|Received On: 02/05/2018|
First up this period is a return from BoSox prospect Mike Shawaryn.
Shawaryn was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. Armed with a fastball, slider and changeup, the righty has the potential to be anywhere between a back of the rotation starter and a reliever. Will depend largely on how the development of his slider and changeup go. Thus far he's put up okay results as a starter, reaching high-A in 2017. Double-A will probably where he really starts getting tested and seeing if he can stay as a starter. If nothing else, he's managed to show that he at does have the stamina.
|Received On: 02/08/2018|
Next up is Rangers southpaw, Cole Ragans.
Ragans was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the first round (30th overall) of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. Armed with a fastball, curveball and changeup, the lefty projects to be a solid number two starter in the big leagues, possibly better as he adds some more refinement and polish to his pitching style.
Ragans actually sent a note apologizing for the delay in getting this return back to me. No apologies necessary Ragans, thanks a ton for the autograph :).
|Received On: 02/10/2018|
Next up is a return from Blues goaltender, Jake Allen.
Jake Allen was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the second round of the 2008 NHL Player Draft. The Canadian goaltender spent the first few years of his career as an amateur in the minor leagues, seeing a lot of international play and even winning the Gold Medal for team Canada in the 2008 IIHF World U18 Championships. By the 2014-15 season he was up in the NHL for good and has been the team's starting goaltender since.
|Received On: 02/12/2018|
Here is Blue Jays prospect, Zach Jackson.
Zach Jackson was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the third round of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. Armed with a low-90's fastball and a curveball, Jackson has the potential to be a really good reliever in a big league bullpen. Initially there was a lot of speculation about whether Jackson could be a starter but the Jays have taken the safer (and quicker) route of having him be a reliever. Command and pitch location have been a priority for Jackson since day one and although that has not changed, he has managed to make some key strides. If he cuts down on the walks this year he could find himself as a bullpen candidate for Toronto come 2019.
|Received On: 02/20/2018|
Next up is a return from D-Backs outfielder Anfernee Grier.
Grier was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the competitive balance round (between the 1st and 2nd) of the 2016 MLB Player Draft. Grier's career has been a bit slow due to injuries limiting his playing time in 2016, but he was able to come back and give the D-Backs a near full season in 2017 to show exactly where he's at and what they've got. Grier projects to be a very solid centerfielder with a fair bit of contact ability and some power. He's got the speed to be a threat on the basepaths and cover a lot of ground in the outfield to boot. D-Backs fans might see him rise up through the ranks these upcoming years.
|Received On: 02/20/2018|
Next up is my first return from Spring Training. Courtesy of Oakland A's righty, Blake Treinen.
Blake Treinen was originally drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the seventh round of the 2011 MLB Player Draft. Treinen spent two-ish seasons with the A's before being sent to the Washington Nationals in the weird three team trade (that also involved Seattle) that ended up with John Jaso going to Oakland and A.J. Cole back in Washington's farmsystem. Treinen made his MLB debut the following year and was yo-yo'd up and down between MLB and triple-A as a reliever. In 2017 Treinen was traded to the Oakland A's along with Sheldon Neuse and Jesus Luzardo in the trade that brought Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle to the Washington bullpen (two arms their pen really needed). Treinen's going into the 2018 season hoping to lock down a bullpen role with the A's.
One cool thing about this Treinen return is that he wrote a bible verse on the back. Usually players often write these verse inscriptions next to the signature, but this was unique. Also, look at the guy's incredible penmanship! I'm jealous at his ability to write so neatly (look at my crappy words for comparison's sake). Woof. Good luck Blake!
|Received On: 02/20/2018|
Next up is Royals righty, Jake Junis
Jake Junis was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 29th round of the 2011 MLB Player Draft. In an inspiring story, Junis managed to climb his way through the ranks of the Royals farmsystem and make it to the big leagues nearly six years after earning a reputation as a hard worker and serviceable starter. Armed with a low 90's fastball, slider, curveball and changeup, Junis' potential could be anywhere from a really good reliever to a really serviceable back of the rotation starter. The key with his development is primarily refining both his curveball and his changeup to add to his fastball-slider combo. Given how the Royals are back in rebuilding mode, I'm sure they'll give him several chances to show that he can a part of their future going forward.
|Received On: 02/20/2018|
Here is Tigers lefty, Chad Bell.
Chad Bell was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 14th round of the 2009 MLB Player Draft. Ever since turning pro Bell has been used both as a reliever and as a starter. Armed with a fastball, slider, changeup and curveball, Bell's longterm role will ultimately depend on how well he can refine his changeup and curveball. His fastball-slider is good enough to make him a viable relief option (hence why most of his appearances as a big leaguer have come out of the 'pen), but if his two other pitches ever click he could be a very nice late bloomer for the rebuilding Tigers.
|Received On: 02/22/2018|
Here's a hockey return from Islanders left-wing, Anthony Beauvillier.
Anthony Beauvillier was drafted by the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2015 NHL Player Draft. The Quebec native first spent his professional career in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before earning a callup to the big leagues in the 2016-17 season. Hopes were high for Beauvillier following what was a solid rookie season. Many having him pegged as a third line winger who could potentially be better. This season did not start on the right foot for Beauvillier but following a demotion to the AHL, he did return and show some improvement. The question will be if he can continue to improve and be more than fourth line depth. Sidenote, these multi-exposure shots on some of these hockey cards are fantastic.
|Received On: 02/23/2018|
Here's a return from Taylor Motter.
Taylor Motter was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 17th round of the 2011 MLB Player Draft. Motter rose up through the minors as a serviceable utility infielder type. Although he's a shortstop by trade he can fill in for any of the other infield positions in a pinch and has even seen some time in the outfield. Motter's versatility is one of his key attributes and part of how he was able to spent the better part of 2017 with the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners acquired Motter from the Rays in the trade that also sent Richie Shaffer to the Mariners.
Motter's cups of coffee in the big leagues have left mixed results, but he's a good player to have on the bench in the case of an emergency.
|Received On: 02/23/2018|
Next up is Ramon Torres.
Torres was signed out the Dominican Republic in 2010 as a non-drafted free agent by the Kansas City Royals. The 25 year old shortstop's climb up the ladder to the big leagues has been slow, but gradual and his patience and work ethic has paid off as he eventually did make it to the big leagues in 2017. Torres' long term role for the Royals may be as someone they can plug at third with the departure of Mike Moustakas. In fact he can play a lot of positions thanks to his versatility. He's not going to hit for a ton of power but he does have the ability to put the ball in play and get on base here and there. For the rebuilding Royals, he'll be one of many pieces they'll keep on the roster as they figure out what to do going forward.
|Received On: 02/26/2018|
Here's a return from reliable signer, Kyle Higashioka.
Kyle Higashioka was drafted by the New York Yankees in the seventh round of the 2008 MLB Player Draft. A backstop who's had a slow but steady climb up the Yankees farmsystem, "Higgy" broke out in a big way in 2016 when he hit for power and socked 21 dingers. He hasn't quite been able to follow up that breakout performance but has at least done enough to keep himself on the 40 man roster. Higashioka is a solid backup catcher who can offer a bit of pop and manage to get on base here and there. His receiving is also very good. The only problem with Higashioka's development so far has been his inability to stay healthy. Hopefully he can this season because the Yankees are one injury to Gary Sanchez or Austin Romine away from a very painful lack-of-catching situation.
|Received On: 03/02/2018|
Next up is Luis Castillo, the pitcher.
Luis Castillo was originally signed by the San Francisco Giants out of the Dominican Republic as a non-drafted international free agent in 2012. Castillo was traded to the Miami Marlins in late 2014 as part of the Casey McGehee trade then traded again two years later to the San Diego Padres in the trade that sent Carter Capps and Josh Naylor to San Diego as well as Colin Rea and Andrew Cashner to Miami. Castillo was later sent back to Miami after it became known that San Diego lied about Rea's health (Miami sent Rea back to the Padres), Rea would later require Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2017. Castillo was then traded not long afterwards to the Cincinnati Reds in what was a pretty nice haul considering how the only gave up Dan Straily. Top Marlins prospects Austin Brice and Zeke White were also sent to the Reds. Castillo finally made his MLB debut on June 23rd, 2017 after all of the moving around. Yeesh, what a career so far for Castillo huh? With the Reds in rebuild mode I suspect they'll continue to use Castillo as a pitcher who'll give them innings until the time comes when they either decide to move him to get back some minor league depth, or keep him as a piece for their next good team (whenever that'll be).
And those were my returns for the past period.
Big thanks to Mr. Shawaryn, Ragans, Allen, Jackson, Grier, Treinen, Junis, Bell, Beauvillier, Motter, Torres, Higashioka and Castillo for the awesome autographs.
And as always, thank you the readers for stopping by :).
2018 TTM Count: 24