Thursday, January 30, 2014

Players With SIY Cards: Dellin Betances

Oh boy is this going to be a LOOOOOOONG post...

2007 Choice front
Welcome back to PWSIYC, today we'll be talking about my favorite current Yankee, Dellin Betances.
Dellin Betances was born and raised in good old Washington Heights, New York (not Brooklyn). He is a massive human being (6'8") and was even nicknamed the "Little Unit" for a while. He grew up a Yankees fan and was even at old Yankee Stadium when David Wells threw his perfect game. In 2006 he was originally planning on going to Vanderbilt but signed with the Yankees who drafted him in the 8th round (254th overall) and gave him a $1 million signing bonus. Which he used to buy his parents a new home in Florida (I think).
In 2007 Betances was assigned to Staten Island but only pitched in 6 games (as a starter) and finished with a 3.60 ERA, 1 win and 29 strikeouts in 25 innings.
Since then he quickly made a name for himself as one of the Yankees's best prospects, was grouped together with Manny Banuelos and Andrew Brackman and dubbed "The Triple B's" who many hoped would succeed where Hughes-Joba-Kennedy trio failed (spoiler alert, the Triple-B's failed too) and slowly made his way to the majors. He was called up in September of 2011 and made his MLB debut on September 22nd, 2011.

2007 Choice back
Unfortunately the journey was nothing close to smooth (in fact, it's still going on and it's still bumpy) as it included a couple of injuries and a disastrous 2012 (6.44 ERA between AA & AAA) where it appeared as though Betances's once promising future as a front of the rotation starter was all but gone. However, Dellin's ceiling was still pretty high as he had the "stuff" to be a dominant pitcher but just struggled to find the strike-zone due to his height. So the Yankees tried converting Betances into a reliever and while the experiment has been mostly positive in the minors he's yet to show how effective he'll be as a reliever in the big leagues. He had a couple of chances in 2013 as he was called up at various times to provide bullpen depth but his outings ranged from okay-to-horrible.
Betances will have to really step up in 2014. He managed to qualify for one more minor league baseball option (which means that he can be sent down to the minors without having to go through waivers and possibly being claimed by another team) which also means that he could spend some time in the minors again. But I'm sure he will be given a handful of chances in Spring Training and during various parts of the season, allowing the Yankees to decide whether or not they want keep him around any longer.
As a semi-Yankees fan and Betances fan I really hope he manages to find his stroke and stick around with the Yankees. But if he's shipped off somewhere else between now and Spring Training 2015, I'll continue to support him and I might even follow him and go root for that team instead.
BTW, my prime candidates for who'll pick up Betances after his Yankees days are done are the Chicago Cubs (who've already picked up past Yankees farmhands like Corey Black and Brett Marshall) or the Chicago White Sox (who've shown interest in Betances in the past).

Base (left), Green Auto Numbered To 25 (right)
Anyway sorry if I bored some of you with all of that. Betances is one of my favorite players currently in the majors and at this point my favorite Yankee on the current 40 man roster, so I tend to get carried away. I guess I like Betances so much because he's living the life I wanted to when I was growing up (kind of). As a fellow New Yorker who grew up rooting for the Yankees I also had dreams of being drafted by my favorite team. Unfortunately by the time I entered high school that dream was washed away. But that just makes me root for guys like Betances and Cito Culver (another NY native) who have been given that chance even more. Plus Betances used his signing bonus to get his parents out of his rough neighborhood and bought them a new house. I'll probably never be able to do anything that awesome for my parents.
The card shown at the top is from the 2007 Choice New York-Penn League Top Prospects set. Betances and Zach McAllister were the Yankees's representatives in that set. I'm not sure if the auto is really legit (the seller seemed pretty reputable though) but since I didn't have the card at all I couldn't care less. Betances has 2 cards featuring him as a Staten Island Yankee, the Choice card and his cards in 2008 Tri-Star Projections New York Prospects edition (seen above). I guess the 2007 Donruss card could also be considered a SIY card since it mentions Staten Island on the back and features him wearing an (airbrushed) pinstripe jersey, something they don't have down in the GCL.
And with that, I'd like to quickly share with you all my top 5 Betances cards.

5. 2006 Upper Deck USA Dual Auto With Clayton Kershaw Numbered 7/100


There are times when I blame this card for Betances's struggles. It's obvious that Kershaw somehow sucked Betances's talent away from him after being paired up on this card. Resulting in Kershaw turning into the best pitcher on earth while Betances gets yo-yo'd between the minors, majors and DL. In other words, Kershaw has this card and Betances to thank for his incredible talent, production and his $215 million contract.
But I can't hate on this card or on Kershaw since he's Kershaw. Plus Betances's early signatures are really awesome (I might do a post showcasing how Betances's autograph has changed over the years).

4. 2007 Choice


Hehe.

3. 2012 Bowman Chrome RC Red Refractor Auto Numbered 4/5

Front

Back
This card is so shiny in person.

2. 2012 Topps RC


Nothing beats a simple rookie card of your favorite player. Except for...

1. 2012 Topps Chrome Printing Plate Numbered 1/1


...a not-so-simple 1/1 rookie card of your favorite player!

And with that I'd like to thank all of you who've lasted this long and, as always, take care.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

TTM Success: Clint Frazier

My 6th TTM return here in 2014.

Received on 1/21

Clint Frazier was drafted in the first round (5th overall) of the 2013 Draft by the Cleveland Indians. He's already made a name for himself as one of the top 3 prospects in the Indians's farmsystem. The others being Francisco Lindor and Tyler Naquin (who I got a TTM return from earlier this year). He played in the Arizona Fall League and had a triple slash line (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) of .297/.362/.506.
Clint Frazier is viewed as a future outfielder with lots of power and the ability to hit for a high batting average as after he made his minor league debut he quickly began working on using the entire field and hitting balls to opposite field and making sure he isn't just a pull hitter.

It'll definitely be exciting and fun watching how Frazier develops. And I suppose I have to thank the Indians for drafting him. If they hadn't taken him then Frazier might've signed with the Red Sox since he was allegedly in contact with some people in the Red Sox organization. *Shudders* that farm system doesn't need any more prospects, they've got plenty.

Anyway, thanks to Mr. Frazier for the lovely autograph and thank you (the reader) for taking the time to stop by again. As always, take care.

TTM Goal Countdown: 56

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2009 Konami BBH WBC Edition

Just when you think you've seen every Japanese oddball, there's another one right around the corner.


Today's Japanese oddball is yet another card set originally used for an arcade game. In Japan there are two extremely popular arcade games that issue/use trading cards. One is World Club Champion Football (WCCF) a soccer themed game (remember that soccer is referred to as football outside the US) and the other is Baseball Heroes (BBH) a baseball themed game.

Baseball Heroes is the NPB or Japanese Professional Baseball equivalent of Sega Card Gen. It's been around for a while and it's enormous success gave Sega enough confidence that Sega Card Gen might work out in Japan after an American release was initially scrapped. Sega Card Gen was only in trial/testing mode when today's product came out.

Care to guess where the "Cervin'" in the blog name came from?
Back in 2009 WBC-mania hit Japan harder than... nevermind.
Unlike the US where the World Baseball Classic was seen as a joke, Japan went crazy during the WBC and Japan couldn't be prouder when Japan defeated their hated rival South Korea and won it all.
Baseball Heroes was looking in to cash in on this craze by releasing a set with every team and player that participated in the WBC (the main one anyway). At this point you can't use those cards to play the game anymore (most cards that are over 1/2 years old can't be used in BBH) but they're still pretty interesting cards.

Fronts

Backs
In true gaming card fashion there are a bunch of stats and numbers everywhere to tell the gamer(s) how good a player is. Unlike SCG there isn't a 1-8 scale but rather just how good the players are at certain skills.
Also, there were 2 subsets featuring foil cards. Both had 12 different cards each.
One was known as the "Special" set and the other was known as the "All Tournament" set.

A "Special" card (Left), An "All Tournament" card (Right) 
Unfortunately I don't have a full checklist on me but I'm sure you'll be able to find one with a quick Google or Yahoo search.

Anyway Konami didn't issue a set for the 2006 WBC and I'm pretty sure they never issued one for the 2013 WBC. Maybe because of the lack of big names on Team Japan's roster? Or maybe the 2009 WBC set was a financial failure? Part of me wants it to return, but if it doesn't at least there will always be this set.

As always thanks for reading and take care.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

5 Collecting Goals For 2014

Because I launched this blog on the first day of 2014 and was busy for the first week or so trying to get this blog running I wasn't able to share with you all my collecting goals for 2014. I usually set myself for the easiest/simplest goals possible, and this year is not really any exception.


5. Continue to trade with people

I love trading with other collectors and helping them with their collections.. Although my end of the trade(s) might not be as big as they've been in the past because of my next goal.

4. Stop buying so much wax

This might be the hardest task of all.
In 2013 I busted a total of 8 hobby boxes, 10 blasters, 10 rack packs and ∞ loose single packs. After adding up the receipts and feeling like I had just suffered a heart attack I've decided that one of my goals is to cut down on the amount of wax I buy. For now I'm planning to just stick to a retail rack pack (at most) when I get the itch and just ignore products I don't care for altogether (looking at you Topps Archives with your flimsy cardboard stock and boring checklist).
I'll make one exception though, Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects. I always love this product and will probably pick up a hobby box when it comes out.

3. 62 TTMs

In 2013 I had a whopping 133 TTM returns. And while I might/will not be able to match that this year, I'm hoping to at least reach half of that this year. So my goal is to reach 62 TTMs. And as of this post I've already received 3 TTM returns so only 59 more to go :)!
And yes I realize that 133 divided by 2 is not 62 but I have no idea how I'm supposed to get 61.5 returns so I'm going with 62 instead.

2. Pick up a new "Oldest Card In My Collection"

Right now the oldest card in my Yankees collection is a 1948 Bowman card of Billy (The Bull) Johnson and I'm thinking of acquiring something even older. I've got a specific card/set in mind and am waiting for the right deal and hopefully it comes within the next 11 months. And as long as I stick to my cutting down on wax goal I might be able to accomplish this goal without it crippling me financially.

1. 39 IP Autos

In 2013 I accumulated a total of 78 IP autos and much like my TTM goal I'm going to try and get at least half as many.
I was originally going to have my number 1 goal be "Have Fun" but I saw a ton of other bloggers have it and I didn't want to get sued for plagiarism. Plus goals 5, 3 and 1 are already what my definition of "fun" is. Trading with other people, getting autographs through the mail and getting autographs in person. I think at this point the importance of my collection has become more about human interactions rather than just getting cards I need. And now that I've actually written that down, I think I need to get out more...

Anyway there you have it, my 5 collecting goals.
As always thanks for reading and take care :).