Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Recreating The Draft

So this year's draft class was a pretty decent one for the Yankees. It's way too early to say what'll become of the many guys drafted in 2015 but considering how the Yankees are dead set on making their farm system a legitimate source of big league talent, I'm quite excited for this year's crop.

As such I decided to take on a semi-daunting undertaking. Obtaining at least one official card of the 2015 New York Yankees Draft Class (that actually signed with the Yankees). This excludes guys like Deacon Liput or Andrew Miller (a different Andrew Miller) who were drafted by the Yankees but didn't sign. If a player only has an official card from his pre-Yankees days like Isiah Gilliam that WILL count. If a player does not have an official card but I made a custom and got it signed, it does NOT count (I just included some of my customs to serve as placeholders). This is only for official cards.

1st Round

James Kaprielian and Kyle Holder are both present and accounted for.

2nd Round

As of this moment there are no official Jeff Degano cards. However I expect that to change this winter.
Took longer but, here's Jeff Degano's first official card.

3rd Round

Drew Finley (the name on the official card is a typo, lol) has a few cards in a few Leaf products as well.

4th Round

Jeff Hendrix possesses Gold Glove caliber defense.

5th Round

Chance Adams is one of the two 2015 Staten Island Yankees I never got an autograph of. Grrr. He does not have a card yet either.

6th Round

From Pags to Wags.

7th Round

Damn bruh, look at those forearms.

8th Round

Donny Sands does not have an official card. Yet.

9th Round

Ryan Krill will Krill the competition next year. Yeah I'll see myself out.

10th Round

Lefty who says a lot of interesting stories in the bullpen.

11th Round

Josh Rogers, surrounded by darkness, is present and accounted for.

12th Round

Terrance Robertson does not have an official card yet.

13th Round

Trey Amburgey does not have any official cards yet but after the way he hit every ball that was thrown to him to kingdom-come in 2015 I suspect he'll have an official card soon enough.

14th Round

Will Carter really didn't do a whole lot in 2015, I guess the Yankees wanted him to take the first year easy and see what they have in him in 2016.

15th Round

"If he was allowed, he'd get (Ricky) Vaughn's lightning bolts shaved into the side of his head." - Dustin Dopirak on 15th round selection Bret Marks.

16th Round

Kolton Mahoney has a heart of gold. Just look at how he even brightens up the background of his own card.

17th Round

Brody Koerner has a card in the Pulaski Yankees team set.

18th Round

The Zack (Zehner) Attack will continue in Charleston come 2016.

19th Round

Mark Seyler will unfortunately be out for a while as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

20th Round

Isiah Gilliam has a few unlicensed cards by Leaf out there. Unfortunately I haven't picked any up yet.

21st Round

Josh Roeder had a magnificent beard before joining the Yankees org.

22nd Round

Cody Carroll, the Pulaski Yankees team set came through big time.

23rd Round

Garrett Mundell, the Pulaski Yankees team set came through big time (again).

24th Round

Patrick O'Brien does not have an official card yet.

25th Round

Austin Afenir, the Pulaski Yankees team set came through big time (again x5).

26th Round

Icezack Flemming does not have an official card yet but with a name like that, he'll have one soon enough.

28th Round

David Sosebee has a Pulaski card. And like the others it's kind of grainy.

29th Round

Kane Sweeney. Saved by the Pulaski set yet again. Although the picture is still grainy.

30th Round

Chad Martin was promoted to high-A Tampa near the end of the 2015 season after call ups shook the entire balance of the Yankees org. He does not have an official card yet.

31st Round

Hobie Harris, despite the fact that he made it to high-A in 2015, does not have a card yet.

32nd Round

Alex Robinett received a card in the 2015 SIY set after he was promoted to Charleston. A little after that he was deployed to the army. May he return safe and sound.

33rd Round

Christian Morris was promoted to high-A Tampa as part of a huge roster shakeup near the end of the season after September callups came into effect. But he does not have an official card out yet.

35th Round

Alex Bisacca came to Staten Island near the end of the 2015 season. He does not have an official card yet.

36th Round

Dustin Cook does not have an official card yet.


And that concludes the 2015 draft class that did sign with the Yankees.

Of the 35 humans who were drafted by the Yankees and signed, only 12 have yet to be immortalized on cardboard. I foresee Degano getting a card as early as this October. With everybody else a maybe late in 2016 in various team sets spanning across Pulaski/Staten Island/Charleston and possibly Tampa.

Anyway this is my first attempt a recreating a draft through cards and my first attempt at a quasi-frankenset so wish me luck. As it stands I'm 22/23. Here's to hoping the remaining 12 have cards released soon.

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

And That's All She Wrote...

First off, no, I am not done blogging (you can cancel your celebratory parades). This is just (unfortunately), my last "I went to this Staten Island Yankees game yesterday"-post for this year.

It was game two of the New York-Penn League League Championship Series. The SI Yankees came home after a loss to the Blackbears (Pirates affiliate) in West Virginia and they were looking to have home field advantage aid them in their quest for their seventh title.

Before the game I just met up with a few Yankee guys to say thanks for all of the wonderful memories (you know, just in case). And I got a few autographs from the Blackbears.

This Ke'Bryan Hayes was yet another card sent to me by P-Town Tom (thanks a bunch Tom, your USA sets helped me a ton this year!). Ke'Bryan Hayes was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round of this year's draft and was promoted to West Virginia later in the year. He is a third baseman/outfielder who projects to be a solid overall hitter and average defender at third.
He is the son of former major leaguer Charlie Hayes and Ke'Bryan was born in 1997. Feel old yet?

This other autograph of David Andriese wasn't even one I got. Near the Blackbears dugout there were a few autograph collectors and one of them was a guy I semi-always meet in Staten Island. They were attempting to do the whole Blackbears set (I'm not sure if they were successful), and they gave me their spare Andriese card which was already signed (probably when they got theirs signed). A very kind gesture :). Add in the fact that this fellow collector has given me vouchers to go see games at SI and I owe him big time come 2016.

Now the SI Yankees had a chance to even the series yesterday with a win. Judging from the way I started this post you all can probably guess what happened.

The Yankees' first rounder James Kaprielian took the hill for the Baby Bombers. He was downright dominant as he threw 6.1 innings of scoreless ball where he only allowed three hits, struck out six batters while only walking two.


However the Blackbears took advantage of a rusty SI Yankees team that had been taking a three day break waiting for the Blackbears/Crosscutters series to end. Jhalan Jackson hit a solo HR that was the SI Yankees' only run. The Blackbears ended up winning 3-1 and the Staten Island Yankees season came to a close. It sucks but congrats to the Blackbears on their first NYPL title.

This sparks a gigantic rivalry between me and Bob Walk The Plank, just like he predicted.

All in all it was a very fun year. If you had told me on day one that the SI Yanks would've gotten to the NYPL Championship Series I would've taken that in a heartbeat. Obviously losing it all at the very end is disappointing, but it sure was one fun and wild ride. Apparently this marks the first time the SI Yankees were ever defeated in the Championship Series. I'll do a followup post where I do a season in review type of thing for the SI Yankees (this year I went to enough games that I think I can say that I know what I'm talking about).

Fittingly enough the final autograph I obtained at the stadium was this gigantic Kyle Holder autograph. For size comparisons I put a normal Holder card near the bottom right. It was already pre-signed and available in the gift shop. I decided why not? He's still a first round Yankee. BTW, I decided to give the oversized Thairo Estrada card I picked up in the past to him, because why not?

Oh and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the very last giveaway. These yellow foam fingers, sponsored by Richmond County Savings Bank (which is the very bank the SI Yankees ballpark is named after). I like foam fingers but distributing yellow foam fingers when the opposing team is a Pirates affiliate who have yellow colors in their jerseys is a bit... misguided.
Although these were most likely just leftover foam fingers from a previous promotion where the team gave these out because I distinctly remember the SI Yankees giving these out earlier in the season.

And thus ends the 2015 Staten Island Yankees season. So many autographs, so many awkward handshakes/fistbumps/conversations and so many memories. It'll be hard for future seasons to top this (especially after I get a job again, ack!).

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

2015 IP Auto Count: 135

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Weekend TTM Roundup: 9/8-9/12

With the end of minor league baseball season, a few returns have started to trickle in :).

Received On: 09/08/2015

 The first, and arguably the best return this week came from Billy Strode. Strode was the Indians' 10th round pick this year. The lefty was drafted out of Florida State University where he was primarily a reliever. Since turning pro he was used exclusively as a reliever as a member of the Mahoning Valley Renegades. I'd like to say more about the southpaw, like what he throws but unfortunately I wasn't able to find out much of anything.

The thing that made this return so incredibly cool is the fact that Strode took the time to write back this fantastic note. Apparently I was the first person to send him a fan letter. I love how Mr. Strode even took the time to write his name back in Japanese (as I originally wrote on my letter to him too). I wish Billy Strode the best going forward and I wish I could thank him right now but it looks like he doesn't have a Twitter account so I'll have to prepare a good thank you letter to send to him next year.

Received On: 09/08/2015

Here's a return from another Indians prospect, Eric Stamets. Stamets is depicted as an Angel here because he was sent to the Indians this past summer in the David Murphy deal.
Stamets was originally drafted by the Anaheim Angels back in 2012 as a sixth round pick. Stamets was drafted for his above average glove work at shortstop with a potential to have a serviceable bat. However his career has been marred by mediocre results and injuries. What happens to Stamets going  forward remains to be seen but if he can stay healthy one could see him making it to majors as an all-glove no bat shortstop like Brendan Ryan.

Received On: 09/08/2016

Casey Grayson here was the St. Louis Cardinals' 21st round pick in 2014.
Grayson was one of the better players on the State College Spikes this year. He made consistent contact, he hit for a fair bit of power and he had a hit streak going on at one point. Of course as a 23-year old one would expect Grayson to tear up short season ball, but hey this is still #CardinalsDevilMagic so we can all probably expect to see Grayson up in the big leagues in 2018 and he immediately takes over for Matt Adams.

Received On: 09/12/2016

My next return came from Reds third baseman, Taylor Sparks.
Sparks was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the second round of the 2014 MLB Player Draft. He draws comparisons to Todd Frazier in terms of power, however as of this moment his power is very raw. According to scouts improving his plate discipline would go a long way for Sparks as his hit tool is his biggest question mark.
Defensively he's said to sparkle at third and almost nobody questions his ability to stay at the hot corner long term. All things considered his 2015 season was quite promising (.350 BABIP, .155 ISO and 114 wRC+ according to Fangraphs) and it'll be fun to see where he goes from here.

Received On: 9/12/2015

My last and most important (as far as Yankees farmhands go) return this week came from Cody Hamlin. Hamlin hails from Morgantown, WV and was signed out of the University of Arizona as a non-drafted free agent this year. He is said to rely on his deceptive delivery (which helped him as a starter in college) and relying on his defense to back him up.
Hamlin was with Staten Island near the beginning of the season but was later sent down to Pulaski where he finished the season, meaning I couldn't get Cody to sign this for me in person. TTM's to the rescue!

Anyway big thanks to Mr. Strode, Stamets, Grayson, Sparks and Hamlin for the awesome autographs.

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

2015 TTM Count: 212


Friday, September 11, 2015


So yesterday the Staten Island Yankees faced the Tri-City Valleycats up north with a one game lead in a best-of-three series.

In the end the SI Yankees clobbered the Valleycats 10-5 (BOX SCORE) and ADVANCED TO THE LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES!!! WOOOOOOO!!!


After James Kaprielian held the Valleycats' offense in a headlock in game 1, Domingo Acevedo did the same with six innings of one run ball in game 2. Man, Kaprielian + Acevedo + Cedeno = Unfair.

From Pags to Wags

Backing Acevedo up was the entire lineup. All nine batters had at least one hit. Thairo Estrada and Eduardo De Oleo had three hits (and a HR I believe), Brandon Wagner had a key two run home run, the whole offense was just on fire yesterday.

These Yankees man, they're not giving up. They're going to have to wait at least one day for the league championships though. As of this post the Williamsport-West Virginia hasn't finished yet (although West Virginia has a one game lead).

Personally I hope West Virginia prevails. Not just to spark a "friendly" rivalry with Bob Walk The Plank but also because if West Virginia wins the SI Yankees don't have to wait as long for their next game, and because I can say I saw West Virginia in SI this year (WV didn't come during the regular season). Also Williamsport swept the SI Yankees in the regular season. That's a big concern as well.

With every other affiliate now in the offseason or dangerously close to being sent home packing, SI's the last man standing. Let's hope they make it!

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

Thursday, September 10, 2015


So I went to see Game 1 of the NYPL Playoff series between the Staten Island Yankees and the Tri-City Valleycats.

It was the first postseason game I'd ever been to (at any level of professional baseball). Despite the fact that there were barely 100 people there, it was a fun atmosphere.

Prior to the game the team gave away these cool mini towels.

I just went to this game to give the last of my Japanese name cards to the players I'd gotten to know these past few months. And after I returned home it dawned on me that I didn't say any sort of goodbye. Hopefully the SI Yankees will return for one more game in round two so I can thank them all for the wonderful memories they've given me this year.

This game was pretty maddening but ultimately satisfying. The Yankees' first rounder James Kaprielian started the game and Big Game James ended up throwing his longest outing to date as a pro with six innings of one run ball, using only 68 pitches (almost nice ;)). Unfortunately both teams only scored 2 runs apiece so we headed to extra innings.

Thairo went 3-4 with one intentional walk!

Now when I said that this game was maddening, it was due to the fact that the SI Yankees had quite a few chances to take the lead. During the game they loaded the bases with no outs twice and failed to bring a run home both times. The second time was during extra innings and everybody in the stands (and the bullpen) were on their feet hoping to go home. Unfortunately a controversial strike call meant the game had to go on for a bit longer.

In the 11th inning, the red hot Junior Valera sent everybody home with a smile as he hit a clutch single that allowed pinch runner Danienger Perez to score and win the ballgame. WOOO!!!

Here's the video.

Remember these padawans Rex, you'll be looking for some of them this winter...

Now the Yankees head to Troy with a 1-0 advantage in the series. This season man, it's been absolutely wonderful. I sincerely hope that this wasn't the last of SI Yankee baseball in SI this year.

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

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

(Division) Champions!

So I went to see two of the last three regular season Staten Island Yankees games over in Brooklyn.

Yeah call me a sucker but I figured I'd go since I wasn't doing much else anyway and there was a very real possibility that Labor Day might be my last chance to see the team I've been rooting for all summer. Plus, when a number of players asks you if you're coming to a game (especially the one who gave you batting gloves) you should probably go right?

The games I went to reminded me why I don't like going to Brooklyn/Coney Island. There were way too many people, not just inside the stadium but outside too. I've heard stories from fellow autograph collectors that the crowds in CI are bigger than the ones in SI. It's easy to see why since the stadium is right next to the boardwalk/beach/amusement park. Despite the fact that the Cyclones were out of contention the stadium was pretty packed. I guess the novelty of Brooklyn baseball is still strong. Or it could've been a Saturday thing, I don't know.
Either way it didn't help me though. I'm used to being practically the only guy waiting for players at SI.

Still, I made my way to the third baseline where the SI Yankees were stretching. I got to talk with guys I've come to be really big fans of like Travis Hissong, Andre Del Bosque, Junior Valera and Yoel Espinal. And some Yankees recognized me like Schaub, Estrada and Zehner.

The first game was pretty important. The SI Yankees won off the strength of Ethan Carnes' pitching, the SI Yankees' clutch hitting and the Cyclones' bad fielding by a score of 7-3. Meanwhile the two teams that were tied for second place in the McNamara division (and were only 0.5 games back) the Renegades and Ironbirds apparently matched off against each other. If the Yankees can sweep the Cyclones they'll win the division. If the Yankees lost one game but if either Renegades or Ironbirds could win at least one game, the Yankees would've win the division. It was all very exciting!

I didn't get any autographs in game one. A fellow autograph collector helped me identify a Cyclones player after the game that I could've asked to sign my card of his but I didn't like the giant crowd. Also, the SI Yankees left aprox. 10 minutes after the game. They got on their bus and probably made their way back to SI where. So yes, the players got ready in SI (they probably changed into their uniforms and had batting practice in SI) before coming to Brooklyn.

I didn't go to game two (9/6) because the start time was at 1:00 PM and I can't be bothered to wake up that early for the sake of going to CI. The SI Yankees won 4-2 though, so yay!

Game Three was really important. While the Yankees had managed to win the day before, the Ironbirds managed to chug along and beat the Renegades as well, meaning the Ironbirds were still only 0.5 games behind the Yankees. If the Yankees lost the last game and the Ironbirds won their last game, the Yankees would've lost the division and the Ironbirds would be going to the postseason.

Obviously by the title of this post (oh yeah, SPOILERS!) the SI Yankees won. The Brooklyn Cyclones were a very bad team this year. They finished dead last in the McNamara division and suffered their first losing season in franchise history, and it was pretty easy to see why. A few misplays, a lot of bad at bats and a fair number of bad pitches was their undoing. The SI Yankees won by a final score of 5-2. Apparently the SI Yankees managed to win all six games they played in Brooklyn too.

With the victory the SI Yankees locked down their 10th playoff berth (this is the 16th season for the club BTW), their 8th McNamara Division title and are now looking to go for their 7th New York-Pennsylvania League championship.

While it's sad to see the regular season come to an end, I'll be the first person to admit that it's really cool to see your favorite team in the playoffs. The players you've come to know (who in turn know who you are as well) doing really well and potentially winning it all as quite something. This has easily been one of the best seasons I've ever had as a SI Yankees fan. Where will it go from here? Who knows? But it's been one heck of a ride :).

And no I didn't get any autographs in game three either. I certainly had many chances as it was Fan Appreciation Day at Brooklyn meaning that most of the Cyclones players lined up on the stairs prior to the game to sign autographs for the Cyclones fans. Because I'm not a Cyclones fan I just zoomed up the stairs before the players even came out and made my way to the third baseline. And of course by this point I didn't need any more autographs of the SI guys.

I did get a free photograph of the Cyclones though. It got crushed in my backpack but I still got it.

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

Friday, September 4, 2015


So I went to the Staten Island Yankees game yesterday. The regular season is now (as of this post) down to only four regular season games.

Regardless of what happens going forward, this season has already been one of the best season I've ever witnessed as a fan. In the previous two years the teams were either in dead last or were eliminated near the end. Plus I got to go to so many games that I managed to recognize the players by face and some of them recognized me back :).

Anyway here's one autograph I got, or rather a friend of mine got for me. Prior to the game I met up with fellow autograph collector and they agreed to try and get some of the cards (two cards to be exact) I needed to get signed from the opposing team signed and I would in turn try to help them knock off a few more needs they had regarding the SI Yankees team set. The first one is Trent Thornton. He was the Astros' fifth round pick in this year's draft and he has a crazy leg kick.

The other future Astro was outfielder (primarily a center fielder) Johnny Sewald. Sewald went 1-4 in the leadoff spot with a walk and two runs scored.

I didn't get any autographs from the SI side this time, at least not for myself, but I did take a lot of selfies with the players and I got something mindblowingly amazing after the game.

Yep, that is a pair of game used batting gloves used by Thairo Estrada. Normally I have a rule for myself that I only ask for equipment AFTER a season has ended but because I'm not sure exactly when the SI Yankees season will end this year, I decided to give it a try. And Thairo graciously said yes.

As you can see these aren't signed, and considering how many things I've had Thairo sign this year, I might leave theses unsigned. Besides, I sort of want to use them when I go to a batting center again ;).

The game itself was relatively big. Both the SI Yankees and Tri-City Valley Cats (both first in their respective divisions) were looking to win and solidify their chances of clinching playoff berths. The Yankees' first overall pick in 2015, James Kaprielian started the game and threw a scoreless 3.2 innings pitched. I assume Kaprielian was taken out so early due to his pitch count. After Kaprielian, Josh Roeder came in to pitch a scoreless 1.1 innings. After that Jeff Degano (the Yankees' second round pick) came in and gave up one run in 2.1 innings pitched. So this was already a pretty unique game in that Kaprielian, Holder and Degano (the first three picks selected by the Yankees this year) all appeared in this game. In the eighth inning the SI Yankees managed to tie the game at one run apiece and later Andre Del Bosque came in to make sure it stayed tied. The game went into extra innings before the Valleycats scored five runs in the top of the 10th inning and went on to win 6-1.

With the victory the Valleycats clinched the Stedler division and will be advancing to the playoffs. Despite the loss the SI Yankees are still currently in first place of the McNamara division thanks to a Renegades loss but unfortunately the Ironbirds are still hanging around and currently tied for second after a victory over Lowell. Both Hudson Valley & Aberdeen are only 0.5 games back. At this point the only team really out of contention in the league are the Brooklyn Cyclones. Hopefully whoever HV and Aberdeen are facing can make sure they lose and the Valleycats and Cyclones decide to no longer try because their future is already set and give the SI Yankees an easier shot.

It was a tough loss for the Yankees but hopefully they'll be doing a celebration of their own later this week. It's certainly not out of the realm of possibility.


And yes, I'm still shaking with excitement. I need to go to Michaels though.

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

2015 IP Auto Count: 132