Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Getting Closer

Yesterday I went to a Staten Island Yankees game. There aren't too many games left in the season (at least not a whole lot that I'll be able to attend) so I wanted to get some more of the team set done.

First up is ironically a need from my Pulaski Yankees team set. Chad Martin was the Yankees' 30th round pick last year (so this is an upgrade for my 2015 NYY draftees project) and he was the starter for last night's game. Martin throws a fastball that can sit in the low-90's as well as a hard low 80's slider. Chad Martin is currently a starter but he'll probably be sent back to the bullpen for his long term role. He's a super cool dude though.

Next up I got pitching coach Travis Phelps.
Phelps was originally a Tampa Bay Devil Rays farmhand back in the late 90's and early 00's. Phelps made it to the big leagues for parts of three seasons before retiring in 2009. Since then Phelps went on to be a sports agent for a year and even ran a baseball training facility. This year Phelps is making his debut as a pitching coach with the SI Yankees.

I finished the coaching staff portion of the team set thanks to this autograph of Teuris Olivares.
T.O. (as a lot of the players call him) was originally a Yankees farmhand back in the late 90's and early 00's but never got higher than triple-A. T.O. gave other teams (mainly independent ones) a shot for many years before retiring to be a coach. For a few years he was a coach for the Dominican Summer League Yankees (dunno which one) and he's currently the defense coach for the Staten Island Yankees.

One player I was stoked to see on the roster was Billy Fleming who was rehabbing with the Staten Island Yankees. The West Virginia native was signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent back in 2014. Since then he's turned into a solid pickup for the Yankees. Providing a serviceable bat with good defense in the middle infield. He's so good that he was in double-A Trenton this season before succumbing to an injury. Currently he's with the Yankees on a rehab stint.

Here's Chris Godinez.
Godinez was originally a 18th round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers but was cut this past offseason. After which the Yankees (who had been heavily scouting Godinez before the 2015 draft) scooped him up to bolster their infield depth. One thing I've recently found out is that Godinez has quite an arm, and that he could go to the bullpen if the second baseman thing doesn't work out.

Next up is Dalton Blaser.
Blaser was the Yankees' eighth round pick in the 2016 draft. Blaser started the year off blazing hot with a hitting streak and everything. His bat has cooled down immensely since then but he does have some solid contact skills still in him. If I had to guess his struggles recently are more due to fatigue.

One of the key members of this year's squad that's eluded me to this point was Dom Thompson-Williams there.
Dom Thompson-Williams, or DTW as many call him, was the Yankees' fifth round pick in the 2016 draft. The lefty hitting outfielder projects to have plus plus speed with a solid bat. DTW possesses power and tweaking his swing (and allowing for quicker bat speed) should see him making more contact as time goes on.

A couple of Josh Roeders.
Josh Roeder was the Yankees' 21st round pick in 2015. Roeder is armed with a fastball and a pretty good slider. The righty reliever has used both in a pretty mixed but overall positive season. Roeder's role going forward is undetermined but hopefully he can continue to be a good mop up man in the Yankees org.

The Connecticut Tigers were in town so I asked a friend of mine who's also an autograph collector who was waiting to get Tigers autographs to get a Daniel Pinero and Kyle Funkhouser autograph for me (in turn I got some Solaks and a Mikolas for them). While they didn't get Funkhouser they did get Pinero.
Pinero was the Tigers' ninth round pick from the 2016 draft. The Canadian shortstop has had himself quite the August, hitting for contact and being a big reason why the Tigers are still in wild card contention.

Here's Simon De La Rosa.
I actually got Simon De La Rosa here in the stands as he was one of the charters for yesterday's game. I quickly asked for his autograph before the game started and later got him three of his own cards as a thank you present.
De La Rosa has a dominant and very lively fastball in addition to a plus plus curveball and a change up. His change up is a work in progress pitch that could be the difference between his ceiling being that of a late inning reliever to a middle of the rotation starter. Pitch location will also be key with him as he needs to cut down on his walks. However his strikeout rate shows that he has a lot of potential with refined command and control. Sidenote, his ERA (which is above 6) might be due to bad luck (his FIP is around 4 according to Fangraphs).

The last SIY autograph I received was from Padilla who was sitting right next to De La Rosa in the charters section, I bought some cards of his and gave them to him too.
Padilla was signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent back in 2013 and immediately came stateside the following year. Although he was sent back down to the DSL in 2015, Padilla was soon back stateside and pitched in Pulaski, earning Appy League Pitcher of the Week Honors in the process. I can't really find out much about what he throws or what his role is going forward, but I have heard some say he's improving in some non-specific way.

The last IP autograph I got in general for this day was courtesy of Mike Hessman.
This was given to me by an autograph collector whom I hadn't met in over a year (though we still remembered each other) they got two of these Pro Debuts signed and gave me this spare one, thanks man!
Mike Hessman is pretty noteworthy as the all time HR leader in minor league baseball with 433 minor league home runs. Hessman was originally a Braves farmhand after being drafted by Atlanta all the way back in 1996. He went on to have one of the longest and prolific minor league careers ever, topped off by spending parts of five seasons in the big leagues. Hessman also played in Japan as a member of the Orix Buffaloes in 2011. Hessman retired following the 2015 season and he's now the hitting coach for the Connecticut Tigers.

After all of these new autographs, I'm now down to only needing nine more cards from the 2016 Staten Island Yankees team set. Of which seven are no longer with the team so realistically I only have two more to chase.

So as for the game itself, it was quite a doozy. I didn't stay for the whole game (again) but it looks as though it was a slugfest.

Let's start by putting this game into perspective. The Staten Island Yankees and Connecticut Tigers are both currently in an important series that'll determine who'll win the New York-Penn League wild card. The Yankees were ahead by 1.5 games coming into this series but a sweep at the hands of the Tigers would've ended their season. On the other side a sweep of the Tigers would've cemented the Yankees as the wild card winners.

The Staten Island Yankees won 10-7 (BOX SCORE). Now they're 2.5 games up on the NYPL wild card with two more crucial games to go. Hopefully they can continue to win and claim that wild card.

Oh yeah, yesterday Hideki Matsui was also in attendance. This is the first Matsui sighting I've had this year (just goes to show how I've been going to games far less this summer).

So yeah, I just love meaningful minor league baseball (although that's kind of an oxymoron when you think about it) and I'm glad the SI Yankees are making things interesting.

Big thanks to all of the players (and my autograph collecting buddies) for putting up with my selfish requests.

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

2016 IP Auto Count: 70

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Snapshot Of This Exciting Moment In Time...

It's no secret that the New York Yankees organization is oozing with excitement right now.
I'm serious, from the top of the organization to all the way down to the bottom, there are a ton of things to really like about the organization right now.

Quad-A New York

At the quad-A level in the Bronx the talk of the town these past few weeks has been the youth movement. Not just that but a youth movement that's kept the Yankees in the wild card race.

No doubt most of you have been pelted with articles about how much of a force Gary Sanchez has been in recent times. The wonder kin has hit a dinger in almost every game he's appeared in. Of course his hot streak will cool off but even then he can still be a very elite catcher for years to come.

Add in how other youngsters like Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, Luis Cessa and Chad Green are getting significant playing time and have had their fair share of high points and it's exciting. In-house farmhands contributing at the big league level. That's exactly what a significant portion of the fan base has been demanding for years. And finally seeing it happen is quite a sight.

There's also something to be said for the other non-prospect eligible talent on the big league roster. Didi Gregorius is having one heck of a year and is making an incredibly great case to be the Yankees' shortstop long term, even with Mateo and Torres (and a bunch more) down in the minors. This past month, the largely inconsistent Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks have also improved and made great strides. Whether that's just an illusion or if they've adjusted to the AL East at last remains to be seen but it's nice to see regardless. And let's not forget that there's still Greg Bird.

At the moment the only blips would probably be Luis Severino taking a step back due to his change-up issues. If he can regain confidence in that pitch and throw it again he'd be a great starter once more. Also the Yankees not really seeing what they have in Robert Refsnyder isn't exactly a great course of action, but oh well.

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

For much of this year the Scranton roster was packed with prospect power. After the trade deadline the team was downright LOADED.

Let's put it like this, a team where the core of the lineup is/was Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez, Clint Frazier, Jake Cave and Ben Gamel CAN and WILL do damage. Throw in how the Railriders have gotten great production out of their pitching staff and boom, it's no wonder that the Railriders are playoff bound in the International League.

Obviously Frazier is the best prospect in Scranton (even if he is on the DL right now), but one prospect who's emerged in a big way this year is Kyle Higashioka. Higgy has found his power stroke and his prospect stock has gone up ten fold (he was always solid defensively). Higgy provides another layer depth at catcher within the organization as he was (at times) just a Romine or McCann injury away from making the big league roster.

Now about that pitching, the Scranton roster boasts a ton of notable pitching prospects who've emerged as very very interesting in-house options for the Yankees' starting rotation/bullpen.

Brady Lail has been on prospecting radars for a while now. With a fastball, curveball, change-up and cutter, Lail has a ceiling of a back of the rotation starter.

Jordan Montgomery is one of the most underrated gems in the Yankees org. With a dominant change up and a fastball, curveball and cutter to accompany it, Monty is a low-ceiling, high floor guy who could be a really good number 4 or 5 starter going forward.

Dietrich Enns came back in a big way this year after getting Tommy John surgery back in 2014. With a plus change up, fastball, slider and curveball, he kind of projects to be a swingman who fulfills a long-man role in the bullpen most of the time at the big league level. That's still excellent though.

Jonathan Holder is a very good, downright dominant reliever. Armed with what I'm told is a fastball, curveball, slider and change-up, Holder's having quite an impressible season in relief down in triple-A. Just take a look at what he did yesterday.
Jesus. That's some Goose Gossage shit right there man. 11 of those K's were CONSECUTIVE for the record.

Of course there are some more notable players on the Railriders like a surprisingly productive Cito Culver (he's alive!) intriguing 40-man arms like Johnny Barbato and Bryan Mitchell and potential 2017 Scranton shuttle reliever, Tyler Webb.

The Scranton Railriders also clinched a postseason spot yesterday. I assume that guys like Holder and Severino will be called up to the big leagues after the playoff have concluded for them.

Double-A Trenton

Woof, if you think the Scranton team was built well, the Trenton team can hold it's own just fine. Many of the prospects I talked about in the Scranton section spent parts of the first half of the season in Trenton and for a while they had a very loaded pitching staff. Even after the promotions the Thunder staff still have a good pitching squad.

Chance Adams has been used as a starter this year and he's rewarded the Yankees with a very good season. Armed with a fastball, slider and change-up, Adams' long term role is kind of up in the air but I assume the Yankees plan to start him until he can't start anymore.
Ronald Herrera has been a pleasant addition to the Yankees org since coming over in the Jose Pirela trade that was just made so NYY could clear up a roster spot. Herrera has a fastball, slider and curveball. His fastball sits in the low 90's and his slider is said to be above average.
Others like Cale Coshow, Daniel Camarena, Will Carter, J.P. Feyerisen and Matt Wotherspoon also have varying amounts of potential at the big league level.

As for the Thunder offense, woof it's loaded too. Starting with Miguel Andujar who has had a great breakout year this year. Hitting for contact and for power and with an improved overall game, Andujar is a borderline top 100 (in the minors) prospect. And of course there is Dustin Fowler who is yet another lefty hitting outfielder who can flat out hit. He's good. Of course there are also Tyler Wade (who is a high end short stop prospect), Billy McKinney, Billy Flemming and Abiatal Avelino contributing too.

With good pitching and good offense, the Trenton Thunder have already clinched a playoff birth in the Eastern League.

High-A Tampa

Tampa has an impressive roster with some of the most exciting names in the system on it.

Of course there's Gleyber Torres who I still don't have a card of and Jorge Mateo at the very top. Those two make for a very good double play combo and make the team a formidable one. Add in impressive players around them like Thairo Estrada, Connor Spencer, Trey Amburgey and Rashad Craford and the offense is looking good.

On the pitching side, the Tampa Yankees Disabled List includes some of the organization's best arms including James Kaprielian, Domingo Acevedo, Domingo German, Ian Clarkin, Jacob Lindgren and Brody Koerner. Those are all legitimate pitching talents. If they were all healthy and productive the Yankees farm system would be even stronger (if that's possible!).

As for the pitchers who're actually healthy they're not bad either.
Josh Rogers is having a phenomenal season as a starter and could join several top 30 Yankees prospect lists when the likes of Sanchez and Green lose their prospect status.
Justus Sheffield has been excellent since coming from the Cleveland organization, he's so so good and he's probably the Yankees' best prospect with Kaprielian on the shelf.

My personal favorite pitching standouts are James Reeves, Nestor Cortes and Travis Hissong. Reeves has been used as a starter and reliever this season and he's excelled in both, striking out more than a batter per inning Reeves is definitely a name to watch.
Cortes was my pick for the Yankees' sleeper prospect coming into 2016 and he's proved me right. He's dominated the SAL and the FSL, earning All Star Honors and Pitcher of the Week honors this year. He's good.
Hissong is a personal fave because I saw him in 2015 (and he was mad cool) but also because he can throw strikes. Seriously, like 80% of his pitches are for strikes and he's an effective reliever. I expect him to be in double-A next year.
Other impressive arms on the Tampa Yankees includes Yefrey Ramirez, Caleb Frare and Jose Mesa Jr.

The Tampa Yankees have already clinched a playoff berth for this year.

Single-A Charleston

Charleston has an interesting mix of prospects that kind of skews more towards the offense.

Obviously the Yankees have the God prospect in Luis Torrens but they also have Kyle Holder, Hoy Jun Park, Chris Gittens and Jhalan Jackson. Holder is hitting with authority this year and boy is it great. Park is holding his own but he's still adjusting. Gittens has steadily paced the org in home runs as he's hit 21 home runs this year (as of this post), 21! Jackson also has steady power and has made great strides in improving as a pro.
The Riverdogs offense also boasts guys with nice seasons like Gosuke Katoh, Ricardo Ferreira and Alexander Palma.

On the pitching side the conversation has to start with Dillon Tate. Tate has struggled mightily this year (the Rangers broke him!) but the Yankees hope to get him back on track. Right now they are having him pitch in the bullpen. If he can improve his change up he may regain some form. Lets hope the Yankees can pull it off. The Riverdogs also have some interesting arms in Daris Vargas, Luis Cedeno and Nick Green. Vargas leads the team in strikeouts, while Cedeno has had an up and down season but still has an intriguing set of skills. Green came over in the Beltran trade along with Tate and the early signs are that he has the potential to be something good (Cashman and his men really did their homework). Oh crud, I forgot to mention Taylor Widener who's having a good season in relief.
Of course I also have to mention Ty Hensley who's on the DL. He just had his second Tommy John surgery which means he's still yet to pitch above short season ball since being drafted in 2012. Stinks, but I still hope the best for him. For TLC's sake.

And yes, the Riverdogs have already clinched a playoff berth. If you're keeping track that means that all four of the higher level affiliates in the organization are headed to their respective postseasons. That's insane!

Short Season-A Staten Island

Ah, home sweet home.
The Staten Island Yankees possess a great deal of interesting players and pitchers. No, they are not as good as they were before in the season but they do still have what it takes to be good.

The offense is anchored by second baseman Nick Solak, who is the team's best position player by a pretty wide margin. Supporting him are Dom Thompson-Williams, a lefty hitting outfielder with speed, and various other players with varying skills like Angel Aguilar, Drew Bridges, Dalton Blaser and Kendall Coleman. Of which the biggest lottery ticket with potential is Coleman.

The pitching features two notable guys in Austin DeCarr and Drew Finley. DeCarr returned from Tommy John surgery this season and the Yankees have been careful (limiting his starts to five innings max). He's still shaking off rust but he's been good overall. Finley has been dominant although his stats don't really show it. Oddly enough Finley hasn't pitched since late July so there isn't much else to say except that he's probably the best overall prospect on the entire team (Finley's the only SI Yankee on MLB.com's top 30 NYY prospects list).
And of course I'd be remiss to forget Freicer Perez. Perez is huge (6'8") with a good arsenal of pitches. With a good season under his belt (next year?) it wouldn't surprise me if he got Domingo levels of hype.

The SI Yankees have yet to clinch a playoff birth. Winning the McNamara division seems out of reach now but they are still in contention for the wild card. This upcoming series against the Connecticut Tigers will be crucial as the Tigers are in second and right behind the Yankees for the wildcard in the standings.

Rookie-A Pulaski

If you thought the Scranton offense was lethal, the Pulaski offense is just as fun. In terms of name value that is.

Prospect nuts like me have really enjoyed the daily lineups the Pulaski Yankees trotted out, only to be flabbergasted to know that they didn't hit all of the dingers.
The Pulaski offense includes highlights like Dermis Garcia, Wilkerman Garcia, Isiah Gilliam, Leonardo Molina, Donny Sands, Blake Rutherford, Estevan Florial and Oswaldo Cabrera. That is an insane amount of prospect capital.
Oof, where to begin? Dermis Garcia was one of the top international prospects from the 2014 international signing period. The infielder has insane amounts of power and started the year off strong by blasting home runs to the moon. He's cooled off since then but the potential is still there, the fact that he can take walks is an incredibly good sign.
Wilkerman Garcia was another high profile signing from 2014. Wilky is a switch hitting SS who can hit for power and also has good speed. His defense is very serviceable at SS and Wilky's another part of the infield log-jam.
Isiah Gilliam is a first baseman with a lot of potential with the bat. The first baseman/outfielder is having a pretty good season for the P-Yanks. Going forward it should be interesting to see if Gilliam can stick in the outfield and how much more he can use the whole field to hit.
Leonardo Molina was the crown jewel of the 2013 international free agent haul. A 5-tool potential player with plenty of power and hitting potential. He also has great speed. That speed and his strong arm (his arm is a cannon!) also helps him defensively in the outfield.
Donny Sands in an intriguing prospect who was an infielder before being drafted who has since been converted into a catcher. Offensively Sands can spray the ball to all parts of the field and he has the contact skills to be a pretty consistent hitter.
Blake Rutherford was the Yankees' first pick in the draft this year. They spent every last penny they could on him after the potential top 10 talent fell into their lap. Rutherford can hit for average and for power, and he also has the speed and arm to be a good-to-great defender. Rutherford is done for the year with a hamstring injury but he will report to instructs.
Estevan Florial made headlines as a Haitian prospect to immediately make it stateside after minimal time in the DSL. He's a solid overall player.
Oswaldo Cabrera is like Florial in that zoomed up the ladder quickly after destroying the DSL and GCL. The 17 year old who was signed just last year is already up in Pulaski. That's incredible.

And the pitching side? Well Nick Nelson is a thing I suppose. Although his innings have been largely limited. Jeff Degano still might be a thing is he regains his composure next season (I hope he does). Icezack Flemming is also notable, both for his name and his solid production this year.

The Pulaski Yankees have been eliminated from playoff contention in their league.

The Other Rookie Ball Clubs (GCL & DSL)

I'm just going to lump all four GCL and DSL clubs together (the NYY have two apiece).

Down in these low level leagues most of the key position player prospects are the other international signees from 2014. Like Nelson Gomez, Juan De Leon, Miguel Flames, Brayan (or Bryan) Emery, Diego Castillo, and as far as domestic guys go there's Terrance Robertson and Edel Luaces. All of these guys are from the GCL rosters. I have no clue who's who in the DSL. I have my limits.

Pitching wise the GCL has 2016 third rounder Nolan Martinez who's said to be very promising and Anderson Severino (another Sevy!). In the DSL there's Luis Medina who's still a teenager and he's throwing 100 mph heat.

He hasn't made his debut yet but Roancy Contreras (the top international prospect the Yankees signed this year) is probably going to be in the mix next year. He was Baseball America's 25th best international prospect and third best pitching prospect in this year's potential signing class. The righty has a low-90's fastball and a curveball. The Yankees being able to get him for only a $300,000 bonus is huge. Although it's probably because they've already had a verbal agreement with him/his trainer (or manager) since he was 14.

None of these lower level clubs are playoff bound.


Alright I think that's enough. The point is that this particular point in time is one where farmhands are impacting and producing up and down the entire organization, even at the big league level. And it's really showing because while the big league Yankees chase a wildcard, the minor league Yankees (or most of them) are headed for their own postseasons. There's a lot of talent and depth at the top, middle and especially at the bottom. These are exciting times to be a Yankees fan. I love it.

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

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Weekend TTM Roundup: 08/22-08/27

Received On: 08/22/2016

My first return this week came from Ross Ohlendorf.
Ross Ohlendorf was originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth round of the 2004 MLB Player Draft. He spent a few years in their system but was traded to the New York Yankees in 2007 as part of the Randy Johnson trade. Since then he's had a pretty decent career as a journeyman reliever latching onto bad teams in need of arms.

He also has one of the most delightful deliveries in all of baseball now.

Received On: 08/25/2016

Here's a return from Cubs righty David Garner.
David Garner was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the seventh round of the 2013 MLB Player Draft. Garner is a reliever who throws a fastball and a slider with above average control. He climbed the ladder relatively quickly as he made it to double-A this year. Garner's had an up and down year in double-A but given his track record down in the lower minors it can probably be chalked up to growing pains. Hopefully the Michigan State product can crack the Cubs bullpen one day (they need all the help they can get).

Received On: 08/25/2016

Here are a couple of returns from Mariners lefty Lane Ratliff.
Lane Ratliff was drafted but the Seattle Mariners in the sixth round of the 2014 MLB Player Draft. In college Ratliff was a strikeout machine thanks to the strength of his curveball. Ratliff also possesses a fastball and a change up which he's used to give him success in the lower levels of the minors. The question will be whether he can continue to refine those pitches and allow him to see the same level of success at the higher levels. Well if his strikeout-to-walk rate is any indication, I'd say he's got a great shot at it.

Received On: 08/26/2016

Here are a couple of returns from former Yankee Hensley Meulens.
Sir Hensley Filemon Acasio Meulens was originally signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur international free agent out of Curacao (Netherlands) back in 1985. During his time in the minors Meulens grew to be a pretty intriguing prospect. In fact, prior to the 1991 season Baseball America ranked Meulens as one of the 30th best prospect in all of baseball. His story is possibly one of legend. Sir Bam Bam's played in various professional leagues including the majors, Japan, Mexico and Korea. He can speak several languages and he's spent his post-playing career working as a hitting coach. Some credit Meulens for McCutchen's success. Since 2010 Meulens has serves as the hitting coach for the San Francisco Giants. In the process winnings three World Series rings. Long live Meulens.
And yes, this is another The Lost Collector assist.

Received On: 08/27/2016

My last return this week came from Dodgers top prospect Yadier Alvarez.
Yadier Alvarez hails from Cuba and was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015 an amateur. Alvarez was part of the Dodgers' conquest to sign every eligible Cuban prospect in existence. Alvarez is a high risk high prospect, with a fastball in the mid 90's (can reach a max of 100 mph), an above average slider and a work in progress change up. Eric Longenhagen wrote a pretty great scouting report on Alvarez for Fangraphs. For now Alvarez's ceiling appears to be that of a front of the rotation starter and his floor can be anything from a power reliever with two great pitches or a bust. It all depends on how much stamina Alvarez can build up (he's still getting accustomed to pro ball) and how that change up works out. Still, I believe that LAD have something special on their hands in Alvarez, plus I'd give them the benefit of the doubt with pitching prospects. This year Alvarez has had a pretty nice season in the minors, with an impressive K rate and very good BB rate to boot. Of course he's still in class A and he'll run in trouble later on if the stamina and change up don't advance as much as LAD would like but it's nice to see a prospect do well from the get-go too. Alvarez is a serious contender to be the subject of the 2017 edition of my "Ode To A Dodgers Prospect" post.

And those were my returns this week. Big thanks to Mr. Ohlendorf, Garner, Ratliff, Meulens and Alvarez for the awesome autographs.

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

2016 TTM Count: 220


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Taking Inventory Part 1: Ongoing Projects

So in an earlier post I alluded to some team sets I'm working on. So I thought I'd look at what I need regarding some of the projects I've been working on on the side. Usually I don't blog about these until I finish these myself or if the project in question is something that requires a bit of help (i.e. friends looking out for cards on my behalf).

These projects are mostly lower level ones, ones that I could handle on my own but go at it very slowly.

Luis Torrens Rainbow

After completing two and nearly close to finishing a third, I'm always looking to beef up my Luis Torrens collection.

The rainbow I'm closest to finishing is the plate-less rainbow of 2014 Leaf Metal Draft. For that one I just need the base/SP autograph.

2015 New York Yankees Draftees Project

Here's a lowkey project I've been working on that might prove to be the most difficult. Acquiring an autograph of everybody the Yankees drafted and signed in the 2015 player draft. Whether it's via IP, TTM or even as a certified autograph, I'm going for all of them.

Right now I only need Donny Sands, Terrance Robertson, Paddy O'Brien, Icezack Flemming and Dustin Cook. I'm that close to acquiring an autograph of everybody the Yankees drafted in a given year. How many other Yankees collectors can claim to have been able to do that?!

New York Yankees 2015 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Team Set

So I completed the team sets for the 2012 and 2014 certified Bowman Chrome prospect autographs. At the moment I'm on a long term project to build every team set but right now some are more notable. I'm only three autographs away from completing the 2015 edition of the Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Yankees team set.

Yes I included Domingo German

That's all fine and dandy until you realize the last three autographs I need are Luis Severino, Robert Refsnyder and Jorge Mateo. Severino's autographs are a bit overpriced at the moment because investors want to hold out until the struggling Sevy regains his composure. Refsnyder's autograph is reasonable by comparison but I wouldn't pay over $5 for it (including shipping). Mateo's price is through the roof. Which is what you expect when you're dealing with a (former) number one prospect in the Yankees org. I'm waiting until prices die down on these three as well.

New York Yankees 2013 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Team Set

Here's the set that's sandwiched between 2012 and 2014, so I have to complete it soon right?

Not Pictured: My New Ian Clarkin autograph

At the moment I'm only one autograph away from completing the 2013 team set.

That's all fine and dandy until you realize the last autograph I need is Aaron Judge's autograph. That'll go for well north of $100 these days. I'm not paying that much for a prospect that's not Luis Torrens. And I hope no one else will either. One bad slump or injury (or both) will derail the value quickly. That is the time to strike for this one.

New York Yankees 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Team Set

So to my great surprise, I'm only two autographs away from completing the 2010 edition of the Bowman Chrome Prospects Autographs Yankees team set.

I'll be honest, I thought I had a lot more to go first.

I got a large number of the key guys. Sanchez, Murphy, Heathcott and Culver in particular. All I need are Bryan Mitchell and Graham Stoneburner. Two guys who's autographs cost less than $10 shipped combined. Hmm... Also I'm omitting Dan Camarena who had a Bowman Chrome USA auto in 2010.

New York Yankees 2002 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Team Set

So I'm only one autograph away from completing the 2002 edition of the Bowman Chrome Prospects Autographs Yankees team set.

There were only TWO Bowman Chrome autographs for the Yankees released in 2002. I already got the expensive one in Brandon Weeden. The other is Adam Roller who's autograph can be had for less than $2. The problem? The shipping fees don't make it worth it. Consider it a gray whale for me.

New York Yankees 2004 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Team Set

So I'm only two autographs away from completing the 2004 edition of the Bowman Chrome Prospects Autographs Yankees team set.

The last two I need from this year are Phil Hughes and Estee Harris. Harris is a bust whose autographs are cards that dealers couldn't give away if they wanted to. Hughes' 2004 BoChro autographs are a bit expensive. Certainly more expensive than you'd expect for a player with the type of career he's had. It's the Yankees effect.

1979 Topps Set

Ever since I made the declaration to build the 1979 Topps set, I feel like some have misunderstood what I meant. Obviously I want to get as many of the cards signed, but if I can't I can't. I just want to build the set first and get to the autographs later.

I guess it also doesn't help that my checklist is out of date. Oof, I need to update it real bad.

And that's it as far as set related card projects are concerned. This isn't a plea for help, it's more like me finally putting down exactly what I've been trying to do into writing. Something I never do because I'm loosey goosey as a collector (keeps me free :)!).

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

21 Autographs

Yesterday I went to my first Staten Island baseball game in weeks. Look, I've been busy this summer okay? Stop staring at me like that!

Anyway the summer is nearing an end which means that I only have a limited number of Staten Island Yankees games left. Every one counts. Especially now that the official Staten Island team set is out. Obviously I got to work on that this time. As the title suggests I got 21 signatures, and you bet I'm showing them all.

First I got David Sosebee.
The Staten Island Yankees (and most minor league parks) do this cool thing where they set up a table on the concourse of the stadium so that fans can get two of the players chosen to be there's autographs. David Sosebee was one of them. Sosebee was the Yankees' 28th rounder last year and he's done pretty well in the Staten Island bullpen this year.

Next I made my way over to the dugout and got Drew Bridges.
Bridges was the Yankees' 20th round pick in 2013. Bridges possess some potential with the bat. He's improved quite a lot from last year and is one of the better hitters on the team this year. He was so good that he was picked to the NYPL All Star Game last week. Dude's a pretty nice guy and it'd be nice to see him get rewarded for his improvements.
Sidenote, dig the jersey on Bridges. I believe this was a jersey worn by the SI Yanks on July 10th to support the Special Olympics NYC.

Pretty cool.

Next up is Kane Sweeney is a special Star Wars Night themed jersey.
Kane Sweeney's had an alright season this year. He has a fair amount of power and can handle himself just fine at first base. He was even promoted to Charleston for a brief while this year.

Here's the manager, Mr. David Bialas.
Bialas is really nice. He was a long time org player in the Cardinals farm system and eventually made a name for himself as a coach after his playing career ended. Some Padres and Cubs fans might remember him as their bullpen coach.

Next I got Nick Solak.
Solak was drafted by the Yankees in the second round this year. He's arguably the SI Yankees' top prospect, and definitely the top hitting prospect on the team. Offensively he's having a great season and he was even selected to the NYPL All Star Game. Also he got a card in the NYPL Top Prospects set. In an organization jammed with high quality infielders, Solak adds yet another layer of depth at second base.

While we're here, let's briefly talk about the card design for the SIY team set this year. I love it. It reminds me of Stadium Club with it's full bleed photography. Also dig the white area on the bottom where the signatures can go. That's a very cool touch and I like it.

Oh and here's the back if you were curious about what the backs looked like. Very spiffy in my opinion.

Next I got David Palladino.
At 6'8" Palladino is huge with lots of potential on the mound (the Yankees really love their tall pitchers). Palladino's days as a starter are largely over and now the Yankees have converted him into a reliever in order to see if he can be of use out of the bullpen in the future. Hey, it worked with Betances.

The starter for the game was Freicer Perez.
Armed with a fastball that can reach 99 mph, curveball and change up. At 6'8" he's also a giant who possesses so much potential as well. So much so that he was even one of the Yankees' top 30 prospects on MLB.com before the trade deadline happened. Perez has been one of the more interesting pitchers on the SI Yanks this year. With a good season under his belt, it wouldn't surprise me if he reached Domingo Acevedo levels of hype soon.

Here is Ben Ruta.
Ruta was drafted by the Yankees in the 30th round this year. Ruta's been used in more of a fourth/fifth outfielder role this year so it's tough to gauge what exactly the Yankees have in him. Ruta used to go to Wagner College which was one of the colleges close enough to Staten Island so that Wagner's baseball club could play at the SI ballpark against the SI Seahawks, meaning he used to play in the SIY ballpark before as an amateur.

Eduardo Navas is an interesting lower level catcher for the Yankees. It appears as though he could fill a Kyle Higashioka-type of org guy/org catcher role going forward.

Here's Brian Trieglaff.
Trieglaff was drafted by the Yankees in the 13th round this year. The former TCU reliever has had his moments in the SIY bullpen. The sample size so far is too small to indicate what happens next year. I will say this though, Brian was a pretty cool dude and was really nice.

Another catcher, Jerry Seitz.
Seitz is another interesting lower level catcher in the org. It's far too early to even remotely guess who or what Seitz is. But in limited chances he's done pretty well this year.

Next is Brooks Kriske.
Brooks Kriske has been low-key one of the better relievers on the team this year. Striking out a batter an inning, the college reliever and his low 90's fastball could turn out to be a dependable middle reliever in the big leagues one day.
Also, another cool jersey!

Here's another cool jersey and cool guy, Radley Haddad.
The non-drafted free agent catcher has had a career thus far as an org-guy filling the catching spot on rosters. Considering how much the Yankees have concentrated on the development of catching prospects like Montero/Sanchez/Romine/Murphy/Torrens, guys like Haddad are important in terms of depth and just plugging in roster holes. Also, as previously stated, Haddad is a cool dude. I wish him the best.

This isn't really an autograph, more of just an inscription on a certified autograph.
Nathan Mikolas came to Staten Island earlier this month and I've been meaning to get him to inscribe the certified 2014 Bowman Chrome autograph I had of his. He did and I like it. It's another big addition to my inscribed certified autograph collection.

Here the position player-turned-pitcher, Claudio Custodio.
Claudio Custodio has been in the Yankees system for a while now. Originally he was signed as a position player but after his bat never came around the Yankees turned him into a pitcher. Custodio's had some success in the bullpen.

The former top prospect and current hitting coach, Eric Duncan.
Fans of the Yankees probably remember Duncan from his days as a top prospect back in the mid 2000's. Unfortunately his career never turned out that way but Duncan is still playing a pivotal role as a coach and in developing players so they can reach their full potential.
I asked Mr. Duncan for an inscription and he delivered. What a cool guy.

Angel Aguilar has some impressive power. The key going forward will probably be hitting consistently. He hit well enough in the GCL but he hasn't quite replicated that success in Staten Island or Charleston. That said, the guy is still 21 and has been pushed aggressively so far. Now that he's at an age appropriate level it'll be interesting to see if his development really takes off.

Yancarlos Baez, another notable top international prospect the Yankees had.
Baez hasn't had the best season to date but he has had his moments like a walk-off hit. It's still too early to write off Baez though. The Yankees didn't give him a big bonus for nothing.

Kendall Coleman has been used in a fourth outfielder role this season but he's still not without promise. Coleman has the defensive chops to be an outfielder and he certainly has power. BTW, Kendall drove in the one run scored in the game yesterday, the walk off hit in the bottom of the ninth. He's also a pretty nice dude and easy to interact with. Also, another Star Wars Night jersey!

My last autograph of the day was Timmy Robinson.
The 21st rounder of this year has had an okay pro debut. He's been pretty much the SI Yankees' everyday center fielder and he's hitting relatively consistently with power. That's impressive. I'm very eager to see where his development goes.

And that was my haul for yesterday. I still have a few more cards in the team set to go. Hopefully I can finish it off next time.

The game itself appeared to be a pitching battle.
Once again I left after the first inning but according to the final box score it was a Staten Island Yankees victory by a score of 1 to 0 over the Aberdeen Ironbirds (Orioles affiliate). Perez and Justin Kamplain kept the Ironbirds scoreless for nine innings and the Yankees won in walk off fashion.

I actually managed to find two used baseballs in the stands today as I was waiting for players to come out. Pretty lucky eh? For price balls these two are some of the cleanest baseballs I ever held. Of course they have marks and dirt and everything and were obvious used, but the fact that you can make out all those words (also note how good the MiLB logo is), means that these were relatively new or unused before going to the stands.

And that was my latest SI Yankees game. As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

2016 IP Auto Count: 57