Saturday, May 27, 2017

Taking A Page Out Of Dime Box Nick's Book

The other day I went to Chameleon Cards & Comics in NYC again. It's a nice little shop if you're feeling like dropping a lot of Benjamin Franklins on box breaks. Most of the time I just go there for supplies and for an hour or so of fun looking through their dime boxes.

You don't have to be Nick The Dime Box King, to appreciate how cool these boxes can be. There's a ton of fun to be had. You can also really understand why Nick has as many mini collections as he does.


Starting us off is one of my favorites from the lot. A Shigetoshi Hasegawa card where he looks like he's having the time of his life with that old Canon (E05 1d?) camera. I really wonder what he's looking at through the lens.


The back is just as fantastic as it features another one of Nick's mini collections, a player autographing something. That's always fun to see.


Here's a fun action shot featuring Maddux covering first in a weird pose. And possibly with a throwback uni (I wouldn't know because I don't know the Cubs' uniforms).


This is Upper Deck so of course the back is great too. This time we have Mad Dog sliding on the base paths.


Get you a man who can juggle baseballs in a suit.



Man, Upper Deck really did deliver with the photographs didn't they. No wonder Nick has a collection devoted to these rare pictures that feature equipment.


Getting a card of a HoFer is good. Getting a miscut card of a HoFer is great.


Mahlon Duckett, never played for any major league baseball team but he was a mainstay in the Negro Leagues in the 40's. Playing for the Newark Eagles and Homestead Grays. He even won rookie of the year honors in 1940. When this card came out, Duckett was working as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Negro League Baseball Players Association, at the age of 87. He unfortunately passed away in 2015, but we have this awesome A&G card to keep his legacy alive.


I'm very sure that this is a throw back. A pretty popular mini collection Nick and various others have had for years now.


This Bellhorn is a rare type of action shot where the runner avoids the tag. How often have you seen that on cardboard? Without sliding at that. It's an under-appreciated type of action shot in my view.


Same goes for the photograph on the back. These "I got it!" shots where the fielder is about to catch the popup is a shot I'd like to see more too. Even if you're Luis Castillo.


There's nothing really too special about this Crow except that the former Central League MVP (he was really good with the Giants during his career) is notable for his performance, and for his brawl with the Dragons' Masami Miyashita.


I remember watching a TV special where they had Cromartie and Miyashita reunite and both apologized for the incident.



Now we're heading a little into my turf, minor league baseball. Featuring future Baltimore Orioles longtime second baseman, Brian Roberts, as well as beleaguered big leaguer Andres Torres. Both are retired now and people who grew up watching baseball in the 2000's should feel old now.



Oh wait nevermind, we're out of my turf again.
I picked these out to make lame jokes about current big leaguers with the same names being traded. Sidenote, McCullers up there is the currently active Lance McCullers' dad.


Of course for 10 cents a pop, you don't pass up opportunities to acquire stuff for your trade partners either. This when Bay was Bae (I'm sorry, I'm trying to delete that, help!).


You thought you were going to get a full post from me without any current prospects? Ha! He's already a top tier prospect in the Jays system and will be a fun one to watch in the upcoming years. Also, this is a very deliberate pick since Vlad Jr. is the son of Vlad Sr. who Nick collects. Will he collect Jr. too?


Finishing off the haul will be my two cards from the 50 cent bin. This is supermodel Nina Agdal. I'm surprised she's not in a swimsuit considering how first pitches in Japan are sometimes thrown by models in swimsuits. I'm even more surprised since this was taken in California.


Here's a fun insert of Keston Hirua, who is draft eligible this year. He projects to go in the later half of the first round at the earliest and is seen as one of the better bats in the draft. He doesn't have a position at the moment due to injuries, but some see him as a potential middle infielder or centerfielder.


And rounding out this post will be the supplies I got, two magnet holders.

That was my little foray into dime boxes. It's always a ton of fun and I can really see why Nick has dedicated his hobby life to it.

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

小さな楽しみ方

皆さんお久しぶりです。

しばらく日本語での投稿がなくて大変申し訳ございません。色々ありまして英語ですら投稿するのが大変な感じでした。今後ももう少し頻繁に日本語で投稿してみます。

先日私はニューヨークシティーにあるChameleon Cards and Comicsというカードショップによりました。そちらはスポーツカードにノンスポカードにアメコミまで売っています。

ここでは多くのお客さんが箱買いするのが当たり前ですが、私自身はいつもバーゲン箱を見ています。この店では一枚10セント(約10円)のはこがありまして英語ではdime boxと呼びます。当然それより高い金額のシングルがありますが、こうした10セント箱からこそ面白い物がでてきます。


例えばこちらの長谷川滋利氏のカード。カメラのレンズを通じて何かを見ていて大爆笑しているこのシーンが個人的にお気に入りです。そもそもカードにカメラが映っている事態がおもしろいです。カメラはCanonらしいですがモデルはピンポイント出来ません。何となくEOS-1Dの気がします。


このカードの裏も中々お気に入りです(特に生サインコレクターとして笑)。こうした選手がサインをしているショットを集める方々結構います。


こちらは変なポーズをしている一塁でなにかのプレイに巻き込まれたグレッグ・マドックス選手。この表の写真が味がある上、この頃のUpper Deckは裏にも力を入れていたのです。


投手がスライディングするという珍しいショット。


こうしたミスカットカードも結構集めているアメリカ人います。こういうのは印刷されるときに上手く切られなかったカードになり、最近はあまりないのですが、昔はけっこう多かったです。因みにこのGwynnも殿堂入りした選手です。


というか殿堂入りした選手結構いました。10セントずつですので余裕で買います。



こうしたテレビ中継に使う道具を写真に移すカードを集める方々も居ます。思うより意外に多いですのでなかなかいい感じのコレクションを作れるらしいです。


こういうランガーがタッグをよける写真もあまり見ませんね。少なくとも、二人ともがこれほど綺麗に見れるほどの写真は見かけません。


こちらの裏も「俺の!俺の!」というフライなどをとろうとする構えの写真が使われています。


こちらは「スローバック」という、古いユニフォームのモチーフのジャージを来ている姿を写しているカード。なんとなくこういうミニコレクションが一番人気な気がします。少なくとも私の友達のなかでは。


こうしたマイナー限定カードまでありました。もう数年前に引退したBrian Robertsのカードを見ると時間の流れがどれだけ早いか実感しました。


このカードは特に特別ではありませんがこういうバーゲン箱には日本に来日した助っ人外国人がたまにいます。このクロマティの他にはバレンタイン監督やヘンスリー・ミューレンスがありました。


一応これは普通なカードですが、選手はMahlon Duckettというメジャーリーガーではなかったが、ニグロリーグではかなり大きな存在でした。新人王に輝き、このカードが作られたときはまだニグロリーグ関係の仕事を努めていました。残念ながら二年前におなくなりになられたのですが、このカードが彼の伝説を語り続けます。


とりあえずこちらで10セント箱カードの紹介が終わります。他に何枚も買いましたがとりあえずはどういうプチコレクションを作れるかを教えするのが目的でした。

ここからは10セント箱から離れ、50セント(約50円)箱に行きます。特別な集め方とは関係ありませんが、一応見せたいカードです笑。二枚しかないので短めにします。


こちらはスーパーモデルのNina Agdalになります。日本ではモデルさんが始球式を行う場合水着を着て投球するのですがアメリカではあまりないです。というか、全くないです。残念なような、「女性をただ見る物として扱うな」という当たり前の感じがありまして複雑です笑。


最後にはこのKeston Hiuraという今年のドラフトでかなりはやめに指名されると期待されている大学生です。どうやら彼はアメリカに生まれ育った、日本人と中国人のハーフらしいです。彼は打者としてかなり高く評価されていますが、けがなどで守備力をのばすチャンスが少なかったため、今後どのポジションにいるかは分かりません(一応今はショートらしいです)。


で、これでこのポストを終了します。
凄いエグイパッチや超大物のサインではありませんが、安めで中々面白いコレクションを作りたい方々にすこしでも参考になれたら嬉しいです。

皆さん時間ありがとうございました。

良い一日を:)!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

An Easily Obtainable Autograph

When you think of buying certified autographs of established major leaguers, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

If you're like me, it's usually how good that player is and how expensive their autographs must be as an extension of that.

My general "rule" is that the better the player is, and the more prominent role he plays in his organization, the higher his prices are. And this is what I apply to cards in a vacuum where Bowman Chrome autographs aren't in the equation. In that, even if the autograph is the player's coveted Bowman Chrome autograph, it can still cost a hefty sum. Just look at the going prices for Mike Trout and Bryce Harper autographs that aren't their Bowman Chrome autos. Or even not-quite-as-big stars like Francisco Lindor.

Of course this rule has its exceptions and it's not so clear cut for various reasons. The biggest being oversupply. If you're like Noah Syndergaard and sign for every product, the law of supply and demand dictates that your autographs will go down in value due to there being more out there available for purchase. And yes, serial numbers and exclusivity can slow that process down a tad, but the fact remains that the overall supply of Syndergaard autographs have gone up. Expect the less desired autographs (like the unlicensed Panini ones) to go down even more in value.

Also, there's the age-old issue of big market vs small market teams. It should be no surprise that Nolan Arenado's autographs aren't going for nearly as much as his worth as a player would indicate, because he plays his games in a gaudy purple vest in a stadium named after a beverage that tastes like urine. And most importantly, he's not in a big market like New York, Boston, Chicago or Los Angeles. Heck, he's not even in a medium-to-big market like Toronto, Seattle, Houston or St. Louis.

These are the reasons I consider my latest purchase, not as painful as I expected.


BEHOLD! My first online baseball card purchase in months!

Evan Longoria's autographs have intrigued me for a while now. A quick look at completed listings show that his non-Bowman Chrome autographs can be had for less than a retail rack pack. Although I got this particular autograph (from the high end Topps The Mint set) for the price of a discounted blaster (plus tax).


The value of Longoria's autographs do not benefit from being on a big market team, and because Longoria is one of the only two Rays players worth caring about he's in a lot of products (the other is Chris Archer whose prices are also very cheap). I guess it's also worth noting that Longoria is old. His autographs can't get get any higher in value due to how he's pretty much maxed out his potential and impact at the big league level. Which is a guy who still has a long ways to go if he wants to make it to the hall of fame, but with his diminishing skills it's hard to see that happening.


So anytime you're in a retail setting and thinking of buying a blaster for $20.00 or a repack for $5.00, just remember that you could get an autograph of the face of the Rays franchise for that money. Never mind whether you'd want to or not.

Now Longo joins Hunter Pence in the, autographs I bought even though I don't really know why I bought them collection.


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

Monday, May 22, 2017

Custom Card Sleeves?

With the exception of the repack and a few stray Torrens cards my baseball card purchases have been fairly limited. On the other hand my non-baseball related card purchases have gone up.

Those of you who are unfortunate enough to follow me on Twitter know that I've ventured into gaming cards, or more specifically Yu-Gi-Oh!

Visits to card shops continue, except I go to different parts of the stores. And I learn about the similarities and differences between sports cards and gaming cards.

Today we'll be talking about one of the differences. The special card sleeves.


These sleeves that have special artwork on the back and are designed to only show the front. Maybe some of you have gotten them before from certain eBay sellers who also deal with things like Magic The Gathering cards.

But these types of sleeves don't exist in the world of sports cards where the sleeves are transparent and made so you can see both the front and back. It makes sense when you consider that sports card backs are actually important and come with things worth looking at like statistics, personal information and occasionally cartoons.


That said, I don't think it'd be the worst idea in the world to have the special custom back card sleeves. I'd personally love to have custom sleeves of my favorite players.

Obviously these sleeves wouldn't be used on cards with backs that matter, but I'd argue that at this point in time, we've got plenty of card backs that don't matter. At least enough to put them in these kinds of cool sleeves.


Like look at these backs (which conveniently includes two baseball themed gaming cards). I'd much rather have a picture of Luis Torrens looking cool in catching gear while an explosion happens behind him.

It seems like a pretty simple idea. Get sleeves with logos of teams on the backs at first, then maybe expand to popular players and mascots. Then charge more for custom orders. America is the home of exploiting ideas for the sake of any meager profit (#capitalism), I'm genuinely surprised it hasn't happened before and that I'm not seeing used dirty Derek Jeter card sleeves at card shows in dime boxes.

Then again, maybe Ultra-Pro or whoever else has a say in these types of products actually did a lot of market research on this idea at some point but found that it'd be unprofitable. Possibly even more so today with licensing fees for logos and player likenesses being so expensive. Who knows?

What I do know is that I still want Luis Torrens sleeves and Dark Magician Girl sleeves.

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

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Month-End TTM Roundup: 4/3-5/6


Received On: 04/03/2017

My first return this past month came from Rangers righty Tanner Scheppers.
Tann Scheppers was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the first round of the 2009 MLB Player Draft. Scheppers spent a few years in the minors as a budding reliever before making it to the big leagues in 2012. The following year Scheppers established himself as a perfectly suitable setup man in a big league rotation with a breakout season, but Scheppers has struggled to follow it up due to injuries stemming from an attempt at turning into a starter (that didn't go well) and fluke injuries. Scheppers' main weapon is his mid-90's fastball that can still reach 95 mph even after shoulder issues. He also has a curveball to help deceive hitters as well. Scheppers had hoped to make the team and stay on a big league roster again but according to Evan Grant, a sore abdominal muscle put an end to that hope. Scheppers has one more minor league option so the Rangers will probably stash him in triple-A and monitor his health as the season goes on. Maybe he can help the Rangers bullpen later on in the season.

Received On: 04/03/2017

Next up is former big leaguer Paul Mirabella.
Paul Mirabella was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the first round of the 1976 MLB Player Draft. Two years later he was involved in a big trade that involved a bunch of players and was responsible for Sparky Lyle becoming a Ranger and Dave Righetti becoming a Yankee. The lefty spent the rest of his career going from team to team including the Blue Jays, Cubs, Rangers (again), Orioles, Phillies, Mariners and Brewers, often toiling in the minors. His best season was probably in 1980 when we was worth 0.9 bWAR. According to NJ Sports Heroes, after his career ended he entered the tire-exporting business.

Received On: 04/06/2017

Next up is Dodgers righty Ross Stripling.
Ross Stripling was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth round of the 2012 MLB Player Draft. Stripling spent a few years in the Dodgers farmsystem as a budding starter and finally made his MLB debut in 2016. Stripling is armed with a low-90's fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. Stripling had a promising rise in the Dodgers farmsystem but Tommy John surgery wiped out his 2014 season and he's had brief stints on the DL in the seasons since. Eventually Stripling made it to the big leagues in 2016 and notably carried a no hitter to the eighth inning before management decided to pull the plug on him at 100 pitches. Following his debut Stripling was sent down to the minors again on a rehab assignment, but eventually returned later in the season and even pitched in the post season as a reliever. This season Stripling made the Dodgers out of spring training and is currently a bullpen arm but given how the Dodgers pitching depth is 99.9% injury prone, he'll probably get a shot in the rotation at one point.

Received On: 04/08/2017

More retired Brewers, this time from Mike Caldwell.
Mike Caldwell was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 12th round of the 1971 MLB Player Draft. Caldwell made his MLB debut immediately and then spent two years in the Padres org before he was traded to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Willie McCovey and Bernie Williams (the other Bernie Williams). He was traded again in 1976 to the Cardinals for no one of any note. The following year he was traded to the Reds but was given away for basically nothing to the Brewers halfway through the season. With the Brewers Caldwell had a breakout 1978, leading the American League in the Complete Game category with 23 complete games. He posted a career high 8.1 bWAR (per Baseball Reference) that season and finished second in the Cy Young voting (he also got some MVP votes). He spent six more seasons with the Brewers where he was either passable or replacement level exactly. Based on what little I could dig up about him, it appears as though he had a fastball, curveball and slider in his arsenal. I also found that he got into a brawl with Reggie Jackson but unfortunately no footage could be found with a search on YouTube. All in all, a very solid career. One really good year and a brawl with Reggie Jackson to your name to boot.

Received On: 04/17/2017

Here is another retiree TTM return, Mark Gubicza.
Mark Gubicza was originally drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the second round of the 1981 MLB Player Draft. He made his MLB debut three years later at the age of 21 and showed glimpses of promise mixed in with a lot of dud outings in his first few years as a pro. Eventually he had a breakout season in 1988 thanks to refined command on his fastball, slider and change-up. He had a career year in 1988, posting a career best 2.93 FIP and 7.7 bWAR (per Baseball Reference), in addition to his first All Star Game appearance as well as some Cy Young votes. He took a step back the following year (although he did earn another All Star Game appearance) but injuries finally took it's toll on the righty and he spent the rest of his Royals tenure being used as an innings eater who was good for around 100-140 innings. Gubicza spent one season with the Angels in 1997 before retiring. Gubicza now works as a color commentator for Fox Sports West broadcasts of Angels games. Another pretty solid career TBH, one really good year, a nice post-playing career gig and a World Series ring from the 1985 WS Championship.

Received On: 04/20/2017

On 420 (Blaze It!), I received my first returns from a MiLB team this year. More specifically I got three from the same team, and from some pretty good players at that. Leading off is Jermaine Palacios.
Jermaine Palacios was signed by the Minnesota Twins as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela in 2013. The 20 year old came into the 2016 season as one of the Twins' top prospects (think anywhere between 17th best and 25th best), and for good reason. He demolished rookie ball in 2015 and hopes were high that the (then) teenager could also handle himself in higher competition. Unfortunately a wrist injury prematurely ended his 2016 season (where he was struggling even when healthy) but this season he has returned to class-A Cedar Rapids and has been hitting the ball with much more authority. Defensively Palacios is a work in progress (he was originally a third baseman as an amateur) but the Twins will keep him at SS until Palacios forces the Twins to do something to accommodate both him and Nick Gordon. Keep an eye on Palacios, he could be a pretty consistent at a premium position in the future.

Received On: 04/20/2017

The second of the 420 (Blaze It!) returns, this one from Travis Blankenhorn.
Travis Blankenhorn was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the third round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft. Blankenhorn can really hit man. In his two years (so far) as a professional baseball player he's hit fairly well in terms of contact and has shown glimpses of power potential further down the line. Blankenhorn's 2016 season included two very good stints in rookie ball and class-A ball, his performance pushed his prospect status from a top 30 org prospect to a top 10 org prospect, as he's currently the 7th best Twins prospect on MLB.com's ranking and the 10th best Twins prospect on Baseball America. The lefty hitting third baseman will probably stay at third until the Twins see his defense being better suited for other positions. Although he probably won't uproot Miguel Sano at third anytime soon, let's check back in 3-4 years.

Received On: 04/20/2017

And my third return from the 420 (Blaze It!) lot was from Ben Rortvedt.
Ben Rortvedt was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the second round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. The race is on to see who is going to be the next Twins' everyday catcher of the future, and Ben Rortvedt is one of the names in that mix. Rortvedt is a work in progress on both sides of the plate. Offensively he could grow into a consistent hitter with 10-20 HR potential. Defensively he offers a pretty good arm that allowed him to pick off a lot of would-be base stealers last year. Going forward Rortvedt isn't expected to reach the majors until 2020 or 2021, but if he's moved off of catcher we may see him up earlier.

Received On: 4/24/2017

Here's Nationals outfield prospect, Blake Perkins.
Blake Perkins was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the second round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft. This is actually my second return from Mr. Perkins and instead of repeating what I said the first time, I thought it'd be fun to see how much he's changed since last year when I got my first return from him. This year he is demolishing the ball at class-A Hagerstown, in 19 games he's hitting for a .387 BABIP/.325 BA (stats courtesy of Fangraphs) with a good walk rate and improved strikeout rate. Yeah, yeah, small sample sizes I know, I know. But it's still great to see he's off to a great start. A promotion to high-A by the end of the season is something I can definitely see happening. The Nationals' next leadoff hitter is developing very nicely.

Received On: 04/24/2017

Next up is Royals prospect Roman Collins.
Roman Collins was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the fifth round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft. Going into the draft there wasn't a whole lot of buzz about Collins, a relatively safe pick who didn't really wow scouts with much, but he did have a solid track record in college as a guy who could hit for average and for power. He's done okay for the Royals thus far into his career and it'll be interesting to see if the Royals can turn him into something.

Received On: 04/24/2017

And here is top Padres prospect Eric Lauer.
Eric Lauer was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the first round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. Drafted out of the Cape Cod League, Lauer was immediately pushed from rookie ball to short season ball and even made it to single-A ball in his first few months as a pro last season. This season Lauer has started the season in high-A and is off to a very nice start. His latest outing (as of the time of writing this) featured nine strikeouts in seven innings. The lefty is equipped with a low 90's fastball, changeup, slider, and curveball, all of which he can use efficiently and consistently. Lauer projects to be a very good middle of the rotation starter who is as safe a bet as any to at least make it to the big leagues and stay as a starter. Who knows, he may even unseat Jake Peavy as the best pitcher San Diego ever developed.

Received On: 04/26/2017

A pleasant return from Tigers righty Kyle Funkhouser.
Kyle Funkhouser was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. Funkhouser was originally drafted in the first round in 2015 by the Los Angeles Dodgers but returned to school, as you can tell, that did not pay off. But Funkhouser is still packed with the potential that made him drafted so highly, thanks to the power of his mid-90's fastball and wipeout slider. Funkhouser also has a curveball and changeup that are both work in progress pitches, how he develops those two pitches will determine his true potential. For now, he may be a very solid back of the rotation starter.

Received On: 04/27/2017

Now here is an awesome foursome from former big leaguer, A.J. Burnett.
A.J. Burnett was originally drafted by the New York Mets in the either round of the 1995 MLB Player Draft. Burnett spent three seasons in the Mets organization before he was shipped out to the Marlins in the trade that brought the Mets Al Leiter. Burnett made his MLB debut with the Marlins in 1999 and would become a fixture in the rotation by 2001. In 2001 Burnett threw a no-hitter against the Padres. Other highlights from his Marlins tenure include the time he smashed the window of a car. Burnett's departure from the Marlins is quite a fun story BTW. After that Burnett signed with the Blue Jays where he was a serviceable but often injured pitcher. In 2009 Burnett signed the massive contract with the Yankees and had the best season of his career (according to his 4.4 bWAR per Baseball Reference). Burnett was a key part of the 2009 World Series Championship the Yankees won. After that he struggled and by 2011 he was the butt of a lot of jokes with everybody wondering when Manny Banuelos was going to oust Burnett from the rotation (which turned out to be never). In 2012 the Yankees dumped Burnett onto the Pirates and he did quite well for himself. Earning an All Star invite in 2015, his last season in the majors.

Received On: 04/27/2017

Hark a Cub! A D.J. Wilson.
Darryl James Wilson was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the fourth round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft. Wilson is known for his blazing speed, one of the key attributes that make him an outfielder worth keeping an eye on. Offensively Wilson is still a work in progress, he doesn't have the power you'd want from a corner outfielder and he needs to hit a bit more consistently to make good on his promise as a table setter. Wilson projects to be anywhere between a defensive specialist in center field, a pinch runner, and possibly a bottom of the order type who can do some damage on the base paths if he can ever reach first. Despite how this writeup kind of skews negatively on Wilson, I do home he can put it together and flourish. The Cubs are going to need guys like him to step up and replenish their farm system after the trades and graduations.

Received On: 05/01/2017

Next up is Mets prospect Champ Stuart.
Champ Stuart was drafted by the New York Mets in the sixth round of the 2013 MLB Player Draft. It's been a long time coming but he finally got his first baseball card two years later! Also Stuart made it to double-A. Stuart is a bit of an under the radar, prospect in the Mets org. Stuart is kind of like DJ Wilson in that he's a centerfield known for his tremendous speed. That said, some scouts have voiced opinions about Stuart possibly growing a little more power as time goes on. Like, 10 HRs per season, power. Until then, hitting consistently will be the first test for the one and only Champ.

Received On: 05/01/2017

Here is Twins prospect Alex Robinson.
Alex Robinson was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the fifth round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft. the Queens (NYC stand up!) native was a dominant closer in college and is one of the bullpen arms the Twins hope will be a fixture in the bullpen soon. Robinson is armed with a mid-to-high 90's fastball and a slider. The development of the slider will ultimately determine if he can be a capital C closer or a middle reliever. Best of luck to Alex, make NYC proud.

Received On: 05/01/2017

Another Bowman Chrome Asia black ref return, this time from Austin Rei.
Austin Rei was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the third round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft. Rei projects to be a good backup catcher with a solid bat and solid defense. Rei spent some time in college on the shelf due to a thumb injury but he's made up for lost time so far in the Red Sox org. Rei has some nice power for a catcher and thus far into 2017 he's hitting a lot better (note, be wary of small sample sizes). His throwing arm is serviceable and going forward he could be Swihart's capable backup in the future.

Received On: 05/01/2017

Brewers continue to come back, even from the minors, thanks to Ryan Cordell.
Ryan Cordell was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB Player Draft. Cordell was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers as the Player To Be Named Later in the Jonathan Lucroy deal. The Rangers moved Cordell all over the field but the Brewers see Cordell as their capable fourth outfielder in the foreseeable future. Cordell can make solid contact and even has some pop in his bat, but whether or not he can do both consistently enough to be an everyday outfielder at the big league level remains to be seen. Cordell has great speed (which helps his range in the outfield) so he could be a situational runner too. A very fun and versatile asset for the rebuilding Brewers.

Received On: 05/01/2017

Here's a return from A's righty Daniel Gossett.
Daniel Gossett was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the second round of the 2014 MLB Player Draft. I first got a return from Gossett three years ago (WTF?!) when Gossett was first drafted and poised to be a promising prospect who'd provide the A's some much needed pitching depth down the line. Three years later, he's done just that. The righty has managed to reach triple-A after a phenomenal breakout season in 2016 where he went from high-A to triple-A. A polished college pitcher prior the draft, the revival of Gossett's slider has been key to his success and has worked well with his low-to-mid 90's fastball and excellent curveball. Gossett has also been working on a changeup which would be a very solid addition to his arsenal. This season Gossett has been off to a rough start but he is still getting K's, and his ceiling as a very good middle of the rotation starter is still there. I'm very optimistic to see what Gossett can bring to the A's, or whichever team the A's trade him to in some weird out of nowhere trade :P.

Received On: 05/02/2017

A rare Pirates return (he said after showing a Pirate return a few cards ago), from Buddy Borden.
Buddy Borden was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh round of the 2013 MLB Player Draft. Early on there were hopes that Borden could be a serviceable starter but beyond his low 90's fastball, the curveball and change up were not developing as quickly as hoped/expected. Borden was with the Tampa Bay Rays for a bit when he got traded in the Sean Rodriguez trade, but he completely fell apart in the Rays org and was released immediately. The Pirates have since picked him back up and hope to turn Borden into a useful reliever but it looks as though the development of his secondary pitches is still key and a problem. Then again, if anyone can make pitching miracles happen, it's the Buccos. Good luck Buddy.

Received On: 05/04/2017

A return from Giants prospect, Bryan Reynolds.
Bryan Reynolds was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the second round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. The Vanderbilt product projects to be steady with the bat, good plate discipline and good enough power. He has decent speed which should help him cover a lot of ground in the outfield. He also had a 80 grade bat drop.


I say had because I'm not sure if he still does that. He should.

Received On: 05/04/2017

Former Yankees prospect, Brian Buchanan.
Brian Buchanan was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the first round of the 1994 MLB Player Draft. Buchanan hit pretty well in the Yankees org but was traded to the Minnesota Twins in the Chuck Knoblauch trade in early 1998. Buchanan made his MLB debut with the Twins two years later. Buchanan played for other teams like the Padres, Mets, Rays, Rockies and Royals but ultimately Buchanan could never quite crack it at the big league level and spent most of his time in triple-A. He even played in Japan as a member of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. Buchanan hang up the spikes after the 2009 season and eventually re-entered the Kansas City Royals org as a coach in 2010. This year Buchanan was promoted to the big league Royals as the assistant hitting coach. This interview with MLB.com revealed an interesting tidbit, Buchanan is married to Jill Havlicek, NBA HoFer/Celtics Legend John Havlicek's daughter. Making Buchanan John Havlicek's son-in-law.

Received On: 05/05/2017

A couple of returns from Padres prospect, Cal Quantrill.
Cal Quantrill is the son of former big leaguer Paul Quantrill and was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the first round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. The eighth overall draft pick spent pretty much the last of his days as an amateur in 2016 on the shelf while he recovered from Tommy John Surgery but the Padres liked what his bullpen sessions showed enough to draft him. Quantrill had an impressive pro debut after being drafted, one where he even made it to class-A Fort Wayne. This season he's starting with high-A Lake Elsinore and appears to be on a strict innings limit (six appears to be the maximum), which is appropriate and to be expected. He'll probably get shut down by late-August, but what will really be key is seeing just how much his offerings will improve this year. Quantrill throws a fastball that can reach 96 mph and a great change-up, his slider is the pitch that's currently a work in progress and developing that pitch will be the number one priority as Quantrill makes his way to Petco.

Received On: 05/06/2017

Next up is Nationals prospect Daniel Johnson.
Daniel Johnson was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. The lefty hitting outfielder's key attributes are his plus arm and plus plus speed. Both of which he uses to great effect in centerfield. Offensively Johnson is still a work in progress. Johnson can hit fairly well in terms of contact but it remains to be seen if his power can develop. His ceiling is probably an everyday centerfield with elite defense who bats either at the top of the order or the bottom of the order, and basically blazes the base paths with his top notch speed. Hopefully he pans out, in the post-Bryce Harper era, the Nats are going to need all of the talent they have to stay relevant.

Received On: 05/06/2017

Next up are a couple of nice returns from former Yankee Lee Guetterman. The Upper Deck card was the card I sent him but he also sent along the custom on the right which goes into his Christian faith.
Lee Guetterman was originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the fourth round of the 1981 MLB Player Draft. Guetterman made his MLB debut with the M's three years later and stayed with the club until 1987 when he was traded to the Yankees in the trade that sent names like Henry Cotto and Steve Trout to Seattle. Guetterman was a starter in the minors (and one year in Seattle) but by his second season in New York he was a full time reliever, the move paid off for a bit as his best season (according to his career best 2.4 bWAR, per Baseball Reference) came in 1989 when he pitched all 103 innings in relief. Guetterman spent a few more seasons in the Bronx before he was traded to the team in Queens in a rare Yankees-Mets trade. Guetterman then spent time in St. Louis and then back in Seattle before retiring. Nowadays Guetterman spends his time as a pitching coach/instructor for people looking to refine their pitching mechanics.

Received On: 05/06/2017

My last return during this period is also my favorite, a return from Koji Uehara.
Koji Uehara was a highly touted amateur before going pro, gaining a lot of attention from various NPB clubs and even four MLB clubs (the Angels being the most prominent club to make an offer to Uehara). Ultimately Uehara went with the Giants and selected them as the Giants also selected Uehara in the first round of the 1998 NPB Player Draft. The rest of Uehara's Giants tenure featured a ton of accolades as he became the Giants ace. Uehara later came to the big leagues in 2009 as a Baltimore Orioles. Uehara also played for the Texas Rangers after he was acquired in the trade that sent Chris Davis to Baltimore and was supposed to make the Rangers bullpen "Wash-proof" (it didn't work out BTW). Uehara then signed with the Red Sox before the 2013 season became the closer after Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan pitched their way to the DL. Uehara then gave Boston one of the best seasons by a closer in recent times, and was a key part of their 2013 World Series title (he even won the ALCD MVP award). Uehara's since then taken a few steps back, but he's still an effective MLB reliever as he's currently pitching for the Cubs. How much longer the 42 year old intends to pitch is a mystery but he has stated in interviews that he wants to play a total of 10 seasons in the big leagues, like how he played a total of 10 seasons in the NPB (at the highest level at least).

BTW, if you ever wondered why Koji's jersey number is 19, it's because he apparently spent a gap year after failing to get into college at age 19, but to him it represents hope (it worked out for him in the end didn't it?) as he did get into college the next year. And this is Koji's way of never forgetting it.

Sidenote, this marks the very first signed Calbee card in my collection (hopefully not my last) and I'm pretty stoked. I've had this card since high school when a classmate of mine traded it to me. And now it's inked!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And those were my returns from this past month. Perhaps I should return to a weekly format? Nah, too much work. Regardless, big thanks to Mr. Scheppers, Mirabella, Stripling, Caldwell, Gubicza, Palacios, Blankenhorn, Rortvedt, Perkins, Collins, Lauer, Funkhouser, Burnett, Wilson, Stuart, Robinson, Rei, Cordell, Gossett, Borden, Reynolds, Buchanan, Quantrill, Johnson, Guetterman and Uehara.

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

Take care.

2017 TTM Count: 61

Sources:
*http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/schepta01.shtml
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=489294#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL
*http://www.brooksbaseball.net/landing.php?player=489294
*http://m.mlb.com/news/article/216320624/tanner-scheppers-hopes-2017-is-healthy-year/
*http://sportsday.dallasnews.com/texas-rangers/rangers/2017/03/29/appears-tanner-scheppers-will-part-rangers-opening-day-bullpen
*http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/mirabpa01.shtml
*http://www.njsportsheroes.com/paulmirabellabb.html
*http://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=stripl000tho
*http://www.brooksbaseball.net/landing.php?player=548389
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=548389#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL
*http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/caldwmi01.shtml
*http://www.upi.com/Archives/1983/06/03/The-Milwaukee-Brewers-thought-Mike-Caldwell-was-a-surgeon/9444423460800/
*http://archive.jsonline.com/sports/79-brewer-yankees-brawl-of-fame-game-had-everything-b99317965z1-268760411.html
*http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/gubicma01.shtml
*http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/team/broadcasters.jsp?c_id=ana
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=650339#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016/?list=min
*http://twinsdaily.com/_/minnesota-twins-news/minnesota-twins-minor-leagues/seths-preliminary-top-50-twins-prospects-part-2-31-40-r5120
*http://puckettspond.com/2016/02/08/minnesota-twins-top-20-prospects-17-jermaine-palacios/
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=663905#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=min
*http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2017-minnesota-twins-top-10-prospects/#2W65LASyG4pW1hlR.97
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=666163#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL
*http://puckettspond.com/2017/02/16/minnesota-twins-top-10-prospects-no-8-ben-rortvedt/
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=663368#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=was
*http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa874806&position=OF
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=664046#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL
*http://www.royalsreview.com/2015/6/11/8754393/royals-2015-draft-recap
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=641778#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=sd
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=608335#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=det
*http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/burnea.01.shtml
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=663791
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=642117#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=621330#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/news/article/129541012/twins-excited-about-lefty-draft-pick-alex-robinson/
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=623300#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL
*http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa659079&position=C
*http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/top-15-prospects-boston-red-sox-2/
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=641477#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=mil
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=605254#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=oak
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=641380#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL
*http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/12/12/7385145/pirates-give-up-buddy-borden-in-sean-rodriguez-trade
*http://www.minorleagueball.com/2014/12/19/7385259/rays-acquire-borden-to-complete-trade-with-pit
*http://www.bucsdugout.com/2017/4/9/15234042/cannonballs-coming-max-moroff-homers-in-third-straight-game
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=668804
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=sf
*http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/buchabr01.shtml
*http://m.mlb.com/news/article/213377068/qa-with-new-royals-coach-brian-buchanan/
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=615698#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=669288#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL
*http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/guettle01.shtml
*http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/u/ueharko01.shtml