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

Sources:
*http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/meulehe01.shtml
*http://nipponbaseball.web.fc2.com/personal/fbatter/hensley_meulens.html
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=594902#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=phi
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=642060
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=bal
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=645261#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=stl
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=666211#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=cin
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=669256#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=nyy
*http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/barbiji01.shtml
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=642083#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016/?list=min
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=641540#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL
*http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/o/ortonjo01.shtml
*http://www.chicagonow.com/future-sox/2016/11/white-sox-announce-2017-player-development-staff/
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=664056
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=stl
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=641658#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=col
*http://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=snell-000bla
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=669203#/career/R/pitching/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=mil
*http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/e/eilanda01.shtml
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=624416#/career/R/hitting/2017/ALL
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=tb

8 comments:

  1. Cool to see Sedlock sign. I just pulled a green parallel of his and mentioned I'd probably send it out ttm.

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  2. As a 20+ year Hensley Meulens collector, I heartily endorse this post.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jason. I hope my NPB-era Meulens research was factual.

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  3. I need to tell the Pirate prospects to start signing for you. 2 weeks away from NY Penn league action!!!!!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Oh shit! Time flew by in an instant!

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  4. Nice Barbieri inscription! Congrats!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks again for sending me the Barbieri PTT! I owe you one :).

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