When I posted my cardshow pickups post on Saturday I noticed that I was getting very close to 100 IP autos this year. Although I initially had doubts about being able to reach it, those doubts were put to rest on this day. And you'll see why as we dive into the autographs.
My first autograph was of Will Carter. And no this is not a custom, it is a real legitimate card made by Choice. That's right, the 2015 Staten Island Yankees team set is out this year! And Carter holds the distinction for the being the first guy to sign one of the team set cards for me this year. Carter was originally a starter in the SI Yankees rotation but he's been moved to the bullpen in recent times as the SI squad has tried to both shuffle guys back and forth between the rotation and bullpen and also accommodate for recent call ups like Jeff Degano. Anyway Carter saw some action in this game, throwing 1.2 innings of relief.
My second autograph was of one of my favorite players on this year's squad, Travis Hissong. Hissong is one of the nicest players I've ever met. He's easy going, he's funny and he's always got a nice smile on his face. He's come to recognize me at this point and we talked a little about Severino and how the Yankees farm system is doing great. Hissong came into this game later on as a closer and although it was a nail biter, he locked down the save.
Yoel Espinal is also another of my favorite players on this year's squad. After Jeff Degano got promoted to SI Espinal was moved to the bullpen. He saw some action in this game throwing 0.2 innings. The positive is that I got to give him a print I couldn't give him the last time I went to SI.
Next I got Kyle Holder on both is team set card and his top prospects card. He sat this game out (apparently he was dealing with a thumb injury per Robert Pimpsner/Pinstriped Prospects) but he still came out to sign autographs. I gave him a complete NYPL Top Prospects set as a thank you present.
It's weird, Eduardo De Oleo hasn't caught in a while and suddenly he's been catching a lot. On this game he was Jeff Degano's battery mate and he had two hits including a home run (which was really important as it broke a tie).
Ryan Krill has been moved around from 1B to OF to DH. The ninth rounder doesn't project to downright slam home runs, but he does hit for a fair bit power or at least line drive power (think Billy Butler back when he was actually good). Back in college he was also apparently a top tier defender at first base which helps.
Now we enter my post-game haul as most of my autographs were obtained after the game. I got Mark Seyler here right after the game ended and he was packing up. He's a reliever who throws in the low-90's.
Junior Valera here was one of the four Staten Island Yankees selected to go to the New York-Penn League All Star Game. However, it's been reported that he's currently listed as day-to-day and whether or not he actually plays in the All Star Game remains to be seen. Here's to hoping for a speedy recovery because the center fielder has been on a tear these past few games. Jumping from hitting in the lower half of the lineup to more in the middle of the order.
Jake Hernandez had some family (or friends) visiting him and he (or someone in his party) asked me if they could use my sharpie. I gladly said yes and then Jake proceeded to sign roughly a dozen copies of this card (the gift shop sold some of these cards as singles) for his folks.
PC guy Thairo Estrada is another one of the Staten Island Yankees who was selected to the NYPL All Star Game. Apparently he was selected as a DH despite that fact that he's been an elite second baseman this year. Although he's primarily a SS, Kyle Holder being on the same team meant Estrada had to move to second, and he's been very good there so much so that one wonders if the Yankees'll ever move him back. Anyway, Estrada's been so good this year that I've started my own hashtag based on what Mike Axisa said on River Ave Blues #SummerOfThairo.
Here's gentle giant Domingo Acevedo. ACEvedo can throw pure heat that can/has reached 100 mph several times this year. Equiped with a change up and slider, he could be a dangerously good starter for the Yankees in the future.
Son of former big leaguer Jose Mesa, Jose Mesa Jr. has been a good pitcher in his own right. Tommy John surgery delayed his professional debut but in 2014 he made it back onto the mound and he's been downright dominant as a reliever. So far in 21.2 innings pitched, he's got 35 strike outs! Apparently his velocity seems to have returned to the levels it was before he got the surgery and he's possibly even better now than he was back then. One thing is certain, Jose Mesa Jr. retweeted some Twitpics I posted.
Hark! A non-Yankee!
Yeah the SI Yankees were hosting the Vermont Lakemonsters (the NYPL affiliate of the Oakland A's). They had two guys I was interested in getting an autograph of but I settled on one, Chris Kohler. For those of you who don't remember, Chris Kohler was the 1/1 autograph I pulled a long time ago. I gave that 1/1 to him as a thank you present BTW.
Brandon Wagner has been splitting time at a lot of infield positions this year. Primarily starting at third and occasionally playing second when Estrada needed some rest. The 18th rounder has a solid patient approach the Yankees like and it'll be interesting to see where he goes from here.
Next I got Kevin James Alexander. KJ is currently a one of the guys being shuffled from catcher to DH to 1B and occasionally to the OF. The 2014 free agent signee has done pretty well in limited playing time.
Kolton Mahoney was originally drafted by the Brewers in 2014 was a 23rd rounder but he didn't sign and was drafted by the Yankees in the 16th round this year and he did sign. He threw a no-hitter before he was a pro. And he could very well throw one after turning pro as well.
Michael Schaub here is a bit of a reclamation project. After spending a few years in the Brewers org he was released midway through 2014 and played in an independent league. However, the Yankees later scooped him up and they must see some sort of potential in Schaub. He's been a reliever as an SI Yankee and he's been pretty solid.
Luis Cedeno is the third Staten Island Yankee selected to the All Star Game. And for good reason, he's quietly been one of the best starters in the squad and in the whole league this year. Despite a few rocky starts here and there he truly has been the team's ace.
Another rotation mainstay is Derek Callahan. Callahan was the Yankees' 16th round pick in 2014 and according to this interview he spent the 2014-15 offseason refining his breaking pitches. Overall the southpaw's body of work has been a mixed bag but his FIP suggests that he's been a tad unlucky this year.
And my very last autograph on this day was courtesy of the fourth and last SI Yankee selected to the All Star Game. As of this post Jackson leads the SI Yankees in home runs with 5 HRs which is 8th best in the league (assume the seven guys in front of him are still in the league). Jackson is currently on the 7-day DL due to back issues but he is still going to go to the game and partake in the festivities.
Man, I think that was my biggest haul this year. 23 autographs in one night!
Alright, now the game itself was a 10-8 Staten Island Yankees victory. Even though a lot of my favorite pitchers pitched, this wasn't a very well pitched game. Both teams went through a lot of relievers and between every out it seemed like there was one hit, one walk and one HBP in between. The game took roughly 3 and a half hours to finish, which is long compared to how long the other games have gone on for this year.
In addition to seven team sets, I picked up this uncut sheet of this year's team set. The lady at the gift shop was kind enough to offer to hold onto it until the game ended so it wouldn't get damaged, but knowing me, it was going to get dinged and mangled eventually so I decided to just hold onto it for the entire game (and the journey back home). It's a little bent and I'm sure I won't dare to get it signed by anybody, but hey it's a cool piece and I like it!
As I mentioned before the team sold some of the cards in the set as singles ($2 each). That seems like a great deal until you realize that five of these singles could've gotten you a team set (which are $10 each). Still, it's an ideal answer to the sort of common problem of "do I open this team set just for the sake of one or two cards?" Anyway I ended up picking up six Kyle Holders because I'm an insane person. During this purchase I got to meet Ethan Carnes' mother who had come all the way from Texas to meet her son. She was a really nice lady and it's really easy to see where Carnes learned to be so cool (Ethan Carnes is another good guy on this year's squad, although it's not like there are any bad guys).
This funnel cake was yummy.
This funnel cake was yummy.
And that was pretty much it. I got the team set and went on an autograph getting tirade. I still need to get eight more signatures, as well as come up with a way to get the remaining five subjects that aren't even in SI anymore. But still, I got 23 autographs, which pushed me above the 100 IP auto mark this year :)!
As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).
2015 IP Auto Count: 108