Friday, December 19, 2014

Assorted football card finds

I don't collect other sports cards, but I'm tempted to pass by the football section of the quarter boxes - to leaf through cards that maybe of use to fill out some of my mini-collections and/or be used to update the 'Rolodex' of assorted NFL star cards I have somewhere.

2014 Topps Platinum Alshon Jeffrey #3 
2014 Topps Platinum Drew Brees #18
2014 Topps Platinum Rob Gronkowski #20 - Blue parallel
2014 Topps Platinum Calvin Johnson #28 - Blue parallel
2014 Topps Platinum Brandon Marshall #34 
2014 Topps Platinum DeSean Jackson #42
2014 Topps Platinum Joe Flacco #47 - Blue parallel
2014 Topps Platinum Marshawn Lynch #62

2014 Topps Platinum Marshawn Lynch #62 - Blue parallel
2014 Topps Platinum Robert Griffin III #66 - Blue parallel
2014 Topps Platinum Tavon Austin #93 - Blue parallel
2014 Topps Prime Richard Sherman #PT-RS - Prime Timers insert

2014 Topps Valor Gale Sayers #19 - Strength parallel serial #'d 297/499

2014 Topps Valor Jamaal Charles #60
2014 Topps Valor Adrian Peterson #100 - this one goes into my 'infamous' mini-collection

2014 Topps Valor Rob Gronkowski #108
2014 Topps Valor Drew Brees #166
2014 Topps Valor Dez Bryant #173

2014 Topps Valor Tony Romo #179

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Trade post with S.Mack Talk II

Jimmy over at S.Mack Talk wanted several of the 2014 Topps Update parallels I pulled and had agreed to trade me some of his extra Leaf Perfect Game cards of guys currently on the Cal State Fullerton baseball - but since time had passed, he ended up only really needing one of the cards when I finally saw him over at an event where the CSUF players might show up.

On my end, I got one of the extra cards he got signed of outfielder Scott Hurst and two other unsigned cards of pitcher John Gavin and infielder Tristan Hildebrandt - that I was able to get inked up on my own.

I don't really think much of Leaf cards, so it was nice to get a few cards I actually might have wanted - without having to go look for them on my own.

Featured autographs - certified pick ups

Sam Tuivailala - started out as a shortstop, converted into a pitcher, probably a future bullpen guy with the stuff of a closer.

Nick Howard - Cincinnati Reds' first round pick in 2014, already featured once on the blog.

Joe Gatto - not the Impractical Jokers guy who kind of looks like Gary Gaetti, but an Angels draft pick in 2014.

1991 Upper Deck Sid Fernandez #242

OK Doc, one more fat joke and I'll whack your head off like Mitchell did to that cat a few years back.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pelotero recap

On YouTube, I stumbled upon the 2012 documentary about a couple of players from the Dominican Republic back in 2009 - the documentary follows the paths Miguel Sano and Jean Batista take leading up to to the July 2 international signing deadline.

There are a lot of issues at play in this documentary - but the focus is squarely on getting paid and the stakes involved as each player is scrutinized with regards to their abilities as well as their ages / identities.

It is strongly implied, no matter how great the potential - Major League Baseball will dick around and do what it takes to keep bonuses paid out to Dominican players from getting out of control since it's been that way since the first group of players were signed.

Still, young Dominican players each year have big, confident dreams as they are cultivated and showcased for MLB teams by trainers - whose livelihood depend getting a cut of the bonus they expect their players to get.

MLB teams are looking for the youngest players possible [16 is when players can officially sign with a MLB teams] - so players lie about their ages to appear heads and shoulders other players while supposedly still having potential to grow.

In response, if a MLB team is going to pay a player - they are going to make sure that the player isn't lying about his age and/or his identity.

Sano, who looks like he is on the way to the major leagues [despite not playing in 2014 due to injury], was the top international talent in the Dominican back in 2009 - but his family felt a prominent Pittsburgh Pirates scout [Rene Gayo] had a role in holding up the MLB investigation of his identity / age, so there was no bidding war and Gayo was essentially blackmailing the family to sign with the Pirates.

In the end, Sano signed a $3.15 million bonus with the Minnesota Twins - the movie shows his entire family's frustrations when they weren't sure things were ever going to get resolved.

While the doubt over Sano's age might have derailed the start of his pro career, there was no doubt he was a prodigious talent - but for Batista, the other pelotero, things got worse.

Instead of being considered a top talent, Batista got less money and became just another guy - his story maybe actually be more interesting, since we see the relationship with his trainer [Astin Jacobo Jr.] got worse.

When Jacobo Jr. finds out Batista and his mother lied about his age, it knocks the wind out of him - Jacobo Jr. felt betrayed and has some harsh words, because he put so much time into taking Batista under his wing, only to have his reputation smeared when the truth was found out.

Batista, who seemed determined and confident at the beginning of the documentary, looked deflated - he signed with the Houston Astros, but not for the millions he was anticipating to get from some MLB team.

Because Batista was found to be a year older, it meant he was suspended by MLB for a year - his last professional season in the Astros' system was in 2013 and after playing in the independent leagues this past year, is looking for another opportunity in affiliated baseball.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Howie Kendrick

Kendrick gets to stay in the So. Cal area and ends up playing for the more prominent 'LA' team - I guess with one year remaining left on his contract, it's great he was traded for a young, cost controlled pitching prospect.

I'm not so sure Kendrick was overtly popular with Angels fans, but for better or for worse, he just came to the park to play - the Angels are probably going to miss his presence at second base and his steady bat at the plate.

From a fan's perspective, Kendrick was expected to be a perennial hitting star, but he fell just a bit short of being the type of hitter that contended for batting titles - even as batting average is considered outdated means of gauging a player's worth, BA is still a stat to check out on a daily basis.

A home grown talent who has been in the organization since 2002 and been in the major leagues since 2006 - Kendrick is getting older and while it's obvious now that he's gone, the Angels weren't going to extend him.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

2014 Bowman Draft Super Jumbo pack recap #1

I figured it was more or less like buying a blaster box of sorts - except all the cards come in one fat 60 card pack and Bowman Draft has been a hobby only product since 2012.

To be honest, there might not be too much joy involving collecting Bowman Draft - I rip loose packs of Bowman Draft because I like prospects on a superficial level and I hope to pull various parallels and inserts.

However, it's not really a product where I take time to look through the cards - I sort whatever assortment of cards I get my hands on and hope I see some of these young players plying their trade somewhere before they reach the major leagues.

Of course, there are bound to be cards in the product that end up being irrelevant because the players pictured on them end up out of pro baseball for a number of reasons - if only I can see such players before they are released and/or find themselves doing something else.

I guess the prospect non-draft pick cards serve as the equivalent of MLB veteran cards in other Bowman products - any cards numbered with a 'TP' maybe redundant, but it helps out as filler, so the draft picks cards aren't by themselves.

If some of the better draft picks from this past year start to do well in their professional careers - they'll probably be in a future Bowman Draft set as well.

Pack one
#TP-28 Vincent Velasquez
#DP 91 Brian Anderson
#TP-72 C.J. Edwards
#DP 82 Austin Cousino
#TP-63 Kyle Crick
#DP 67 Chris Ellis
#TP-48 Tyler Danish

#DP 61 Sam Travis
#TP-42 Aaron Blair
#DP 53 Jacob Lindgren
#CDP 76 Andrew Morales - Chrome
#CTP 57 Josh Hart - Chrome
#CDP 87 Chad Sobotka - Chrome
#CTP 85 Gosuke Katoh - Chrome
#CDP 51 Joe Gatto - Chrome
#CTP 32 Hunter Renfroe - Chrome
#TP-21 Rosell Herrera
#BP 55 Taylor Sparks
#TP-36 Lance McCullers
#DP 66 Jeff Brigham
#TP-47 Tim Anderson
#DP 72 Garrett Fulenchek
#TP-53 Lewis Brinson
#DP 81 J.D. Davis
#TP-62 Kris Bryant
#DP 89 Nick Wells
#TP-34 Alen Hanson
#DP 84 Milton Ramos
#TP-65 Christian Binford
#DP 97 Wyatt Strahan
#TP-79 Chris Stratton
#DP 107 Matt Morgan
#TP-90 Nomar Mazara
#DP 8 Max Pentecost
#DP 118 Taylor Gushue
#DP 15 Nick Howard
#CTP 68 James Ramsey - Chrome
#CDP 94 Dylan Davis - Chrome
#CTP 75 Raimel Tapia - Chrome
#CDP 100 Jordan Luplow - Chrome
#DD-CK Michael Chavis / Michael Kopech - Dual Draftees insert

#FF-CCO Clint Coulter - Future of the Franchise mini
#DN-KM Kodi Medeiros - Draft Night insert
#BCA-MIC Michael Chavis - autograph
#CDP 47 Sean Reid-Foley - Chrome
#CTP 27 Hunter Harvey - Chrome
#CDP 33 Forrest Wall - Chrome
#TP-70 Nick Williams
#DP 95 Matt Railey
#TP-77 Brandon Drury
#DP 101 Jake Cosart
#TP-84 Blake Swihart
#DP 109 Austin Gomber
#TP-76 Michael Feliz
#DP 52 Cody Reed

#TP-33 Eloy Jimenez
#DP 45 Matt Imhof
#CDP 25 Alex Blandino - Chrome refractor
#CTP 4 Mark Appel - Chrome refractor
#CDP 36 Mike Papi - Chrome refractor

Friday, December 12, 2014

Featured autograph - Taylor Featherston

At the very least Featherston will be with the Angels through spring training, trying to stick around after being picked up from the Colorado Rockies in the Rule 5 draft - he has some pop for a middle infielder, though he looks like he swings and misses too much with his batting average / on-base percentage dipping in his three full minor league seasons.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Featured autograph - Andrew Heaney

A Miami Marlin just a few days ago, Heaney was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and then flipped to the Angels for long time second baseman Howie Kendrick - as an Angels fan, I look forward to watch Heaney earn a spot on the starting rotation in 2015 and start to do his business.

I don't know much about him except he's lefthanded and I've already gotten his autograph a few times during the 2013 Arizona Fall League - from the bits and pieces I would guess Heaney gets results as more of a polished pitcher who throws 90-91 MPH as opposed to overpowering opposing hitters with pure stuff.

The kid seems to be is a legit prospect - though he's not another Chris Sale.