|Received On: 12/22/2016|
It took well over three weeks for my first return of December to come through, but it was worth it for this 2013 Sega Card Gen card of Nate Schierholtz.
Nate Schierholtz was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the second round of the 2003 MLB Player Draft. Schierholtz made it to the big leagues in 2007 and the outfielder spent six seasons with the Giants, winning a World Series ring in 2010 in the process. Schierholtz was then traded to the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade (which has not worked out well for the Phillies). Schierholtz then played for the Cubs, Nationals, Rangers and most recently the Tigers. Interestingly enough Schierholtz also played in Japan in 2015 as a member of the Hiroshima Carp. According to my friends who are Carp fans who saw him in person, they had nice things to say about how he was with fans. Right now Schierholtz is a free agent and a 80-game PED suspension might make things difficult for him to find a new home, but hopefully he still has some time left as a professional baseball player.
|Received On: 12/27/2016|
My last return of 2016 was from Reds farmhand Blake Trahan.
Blake Trahan was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the third round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft. The shortstop's best attribute is said to be his speed. While the other parts of his game project to solid. Offensively Trahan's been known to have a patient approach where he takes a lot of walks, but his lack of power limits him to singles. As such some people, like FanGraphs' Eric Longenhagen) sees Trahan more as a utility infielder going forward. Wouldn't be too bad for a third rounder actually.
|Received On: 1/3/2017|
My first return of 2017 was from former Yankees backstop Mike Stanley.
Mike Stanley was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 16th round of the 1985 MLB Player Draft. Stanley made it to the big leagues the year afterwards and enjoyed a 15 year career as a catcher in the big leagues (which is pretty good for a catcher), during which he was an All Star once for the Yankees. He even got to play in the 21st century before he retired (Stanley's final season was in 2000). After his playing career ended, Stanley shifted to coaching.
|Received On: 1/3/2017|
My next return of 2017 came from Mets prospect Milton Ramos.
Milton Ramos was drafted by the New York Mets in the third round of the 2014 MLB Player Draft. Milton Ramos is highly regarded for his glove work at shortstop, such much so many thought he fit more into the Clint Barmes mold of all-glove, no-bat type of shortstop. However his bat has been improving more than expected. Ramos probably won't remind anybody of Jose Reyes anytime soon (although Ramos is said to have some good speed), but he does have the ceiling of Jose Iglesias. So he's got that going for him.
Ramos also included this cool sticky note (dated at that) with this return. Very cool for me personally since he wished me a Happy New Year, you don't see too many ballplayers do that (mostly due to timing). Considering how I'm Japanese and take New Years festivities more importantly than other yearly events, it pleases me greatly. One last note is that I love how Ramos dated the note. Woof! Give him an extra 10 points on the cool-o-meter.
|Received On: 1/7/2017|
Here's an awesome return from top Braves pitching prospect Touki Toussaint.
Touki Toussaint was originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft but was traded to the Atlanta Braves when the D-Backs wanted to get rid of Bronson Arroyo's contract. Toussaint's best pitches are said to be his fastball and curveball, and he also has a work-in-progress change up to his name as well. Toussaint's 2016 season was a bit of a mixed bag but there's enough talent for him to bounce back and be a truly great pitcher in what's soon to be a Braves team on the rise.
|Received On: 1/17/2017|
Here is Marlins prospect Jeff Brigham.
Jeff Brigham was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB Player Draft. The pitcher's key offering appears to be his lively fastball, and he accompanies it with a slider and change-up, all of which are work in progress pitches. Brigham had a pretty good 2016 (all things considered) and the general consensus seems to be that he's going to tried as a starter until the team decides to use him in a bullpen role where his fastball and slider combination may do wonders.
Brigham also sent along this index card with this awesome message written on it. Thanks Jeff!
|Received On: 1/17/2017|
Here's a former big leaguer in Derek Lilliquist.
Derek Lilliquist was originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 1987 MLB Player Draft. Lilliquist had an eight year career pitching for the Braves, Padres, Native Americans, Red Sox and Reds. Currently he's the pitching coach for the St. Louis Cardinals.
|Received On: 01/20/2017|
Next up is former Tigers prospect and current Yakult Swallows outfielder Dean Green.
Green was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB Player Draft. Even though the first baseman/DH made it to triple-A, he never made it to the majors and the Tigers sold him to the Yakult Swallows before he became Rule 5 eligible. Green has power (but he's not much of a defender) so he'll be the prototypical foreigner playing in the NPB.
|Received On: 01/24/2017|
Here is San Diego Padres pitcher, Christian Friedrich.
Christian Friedrich was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the first round of the 2008 MLB Player Draft. Friedrich spent several years in the minors earning hype and accolades as a top prospect and made his MLB debut in 2012. However he struggled in Coors Field and his 2013 was marred with ineffectiveness and injuries. Friedrich returned to the big leagues in 2014 and he was eventually DFA'd. He's now with the Padres who look to turn the former top 50/100 prospect into a useful pitcher. The pure stuff like the fastball, curveball and slider are there.
|Received On: 02/04/2017|
My first return of February came yesterday from Garrett Whitley (VIDEO).
Garrett Whitley was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft. Going into the draft Whitley was seen as one of the better outfielders who'd likely go in the first half of the first round, and he did. The Rays drafted him 13th overall (I remember a lot of Yankees fans were really disappointed he didn't fall to their lap) envisioning him as their center fielder of the future. Whitley has a patient approach at the plate where he can spray line drives to various parts of the field, while taking his fair share of walks. That said his work in progress swing will still come with a lot of K's. Defensively Whitley's speed helps him cover a lot of ground in centerfield and rumor has it that his arm is basically a canon (take that Jacoby!).
The cool thing about this Whitley return (other than how it came back), was this handwritten note by Garrett himself apologizing for the delay (which he didn't have to) and thanking me. Woof, when it comes to fan service, the Rays are in a class of their own. Thanks a bunch Garrett!
And those were my returns these past two months. All in all I finished 2016 with 276 returns, and for the month of January I got back eight returns. Will anymore come in this year? We'll see.
Big thanks to Mr. Schierholtz, Trahan, Stanley, Ramos, Toussaint, Brigham, Lilliquist, Green, Friedrich and Whitley for the awesome returns.
And as always thank you (the readers) for stopping by.
Take care :).
2016 TTM Count: 276
2017 TTM Count: 8