Monday, July 18, 2016

Bringing Light To An Unknown: #1

One of the many things I've heard from collectors this year is that Series 2 is chock full of guys that no one recognizes. As in they're either rookies that aren't highly touted or they're guys who've strangely had some big league playing time but because they've likely spent a large chunk of 2014 or 2015 in triple-A no one knows about them.

I personally like that a lot. I don't necessarily care for getting another card of a guy people already know and have hundreds of cards of already.

For the most part these guys are doomed a life of mediocrity at the big league level and being limited to emergency callups/September call ups until more important prospects need to be protected and put on the 40 man roster. Basically, they're major leaguers who'll probably spend a most of their time in a bus in triple-A, get cut, latch onto another team and stay in triple-A until they retire three years later.

But that doesn't change how cool it is that people like them got cards at all. I love how Topps manages to shoehorn in guys no one knows about (unless they follow their farm system hardcore like I do) who previously never even had Bowman prospect cards.

Anyway I bought a pack of Series 2 recently and sure enough I got some guys that are new to me (they're not Yankees that's why). And chances are they're new to most of you too. So let's see who exactly they are.

Note, keep in mind that my definition or "unknown player" might be different from yours due to my knowledge of minor league ball. But when it comes to non-Yankees every other farm system is a complete mystery so it shouldn't be too different.


Lets start with Jake Petricka. Do any of my readers who're White Sox fans know who he is? Because I sure didn't.

I didn't scan it but the back sure didn't help since Topps just decided to list out his entire stats page on MiLB.com rather than give us any real information on the guy.

Jake Steven Petricka was drafted by the White Sox in the second round of the 2010 MLB Player Draft. A quick look back at various prospecting archives show that there was a fair amount of hope for the Indiana State product.

Prior to the draft his fastball had hit around 97/98 mph and he gained value in the draft. The White Sox farm system was very barren at the time (and it still kind of is) but they are effective and do tend to bring their elite prospects along early because they're so polished that they're MLB ready upon draft day, just look at the White Sox's first selection in 2010, Chris Sale. Naturally Petricka zoomed up the ladder at first, but command issues didn't exactly allow him to put up good results as a starter.

Graphic Courtesy of Brooks Baseball

By 2013 Petricka was a full time reliever who relied on his fastball, slider and change up. As of 2016 he's pretty much stopped using the slider altogether and uses his sinking fastball and change up most of the time.

To his credit Petricka did manage to make it to the big leagues in 2014 and spent most of the season in their bullpen. He did the same in 2015 too. Debunking my claim that these unknowns are doomed to the bus life in triple-A.
Petricka was having a meh year this year before he got shut down with a season-ending hip surgery. How he fares coming back from that surgery remains to be seen.

So this was my first installment of bringing list to an unknown. Tune in as I look at other players who you probably don't recognize from Series 2.

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

16 comments:

  1. Good write up! Enjoyed reading more about a player I hadn't heard of.

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  2. I'm with you that the unknowns make the set more fun. The Pirates series 2 checklist was great with guys like Elias Diaz, Chris Stewart and Tony Watson. I love McCutchen a ton, but I'm ok with a set taking a break from the norm.

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    1. Lol I vaguely remember Watson as the 2014 All Star. I don't remember Elias Diaz even more.

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  3. I would always rather have an obscure guy over a superstar. The more obscure the better!

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  4. I've changed my tune on this. I was admittedly underwhelmed with the player selection for Series 2 at first, but I realized over time that I enjoyed it more than seeing the same crop of fairly well-known guys we get in sets like A&G, Archives, etc. The Jake Petrickas of the world do need some cardboard love.

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    1. Indeed they do. Although ironically Petricka himself has already had a flagship card and a Heritage card.

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  5. I am an unofficial Jake Petricka fan, as he is a Minnesota native. I can't really root for him while he plays for the White Sox, but I don't wish him any specific harm...

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    1. Doh, forgot the part about where he came from.

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  6. I love posts like this. In fact, I'd be in favor of it being a bunch of unknowns from nearly every set.

    "The Blog of the Unknown (Organization) Soldiers"

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    1. Maybe a group of bloggers can do a co-op blog. Because i have a feeling such a blog would die quickly if one individual did it.

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  7. If you haven't heard of him... then there's no way that I've heard of the guy. That's honestly one of my favorite things about care packages. I really enjoy looking up players I've never even heard of before.

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    1. Well this one wasn't part of a care package but I do get your point. I think like 99% of players I get in repacks are complete unknowns to me.

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  8. I wish Topps would bring back Topps Total. Then we could have a full set of Jake Petrickas!

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    1. I wish Topps would bring back Topps Total so I can buy cards on the cheap.

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