Monday, May 30, 2016

Another Repack

Help, I'm addicted, to $5 repacks.

I headed out to Walgreens again to buy some things and picked up another repack. And this time they had me by the balls. You know how?

Yep, that retail exclusive parallel of Domingo German was staring back at me as the first (and only) visible card in the repack. Even though Domingo German is seen in Marlins gear here, he's a Yankees prospect who came over in the Prado for Eovaldi trade. In essence, I basically paid 5 cents for this retail only parallel of a Yankees prospect, I'd do that. And who knows, maybe this repack might be even better than the last (which itself was pretty neat).

Okay in a lot of ways it definitely was. As I appear to have been able to beat the 75% odds and got a repack with a relic on it. That probably means that the other repacks sitting of the shelf are hit-less. That USA relic is of Christian Colon. He was the Royals' first rounder (fourth overall) back in 2010. Despite that Colon was always overshadowed by the likes of Hosmer, Moustakas, Odorizzi, Montgomery and Starling. Things worked out for Colon though, he made it to the big leagues not too long ago and even won a World Series Championship ring with the Royals last year. At this point he's more along the lines of a really solid utility infielder.

This repack only had one Yankees card. Dave Eiland there was the longtime pitching coach for the Yankees. Now he works as a pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. And like Colon before, Eiland got a ring with KC last year.

The lack of Yankees isn't to say this repack wasn't without it's highlights/entertaining aspects though.

The single-season home run record breaker (in Japan).

It's all about the tools of the trade.

These are some of the best cropped photographs of pitchers pitching that I've ever seen on cards.

When it comes to Blue Jays analysis I prefer Andrew Stoeten and Drew Fairservice (formerly of Drunk Jays Fans/Getting Blanked/Ghost Runner On First, but now of Birds All Day/Blue Jays Nation) but The Tao of Stieb does a great job too.

Not to be outdone by the pitching shots, these action shots were pretty cool too.

One look at those arms reminded me that I'm not as manly as I thought I was.

Cult-hero Kent Tekulve and his sweet shades.

The scan doesn't show the other part of this 3d card but this SportFlix Lawton has both a ball backdrop and a bat backdrop.

Hey I know these two! One's proof that PED's don't make you great and the other is proof that you can accomplish great things on a hangover.

Hark! A minor league team issued card. Of former 32nd rounder Mike Chambers. The team's the Greenville Drive so he was a Red Sox farmhand. Chambers' pro career ended in early 2008.

I'm not 100% sure why I scanned these. I guess I just liked the way these photographs are. The Marlins duo on the top screams high school yearbook photos and the Laird below is a pretty cool shot.

Oh shit I know this guy. Sort of. I know Bob Walk The Plank's talked about him before.

Here are a couple of recognizable Mariners names. Oh and here's where the five cents thing comes into play again. Wouldn't you consider 5 cents for a Randy Johnson card kind of a good deal? That thing's probably worth at least ten cents.

Anyway that was a pretty good repack. It armed me with a lot more TTM ammo than the last repack did too. There wasn't anything Earth-shatteringly great, but for five dollars, I'd like to think I got a pretty decent bang for my buck.

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

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Weekend TTM Roundup: 05/23-05/28

Received On: 05/23/2016

My first return this week came from top Cubs prospect Ian Happ.
Ian Happ was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft. Happ is a very talented switch hitter who profiles to be a guy who can flat out hit. Although his aggressiveness may lead to high strikeout rates, he'll also probably end up putting up really good offensive numbers, especially in the OBP and OPS department. Defensively he wasn't seen as a long term infielder and like Kyle Schwarber the Cubs may be looking to make quick use of their promising hitter by converting him as an outfielder. He's done relatively well this year in high-A but whether he reaches the majors by the end of this year may be a bit of stretch.

Received On: 05/27/2016

Here's a pleasant return from Yankees righty Brady Lail.
Brady Lail was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 18th round of the 2012 MLB Player Draft and is one of the top pitching prospects the Yankees have. Lail is also probably one of the most advanced pitching prospects seeing as how he's been promoted from Trenton to Scranton this season. Lail is armed with a fastball, curveball, change up and cutter. Lail's fastball sits in the high-80's/low-90's and his other three pitches have been described as "solid." Lail's ceiling is that of a really solid mid rotation starter but his more likely fate is a spot starter/long-man type like the Adam Warrens and David Phelpses that came before him.

Received On: 05/27/2016

Here's a return from Yankees catching prospect Austin Afenir.
Austin Afenir was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 25th round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft. Afenir is the son of Yankees scout Troy Afenir as well as the brother of former Yankees draft pick Ty Afenir (he appeared in '13 Bowman Draft but was released shortly thereafter). Back in college Afenir was a solid catcher but an elbow surgery tampered his early college baseball career. In addition Afenir was moved to first base shortly thereafter in college. That move worked out offensively as Afenir did enjoy a lot of success with Oral Roberts. With the Yankees it remains to be seen what he can do but if he can continue to hit consistently he might just surprise us all.

Received On: 05/27/2016

BOOM! The other first round Chicago pick in 2015! Carson Fulmer!
Carson Fulmer was drafted out of Vanderbilt in 2015 by the Chicago White Sox eighth overall. Fulmer is armed with a fastball, curveball and change up. His fastball sits in the mid-90's and is his best weapon. The curveball is Fulmer's second best pitch and above average. His change up is serviceable but kinda lags behind the other two really good pitches.
Like Chris Sale & Carlos Rodon, Fulmer projects to be a really good starter who makes it to the big leagues really quickly.

And those were my returns this week. Big thanks to Mr. Happ, Lail, Afenir and Fulmer for the awesome autographs.

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

2016 TTM Count: 141


Friday, May 27, 2016

(PSA) Some Changes Coming

So for the longest time I used a certain site to store the photos and scans of cards I used for this blog.

However in recent times I've found that that site is useless and riddled with ads/adware and other such things I don't want.

So I decided to delete my account and all of the pictures in it in one foul swoop. What does that mean? It means that a good chunk of the scans on my blog will disappear and make the blogposts look really bad.

My solution?

Well unfortunately this means my blogposts that relied heavily on that-site stored pics that are beyond salvage will meet their demise. This means that most of the TTM posts from the past are now going to go out the door and be deleted. As will several other posts I've use where the deleted pics built up most of it (i.e. the clone break posts).

The posts that remain are likely posts with pictures I stored on Blogger's default photo sharing site. One that I probably should've used more but didn't for concerns over storage.

All the same, expect some overhauls (fewer blogposts from the past) these next few weeks regarding my blog.

Oh and I picked up a Bowman Chrome autograph of Domingo Avecedo who I saw in Staten Island last year.

Thanks for stopping by and take care ;).

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

5 Favorite Non-Yanks

So a while ago Bob Walk The Plank published their top 10 favorite non-Pirates. Basically the ten players they like that don't play for their favorite team.

It's a cool concept and one that I was going to do at one point before forgetting to do it. Well BWTP jogged my memory and here we go. Here's my list of five of my favorite non-Yankees.

For the record I suppose I should clarify that prospects and not-yet major leaguers count. Obviously.

Also, this ranking isn't in any real order. Oh yeah, I've also omitted any former Yankees who I really liked on this list. Otherwise it'd just be the Hiroki Kurodas and Francisco Cervellis of the world with a "ex-Yankee I really liked" caption and it'd be really boring. Those will be included in the honorable mentions below.

01.  Shinnosuke Ogasawara (Chunichi Dragons)

Not Mine, But I Wish It Was

I never said this list was limited to players in America did I ;)? Shinnosuke Ogasawara was the Chunichi Dragons' first round pick in last year's NPB Player Draft. A Japanese contact of mine who knows more about the farm systems in Japan tells me that Ogasawara is more of a good command guy who has a good grasp of the strike zone. His main weapon is his fastball that can reportedly be thrown up to 152 kilometers an hour but Ogasawara also has a change up and slider that are also capable of getting outs. He's still adjusting to pro ball (he was drafted out of high school last year) but he should be a really good workhorse for Chunichi before long.

02. Jose De Leon (Los Angeles Dodgers)

I wrote a lot of odes to De Leon last year, and for good reason. He strikes out so many batters that he might as well be Jose K Leon. In some ways he benefits from a lot of really good "on paper" results but just watching him throw the ball is fun.

03. Walker Buehler (Los Angeles Dodgers)

The Dodgers prospect I wrote an ode to this year. Walker Buehler's potential after he comes back from Tommy John has me very excited. Especially in an organization like the Dodgers which has emphasized how important it is to study arm injuries.

04. Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals)

What can I say? Harper was the poster boy for baseball when I was first starting to get into the hobby and baseball in general in 2011. Owning his first Bowman Chrome autograph is still a pipe dream of mine one day.

05. Amed Rosario (New York Mets)

In 2014 I saw some really promising Mets over in Brooklyn. Most people had their eyes on the 10th overall draft pick Michael Conforto and pitching sensation Marcos Molina but the player I was rooting for was Amed Rosario. Since then Rosario's become the Mets' top shortstop prospect. He can hit, he can run, and there's still time for him to add some more power (he's currently 20 years old). Defense wise he has what it takes to stay at shortstop long term thanks to his range and steady arm. Make no mistake, Amed Rosario is a guy Mets fans should keep an eye on.

I said I'd just talk about five of my favorite non-Yankees org players but here's one more.

06. Ryosuke Nomura (Chunichi Dragons)

Not Mine, But I Wish It Was

Ryosuke Nomura is another Japanese prospect I'm interested in. He's also a Chunichi Dragons player and was the Dragons' first round pick back in 2014. His ceiling seems to teeter back and forth between a really good starter and a shut-down closer but his good command allows talent evaluators to think he'll be a factor at the biggest stage (in Japan) either way. His fastball has reached 149 kilometers per hour in the past and he is also armed with a curveball, slider, forkball and a cutter. It'll be interesting to see how he plays into Chunichi's future going forward.

Honorable Mentions:
*Hiroki Kuroda (Hiroshima Carp)
*Kenta Maeda (Los Angeles Dodgers)
*Francisco Cervelli (Pittsburgh Pirates)
*Zachary McAllister (Cleveland Indians)
*Phil Hughes (Minnesota Twins)
*Starling Heredia (Los Angeles Dodgers)
*Willie Calhoun (Los Angeles Dodgers)
*Misja Harcksen (Los Angeles Dodgers)
*Chase De Jong (Los Angeles Dodgers)
*Julio Urias (Los Angeles Dodgers)
*Yadier Alvarez (Los Angeles Dodgers)
*Cody Bellinger (Los Angeles Dodgers)
*Rinku Singh (Pittsburgh Pirates)
*Max Kepler (Minnesota Twins)
*Marten Gasparini (Kansas City Royals)
*Hisashi Iwakuma (Seattle Mariners)
*Yu Darvish (Texas Rangers)
*Junichi Tazawa (Boston Red Sox)
*Koji Uehara (Boston Red Sox)
*Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox)

And those were some of my favorites. I wanted to bring light to some of my favorite European baseball players but maybe those will be a post for another time (#HONKBALL).

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ode To A Dodgers Prospect (2016 Ed.)

I really stink when it comes to blogposts done in a "series" format (except for my Weekly TTM roundups) but I figured that a new annual series wouldn't hurt too much.

This new series is one I sort of started last year. Last year I wrote a few posts about Dodgers prospect Jose De Leon. At the time I really liked De Leon (still do actually) and I wanted to show how good a prospect he was to those of you who bothered to read my posts about him.

At the very least it looks like Night Owl did since he said I was writing odes to De Leon, which wasn't wrong. As such I figure I'd do this thing where I write odes about a Dodgers prospect I really like mid-way through the season (BEFORE the draft/international signing period). I'm sure my Dodgers readers wouldn't mind. Last I checked I only had two San-Fran Giants readers (shout-outs to J and Arpsmith) as opposed to at least three Dodgers readers (I'm assuming GCRL still cares about my blog).

So who's my "I really like this Dodgers prospect" guy this year? It's got to be someone good right? Someone who's having a great 2016 and looks poised to take the top Dodgers prospect rankings by storm?

Erm, not quite. Everyone say hello to Walker Buehler. A man who has more cards as a professional baseball player than innings pitched as a professional baseball player.

Walker Buehler was the Dodgers' first round pick in 2015. Shortly before signing it became evident that Buehler had arm issues. Ultimately Buehler ended up signing for less than the slot value and not long afterwards it was revealed that he would require Tommy John surgery that would basically put him out of action for most (if not all) of 2016 and a portion of 2017.

Gif Courtesy of SB Nation

The 21 year old 6'2" 175 lbs pitcher was drafted out of Vanderbilt College. The first rounder was born mere months after I was (#IAmOld) and was one of the many notable baseball talents on the 2015 Vanderbilt Commodores. Arm injuries somewhat dropped his value but he was still selected 24th overall.

The righty is armed with a fastball that he commands well that can reach the mid-90's. It's his best pitch at this point in time. Buehler also has a curveball, a slider and a change up. While they're still essentially work in progress pitches, many talent evaluators see them as having the potential to be above average pitches at the big league level. Some even see his curveball as being above average.

So what exactly does Buehler project to be in the future? Well he has the ceiling of a really good number 2 starter in a big league rotation. It'll be really telling what he does after he comes back from TJS in terms of command. He does have the pure stuff and arm delivery to allow him to possess above average command in the future. We'll have to see what he does later.

I don't know why but I'm strangely optimistic about Buehler. Maybe it's the appeal of a high end Dodgers prospect. Maybe it's because his curveball is really pretty. Maybe it's because his prices are a little bit low right now due to his Tommy John surgery. Or maybe it's because his Twitter handle is @buehlersdayoff.

Whatever the reason, I'm eagerly awaiting what Buehler's first season as an active pro will look like. And also somewhat hoping that the Yankees can work out a trade for him (although TBH the Yankees have a bad track record with injury prone players, pitchers especially, so he'd probably be a disaster in pinstripes).

So to my Dodgers friends out there, keep an eye on Buehler when he comes back. By that time I'm sure that all eyes will be on the next new toy (i.e. whoever the Dodgers get in the draft in 2016). If you want to assemble a Buehler collection for whatever reason (personal interest, investment, whatever...) buy relatively low now (I got the refractor auto seen at the top for $10 and the Bowman's Best auto for $4 in May, 2016) and see what happens later.

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


Friday, May 13, 2016

A COMC Haul...

I came across some good fortune these past few weeks. In short I managed to sell a card and use that money to get myself something really special. Want to know what that was?

Yep. A 1/1 Cyan Printing Plate of Luis Torrens from 2014 Leaf Metal Draft. This is the NINTH 1/1 Luis Torrens card to enter my collection and it was paid for using the money I got from selling another card. Love it.

I picked up some more cards for others but let's leave them a surprise for now.

Okay back to stuff that'll satisfy my needs because I'm a selfish prick. Like this blue die-cut of LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSS from 2013 Elite Extra Edition.

And at long last, an Isiah Gilliam auto from 2014 Leaf Perfect Game. He's an under the radar position player prospect for the Yankees in my book.

Cito Culver, once seen as promising shortstop who could've been Derek Jeter's replacement is now doomed to never reach the majors. Much like so many failed Yankees prospects before him.

This card was a thorn at my side for at least a year. It's not because it's a Yankee or because it's Austin DeCarr (who's a good dude BTW) but because this was the only black paper parallel of a Yankee from 2014 Bowman Draft Asia Edition that I didn't have. I pulled everyone but DeCarr. Now I have the whole team set and I can be at peace.

I would end it here but I might as well add on some of my recent additions from eBay too.

I think someone's coercing me to build the Leaf Metal Draft rainbow of Luis Torrens guys. I have three of the five 1/1's from that rainbow and now I just need the red refractor to pop up.

This Brady Lail took two weeks to arrive at my residence. Apparently it was busy vacationing in Puerto Rico.

At long last, a Jordan Montgomery autograph! J-Monty was one of the few members of the 2014 Staten Island Yankees that I never got an autograph of in person. So it's pretty good to get this certified autograph to fill the gap.

I'll talk about Gilliam, Lail and Montgomery another time in more detail. Right now I'm just really giddy about getting all of these cool additions to my collection.

Anyway sorry for this blatant "look at my shiny new cards" post. It's been a while since I made a post like this and I got kind of excited when I drafted this post. Anyway hopefully I can get the cards designated for others to their new homes soon.

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

Friday, May 6, 2016

Woah, Some Good Retail Packs?!

So the other day I was at Target and got myself some 2016 Bowman retail.

More specifically I got myself a rack pack and a loose pack. The rack pack had three retail only yellow border parallels and I was hoping for a fun break. Little did I know that I'd have a very good break (from a Yankees fan/collector's perspective).

I suppose we should start with the loose pack I picked up. The contents of which set the tone for what was to come.

Behold! Four Yankees in one (10 card) pack!

Sure these four are all repeaters and the Gary Sanchez picture is an awful photoshop job but these guys are all still farmhands that I like a lot.

This break is off to a great start.

Pack two yielded the two NYY prospect newcomers. At this point most Yankees fans who know about the minor leagues should know who Domingo Acevedo and Brady Lail (or as I call him Lady Brail) are. They're both top 15 (maybe top 10?) prospects in the org.

This was good because I needed base cards of both Ace and Lail. Mission accomplished in one pack!

Alright, next I'm going to merge packs three and four. You'll see why later.

Pack three yielded two Yankees including the Tyler Wade you see above. Pack four yielded the Dellin Betances base you see above.

So who was the other Yankee in pack three with Wade?


That my friends is a retail only green refractor of JAMES KAPRIELIAN!

This green specimen is shiny and numbered 54/99. W00t!

Good gravy, I never thought I'd be actually able to pull such a cool refractor of a guy I actually collect. The fact that I met Kaprielian last year makes this extra special.
(Note, Kaprielian is currently on the minor league DL, his return date is unknown as of now)

Even though nearly one fourth of my break consisted of Yankees (usually it's a bunch of garbage Reds and garbage Cardinals, BLARG!) I did pull some other notables as well. Such as Dodgers rookie sensation Maeda Kenta and promising Blue Jays prospect Vlad Guerrero Jr. son of Vlad Guerrero.

I suppose the three yellow bordered cards were great too. I got a Brendan Rodgers (3rd overall pick in 2015!), a Mike Clevinger for my friend Anco-san and a rare Brewer for Tony of Off Hiatus fame.

So yeah. These five packs of Bowman retail had nine (NINE!) Yankees cards out of the 43 total cards they carried and one of which was a retail only green refractor. And those Yankees weren't the Sabathias or the Ellsburys of the world, they were prospects I like. Kaprielian? Holder? Slamchez? Acevedo? Betances? It's like these four packs were made for me!

Also I got a large number of easily movable cards. Usually I end up with cards of really lousy teams that I can't trade for shit because nobody likes them like the Tigers, Reds, Royals, Cardinals, Marlins and Rays, and I can't even send them as TTM requests but all in all this break just left me with three Tigers, two Royals and one Evan Longoria base card as the lone card I can't immediately find a taker for. That said Evan Longoria is a guy people recognize so maybe I can hide him in a package for a baseball in general type of collector like Gavin?

Anyway that was my pretty great retail break. As fun as it was it's a clear sign that I need to stop here before I push my luck any further.

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Non-Luis Rainbow? Do I Dare?

So the other day I was on eBay and I picked this up.

Contrary to what you might think, that's actually an INDIGO refractor parallel from 2014 Bowman Chrome mini. Of PC guy Thairo Estrada.

This INDIGO refractor is numbered 2/3, and makes me fear exactly how many other parallels are in the Thairo Estrada BoChro Mini rainbow.

As it turns out if you exclude the plates the rainbow has...

Red (3/5)

Orange (08/10)

Blue (06/20)

Yellow (14/25)

Shimmer (No Serial Number)

Refractor (No Serial Number)

Base (No Serial Number)

All those and a green refractor (numbered to 15) that I don't have yet.

All of these came from a bulk lot I bought during the middle of April where I decided to just say f' it and swooped in to acquire pretty much all of the Thairo Estrada mini parallels at once. Although the Indigo refractor at the start came from another seller on eBay.

I even bought 10 Estrada mini bases cards since it'd be cheaper to buy 10 at once just buying one for like one third ($1) of the price the lot itself went for.

And yes there were some Torrens minis too that'll be in another post.

In a lot of ways this Estrada rainbow may haunt me since I don't know where the Estrada green could be. But on the other hand if I have the super, the indigo #'d to 3 and the red #'d to 5, then I might as well go for it all. Shouldn't I?

Only one more!

If any of you manage to find the Thairo Estrada Bowman Chrome Mini Green Refractor numbered to 15, you know where to find me.

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