I personally like that a lot. I don't necessarily care for getting another card of a guy people already know and have hundreds of cards of already.
For the most part these guys are doomed a life of mediocrity at the big league level and being limited to emergency callups/September call ups until more important prospects need to be protected and put on the 40 man roster. Basically, they're major leaguers who'll probably spend a most of their time in a bus in triple-A, get cut, latch onto another team and stay in triple-A until they retire three years later.
But that doesn't change how cool it is that people like them got cards at all. I love how Topps manages to shoehorn in guys no one knows about (unless they follow their farm system hardcore like I do) who previously never even had Bowman prospect cards.
Anyway I bought a pack of Series 2 recently and sure enough I got some guys that are new to me (they're not Yankees that's why). And chances are they're new to most of you too. So let's see who exactly they are.
Note, keep in mind that my definition or "unknown player" might be different from yours due to my knowledge of minor league ball. But when it comes to non-Yankees every other farm system is a complete mystery so it shouldn't be too different.
Lets start with Jake Petricka. Do any of my readers who're White Sox fans know who he is? Because I sure didn't.
I didn't scan it but the back sure didn't help since Topps just decided to list out his entire stats page on MiLB.com rather than give us any real information on the guy.
Jake Steven Petricka was drafted by the White Sox in the second round of the 2010 MLB Player Draft. A quick look back at various prospecting archives show that there was a fair amount of hope for the Indiana State product.
Prior to the draft his fastball had hit around 97/98 mph and he gained value in the draft. The White Sox farm system was very barren at the time (and it still kind of is) but they are effective and do tend to bring their elite prospects along early because they're so polished that they're MLB ready upon draft day, just look at the White Sox's first selection in 2010, Chris Sale. Naturally Petricka zoomed up the ladder at first, but command issues didn't exactly allow him to put up good results as a starter.
|Graphic Courtesy of Brooks Baseball|
By 2013 Petricka was a full time reliever who relied on his fastball, slider and change up. As of 2016 he's pretty much stopped using the slider altogether and uses his sinking fastball and change up most of the time.
To his credit Petricka did manage to make it to the big leagues in 2014 and spent most of the season in their bullpen. He did the same in 2015 too. Debunking my claim that these unknowns are doomed to the bus life in triple-A.
Petricka was having a meh year this year before he got shut down with a season-ending hip surgery. How he fares coming back from that surgery remains to be seen.
So this was my first installment of bringing list to an unknown. Tune in as I look at other players who you probably don't recognize from Series 2.
As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).