at second base although also played shortstop - is a strong defender who has very good bat to ball skills, puts the ball in play - has shown big pop this spring with multiple home runs in scrimmages and game action - looks poised for a strong offensive season - has added significant muscle weight.

Chad Castillo - 23 years old - 2022 9th round draft selection - California Baptist University - played in 79 games in 2023 with Clearwater Threshers and FCL Phillies (2 on rehab assignment).  LH power bat with a pretty swing, good approach.  Likely would have moved to JS last season if not set back temporarily by injury.  Is a first baseman who played outfield as well in college.

Felix Reyes - 23 years old - signed 2/22/20 - Bani, Dominican Republic - powerful RH hitter - plays 1B,3B and OF - played in 80 games with Clearwater Threshers (67) and Jersey Shore (13) in 2023 - was excellent in the playoffs.  Big pop, hits the ball very hard.  Will be a lineup regular.

Bryan Rincon - 20 years old - 2022 14th round draft selection - Shaler Area HS , Pittsburgh, PA - played in 102 games in 2023 with Clearwater (81) and Jersey Shore (21) - was named best defensive shortstop in the Florida State League - outstanding fielder who also has pop in his bat, particularly from left side, as a switch hitter.

William Bergolla - 19 years old - signed 1/15/22 from Valencia, Venezuela - LH hitter who played in 68 games with the Threshers last season and more than held his own.  Is a middle infielder who split time between second base and shortstop.  Strong all around skills - becomes the second youngest player to play at Jersey Shore at the High A level.

Outfielders :  6

Justin Crawford - 20 years old (turns 20 on 1/13) - 2022 1st round draft selection - Bishop Gorman HS , Las Vegas, NV - played in 90 games in 2023 with Clearwater (69) and Jersey Shore (21) - was named MVP of the Florida State League - LH hitter with mercurial speed - excellent fielder - has all the tools to get to the show.

Hendry Mendez - 20 years old - acquired via trade with Brewers 11/14/23 for Oliver Dunn- was signed by Brewers 1/15/21 from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - LH hitter who played in 62 games at the High A level in 2023 with the Brewers - was also selected by the Brewers to play in the 2023 Arizona Fall League - is known for outstanding bat to ball skills.  Has had a very strong spring training camp.

Leandro Pineda - 21 yrs old -  signed 7/6/18 - Valencia, Venezuela - played in 110 games with Jersey Shore in 2023 - LH hitter and thrower - came on as the season progressed - strong and accurate arm as a right fielder - can also play left field.  Had a solid ST camp.

Emaarion Boyd - 20 years old - 2022 11th round draft selection - South Panola HS, Batesville, MS - played in 96 games for the Clearwater Threshers and had a very strong first full season as a pro - RH hitter who is very fast, one of only seven minor leaguers in 2023 to steal 60 bases or more.  Showed power capability this spring as well.

Cade Fergus - 23 years old - 2022 13th round draft selection - George Washington University - played in 88 games in 2023 with Clearwater (74) and Jersey Shore (14).  Is a RH hitter with outstanding speed and good pop, very strong defender in center field who can also play both corners.  Played for the league champion Adelaide Giants in the Australian Baseball League this past off-season.

Troy Schreffler - 23 years old - 2022 15th round selection - University of Maryland - played in 66 games last season with Clearwater (47) and Jersey Shore (19) - RH hitter with good speed and baseball instincts - can play all three outfield positions.  Had a very strong spring camp.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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