Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Shota Suzuki

The Chunichi Dragons have a ton of pitchers I'm pretty interested in seeing develop, and Shota Suzuki is one of them.

Mainly because I have an autograph of his numbered to 60.

Shota Suzuki was another top 10 Dragons prospect I had heard about prior to obtaining this autograph and I'm hoping the hype pays off.

Shota Suzuki was drafted by the Chunichi Dragons in the first round of the 2013 NPB Player Draft. The very first professional baseball player to ever come out of Seirei Christopher High School, Suzuki first gained attention during his third year of high school when he threw 28 innings (with 37 k's) in three games, and had enough potential that the Dragons gave him the coveted ace number (number 18).

Suzuki's arsenal consists of a fastball that can reach 143 kilometers/hour (aprox. 88 mph), as well as a curveball, change up, slider and fork-ball. Pretty much all of which are work in progress pitches. Suzuki's key to reaching his potential as an ace lies with the development of his secondary pitches. Suzuki's also taken to trying to build his stamina by trying to gain more muscle/weight. Rumor has it that the threw over 2,000 pitches in spring training last year alone. Woof, my arm hurts just reading that. Oh yeah, he even threw 309 pitches in a inter-squad game the other day too.

Suzuki's seen limited action in his cups of coffee with the big league Dragons. Being used in a relief role more than as a starter. The jury is still out on Suzuki, I have high hopes for him. But the Dragons kinda suck at developing players so I'm hoping a more competent team can take him in (get it done Cashman!). He has the arsenal and the easy delivery, what he doesn't have is all of it putting together. Also, take it easy on the arm.

One last tidbit I found looking up stuff about Suzuki is that his pre game ritual is to always clean his room in his dorm. Not a bad ritual actually.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Shota Tomonaga

It's been a while, but here's another of the many Dragons autographs I picked up. Actually, one of the first I picked up in the form of the Shota Tomonaga above.

This is another Mizuno Epoch autograph from 2015 that's limited to 23 copies.

I acquired this in a box of Dragons autographs singles at Mint Shinjuku when I was stopping by with Ryan (of This Card Is Cool). An autograph of a name I knew from top 10 Dragons prospect rankings for 1,000 yen (aprox. $10) limited to 23 copies? Sold!

Shota Tomonaga was drafted by the Chunichi Dragons in the third round of the 2014 NPB Player Draft. Upon being drafted Tomonaga was given the jersey number 1, the first to receive/use the jersey number since Kosuke Fukudome back in 1998.

Tomonaga's key attributes appear to be his speed and his glove in the outfield (ideally centerfield). Tomonaga hasn't hit as consistently as you'd like (even in the minors) but many do see him as a potential table setter atop the lineup if he can ever adjust. I have heard whispers that some see him as the next Ryosuke Hirata so it's possible. If nothing else he does take a lot of walks and see's a lot of pitches.

Interestingly enough Tomonaga went to high school with Tomoyuki Sugano of the Yomiuri Giants (although Tomonaga was one grade below). Tomonaga hit his first professional ichigun (big league in the NPB) hit off of Sugano in 2015.

So yeah, a pretty intriguing prospect autograph to have around. At least for me. We'll see how his career pans out in a few years.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Monday, February 20, 2017

The 2014 Rookie Class...

...of this section of the blogosphere.

It seems so long ago (because it kind of was) but it's only been three years since 2014. This blog was started on the last day of 2013 but I'm kind of lumped in with the 2014 blogging rookie class by default (although I suppose you could argue that I'm not in the class either).

I remember how 2014 was dubbed a blogging renaissance. There was a big wave of blogs that popped up that year and I'm pretty glad to be part of such a legendary rookie class. Or if I'm not, I'm at least glad to have been there to see them emerge.

The ROY out of this rookie class (according to Sooz's BIP Awards show) was Off Hiatus Baseball Cards. A well deserved honor. Tony himself just passed the three year mark the other day. Tony is still the only Brewers collector I trade consistently with. Not that there are too many of them out there (even if there are, sorry but all of my Brew Crew cards are reserved).

What makes the OHBC blog more appealing to me is how the posts delve into music. I like music, I like hearing all sorts of music from the past and OHBC is a great way to discover music that was before my time, or really just off my radar. I would incorporate more music on my blog but I just can't do it consistently.

The rookie in our rookie class who would later go to probably be the best of us (the HoFer who didn't win the ROY) is likely Bob Walk The Plank. I mean really, out of all of us Matt has really taken this section of the blogosphere by storm. Just chuck Bucco's his way and he'll likely send back some really cool cards that you collect too. All before he has a blogpost about what you sent him go up in like three days at that.

For me, a mark of a good trading partner is when I'm always running out of cards for the other party. And let me tell you, I'm always out of Pirates cards. Always. If it's black and yellow, it's gone.

Here's our first international rookie, The Card Papoy. I don't know if I can say that he's the only baseball card collector in France, but he's definitely the only French trading partner I have. Kevin's also basically become my go-to dumping grounds for Blue Jays cards. In return I usually ask for stuff you can only get in France like postcards.

I mean look at this haul, this is great! Thanks for the postcards Kev!

Now the rest of the rookie class is a little bit fuzzy to me because I haven't had as many interactions with the following blogs (I've never even left a comment on some of these blogs) but I know many of you have traded with them so I believe they deserve to be noticed. Also, I may accidentally forget some blogs in this rookie class too. Feel free to let me know so I can add them later.

The rookie class' token Cubs collector, Wrigley Roster Jenga. Tony and I speak pretty regularly on Twitter (and occasionally on our blog's comments). If my Cubs weren't all automatically postmarked for P-Town Tom I'd initiate my first trade with him.

The rookie class' token Rays collector, I Love The Smell of Cardboard In The Morning. ILTSoCITM was launched in December so it really came near the tail end of the year. Technically Tim is more of a Yankees collector, but he collects Rays too and this list needs a token Rays collector so the honor goes to his blog. He and I really need to trade sometime (I have a pile of Rays I need to get rid of).

The rookie class' token Tigers collector, A Cracked Bat. Julie just recently came back from an extended blogging hiatus. I haven't traded with her yet, but I have seen her around our corner of the blogosphere.

The rookie class' token Astros collector, Remember The Astrodome. Ever since the blog went up, the Houston Astros' rebuilding efforts have finally started to pay off. Coincidence? I think not.

The rookie class' token Yankees collector, My Life In The Sports Card Hobby. The stuff shown on this blog is on the higher end of the collecting spectrum, but pretty much all of the cards showcased on it are impressive.

The rookie class' token Cardinals (with a strong Yadier Molina flavor) collector, St. Louis Cardinals Cardboard (formerly Yadier Molina Baseball Cards). With Alex Reyes' 2017 done before it started, the Cardinals' top active prospect right now might be Luke Weaver.

The rookie class' token Royals collector, Royal Card Review. I'm embarrassed to say I first stumbled onto this blog while doing research for this post. Sorry bud. On the plus side, the year after the blog was launched the Royals finally won the World Series.

The rookie class' other token Blue Jays collector, Toronto Blue Jays Collection. Home to one of the most impressive Joe Carter collections I've ever seen.

The rookie class' token Expos collector, Not Another Baseball Card Blog. Mike only blogged once in August of 2014 but that's good enough for this class. He generally collects Expos, Jays and Canadians.

The rookie class' token everything collector, Cardboard History. When I say everything, I do mean everything. Billy's blog covers more than baseball cards (in fact it skews more towards things that aren't baseball cards) but it's a fun blog regardless with all sorts of neat info about the world of basketball cards, hockey cards, NASCAR cards and even planes.

The rookie class' other token Yankees collector, The Italian Completist. This rookie class boasts a collector in France, Canada and Italy, bow down to it's global power. TIC is a Yankees blogger whose got a lot of good content on his page. Check him out when you have the time.

The rookie class' token Rockies collector, Infield Fly Rule. With Cards from the Quarry's disappearance, Adam has probably taken over as the go-to blogger to send Rockies cards to.

I'm pretty sure I'm missing more but that's the most I could find as of this moment. If you started your blog in 2014 and didn't see it on here, let me know and I'll add it ASAP.

Looking at the total list of blogs in this rookie class, I'd say this is the best rookie class this section of the blogosphere ever had. Feel free to disagree, but please explain why by presenting an argument for why another rookie class is better :).

As always thanks for stopping by. The past three years have been a ton of fun, here's to many more :).

Take care.