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Bryce Harper 2012 Topps Update Rookie Card – Rookie Debut: April 28, 2012 As we all know, Bryce Harper recently captured the 2012 NL Rookie Of The Year Award. He deserved it, and I cannot think of a rookie in … Continue reading →
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From George King:
Ichiro Suzuki?s willingness to wait on the Yankees has declined to the point where the veteran outfielder is talking to other teams.Letting Ichiro sign somewhere else would be a major mistake. That being said, I understand why the Yankees were focused on pitching in the last few weeks. Hopefully, now that they can turn their attention to right field they'll get the Ichiro situation settled quickly.
?At the beginning we talked a lot but since that time, zero,?? agent Tony Attanasio said of discussions with the Yankees. ?As far as we are concerned we don?t care what the Yankees do. We have had conversations with multiple clubs. If we see something we like he will go through with it.?
In a week?s time, Ichiro has completely reversed field.
?There has been a lot of interest [from other teams] but he enjoyed playing for the Yankees so much it?s hard for him to say no to the Yankees,?? Attanasio said a week ago yesterday. ?His preference is to stay there instead of going someplace else, but we?ll wait and see.??
Of course, Ichiro?s reversal doesn?t mean he can?t return to The Bronx, where he was a fan favorite. Thanks to a torrid 14-for-20 stretch over five games in mid-September, he batted .322 in 67 games as a Yankee.
Nor did general manager Brian Cashman eliminate Ichiro from the list of outfield candidates he will talk to about replacing Nick Swisher in right field.
?I?m really not in position to comment, but our focus was first on pitching and see the amount of dollars we needed to secure pitching,?? Cashman said. ?Now we?ll focus on players who want to talk to us.??
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When the Dexter Fowler trade rumors first started circulating, there was initially panic as Rockies fans figured the front office to undersell the center-fielder who still stands to be quite valuable to Colorado over the next two seasons. As inquiring teams leaked their sticker shock when asking about a Fowler deal to the press, our fears on that asset appraisal front abated, but it still was a question as to what exactly the Rockies were asking for. That information is starting to materialize, however, as the hot stove heats up.
Patrick Saunders at the Denver Post fills in some of the information, while other sources from around the league heading into the winter meetings add a bit more and we can start to see that the basic framework for a Fowler deal appears to be one young MLB starting pitcher of any quality, plus one pitching prospect of elite quality. Saunders mentions Vance Worley, Mike Minor and Jeremy Hellickson as the pitchers currently starting in the majors that the Rockies have asked about, with top prospects Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado and Trevor May also mentioned. The Tampa Bay package seems weakest of those three to the point of not being in the same ballpark, so I'm wondering what's not being said there.
As that Saunders article indicates, should a Fowler trade finally materialize, one of a couple of the best run small market franchises might emerge as the victor. Both the Cincinnati Reds and the Rays media have articles mentioning Fowler as a target in advance of the winter meetings. In a market with several bidders and the aforementioned steep price tag, the efficiency seeking Rays don't make much sense to me, and the Saunders suggestion, one of their two fly ball bottom of the rotation starters, Wade Davis or Hellickson, makes even less sense depending on the quality of additional prospects coming to Colorado. From Tampa's end, Bill Chastain indicates that a Fowler trade for a starter is still a possibility. I could see the Rockies targeting young GB oriented Alex Cobb, but have difficulty believing Tampa would give him up right now. James Shields, while available, doesn't make sense either as he'd be Tampa's Fowler equivalent, the player they're using to rebuild and reload their system with the next wave.
Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, we get a bit more concrete indication of what it would take from the Reds to pry Fowler from Colorado, as John Fay mentions one of their two top pitching prospects, Daniel Corcino or Tony Cingrani, would almost certainly have to be included as "part of the package." Given what the Rockies were looking for from Philadelphia and Atlanta according to Saunders, that fits, with Cingrani being closer to the majors (he made his debut in 2012.) While there's not a peep about interest in Fowler coming from the Philadelphia media market, that might not mean much as it would be typical of Ruben Amaro Jr. to keep a major transaction a closely held secret.
That the focus of a potential Fowler trade is heavier on the prospect side rather than the MLB side also fits with what Saunders says about the state of the Rockies pitching heading into 2013, that the organization is hoping for internal improvements as pitchers like Jorge De La Rosa, Juan Nicasio and Jhoulys Chacin get healthy. Chacin's been told by the team that he "could be the ace they need," and his most recent start in the Venezuelan Winter League finally started showing it, with a dominant nine K, four hit, seven inning performance. He needs to string together a few more starts like that to start making me feel more confident heading into next year.
One of the highlights of the off season at Talking Chop is the Atlanta Braves Top 25 Minor League Prospects put together by cbwilk. As a collector, I like to take this list and go rookie card hunting. There was a time when a player’s first base Topps card was considered the ultimate rookie card. Times change though and Bowman is now the home of the rookie card. Of course, it isn’t just any Bowman card you need to have a player’s ultimate rookie card. If Bowman released an autographed version, then that’s the card to grab. Failing that, you go for a refractor, or maybe even a Bowman rainbow of parallels. Frankly, the autographed refractor is an even better, and more expensive, selection.
Interestingly enough, even though a Bowman card is generally the first national card released for most prospects, they almost never fit the official industry rules for a rookie card. In years past, Topps was able to include prospects in their Bowman sets without issue. In 2006, the MLBPA issued new rules that prevented manufacturers from including any player in a set until that player has actually been called up to the majors. Prospector collectors were concerned how this change would affect Bowman. Ultimately, it made very little difference as the prospects were included as an “insert” set rather than as a part of the main product. This leads to sets like this year’s 2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects where you have a base set of 55 cards and an “insert” set of draft picks and prospects numbered to 165. Of course, the industry might get to say, “this is the rookie card”, but prospect collectors and others still seek out those first Bowman autographed cards.
I thought it might be fun to take a look at what Bowman and Topps prospect and minor league cards are out there for the Talking Chop Top 25 prospects. This week, we’ll look at numbers 25 through 11. Unfortunately, there are more than a few that either haven’t appeared on Topps’ or the infamous Bowman scout’s radar. Your best bet to find a card for these players is to track down the various minor league team sets or the sets put out directly by the various minor leagues. Personally, I know I need to make more of an effort to track down all of these sets each year. The players who don’t seem to have a Bowman or Topps card yet are: Aaron Northcraft (#25), Abraham Espinosa (#24), Luis Merejo (#23), Juan Jaime (#21), and Navery Moore (#16).
#22 - Matt Lipka
The Braves first round pick form 2010 has numerous cards available and seemingly signs for everyone. Typically, you can find his non-parallel autograph cards selling in the 5 to 10 dollar range, which makes him an easy pick up. If he makes the majors, even as a backup, the prices should tick up a bit. If I had to recommend a single Lipka auto card, I’d go with his 2012 Bowman card. The set is one of the better looking Bowman sets and Lipka’s card has a great shot. An even better potential bargain, if you can find one, just might be his Bowman AFLAC All-American card from 2009. These have been selling anywhere from 5 to 15 dollars. Any chance to get an AFLAC card of a potential Braves player is not to be missed.
#20 - Brandon Drury
The Rome Braves’ Brandon Drury made his Bowman debut this year and his Bowman Chrome autograph is a beauty. It’s a must grab and can typically found for less than five dollars, including shipping. He also appeared in the Bowman Platinum set this year, although not as an autograph. He also appeared in last year’s Donruss Elite Extra Edition set, but personally, I avoid unlicensed cards. It features a great shot of Drury taking a throw at first, but has the typical unlicensed card crap, which in this case includes airbrushing the photo to remove the logo from his hat.
#19 - Joe Leonard
The Minor League Gold Glove winner was featured in both of Topps prominent minor league sets in 2011: Pro Debut and Minor League Heritage. Both cards are beautiful and worthy cards. Leonard has yet to be featured in a Bowman product or on an autograph card. I would, however, recommend his relic card from the 2011 Topps Minor League Heritage set. It’s not the most beautiful card, and relics are obnoxiously common these days, but anytime you get a card of a player in the Lynchburg green, you have to be happy. You can find it for around 5 dollars on eBay.
#18 - William Beckwith
Beckwith attracted the attention of Topps this year and was included in the Bowman Chrome set. The picture is a great slugging shot. He also appeared in the 2011 Topps Pro Debut set, which features another great picture. Neither set included an autograph card. I’d recommend going for one of his parallel cards from this year’s Bowman set. The pictured blue refractor is serial numbered to just 250, but can be had for under 5 bucks.
#17 - Tommy La Stella
La Stella has been making a big impression with his bat. He’s also made an impression on Topps who included him in the 2012 Topps Minor League Heritage set. Although I don’t collect them, Topps does a great job with their minor league sets and the inclusion of all the great minor league uniforms and team logos are great. It can never be said enough how awesome the Lynchburg Hillcats uniform is. If La Stella keeps hitting well, look for him to pop up in Bowman soon.
#15 - Joe Terdoslavich
After his monster 2011 season, Topps jumped on board the Terdoslavich train with both feet and he’s been featured across their various prospect and minor league products. I’d love to recommend his 2012 Topps Pro Debut card, but I won’t. (Get the card though. Again, the Lynchburg green rules.) I’d love to recommend his 2012 Topps Minor League Heritage card, but I won’t. (Get the card though. It’s a great serious pose of Terdoslavich in a Mississippi uniform.) I’m going to recommend his 2012 Bowman Platinum autograph. It appears to be his only Topps official auto released yet, and it’s a nice one. You can find it from 5 to 20 dollars. The green parallel pictured was around 20. I hope to see him play in Gwinnett this year.
#14 - Edward Salcedo
To date, Salcedo has only signed for Onyx and Leaf, which is a darn shame. Salcedo has a beautiful flowing signature, and if he lives up to his potential, I doubt he’ll be able to continue signing in this fashion. The demands for his signature will require him to tighten it up and shorten it. I don’t recommend unlicensed cards though so we have to look at Topps. They haven’t included him in any of the Bowman products so far, but Topps has been including him in their minor league sets from the last two seasons. His best card is the pictured 2012 Topps Pro Debut card. I find it amazing that Topps is able to include photography this amazing in a minor league set. (Perhaps, if I want a pure set building collecting experience, I should start collecting Pro Debut?)
#13 - Cody Martin
Martin has earned plenty of notice thanks to his cutter and his fastball. He appeared on Topps radar this year and was featured in both of the 2012 minor league products. There’s no Bowman card yet, and no autograph, but both of his minor league cards are pretty great. I’ll go with his Minor League Heritage card over his Pro Debut card. Why? The Lynchburg green. Again.
#12 - Zeke Spruill
Zeke Spruill landed on Topps radar in 2008 and was featured on his first Bowman card. He has not, unfortunately, had a single Topps or Bowman card released since. As Spruill continues to grind it out in the minors and as he continues to move steadily towards Atlanta, I hope Topps will include him again soon. His 2008 Bowman card did not include an autograph, but his X-Fractor parallel can be had for just over 5 dollars.
#11 - Todd Cunningham
Cunningham may end up starting the 2012 season in Gwinnett, but he hasn’t gotten Topps' attention much yet. He appeared in the 2011 Topps Pro Debut with the pictured Rome Braves card. It’s certainly a nice card, even if Cunningham doesn’t look a day over 12 years old. You would think a guy who just missed out on winning a AA batting title would have gotten a bit more love from Topps. Hopefully, Topps will give him his Bowman debut in 2013. For now, pick up his blue parallel card from 2011 Topps Pro Debut for a buck or two and marvel at how someone who looks that young gets to play baseball for a living.
Brooks Robinson 2005 Upper Deck Legends – MLB Artifacts I like this ‘Artifacts’ brand from Upper Deck’s 2005 Legends set. I just wish that the picture of Brooks was offered to us in color. Just imagine if the Oriole bird … Continue reading →
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While David was reviewing Jordan Lyles season I was coming up with bad grammar headlines to troll the grammar police.
Bernie: Spare us from baseball writers' sermons : Stltoday
By Bernie Miklasz
11/26/2012 - You Have Four Players
By Bob Hulsey
R.A. Dickey: how long can he keep it up? - Beyond the Box Score
By Ari Berkowitz
December 2, 1948 - St. Louis Cardinals’ legend Stan Musial wins his third and final NL MVP,[...]
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Alan Trammell 1990 Upper Deck By the time that the 1990 baseball season rolled around, Alan Trammell was in his 14th big league season. And he was just 32 years old!!! My favorite stat from Trammell’s 1990 season – .304 … Continue reading →
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