Saturday, May 30, 2015


So the Yankees have called up another in-house outfielder, one that I've been pretty excited about for a while, RAMON FLORES!

One of my first TTM successes ever!

In a way this is pretty bittersweet, mainly since Flores' promotion seems to have come because Slade Heathcott went on the DL with a Grade 2 quad strain, that guy just can't catch a break.

Gif Property of

Still, it's nice to see the Yankees use their depth and bring up some youth, again. Flores is a guy I can easily see being a serviceable fourth outfielder and could do a whole lot better than Chris Young (who for the record has been pretty awful in May).

Even though I just blogged about the Yankees' mini youth movement barely a week ago, the reality is that even I knew it was fleeting. Unfortunately the Yankees still have underperforming yet still overpaid players taking up roster spots, and are giving very long leashes to guys who are performing as well as I would.

I was about to go on a tangent about how Stephen Drew, David Carpenter and really every non-Yankees org guy (except Pineda & A-Rod) sucks but that's not the main focus of this post.

I will say this though. Even my patience with the players who weren't brought up in the Yankees org are wearing thin.

Photo Property of Pelatobrava

Anyway while I'm glad for Ramon Flores and how he made it to the big leagues. He probably won't get used too often and we'll probably end up seeing Chris Young's rotting corpse in the outfield more often. And Flores'll be back down before you know it.

Also, Lindgren's time in the majors, at least this year, is probably numbered as well. Chris Martin is coming back faster than the speed of sound and even if he sucks he'll be up in the bigs while Lindgren (and Shreeve) will go back to wasting bullets in triple-A for 10 days at a time.

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

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Weekend TTM Roundup: 5/18-5/23

Received On: 05/18/2015

First up is Rockies prospect Correlle Prime.
Prime was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 12th round of the 2012 MLB Player Draft. Prior to 2014 he was primarily a first baseman who hit for pretty consistent contact and had some nice power (in small sample sizes that is).
In 2014 he made his full season debut and had a pretty darn good year, seen by some as a breakout season. Posting a 134 wRC+ and hitting for a .352 BABIP in 552 plate appearances. He also flashed some power by hitting for a .228 ISO and swatting 21 HRs, and he was only 20 in 2014. Going forward many seem him being able to grow more power (and abuse the hitter friendly confines of Coors) and turn into a platoon guy at first base. His strikeout rate is a bit a concern and will need to improve for him to continue to climb the ladder up.

Received On: 05/18/2015

Here's a return from Mets righty Scarlyn Reyes.
Reyes was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the New York Mets in 2013. Because he was older than most international prospects, he only spent a few months in the DSL (and dominated the level) before coming stateside in 2014.
Armed with a fastball that's been said to reach 97 on occasion, a curveball and a change up, most see Reyes' future to be a reliever in the big leagues. However for the most part he's been primarily used as a starter. Most of his outings as a starter for the Savannah Sand Gnats have been so-so.

Received On: 05/18/2015

Here we have Reds righty Sal Romano.
Salvatore Romano was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 23rd round of the 2011 MLB Player Draft. Since being drafted the righty has been primarily used as a starter although many tend to see him as a reliever (some have compared him to Jonathan Broxton which isn't the worst thing to be compared to I suppose). Armed with a mid 90 mph fastball, a curveball and change up, the key to Romano remaining a starter or being moved to the bullpen will most likely depend on his ability to hone his breaking pitches. His curveball is said to be average but his change up is a work in progress.

Received On: 05/18/2015

Here is D-Backs backstop Jose Queliz.
Queliz was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012. He's since gone on to be a fringe prospect for the D-Backs. Offensively he's been sort of bad to meh. Although he did hit for the cycle once. Defensively is where Queliz makes most of his money. He's a pretty good defender behind the plate who has gunned down would be base stealers at a 43% rate during his career thus far. If he could improve a bit offensively he could be a backup catcher in the big leagues, especially for the D-Backs who aren't exactly oozing with catching depth.

Received On: 05/18/2015

Here's another Mets righty, Josh Prevost.
Prevost was drafted by the New York Mets in the 5th round of the 2014 MLB Player Draft. A two way giant in high school (he also played basketball), Prevost is equipped with a low-90 mph fastball, slider and change up and although he was used as a reliever in 2014 for the Cyclones, he's currently being used as a starter. Although the win-loss record may say otherwise, Prevost has been pretty good as a starter in 6 outing this season only walking hitters at a 1.66 BB/9 rate. Of course you'd like to see his strikeout rate improve a tad more but due to his height (6'8) he appears to have command issues to sort out.

Received On: 05/19/2015

Here's another 2015 Bowman first timer, Trevor Gott.
Gott was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 6th round of the 2013 MLB Player Draft. He was traded to the Angels in the Houston Street trade and became one of their top 20 prospects. His main weapon is a fastball that appears to be thrown in the mid-90's and he also has a curveball and a change up. He's a right handed reliever who projects to zip through the system pretty quickly (which he has as he's already in double-A) and could even be a closer in the future.

Received On: 5/21/2015

Here are a couple of returns from Dodgers righty John Richy.
John Minoru Richy was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the third round of the 2014 MLB Player Draft. Armed with a good fastball, good curveball, average change up, slider/cutter, and a HoF-caliber mustache (although it's been shaved off unfortunately) he projects to be a very serviceable back end of the rotation starter (a number four starter for a pretty good rotation). Although it's tough to tell from the small sample size he looks to be a starter who doesn't allow too many home runs and eats innings, lots of them.
If all else fails he could be a pretty nice piece in the Dodgers bullpen of the future.

This return was especially awesome because John took the time to write back a note, and not just that but he's actually half Japanese! I guess you can add him to the growing list of Dodgers prospects I'm keeping an eye on (that'll bring me up to 6, more than any other non-Yankees system!). And in case you're wondering the other five are Jose De Leon, Alex Verdugo, Takumi Numata, Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw.

Received On: 05/21/2015

Following that was a return from White Sox farmhand James Dykstra.
James Dykstra was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the sixth round of the 2013 MLB Player Draft. As a starter he's been pretty good in his pro career so far. Armed with what is said to be a very good fastball/changeup combination and a great curveball to boot, Dykstra's projected to be a very serviceable innings eater in the big leagues. He's more a ground ball pitcher who rarely ever walks anybody (he's walking people at a minuscule 2.5% to start this season) and could be an absolute steal for the White Sox down the road. After all, he threw a no-hitter back in April. Oh and he's also the brother of Allen Dykstra, former first rounder and current Tampa Bay Ray.

Received On: 05/22/2015

Here's a pretty nice name, at least if you're more into guys on the cusp of the big leagues.
Jose Valdez was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Detroit Tigers in 2009. The righty is equipped with a fastball that can reach 97-98 mph and a very good slider and profiles to be a very serviceable reliever in the big leagues. The key with him be his command issues. In 2014 he managed to reduce his walks-per-nine which is a pretty good sign. This season he's off to a slow start (both an ERA and FIP above 5) but he could still potentially be a key piece in the Tigers bullpen soon.

Received On: 05/22/2015

Here's another Met (a Met who I didn't see in Brooklyn last year or the year before at that).
Paul Sewald was drafted by the New York Mets in the 10th round of the 2012 MLB Player Draft. Armed with a fastball in the low 90mph range, a change up and a slider, Sewald's key to success is his ability to command his pitches and pinpoint where he wants his pitches to go. He gets a decent number of strikeouts and rarely ever walks hitters. He was a reliever in college and the Mets have used him exclusively as a reliever in the minors as well. For the most part he's been a pretty effective middle infielder and he could be up in Queens sooner rather than later.

Received On: 05/23/2015

Here's a return from Frank Schwindel on what was apparently a retail only green refractor.
Schwindel was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 18th round of the 2013 MLB Player Draft. Schwindel is a catcher (and occasionally a first baseman) who has been described as pretty solid. Many in the Royals organization seem to like him due to his work ethic and good makeup. As a player he's been pretty good in small sample sizes. Hitting for a fairly good BABIP and hitting for a fair amount of power as well.

Received On: 05/23/2015

And last but certainly not least are a pair of returns from D.J. Baxendale.
Baxendale was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 10th round of the 2012 MLB Player Draft. Armed with a fastball, curveball and change up, Baxendale appeared to be a nice get for Minnesota in 2013 when he lit the world on fire in high-A by pitching to a 2.70 FIP (1.10 ERA) in 57.1 innings. He got promoted to double-A where he was less effective, but still showed promise. Then 2014 happened and Baxendale's progress slowed and even regressed as he pitched his way back down to high-A. This season Baxendale is back in double-A and off the show the Twins org that there is something still left in the righty. If all goes well he could be a very good reliever for the Twins in the future.

And those were my returns this week. Big thanks to Mr. Prime, Reyes, Romano, Queliz, Prevost, Gott, Richy, Dykstra, Valdez, Sewald, Schwindel, and Baxendale for the awesome autographs.

And as always thank you (the readers), for stopping by. Take care :).

2015 TTM Count: 118


Thursday, May 21, 2015

All Hit, No Miss, Say Hello To Dermis!

For the first time in well over a month I purchased something on eBay. That something is the Panini Prizm Draft Prospect Ranker insert you see up there.

When it comes to Prizm Draft there are quite a fair number of inserts that I didn't even know existed. This Prospect Ranker insert was one of them.

I was looking for some cool Dermis Garcia cards on eBay and I noticed that this particular card was pretty cheap. So I put in a pretty low bid and ended up winning this for less than $5 shipped.

It's the gold parallel so it's serial numbered 07/10 which makes this even better as another Dermis Garcia gold Prospect Ranker insert went for a lot more than what I paid for it.

I suppose that since Dermis' first licensed cards as a Yankee are out these unlicensed ones have started to plummet in value, not like I'm complaining though, some of the really low numbered Dermis Bowmans have been going for insane prices I won't dare to touch.

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Pioneer

So the other day I received a large bubble mailer from Stealing Home.

Right off the bat I knew what was going to be inside.

Yep, that's an oversized Murakami Masanori card in the Turkey Red design.

SH said that they received this during a trip to the Institute for Baseball Studies.

The back of the oversized cabinet card is a brief description of Murakami Masanori's career in the states, and is also an advertisement for Robert K. Fitts' book, Mashi which is focused on Murakami's stint in the majors and what happened after that.

Naturally I was curious and decided to check out the link on the bottom. To my surprise and delight I found out that Murakami Masanori and Robert K. Fitts would be touring the U.S. to promote this book and more importantly that they would be coming to New York City later this year. Or at least one part of the site says so. If Murakami is coming to a bookstore in NYC this summer I'm definitely going.
The site also had a pretty nice section on Vintage Japanese Baseball Cards. And speaking of cards the cabinet card that kick started this post is pretty big too.

Look at that!
The 1992 Donruss mini looks absolutely minuscule next to Murakami.

Whether or not I actually get to see Murakami remains to be seen but I'll refrain from talking about his career for now and save it for later. Most of it's already on the back of the card anyway lol.

I'm really hoping that I might be able to meet Murakami and get him to sign my '65 RC of his (fingers crossed :)).

Anyway thanks for the "Mashi" cabinet card SH, expect some Doyers heading your way. And if any of you have any other cool Murakami cards or items (I hear he has a bobble head) feel free to send them my way ;).

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

Monday, May 18, 2015

Too Early To Judge

At my local post office there's this one clerk who I chat regularly about baseball/Yankees/baseball cards about. For privacy's sake I'll call them S.

S grew up collecting baseball cards of their favorite Yankees players like Mantle, Ford and Maris. So as you can imagine they're an elder statesman. Most of the time we talk about flavor of the week topics (mainly garbage the New York media puts out) like whether or not the Steinbrenners are going to sell the Yankees.

S knows that I'm a big fan of minor league baseball. So they sometimes ask me how the future Yankees are doing down on the farm. The guy they're really interested in the prospect every Yankees fan is obsessed with, Luis Torrens Aaron Judge.

The supplemental first rounder's work so far has been nothing short of astounding. He pretty much demolished the Florida State League and is continuing to terrorize the Eastern League.

His performance has been so great that Yankees fan are clamoring for the front office to call him up.

Now S asked me the other day why the Yankees don't call up Judge. I had a few ideas and most of them had to do with money.

The biggest reason is Carlos Beltran. Regardless of Beltran's performance, his contract guarantees that he'll continue to be in the lineup. That's not changing until the Yankees find someone dumb enough to take both Beltran and his salary.

Also, keep in mind that these are the Yankees who are trying to start spending money wisely (sort of) and figure Judge to be a huge part of their future. For all we know when Judge is actually ready the Yankees could keep in the minors for two weeks for that extra year of arbitration (ala Kris Bryant) or a little longer for super-two status (ala Wil Myers).

The more important reason is Judge himself. Mike Axisa, over at River Ave Blues, was asked when the Yankees'll promote Judge to triple-A (as of this post he's currently in double-A). Axisa brought up an excellent point that the league needs to adjust to Judge so that Judge can show that he can adjust to league that adjusted to him. If he can do so at double-A and then triple-A (which would theoretically put his ETA sometime in 2016 at the earliest) he'll probably be ready.

At any rate, it's never a good idea to promote a prospect when they're not ready for the big leagues yet. And although Judge's numbers may prove otherwise, I haven't heard too many scouts using the phrase "big league ready" to describe Judge yet.

I suppose it's also worth mentioning that Judge isn't exactly the first outfield option the Yankees have should they seek some help in-house. The Yankees still have Ramon Flores and Tyler Austin ahead of him on the depth chart at right field. Although Austin's off to a slow start, Flores has been doing fairly well at triple-A. Or at least enough so that in the event of an emergency Flores will be called up instead of Judge.

GIF courtesy of GIPHY

Back to Judge himself though, a lot of people seem to have misconceptions about what exactly Judge will be. That's not all that surprising since baseball fans in general are horrible at having realistic expectations, but it certainly doesn't help that there's this ongoing narrative that Aaron Judge is going to be Giancarlo Stanton.

The reality is that Judge is not going to be Giancarlo Stanton, no matter how much anybody wants him to be. BTW, I'd totally love it if Judge became Stanton even if I know it's not possible. Aaron Judge is going to be Aaron Judge, period.

GIF courtesy of Pinstripe Alley

And who is Judge going to be? It's too early to tell but a scout told The New York Post that they see him as a middle of the order threat who'll hit in the .250's with 25 HRs. That's not Giancarlo Stanton but I'd still take that and consider it a reasonable expectation for Judge.

Of course the future is not set in stone and Judge could very well exceed that ceiling or he could fall short and be even worse.

Currently he's absolutely destroying double-A putting up (as of this draft) a 151 wRC+. Some people are worried about his strikeouts but I'm not as worried considering that pitchers have just started to pitch differently to him, and because he still has a .373 BABIP (as of this draft) which is absolutely great. If he struggles to make adjustments and goes into a slump near the end of the year well into next year, that is when you worry. Both stats courtesy of Fangraphs BTW.

So to everybody wondering why Judge isn't up yet, I say slow down. He's not ready for the big leagues yet and there's no need to screw him up by forcing his way up (the Yankees did that a lot in the 00's). He'll come when he's ready, and there should be a boatload of puns ready at everybody's disposal when that happens.

GIF courtesy of Pinstripe Alley

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

Friday, May 15, 2015




一応もっとプロスペクトに詳しい人は前から彼のことを知っていますが今年に入って彼はかなり注目されるようになりました。五月に入ってかれは二度も一試合で十二個も奪三振とっている上彼は大ブレイク中です。因みに彼は2014年にclass AでGreat Lakes Loonの一員として一試合で14奪三振をとりました。これはチーム史上一試合での奪三振の最多記録はカーショーとタイです

Fangraphsを見ますと彼のstrikeout rateがすばらしいです。
現在彼のstrikeout rateは40.3%。それに大して彼のwalk rateはたったの4.8%。一言で言いますと彼は相手の打者をほぼ全員三振で倒していてほぼ誰も歩かしていない。


ファストボール(GIF Courtesy of Fangraphs


チェンジアップ (GIF Courtesy of Fangraphs)


スライーダー (GIF Courtesy of Fangraphs)

彼のスライーダーはなかなかいい感じです。約80mphの早さらしいです。因みこちらのGIFの相手の打者は現インディアンスのトッププロスペクトのClint Frazierです。






Wednesday, May 13, 2015

2004-05 Panini WCCF WSA: Christiano Ronaldo

WCCF is what I can only describe as the European Football version of Sega Card Gen. Although that's probably an insult to WCCF since it's been around for a lot longer and is a trillion times more successful as a video game and as a franchise. And the sport WCCF is based on is a lot more popular and successful too.

In this game you basically assemble a virtual team (using real physical cards!) and compete and virtual tournaments.

Normally I'd translate the back but the Japanese phrases really don't translate well into English. Although a really rough paraphrase would be that "(Ronaldo is) a free thinking dribbler who had manager Ferguson and players swooning when he displayed his talent. The youngster was given the United's sacred number 7 and is creating a new legacy with his friends and allies." Like I said, that's a really rough translation but the gist of what the card is saying. The rest are basically his biological details and where he works best on the field. BTW that chart/field makes a lot more sense when you see how WCCF is played.

Photo Property of Dengeki Online

Like any set of gaming cards. There are a ton of exclusives, parallels and exclusive parallels. The Ronaldo up top is a special foil WSA (World Side Attacker) card. There have been exclusive singles in WCCF for eons and a lot of them command heavy prices. Although some (like this particular Ronaldo foil) can be had for relatively cheap. I assume that they either aren't compatible with the game anymore or they don't offer much of an upgrade over other Ronaldos.

I have a few friends over in Japan who absolutely love European football and WCCF and have a whole mess of cards. It's still my deepest regret that I never asked them how to play it or better yet, trade my unwanted (but relatively valuable) baseball cards for their unwanted (but really unique) WCCF cards.

So unfortunately I can't supply much more info than that. But what I can supply right now is one more Ronaldo WCCF card.

This is supposedly Ronaldo's base card in 2006-07 WCCF. Personally I like this action shot.

I suppose the question now is, does Ronaldo (or any of the other players I like) sign TTMs?

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

Monday, May 11, 2015

2010 Owners League: Hayato Sakamoto

In Japan there are a handful of video games based on baseball and baseball cards, giving Japanese baseball card collectors an endless stream of oddballs for all eternity. One of them is Owners League.

I guess I'd describe Owners League as "Topps Bunt done right."
For the record I'd like to mention that I've never played Owners League or Topps Bunt.

Owners League itself is an online video game you play on your cell phone. You scan the QR code you see on the bottom right there (or manually input the code on the left). I assume that you assemble a team and the play games with it but I don't know.

The reason I assume Owners League is Topps Bunt done right is that you actually have a physical copy of a card in hand. You need it to play. I'll never play Topps Bunt until I can actually have the cards in hand.

Anyway the player on the card is young Yomiuri Giants stud Hayato Sakamoto.

Sakamoto is a shortstop and one of the younger players in the league (he was the first teenager to play in a season opener since former Giant Hideki Matsui) and he's been one of the more prominent figures in the NPB in recent years.

I would site some stats but Japan is really behind when it comes to statistics (they completely missed the point of Moneyball) so forget it. He's durable and hits, that's all you need to know.

I'm not that big a NPB fan but I suppose that I do have my eye on Sakamoto a little. A young superstar is always going to attract attention.

That said, I don't see Sakamoto coming stateside, ever. For one thing Japanese infielders who come stateside have a subpar track record (remember Fuji's PC guy Nakajima?). For another thing, he'd probably be a lot happier staying with the Giants and being the face of their franchise. Although I'll always have that "what if he was brought up in the minors here in America from day 1?" running through my head until the end of time. I suspect that there'd be a massive difference between infielders who came from the NPB and those who came here directly.

Although if he does come stateside I suppose one thing he'd immediately do "right" is that he doesn't #BatFlip too often. That ought to please the pansies who don't want the millionaires on the field to get their feelings hurt.

Sakamoto is probably a guy I'd collect if I still lived in Japan (in fact I was considering when I was living in Japan) but because he has over one thousand cards already (a large chunk of them being promotional oddballs that are hard to find out about at that) I do not plan on initiating that task anytime soon. Although I guess I might keep my eye out for an autograph of his next time I'm in Japan (and no that will not be cheap).

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

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

More Additions

So in the month of April I didn't add a single new Luis Torrens card to my collection. That's somewhat astonishing to me, and also not surprising considering how eBay/COMC/etc... rarely ever offer any new LUIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSS cards worth acquiring.

That said before (and after) I took my blogging hiatus the blogosphere helped me land some big additions to my Torrenterion collection.

That my friends is a yellow printing plate of LUIIIISSSSSSSSSSSS from Leaf Valient.

This is the fifth 1/1 Torrens card in my collection and my third plate.

This fine specimen was sent to me by The Card Papoy through Bob Walk The Plank (long story). As if I didn't have enough debt to fulfill to those two...

Still, I love that I have this plate in my collection and that I can say I have five 1/1s now.

Scratch that, make it six.

Yeah, I originally received Papoy's plate in mid-March but I waited for this plate from 2014 Bowman Draft to come in to begin blogging about it.

Oh and I'd be remiss if I didn't show this awesome sketch TLC drew on the bubble mailer for me. Thanks a bunch TLC :).

So yeah. My chase for Torrenators has slowed (mainly because nothing notable has popped up in recent times) but it's still alive and well thanks to the blogosphere and the occasional miracle that pops up. Thanks a bunch guys :).

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

Monday, May 4, 2015

Big Daddy & Mick The Quick

So last year I got to meet Hideki Matsui as part of a promotion where you could get one free in person autograph with the purchase of a single ticket to a Staten Island Yankees game.

The Staten Island Yankees have not been very good at drawing fans to the stadium so they gave it a go again this year back in mid April. This time with two guests, Cecil Fielder and Mickey Rivers.

As expected there was a whole lot of waiting. Waiting for the lines for the ticket booths to move and waiting for Mr. Rivers (who was roughly 25 minutes late) to arrive.

Luckily there was some college baseball to help pass the time.

Last year I made the mistake of only getting one autograph from Hideki Matsui. This year I was better prepared. You see, I remembered Mike's post and how he went back to the ticket booth to buy another ticket to get another voucher for another Hideki Matsui autograph.

So this year I made it so that I arrived at the stadium a little earlier and first bought one ticket so as not to hold up the ticket line. Then once I got my first autograph from Fielder and Rivers, I jolted for the ticket booth and bought four more tickets for one more voucher.


The reason I bought four tickets the second time was because they were doing a special promo where you would be entered into a raffle and have a chance to win a framed autographed jersey of Andy Pettitte with the purchase of four tickets. And these four other games I bought tickets to were games I was going to attend and pay to see anyway. So why not? And no I didn't win the Pettitte jersey :'(.

Cecil Fielder

Mickey Rivers

Anyway, I got to see both Papa Fielder and Mickey Rivers twice. Both were extremely friendly with the fans who showed up and had huge smiles on their faces.

In the process I got two Mickey Rivers autographs (one is the regular 1979 Topps issue and the other is a 1979 Burger King issue, both were sent to me by Mark Hoyle).

And I got three Cecil Fielder autographs (all courtesy of The Lost Collector who sent me them days before this event took place).

Now the reason I got three Fielder autographs was because I offered the '97 Leaf/Donruss card (the one in the middle) to him as a present but he refused to accept it and just signed it anyway. Awesome! Also, the decision to use a silver sharpie on the Pinnacle card (which was signed the second time around) was the lady who was overseeing the line's call. And she was 100% correct, although the scanner may think otherwise.

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one last promo the Staten Island Yankees did this day. For the first 250 fans who bought tickets, they'd give you a voucher for one free Derek Jeter t-shirt and Derek Jeter poster.

Because I got two vouchers, I ended up with two shirts and two posters. SCORE!

All in all this was a fun day that surprisingly went pretty smoothly.

The one flaw might be that I didn't get any autographs of the college baseball players this year but that's alright. At least we can all appreciate the beautiful pre-9/11 photo used on this postcard.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).
Also, Minor League Baseball > Major League Baseball. Always.

2015 IP Auto Count: 7 9