Tuesday, June 27, 2017

It's Time

The New York-Penn League has begun. You know what that means.

It took me a week to finally get my hands on some Staten Island Yankees action, but better late than never.

This year is especially going to be challenging because the Yankees' 2017 draftees have either A). yet to sign or B). yet to be assigned. What this means is that the lower levels like Pulaski, Staten Island and Charleston are going to be a bit of a rotating door. Some players will move out, as new ones come in. A week into the season and the opening day roster for the Staten Island Yankees is already out of date. This is where every autograph collector's keen sense of facial recognition will be tested and either come in handy or burn them miserably.

The key name on the roster is hands down Wilkerman Garcia. One of the crown jewels in the insane International Amateur Free Agent haul the Yankees had in 2014. Wilkerman Garcia is seen as the most promising of that group due to his serious potential as a shortstop going forward. Offensively he's still got a lot of things to work on but he's a 19 year old who has still yet to fill out so there's still time for him to develop his hit tool and power tool. Defensively he is very solid at shortstop but rumors have circulated that he might be better suited at other infield positions. I'm sure the Yankees will keep Garcia at shortstop for now and then later test him out at various positions anyway because that's what they do now (see Tyler Wade, Thairo Estrada and Jorge Mateo for example).
Garcia was Charleston bound in 2016 but a shoulder injury limited him to action in Pulaski where he was, underwhelming to say the least. But there is great hope that he can get the bat going this year and really show flashes of his true potential, then future show it more consistently in Charleston later.
Sidenote, Garcia is already a "one autograph per person" guy so I can already hear a lot of autograph hounds in Tampa and Trenton complaining. Ha! Take that you hounds!

Another key name on the roster (at least for me) was Nelson Gomez here. I've been really excited about Gomez for years due to his immense power potential. When the guy connects, he hits dingers. Of course there's a lot to work on with the rest of his offensive game, and his defense is an even bigger question mark, but the potential is there and for me he's an interesting and very good under the radar candidate to keep an eye on.

For whatever it's worth Nelson did his part in the game. Going 1-3 with a walk and two strike outs (scoring a run too) as the team's cleanup hitter. I expect a lot more growth from Gomez going forward.

And I also got three Gomez cards signed. I had a fat stack of his cards and decided on the Under Armour insert, the Asia exclusive black ref, and the purple ref I traded way too much to acquire back in 2015. The rest were given to him as a gift.

Alright, now onto a really familiar face. Jeff Degano, the Yankees' second rounder from 2015, is back after a very down 2016 season in Pulaski. Degano couldn't throw strikes anymore last year and as a result he's been relegated to reliever status. Whether or not Degano simply suffered a case of the yips remains to be seen, but I hope he pulls it all together and makes good on his promise as a serviceable big league pitcher in some non-specific cacapity.

Next up is Eduardo Rivera. Rivera has been in the Yankees org since 2010 when he signed as an amateur out of the Dominican Republic. Rivera is a righty who can throw really really hard. That velocity has managed to keep him employed for over half of a decade but command issues have been what kept Rivera from making significant progress. Rivera has shown glimpses of success however, most notably last year when he performed rather well in Staten Island and in Charleston. In Tampa he struggled a fair bit and this year he's been demoted back to Staten Island. Given his high-90's fastball, the Yankees won't give up on him just yet, but time might be ticking for the 24 year old fireballer.

Danienger Perez, the first member of the aforementioned 2014 IFA haul that actually made it above rookie ball. Perez has largely spent the last three years going back and forth between rookie ball and Staten Island. Perez's best tool is likely his speed, followed by his glove. A lot of the reports I've read about him say that Perez is a slap hitter who hasn't hit a lot. Looking at the numbers alone, it sounds about right. That said, hopefully he can carve out a few more years as an org guy.

Here is backstop Manny Argomaniz. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015 out of Fresno State, the backstop primarily played infield in college but the Yankees converted him into a catcher after he turned pro. Probably due to how the Yankees' supply of catchers has gotten thinner in recent times (the days of a promising catcher at every level are long gone). It could be due to there being three catchers on the roster, but Argomaniz hasn't had a lot of playing time yet to show what he can do just yet. On the other hand, he is getting a lot more practice as a backstop with bullpen warmup sessions.

Here is Braden Bristo. A 23rd rounder from last year who is a righty reliever. Interestingly enough he was rumored to come to Staten Island last year but for whatever reason was assigned to Pulaski instead. Bristo has a low 90's fastball that can reach 97 at times, and is currently in the process of harnessing it to turn into an effective relief option.

Last but not least is DTW, aka Dom Thompson-Williams. DTW was in Staten Island last year but the glut of outfield depth in the org has pretty much caused him to repeat the level. DTW's calling card is his insanely good defense, but hitting will be his biggest challenge. He hit okay last year but this year he'll be looking to show that he's improved offensively. Which won't be easy as all of the outfielders in SIY seem to have something to prove to Yankees management as more roster cuts have to be considered given the massive influx of talent in the last 365 days.

And those were my autographs. Not bad for my first day eh? The focus was primarily on Nelson Gomez and Wilkerman Garcia so everything else was gravy to me after that. I do still have some more autographs I'd love to get, but I still have the rest of the summer (hopefully).

Alright, so onto the game itself.

I didn't stick around for the whole game (I had work the next day), but what I did see was a lot of fun. The Yankees starter was Jorge Guzman, one of the prospects the Yankees got from Houston in the Brian McCann trade. He was extremely effective as he went six innings, allowing two hits, zero runs and striking out seven hitters. He doesn't have a baseball card but I'd certainly like to get his autograph while he's still here. He's probably the second most promising pitcher on the squad this year (behind Drew Finley). After Guzman, Branden Pinder (yes, the former big leaguer), Justin Kamplain and Eduardo Rivera came in and they all shutout the Aberdeen IronBirds.

Offensively the team made some key hits when it counted and also made good on some of the other team's pitching woes. The first inning alone set the tone for the game as IronBirds starter Nick Vespi allowed two runs, one via a bases loaded walk. The Yankees tacked on five more runs as the game went on, one of which was another bases loaded walk. Except for Brian Reyes (who didn't even have a plate appearance as he was a late defensive replacement), pretty much all of the hitters reached base at least once.

I forgot the "the" ACK!!!!

One scary moment came when Oswaldo Cabrera (a IFA signee from 2015) was HBP in the first. He got up and walked to first and then stayed on the basepaths until he reached third base where he was replaced by Chris Hess. Whether or not he's seriously hurt and will miss time remains to be seen. Hopefully it's nothing serious and he'll be back on the field quickly.

In all the Yankees won it 7-0. They improve to 6-1 on the season and are in a really good spot.

One of the more personal fun moments I had at the game was meeting Alex Bisacca (48) again. He still remembered me as a the crazy fan from 2015 and I got introduced to Chase Hodson in the process. We talked for a bit and we all hoped the season would be just as fun and wild as it was in 2015. And that what likely killed the 2015 season were rained out games smack dab in the postseason, and the lack of any real reinforcements from the lower levels (Pulaski was in their league's postseason too so it's not like they could send anybody of note anyway).

Hopefully they both survive the revolving door that will be the SIY roster this year. Both were/are really cool dudes to talk to and root for.

So that was my first Staten Island Yankees game of the season. Great start IMHO. Hopefully the fun continues in the upcoming months.

That Hudson River backdrop man

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

2017 IP Auto Count: 10

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Card From Venezuela

It's now June, Luis Torrens has yet to receive an official baseball card from Topps or Panini or Leaf as a San Diego Padre. At this point he may end up getting a rookie card in Topps Update and that's it :P.

While I don't mind that, the anticipation has me a little antsy. I'm so close to adding a new Torrens card to my Torrenterion Collection after a three year a gap. Make it happen already!

Well actually, it did just happen the other day.

So there's the first Padres-era Torrens card I actually paid money for. I'm hesitant to call this card official because I can't see any MLB licensing info anywhere.

If you're wondering what this card is, it's one of the unofficial cards from Venezuela. If you've ever looked up players from Venezuela, chances are you've seen a few cards made exclusively for them.

And this is how Torrens gets his first 2017 card.

TBH I was a bit hesitant to add this to the Torrenterion collection because the quality of this card is a little below Gavin's awesome customs. But on the other hand this has the novelty of being an exclusive from a foreign country, those are always cool. Now I can say I've had a card shipped to me from Venezuela.

So the wait for Torrens' Topps RC continues, but here was a nice small treat to hold me over in the meantime.

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

Monday, June 12, 2017

Checking In On A Dodgers Prospect

The subject of last year's edition of "Ode To A Dodgers Prospect" was Walker Buehler. Last year's post was fairly simple to make because Buehler was on the DL after getting Tommy John Surgery shortly after being drafted in 2015. The key details to state back then were about his Vanderbilt career and how he was expected to perform once he came back.

Well it's been a year since then and Buehler has indeed come back. I thought it'd be fun to revisit how the Dodgers righty has fared since then. Also I thought it'd be just as fun (or at least neat) to see if the cards I picked up of his for fairly cheap have gone up in price.

So the key change since the last time I talked about Buehler is that he has returned from rehab and has made up for lost time.

He started the 2017 season in extended Spring Training where there was a lot of excitement for the Vandy product's return. In this article by MiLB's Josh Jackson, Buehler stated that his key objective coming into the season was to see how he could beef up his fastball-curveball-changeup combo. Sidenote, he also has a really good slider too (said to be in the 87-91 mph range according to Fangraphs' Eric Longenhagen).

Buehler's fastball post-TJS has been very steady (was in the mid-to-high 90's a lot in Spring Training) and has actually reached 100 mph at times this season, just ask the Tulsa Drillers themselves. That's impressive and a very positive sign as well.

The Dodgers are still very careful with him though. He's yet to pitch more than 100 pitches in a game and has been limited to around 70-80 pitches max per outing. Even with his short pitching leash, he can be downright dominant.

His best performance of the season so far is no doubt his outing on May 17th, Buehler made his second start in double-A (his first start was, okay), and flat out dominated. According to MiLB's Sam Dykstra, he threw 68 pitches (almost nice) and struck out NINE batters in three and two-thirds innings. Imagine how much more of a force he could be when he builds up more body strength and can go on even later in games.

His appearances after that didn't feature nearly as many K's, but he's slowly started being stretched out more from barely four innings to five full innings.

Doing research for this post has brought up a lot of rumors circulating about Buehler possibly being brought up to the big leagues by the end of the season. The Dodgers project to use up all of their starting pitching depth by next Thursday and bringing Buehler up in a relief role to speed up his development (ala Carson Fulmer) is an option.

If Buehler starts in the big leagues, I can see him being on a strict innings limit that forces Roberts to pull him in the midst of the no-no. Stealing Home will angrily drunk tweet about that I'm sure.

Whether or not that happens remains to be seen but with the innings limit the Dodgers have placed on Buehler from the start of the season, there is a window of opportunity to get a cup of coffee in the big leagues this September, then really make a case for himself as a frontline starter next year. He's got the pitches and polish to succeed. The question is his health (remember, he is still a Dodger) and his stamina.

Alright, now for the card centered portion of this post.

So last year I picked up three certified Walker Buehler autographs. Not really as investments, but more like as a long term project to see how prices fluctuate for an elite prospect that's not a Yankee.

Let's start with the standard, the Bowman Chrome autograph. This also happens to be the refractor version BTW. I purchased this for $7 (shipping fees not included) because Buehler hadn't yet returned from Tommy John surgery. What are they going for now?

Well a few months ago they were in the $20-25 range but according to the even more recent eBay listings, they've sold for north of $30. That May 17th performance really boosted the value of these puppies (I assume). Either way, my buy low strategy was a success here. At worst the card is now worth triple what I got it for, and at best it's worth quadruple what I got it for. WIN!

Now here's the other card I picked up last year, this Bowman's Best Walker Buehler autograph (base version). I picked up two for like $7 off of COMC last year (one was shipped off to Night Owl Cards). Making this like $4 (the other one was dinged).

The prices for this one are largely inconsistent. I mean, just look at the last two completed listings there. For the most part the average comes out to anywhere between $4-5. I haven't lost money on this, but no real big gains here except for a few nickels. On the bright side, these are now going for $10+ on COMC, so... yeah. You're welcome Greg.

In retrospect I really should've picked up an unlicensed Panini autograph just to see how the prices on those cards fluctuate too. These two are both licensed Dodgers cards, which has an effect (albeit a small one) on their values.

But these two autographs have presented a very clear conclusion. Chrome is king. Buy Bowman Chrome autographs for cheap, they'll pay off better in the long run if the player has a rebound. And if they rebound on a big market team, $$$!!! Don't bother with the non-Bowman Chrome stuff like Best or Inception or any of that, Chrome is king.

And no, these cards are not for sale. Buehler is one of my favorite prospects. Go away.

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

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Miniature To Fill Time

So my post about the Japanese BBM cards from my friend Kimowota is taking a lot longer than I had thought. In the meantime I've prepared this filler post where I just show off my latest Luis Torrens acquisition.

At first glance it looks like your typical 2013 Bowman Chrome purple refractor. But as the title of this post suggests, this is the Bowman Chrome Mini version.


The standard size Bowman Chrome purple refractors were numbered to 199, but these mini purple refractors were numbered to a lot lot less.

They were actually numbered to five. Which is the number of hits Torrens has this year so far.

I managed to get the fifth one of this card in it's print run. Pretty neat.

I have no idea what else I need now (except the superfractor and two of the plates) but I'll worry about that another time. Right now, I'm just glad that I can keep adding more Torrens cards to my collection.

Speaking of Torrens, there's been a lot of developments for him at the big league level since I last blogged about him.

For one thing he's notched a few more career firsts like his first run.

And thanks to me he has a few All Star Game votes now.

Overall his stats are pretty down but that's to be expected. For one thing, Torrens is not ready. There was a reason the Yankees opted not to protect him from the Rule 5, they didn't think anybody was dumb/crazy enough to actually keep him after spring training (they were wrong and right at the same time). For another thing, he's getting sporadic starts in between like 4-5 consecutive Austin Hedges starts. The number one thing Torrens needed this year was consistent playing time. He's not getting it, and how that has an effect on him long term is starting to scare me. This isn't a slight on Hedges, who the Padres are more invested in for a lot of obvious reasons. It's more like me complaining to the void that AJ Preller is a shitty GM. Just watch, he (or whoever comes in to replace him after he gets fired) will mess up the rebuild.

Anyway, there's still some hope that Torrens returns to the Yankees, but the Padres are so bad (they're basically the Angels without Mike Trout) that whether or not he's there wouldn't make the slightest difference. Plus there's that whole "the Padres have his contractual rights" thing and all. Consider this season a write off, I have :P.

But I'm not giving up my supercollection, ever. Because Torrens is still the best, no matter how bad the present may be.

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

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Month-End TTM Roundup: 5/8-6/3

Received On: 05/08/2017

My first returns this month came from Sir Hensley Meulens.
Last time I got a return from Sir Meulens, I wrote about his career from an MLB perspective, this time I thought I'd write about his time in Japan. Starting with how when he first signed up for the Chiba Lotte Marines in 1994, he was the very first foreigner from The Netherlands to play in Japan. Meulens had a pretty okay debut with the Marines and he signed with the Yakult Swallows the next year. With the Swallows, Meulens took a few steps back (he led the league in strikeouts) but he hit a career best 29 home runs and did his part in helping the Swallows to their Central League title and Japan Series title. He stayed with the Swallows for one more season in 1996 then came back to the US. Based on what I was able to find, Meulens was well liked in Japan. Past teammates and staff note how he did his best to learn Japanese and tried speaking Japanese with everybody (at that point Meulens had already learned English, Spanish, German and Dutch/Papiamento so one more language wasn't going to hurt). I also found out that Meulens was bullied a lot by rapist/sexual predator Mel Hall, both in the Yankees org and in Japan (they were teammates on the Marines in 1994), so much so that Hall had to be warned by management to stop being a dipshit.
Anyway, it's always awesome to get back a return from Meulens. His life is amazing and I'm hoping that at some point a big baseball aficionado writes about it and turns it into a book. Then again, it might take a while since his story is still going on, and will keep going on for many more years. May the Meulens story continue forever.

Received On: 05/10/2017

Next up are a couple I deemed long shots from Ben Lively.
Ben Lively was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB Player Draft. Lively was later traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in the Marlon Byrd trade. Lively is armed with a low 90's fastball, a slider, changeup and curveball. He projects long term to be a back end of the rotation starter who can eat up a lot of innings. Think Joe Blanton but better. Lively is already up in triple-A and could be up in the big leagues soon, making him one of the first in the Phillies youth movement to rise up through the ranks.

Received On: 05/13/2017

Here's an awesome return from Orioles righty Cody Sedlock.
Cody Sedlock was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the first round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. Sedlock is armed with a low 90's fastball, a slider, a curveball and a changeup. His slider is his second best pitch and his development of the curveball and changeup will determine whether he can reach his ceiling as a very serviceable middle of the rotation starter.
This also marks the first time I had a TTM request come back where the player signed his name in Japanese. I usually write the people I'm sending requests to's names in Japanese and Sedlock likely copied that for this lol. Thanks Cody.

Received On: 05/13/2017

My next return is my very first 2017 Bowman TTM, courtesy of Sandy Alcantara.
Sandy Alcantara was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as a non-drafted free agent in 2013. Alcantara spent two seasons in rookie ball and then made huge strides in 2016 has he played in both single-A and high-A ball. Alcantara is armed with a mid-90's fastball that can reach 100 mph, a changeup and curveball. His ceiling is said to be that of a front of the rotation starter (like a really good number two starter), and as he makes the necessary adjustments to control his offerings, he could be a dominant starter for years going forward. So yeah, just your typical Cardinals prospect. Also, Alcantara is already in double-A this year. He could be in the big leagues as early as next year(!).

Received On: 05/15/2017

Here is a return from Reds outfielder Taylor Trammell.
Taylor Trammell was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the competitive-balance round (end of the first round) in the 2016 MLB Player Draft. Pretty much every scouting report I've read on him says he's a bonafide five tool player, with his speed being his best tool at the moment. Trammell had a great pro debut last summer, hitting for consistency while also displaying great patience and plate discipline. Trammell is 19 (going to be 20 this September) so the power isn't quite there yet, but when he grows his frame and that power does come in, watch out. The Reds have a unique and exciting prospect on their hands here. Good luck Trammell!

Received On: 05/15/2017

Next up is Yankees prospect Nick Solak.
Nick Solak was drafted by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. The second baseman is quietly having a very nice season in high-A Tampa and is a hidden gem in a farmsystem loaded with elite middle infield talent. By pure talent and good results, Solak has managed to still be on several top Yankees prospects lists (usually in the later half of the top 20). If he were in any other farmsystem, he'd be a top 10 prospect easily, but in the Yankees' loaded one? Unfortunately someone has to take the fall. Whether or not Solak stays with the Yankees after future roster crunches isn't clear, but as of right now it's reasonable to think Solak can be a very solid everyday big leaguer. He'd be a fixture in NL Central lineups for a decade I'll tell you that much.

Received On: 05/16/2017

Here is my very first ex-Dragons TTM return from a gaijin, Jim Barieri!
Jim Barieri was originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 1960 season. After spending a few seasons in the minors Barieri made it to the big leagues in 1966, appearing in 39 total games as an outfielder and pinch hitter. Barbieri stayed in the Dodgers system for three more years after that but he went to go play for the Chunichi Dragons in 1970. With the Dragons his nickname was Babi (which rhymes with papi for the record), he hit nine dingers with the Dragons but announced his retirement before the year had ended. Kinda sad, but I'm still glad to have this return from Barieri all the same. Especially with the inscription I asked of him :).

Received On: 05/16/2017

Next up is a very shiny Aaron Slegers.
Aaron Slegers was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the fifth round of the 2013 MLB Player Draft. Slegers is a very solid right-handed starter for the Twins. With a low-90's fastball and a solid changeup and slider to accompany them, Slegers projects to be a very serviceable back of the rotation starter in the big leagues. He has the stuff to be pretty good for the Twins so hopefully he can also be part of the Twins' youth movement in the upcoming years. Slegers is already in triple-A so he is knocking on the door. Good luck Aaron!
Sidenote, this is the very first black wave cards I've gotten signed.

Received On: 05/18/2017

Here's a return from White Sox righty Dane Dunning.
Dane Dunning was originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in the first round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. Dunning is armed with a low-90's fastball that can reach 96 mph every now and then, along with a slider and changeup (both of which are work in progress pitches). Dunning went to the Chicago White Sox as part of the haul that Washington gave up to acquire Adam Eaton last winter. Thus far into 2017, Dunning had dominated the competition in single-A well enough that he was brought up to high-A, where he is still going strong. Best of all, now he's working with Zack Collins, the White Sox's top catching prospect. If you're in Winston-Salem, go see the Dash just for them.

Received On: 05/18/2017

Next up is former big leaguer, John Orton.
John Orton was drafted by the California Angels in the first round of the 1987 MLB Player Draft. Primarily a catcher, Orton made it to the big leagues in 1989 and spent parts of five seasons with the Angels. After his playing career ended, Orton went into managing and coaching. Since almost the start of the new millenium, Orton has been with the Chicago White Sox organization in various roles. In the past he was a manager, a roving instructor, and various other jobs. As of 2017 he's a catching coordinator in the system. I assume Zack Collins is a top priority for him.

Received On: 05/22/2017

My very first signed 2017 Bowman Chrome came from another top Cardinals prospect, Harrison Bader.
Bader was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the third round of the 2015 MLB Player Draft. Where he stands in the Cardinals farmsystem varies on who you ask but he's usually in the top 10, maybe even the top 5. Bader projects to be a jack-of-all-trades (master of none) type of player. Basically your quintessential Cardinal. He'll be good and serviceable and Cubs/Brewers/Reds/Pirates fans will all groan at how the Cardinals turned a third rounder into a good player. Interestingly enough, if he makes it to the show, Bader could be Drew's Hot Corner's second (semi-)local guy who made it to the big leagues. And for me too, although I'm a bit more farther out. That should be fun.

Received On: 05/26/2017

Next up is Rockies prospect Garrett Hampson.
Garrett Hampson was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the third round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. Hampson is a very capable hitter who hits for contact more than power (although Coors will help with that anyway), and he is also very patient as he can draw walks every now and then. A shortstop/middle infielder, Hampson may be blocked in the future by the likes of Trevor Story and Brendan Rodgers, but Hampson may have the bat and natural skills to make it to the big leagues anyway as a second baseman (or possibly third baseman). Good luck Garrett.

Received On: 06/01/2017

Here is a pleasant surprise return from Rays lefty, Blake Snell.
Blake Snell was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round of the 2011 MLB Player Draft. Since then Snell made top prospect rankings in the Rays org for pretty much every year during the next half decade. Armed with a low 90's fastball, a slider and changeup, Snell is expected to be a fixture in the Rays rotation for years to come. He showed glimpses of it last year, but this year he got off to a rough start and has been sent down to triple-A for a much needed tune up. The Rays are historically very good at developing pitchers so it wouldn't surprise me if Snell rebounded and became a nuisance to the Yankees for the better part of the next decade.

Received On: 06/01/2017

Here is Brewers righty, Corbin Burnes.
Corbin Burnes was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. Burnes has a low 90's fastball, a slider, a curveball and changeup. The last three are work in progress pitches. Depending on how well he develops his secondary pitches, his future can vary from a very good and serviceable middle of the rotation starter to a really good middle reliever. Either way, I expect him to be in the mix for Brewers pitching depth by this time next year.

Received On: 06/02/2017

Here's a pleasant surprise from Dave Eiland.
Dave Eiland was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the seventh round of the 1987 MLB Player Draft. Eiland made his MLB debut with the Yankees a year later and went on to have a 10 year career in the big leagues with the Yankees, San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays. After his playing career ended, Eiland went into coaching and was first in the Yankees org as a coach, eventually becoming the big league Yankees' pitching coach in 2008. Eiland was fired a few years later and is now currently in his sixth season of being the Royals' pitching coach. With the Yankees and Royals, Eiland has two World Series rings as a pitching coach.

Received On: 06/02/2017

My last return for this month came from Rays farmhand Ryan Boldt.
Ryan Boldt was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the second round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. Boldt projects to be a pretty competent center fielder in the future. A standout in high school who would've been drafted in the first round if not for injuries (he opted for college instead), Boldt has the bat to be a pretty good hitter on a future Rays team that (considering they're the Rays) will struggle with offense a lot. Boldt can hit for contact pretty well and as time goes it it's expected that he'll also hit for more power. With Kevin Kiermaier in the way Boldt may end up settling as a fourth or fifth outfielder for the Rays, but they'll make good use of him I'm sure.

And those were my returns this past month. Big thanks to Mr. Meulens, Lively, Sedlock, Alcantara, Trammell, Solak, Barbieri, Slegers, Dunning, Orton, Bader, Hampson, Snell, Burnes, Eiland and Boldt for the awesome returns.

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

Take care.

2017 TTM Count: 79


Friday, June 2, 2017

A Japanese Trade In 2017 Part 1: The Fab Five

Every year I do at least one international trade with a collector outside of the continental US. It's a great way to get a hold of some cards that are exclusive to other parts of the world. And in other cases, are great for obtaining objects exclusive to those other parts (like post cards or keychains).

My most recent trade was with a Japanese collector who goes by the name of Kimowota.

Our trade did not revolve around baseball cards. In fact, this was the very first trade I conducted where the focus was on something else.

You guessed it! Yu-Gi-Oh!

Of course there were other things in the package (we'd been working on this trade for weeks) that are more relevant to this blog like 2017 Baseball Magazine cards, but they'll be stashed away for future posts.

For now I just wanted to focus on the key cards that ignited this trade (on my side).

This Magi magi Magician Gal card was exclusively distributed with a magazine in Japan so getting one in Japan was literally my only option. Luckily I had Kimowota step in and come in clutch. Now I can officially devote a page to my Magicial Girl collection.

Up until this point I didn't have one of these cards of the Dark Magician Girl with her original artwork, so I asked Kimowota if they could get me one. They came through again. It didn't scan very well but this card is actually a cool refractor with Egyptian hieroglyphs all over. It's very cool.

Speaking of the Dark Magician Girl, I actually got card sleeves that have her on the back. Hell yeah! Now I can use these to store all of the Magician Girl cards I have. Unfortunately they're too small for any of my Torrens cards :/, oh well.

This is the White Wing Magician, another card exclusive to Japan (at least right now). I'm currently working on a deck focused on Clear Wing Synchro Dragon and this was a key card I needed. Glad I have it now.

This Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon is another key piece for my aforementioned Clear Wing Synchro Dragon deck. This card's American counterpart goes for north of $30 (on average). It's significantly cheaper in Japan so I got lucky with this :).

So those four cards (and sleeves) were the core of this trade. Now for the fun extras and bonuses in parts 2 and 3 (and maybe 4, if I make a part 4). Here's a little sneak peek for those...

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