Monday, March 21, 2016

Coming Soon To Oaktown

So normally I don't talk about non-New York Yankees farm systems. And normally I don't talk about non-Yankees related topics in general since I don't have a 24/7 influx of non-Yankees baseball topics. When it comes to other teams and their farm systems, I know a little bit about the Dodgers but for the most part they all might as well be from outer space to me. That said, it's not like I haven't picked up tidbits of other farm systems before. Whenever I get a TTM return from a player (regardless of whether they're a Yankee or not) I do my best to research them and sometimes I pick up a few things about the overall state of the organization they play in.

So today I thought it'd be fun to venture out of my comfort zone a little and do a little rundown of the Oakland Athletics farm system. Why the A's? Because Fuji has asked me to do a post for him a few times before.

Keep in mind that I crafted this post after a crash course in A's prospecting. If my Yankees prospecting is the equivalent of getting a master's degree in grad school (which it totally ISN'T for the record), consider this the equivalent of earning a few college credits in high school but ultimately losing them by failing the AP test.

Also keep in mind that there are better sources for everything A's and MiLB A's related on the web. Run by people who actually know what they're talking about. Go read and refer to them instead. Some of them get paid to focus on this stuff!

One more thing. Please note that the following "list" is not really in any particular order. Some of the prospects are ordered (primarily because it's hard to not mention if someone's in the top 3) but for the most part the order doesn't really count.

Alright no more stalling, let's get to it.

The Top Prospect/Top Hitting Prospect

Let's start from the top. As in, who is the top prospect in the Oakland A's farm system as of early 2016?


The general consensus will tell you that Franklin Barreto is currently the A's number one prospect. Barreto hails from Venezuela and was one of the best international free agent prospects (in the same international class as Luis Torrens I might add) and signed for a $1.45 million bonus with the Blue Jays. Barreto was later traded to the A's in the Josh Donaldson trade and in retrospect it's not too farfetched to say that Barreto was a key piece in the Donaldson trade. Barreto effectively has filled the void left after the A's traded Addison Russell to the Cubs in another trade. As in, he's the top 100 (in general) prospect who also played SS.
Barreto gets high praise for his offensive upside. Experts note that he has a great swing, uses the entire field, has a fair bit of power and is fast. Barreto projects to hit consistently and his speed should help him be a menace on the base paths.
Defensively he's a pretty capable shortstop but the A's love their versatile players (and also have a logjam of SSs) so it's pretty much a given that Barreto will be tried out at second base and centerfield in the very near future.


Barreto is still pretty young too, he just turned 20 years old last month and he's likely to start 2016 in either high-A or double-A. More likely high-A since his 2015 season ended prematurely due to injuries. Either way the fact that he was a NRI to 2016 Spring Training indicates even more that the Oakland A's have high hopes for him.

The 2nd Best Prospect/Top Pitching Prospect

One thing you can say in general about the A's is how the A's farm system is kind of hitter heavy. Most of the top prospect rankings across various baseball publications have the A's top 10 consists primarily of hitters. Which is why the pitchers they do have are all the more important.


Enter Sean Manaea who many have pegged as the second best prospect in the A's farm system. The lefty came to the Athletics from the Royals in the Ben Zobrist trade and some talent evaluators suggest that he could be in the big leagues as early as late-2016. Manaea is armed with a fastball that sits in the mid-90's as well as a slider and a change up. Using a combination of all three Manaea has been very good at getting opposing hitters to swing and miss as he has had a double digit K/9 rate since year one.

Per Fangraphs

One thing that really strikes me about Manaea is how MLB.com's writeup wrote that he "does an excellent job keeping the ball in the park." I'm not exactly the most knowledgeable person about Beaneball's tactics but last I checked the A's are really into pitchers who can keep balls inside the stadium. Even though the A's really don't like their current stadium, the fact remains that their pitching staff is made of pitchers who, on paper, stand to benefit from O.co's confines (I know, bold strategy right?). Anyway Manaea projects to be anything between someone almost as good as Sonny Gray to just a really useful starter. If it all goes well he could be a top of the rotation starter who strikes out a fair number of hitters. And his presence will ease the A's fandom after the team inevitably trades away Gray.

The Heavy Hitters

So I mentioned before that the A's farm system has more top position prospects near the top of most rankings. Well lets look at them shall we?


Matt Olson is in the top 3 in pretty much every major baseball publication you can find. Olson's main attribute is power. He's got so much power that he only trailed Kris Bryant and Joey Gallo in HRs (in the minors) in 2014, that's how much power he has. A lot of scouts and talent evaluators tend to compare him to Adam Dunn as Olson's career thus far has been that of the three true outcome player. All HRs, BB's and K's. Olson is primarily a first baseman but the A's have tried him out as a corner outfielder a few times and will probably continue to see how he fares at a position other than first in the future.


Renato Nunez has somehow managed to survive several farm system purges these past few years. The 2010 international signee is said to have an approach where he uses the whole field and utilizes his bat speed. He can and has hit for power and while his overall hitting abilities are pretty solid, he is still learning how to make better use of his power while still maintaining his consistent approach. Defensively there are some question marks about whether he can be a third baseman long term, but there is still a possibility for him to be a very serviceable and capable third baseman in the big leagues.


Matt Chapman's development was slowed by injuries in 2015 but he still put up a pretty good season regardless. Chapman has a lot of power and his approach appears to be to use the whole field and spray line drives everywhere as opposed to just trying to launch every pitch into orbit. Chapman's ability to hit consistently appears to be a work in progress but he could be an impressive hitter if he could hit for a high average and tap into his power.
Defensively Chapman is said to be above average. As in if his bat doesn't really pan out he could very well be a backup 3B/infielder whose steady glove work and strong arm will work well at third. Obviously one big mission for Chapman is to make up for lost time in 2016 and to see if he can contribute to the big league club in 2017.


Richie Martin is a shortstop who the Oakland A's took with their first round pick in 2015. Martin has quite the glove and many scouts and talent evaluators will agree that he can stick at shortstop long term. As a hitter Martin is still a work in progress as he does have power but doesn't really show a lot of it. That said he has shown flashes of potential as a line driver hitter who can drive the ball to all parts of the field and use his above average speed to great effect. At the very least Martin has a very high floor that makes him a safe bet to contribute at the big league level in some capacity, whether it's as an everyday shortstop or as a backup.

Scan Property of COMC

Yairo Munoz is a shortstop who is a work in progress but his ceiling is sky high and if everything clicks he could be something truly great.
Munoz has a fair bit of power and an approach that allows him to use that power to spray line drives everywhere. However, hitting for contact is still something he is working on, as well as being a defender at shortstop. Despite how he's practically working on everything, he's got enough power and enough natural athletic abilities that scouts will say very nice things about his potential as a really really good everyday shortstop who hits a lot.


Chad Pinder is, surprise surprise, another infield prospect. Pinder has been used at second base early in his pro career but the A's have a plan for him as a shortstop long term (the A's want all the shortstops!). Pinder projects to be a pretty solid SS who hits fairly well and provides some power and is a very capable defender at SS. I know that's generic as heck but a lot of what I would say about Pinder is what I've basically said about a lot of the other prospects so far.
If nothing else Pinder has yet to really disappoint the A's. How he fits into the logjam of shortstops is beyond me but it wouldn't surprise me if he reaches the big leagues the quickest out of all of the shortstop prospects the A's have.

The Other Arms

So by now you all can probably see why the A's farm system is considered to be lean more towards hitters than pitchers. Still, Sean Manaea isn't the only pitching prospect in the A's org, lets look at two other notable pitchers who found themselves on a lot of top 10 A's prospect lists.


Casey Meisner was originally a Mets farmhand but was traded to Oakland in the Tyler Clippard trade. Meisner has been more about potential than what he is at the moment thus far into his career but he's started to show some of the potential teams saw in him. The velocity on his fastball has risen to the low-90's and has made great strides with his curveball. His change up is still a work in progress but there is potential for it to be a useful pitch for the righty as well.
Meisner's ceiling is that of a middle of the rotation starter (number 3 type) and his floor is that of a big league reliever.


Dillon Overton is pretty much the second best lefty prospect in the A's org, behind Manaea. Overton was drafted by the A's in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft but underwent Tommy John surgery before starting his career. Armed with a fastball, curveball and change up, the lefty has already made it to double-A and has the ceiling of a fourth starter in the big leagues.

The Rest

I guess the previous 10 guys are pretty much my unofficial top 10 A's? After this point you start to see different people pick different guys to round out the rest of the top 20/30/40/however long the list is. For the most part people pick the same names and I figure I'd do a few more noteworthy A's prospects worth keeping an eye on.

Scan Property of COMC

Dakota Chalmers is basically the unofficial 11th best A's prospect on a lot of rankings. The A's third round draft pick in 2015, Chalmers had potential to be drafted in the first round but his stocked dropped after scouts and talent evaluators deemed him to be "inconsistent."


Mikey White is also an infielder. White doesn't quite have the same ceiling as Barreto or Munoz, nor does he have the slick glove work at SS like Martin, but he is a pretty good prospect in his own right. He hits really well for a IF and it'll be interesting to see how he plays into the logjam of middle infielders on their way up.


Sky Bolt is really important because he's basically the best out of all the full time outfielder prospects the A's have. Bolt projects to be anything from an everyday outfielder to a fourth outfielder. The switch hitter's offense is a bit of a work in progress but he does have a fair bit of power and he could be benefit from using the entire field. With a last name like Bolt you'd imagine that he'd have a fair bit of speed, and you'd be right. He's not Usain Bolt levels of fast but he has just enough speed to probably steal a dozen or so bases in the big leagues and also cover a lot of ground in centerfield.

Scan Property of COMC

Joe Wendle came to the A's in the Brandon Moss trade.
Wendle is more of an offense first, defense second type of infielder. He can straight up hit and while he's not a power hitter he is a capable though-the-gap hitter who can use the whole field. Defensively he is not terrible but reports are kind of mixed. Some say he's solid at second base, others say he needs work at second base. Wendle is likely to start 2016 in triple-A and he could be in the big leagues sooner rather than later.

Scan Property of COMC

Rangel Ravelo came to the A's in the Jeff Samardzija trade (the one where the A's traded the Shark to the White Sox).
Ever since he was drafted by the White Sox Ravelo has done nothing but hit. Ravelo has pretty good contact skills and also has a lot of power. Defensively, Ravelo is a first baseman who can't really play anywhere else but a few stints at third base have happened. In any case he does seem to have the hitting prowess and the raw power to justify being a first baseman, the question will be whether he can show it in 2016 now that he's recovered from a wrist injury that kept him out of action for most of 2015.

Scan Property of COMC

Daniel Mengden came to the A's in the Scott Kazmir trade.
Mengden is armed with a fastball, slider, curveball and change up. He has pretty good control and his ceiling is that of a very useful middle of the rotation starter. However scouts and talent evaluators also feel that he has the floor of a middle reliever. He could probably end up somewhere in between as a really solid end of the rotation starter.

Scan Property of COMC

Ryon Healy is a corner infielder (3B & 1B).
Healy is more of a line drive hitter who can make solid contact. He's left some pretty good results thus far into his career and if he can stay at third base he could be on his way up the ladder to O.co relatively soon. He'll probably start 2016 in triple-A.


Raul Alcantara came to the A's in the Andrew Bailey trade all the way back in 2011.
Alcantara is armed with a low-to-mid 90's fastball, curveball, slider and change up. His change up is said to be his second best pitch but his curveball and slider are work in progress pitches. He's seen limited action these past few years due to injuries but what he projects to be going forward ranged from a middle of the rotation starter to a hard throwing reliever.


Jaycob Brugman is the second best OF prospect behind Skye Bolt.
Brugman is the kind of prospect who does everything well, but doesn't have one particular attribute he really excels at. And no that is not a bad thing (exactly). It's just that he's more of an all-around player. He can hit, he has some power, he has some speed, he's good defensively in all three outfield spots. He's pretty likely to start 2016 in triple-A and he could also be in O.co relatively soon.


Bobby Wahl is a pretty interesting reliever to keep an eye on. Oakland drafted him in the fifth round of the 2013 and originally tried him out as a starter but eventually they found that Wahl is indeed better suited in the bullpen long term. Armed with a mid-to-high 90's fastball, a slider and a change up, the he projects to be a useful middle reliever.

Final Thoughts:

So after a speed course in all things A's prospects related, I came away with three general observations. One is that they have a lot of infield prospects. The second is that I'm rather surprised that a lot of the players have cards already. And the last is that a few of these prospects are from other teams. The last one makes sense since if you look at the Oakland A's roster, most of it consists of players developed by other teams. A quick glance at the 25 man roster reveals that the only players to be drafted by the A's that are still on the team are Sonny Gray and Sean Doolittle, that's insane in my book.

Whether or not the prospects I dedicated a certain amount of time (that I'll never get back) to stay with the A's or more importantly fulfill their potential as players remains to be seen. With Billy Beane these could be valuable pieces of the future one minute and valuable pieces of another team's future the next.

Still, if you're a guy like Fuji and the last narrative you've heard was that the A's gutted their farm system, rest assured that the A's farm system has recovered since then. Not to the point where these guys are all in triple-A and will contribute right away, but in the sense that the A's have built themselves a nice surplus of promising infielders. Barring any drastic changes it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to see the A's focus on pitching in the 2016 draft, but then again I recall the same being said about the A's and the 2015 draft and the A's went in a different direction then so who really knows?

I hope you all enjoyed me clumsily fumbling about with another team's prospects.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Sources:
*http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/oakland-athletics-top-10-prospects/#ehFLXCRACRosJRT6.97
*http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2016?list=oak
*http://www.scout.com/mlb/athletics/story/1645682-final-oakland-a-s-top-prospects-list-for-2016
*http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=27961
*http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/evaluating-the-2016-prospects-oakland-athletics/
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=620439#/career/R/hitting/2015/ALL
*http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20150726&content_id=138928964&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_milb&sid=milb
*http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20160120&content_id=162419158&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_l110&sid=l110
*http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/franklin-barreto-the-key-to-the-josh-donaldson-trade/
*http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa709610&position=P
*http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/as-playing-time-battles-pitchers/
*http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?player_id=592833#/career/R/pitching/2015/ALL
*http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa658783&position=OF
*http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa658022&position=2B
*http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa548335&position=1B/3B
*http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa550136&position=OF

Friday, March 18, 2016

Ten Cents Times 15 Got Me...

Very recently I managed to obtain a certain toy I've been after for a while.


This is an ERTL die cast model of a tugboat named Ten Cents. Shipped to me all the way out from the UK.

Ten Cents is the protagonist (or one of the protagonists technically) of TUGS, a short lived 1980's British TV show aimed for children that used model boats.


TUGS is a show about two rival fleets of tugboats competing for various contracts and jobs in the 1920's. One fleet was called the Star Tugs who served as the good guys and that was the fleet Ten Cents belonged to. The other fleet was called the Z-Stacks and they were the villains for most of the episodes, trying to get in the Star Tugs' way. While that premise alone doesn't seem all that interesting, the adventures the tugboats all encounter and the lessons to be learned from them are what makes the show. Also the use of practical effects is especially refreshing after so many modern children's programs switching to CGI.


As some of you have probably noticed, this little boat resembles Thomas The Tank Engine, another British kids show that used models to tell stories.

That's because TUGS was made by the same people who brought you the first two seasons of Thomas The Tank Engine.

More specifically, David Mitton and Robert Cardona (and several other personnel who worked on Thomas). The late David Mitton had worked on several programs that utilized models and puppets such as Thunderbirds, primarily to handle the special effects and pyrotechnics. Robert Cardona worked on several British TV programs, usually as either a director or producer, before moving to Canada and later working on another children's show about tugboats, Theodore Tugboat. Both Mitton and Cardona were producers who worked on Thomas The Tank Engine and used their expertise and hired their talented co-workers to work on TUGS.

By children's show standards TUGS is pretty good since old school UK programming in general is good. Some of the plot lines can be a bit tricky to grasp for younger viewers (i.e. the Thomas crowd) and if you're an American you'll probably wish some of the heavy British/European accents came with subtitles, but overall it's quite enjoyable. Plus this predates CGI (or at least affordable CGI) so there's something to seeing genuine explosions and real (and controlled) mayhem - that actually happened in a giant water tank somewhere in Britain - unfold.


The show only lasted one season/13 episodes and while every episode is very good, my favorite is the episode titled Munitions. I guess the American in me really likes the explosions in this episode.


Anyway, I've been after this ERTL model of Ten Cents for a while now. ERTL die-cast models in general are some of the best die cast vehicles and toys you can find on the market. And for TUGS ERTL only made two of the characters in TUGS, Ten Cents and his best friend Sunshine.


Obviously this particular tugboat has seen better days and has been well loved. A lot of the paint has chipped off, especially on the bow, tire fenders, smokestack and hat. A little bit of Ten Cent's front has been chipped off as well.



But the key feature, the moving wheelhouse/"head," still works. And the way this toy is still in one piece (sort of) is a real testament to how well made ERTL models are.

So overall this little tuggie is in fairly good shape and I'm quite happy I got it.


I'm also happy I got it fairly cheap. It could've been the wear and tear this particular Ten Cents got, or because the auction title didn't mention that this was an ERTL TUGS character (it was just listed as "ERTL tugboat") but I won this auction on eBay for less than $1.50 (USD). In fact, I hefty price I paid was for the shipping fee that cost me 20-times as much lol.

These ERTL Ten Cents usually go for a pretty penny. Very recently another auction on another Ten Cents in even better condition went for a whopping $18-ish (USD). Combine that with the near-$20 shipping fee and for us North Americans, that amounts to quite a lot for one toy boat.


The Ten Cents auction also listed this car which has the words Ford Capri written on the chassis. It's quite a lovely toy as well and pretty much means I got two neat toys for less than a pack of Topps Series 1 (baseball card reference!), shipping fees-excluded.


Anyway, thanks for those of you who stuck around this long. I know that blogposts about toys aren't necessarily what most of you are here for but I just wanted to share something I thought was really really cool. The three main lessons I hope you all take away from this post are that practical effects are awesome, international shipping can be very expensive and that America should totally go back to British rule.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Thursday, March 17, 2016

1979 Topps Project Wantlist & Follow Up Post

Yesterday I announced that I was going to build the 1979 Topps set and also try to see how many of the cards I could get signed.


Well in the 24 hours since that post went up I created a checklist page which I've linked to here and on the side of my page.

I've explained (hopefully well) about how everything I have has been crossed off and that everything I need hasn't been crossed off yet.

I should also point out that I've only crossed off cards I have in hand. Which is to say that I will not cross off cards if I've shipped them out as TTM requests. For example, as of the moment I'm writing this post I've sent requests to a few Yankees players who were in the 1979 Topps set and I sent their 1979 Topps cards. In this case I technically don't have them in hand anymore and because of the risk of them not coming back, I'll leave them uncrossed until either I get a new copy or until the request comes back.

And yesterday I mentioned that I'd address OPC and the Burger King issues another time. Well it's another time so I'll address them.


Regarding OPC, I don't really plan on building the set (unsigned) until this first basic set is finished. Nor do I really see myself getting as many OPC's signed either. I probably won't turn them away but I won't really go after them for a while.


While I was putting together my checklist, I found out that the Bake McBride I had signed was actually one of the cards in the 1979 Topps Burger King Philadelphia Phillies set. Don't I feel silly now.
Anyway my stance on the BK sets is like the OPC set. I might collect it (unsigned) but not until I finish the main set first.


On a final note, I think I should make it clear (because in my original post I clearly wasn't) that I'd prefer to collect/trade for unsigned 1979 Topps cards as my main mission is to finish the 1979 Topps set in general. And also I want to get the autographs myself if I can. Unless it's a signed 1979 Topps Thurman Munson. Then by all means offer it to me lol ;). That said, it's not like I'm going to turn away signed copies of 1979 Topps cards either if the people sending them are 100% okay with it.

So anyway. Thanks to all of you for your kind words and support when I decided to get this project going.

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

You Know What...

A few years ago a younger Zippy Zappy proclaimed that he would never chase a set of baseball cards that has over 50 cards in the said set, or something to that effect. At the time I had just completed the 2012 Sega Card Gen set which was distributed solely in Japan and took me two years to finish. I was (hobby-wise) exhausted with set building at that point even though I had only completed one major league baseball card set.

BUT it's been two years since the set was finished. And right now I need something new to preoccupy my hobby time (you know aside from blogging, minor leaguers, TTMs, IPs, vintage Highlanders and all those other things). Because you know, what better time to announce a new baseball card endeavor than when you're right in the middle of a six-month buying hiatus?

That's right, it's time for my second ever set building mission. Of course the set in question is...


1979 Topps! I've gone on record saying how 1979 Topps is my favorite designed set of all time. In my opinion it's the ideal baseball card template. A nice big picture with tons of real estate for a nice signature. A sweet ball on the side with the name of the player and their position neatly laid out with the name of the team in a sweet ribbon. It's simple and to the point.

Whether by fate or chance, it's also a set with players I see frequently show up at card shows and sign via TTM. Also I see it constantly in dime boxes or bargain bins. Sellers can't seem to get rid of these fast enough. So much so that my unofficial slogan for the card shows I attend might as well be "You Can ALWAYS Rely On 1979 Topps!"


As some of you can probably deduce, when I say I'm building the 1979 Topps set. I also mean that I'm trying to get as many of the 1979 Topps I get autographed. Of course there are some obstacles. Some players in this set have passed away, some just flat out refuse to sign. But you know what? I'm going to give it my all and see where it takes me.

Oh right, I should probably explain where I'm starting from...


Well thanks to Mark Hoyle I completed the Yankees team set a while back. That said, I can never seem to have enough 1979 Topps Yankees (because I'm trying TTMs all willy nilly like a moron). So um, I'm basically starting at eight cards I guess? And I can't imagine I have too many unsigned cards either. I'll put up a cohesive list later.


So yeah I'm going for all the cards in the 1979 Topps set. All 726 of them. And before you ask, I'll address the Burger King exclusives and OPC version another time, right now this is a declaration of my new mission to start and finish the 1979 Topps set. And then as I attempt to build the set I'll also proceed to see how many of them I can get inked. Let the games begin!

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Two Months Of Baseball Card Sobriety

Alright, so another month went by where I didn't buy a single baseball card. Now I'm one third of the way to accomplishing my goal of no baseball card purchases for six months.

It could be because of my non-collecting life getting a wee bit busier but for the most part staying away from baseball cards was pretty easy in February.


Mainly since the only product to came out (of note) is Topps Series 1. I know people really want to leap for the first baseball card product of the year and that for many it's a tradition. But as the years have gone by I've found the whole thing less enticing than it seems. Mainly in that after I buy a few packs and open them, I'm left with regret, open wrappers and a bunch of useless cards that probably aren't even TTM-able.
And outside of Series 1 not much else popped up on the shelves in February. And it's not like anything I needed on the secondhand market presented themselves either.

If you ever want to take a break from the hobby and just go for a month without buying any baseball cards but you're worried you can't go a full 30/31 days, try it in February as it's the shortest month of the year (even during leap years) and offers the least amount of products in the entire year too.


After all. I haven't spent a dime on a single baseball card this year (yet) and I now have a T205 in my collection.

Unfortunately I failed to accomplish my no buying cards in general for a month goal. I cracked and bought one (ONE!) pack of Star Wars The Force Awakens Trading Cards. Stupid Zippy! Show more self control!

Anyway now we're in March. This is when things get trickier. I guess. This is about the time when other products like Heritage and some high end sets appear. More options and more things to spend money on.

Hard to say whether it'll be a problem for me though, minor league themed cards don't come out for another month or two and even then buying new Bowman cards on or near release day is a fool's errand. On the other hand, IT'LL BE NEW AND SHINY! Also I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little interested in acquiring a Kenta Maeda autograph.


Alright so as for purchases I've made towards this hobby in general so far, pretty much 100% of it has gone towards mailing things. As in, my first hobby-related purchase this year was a roll of stamps and the rest of my hobby-related purchases since then have been either envelopes, more stamps, Zippy Zappings or shipping fees on international trades.

So any other developments?

Well very recently I sold some of my cards for the first time online. It's quite surreal seeing the Betances cards I picked up for pennies back in 2012 sell for decent amounts of money. I guess a humble PC that I put together just because "Betances is from Washington Heights" paid off big dividends in the end.

Looking ahead I'm probably going to seriously consider selling some of my cards like my Jeter auto and Posada auto and see what happens. Most likely it'll amount to nothing but who knows?

Alright, enough of my rambling. The important thing is that two months have passed without my buying a single card in either of them. (At least) four more to go!

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Getting P(-To)WNed (Part V)

So, um,


BLAM!

That happened so suddenly and unexpectedly didn't it? No warnings. No signals.

In the past I made other people feel this sense of unexpected shock with my T206es, never did I think I'd have somebody do the same to me.

Well lo and behold, one of my best blogging buddies P-Town Tom of Waiting 'til Next Year got me again.

Okay well to be fair Tom did give me a warning when I first opened the bubble mailer.


No wait, wrong side...


There we go.

Immediately I knew what this implied. For you see I had left the following comment one of the WtNY blog posts.


Obviously I meant the comment in jest. And by "folks" I mean all of the people in the super traders club (which I am not a part of). But PTT made it happen anyway. Kind of fitting really. They sent me my first T205, I sent them their first T206.


So back to the magnificent T205. It's of former Highlander Jack Quinn. Jack Quinn is notable to me for his T206 was the second T206 I had ever picked up. And with the departure of my first T206 it's been with me the longest. I have a feeling PTT probably remembered that post from this blog's early years before it became the prospecting thing it is today.


The ink on the back has faded over time. And although the name says John Quinn, Quinn also went by "Jack" during his 23 (TWENTY THREE!) year MLB career. The really cool thing about Quinn that I still remember from doing research on him two years ago is that he's basically one of the earliest players to play well into his 40's. Jack Quinn pitched his last game when he was 50! Naturally he established several age related records that have since been either broken or have stood the test of time.


And now I have Quinn's cards from two of the most iconic tobacco card sets of all time. Perhaps this is the baseball card gods' way of coercing me to becoming a Jack Quinn collector? He does have a Goudey (23 YEAR MLB VETERAN) too after all and a couple of other vintage oddballs.

Either way, this came out of nowhere and I can't thank PTT enough for this. I definitely didn't thank him enough by sending him a bunch of inkless Adam Warrens. Time to rectify my mistake!

Also while we're on the topic of T205s, this is actually not the first time I came close to having a T205. Mark Hoyle asked me if I wanted a T205 Highlander last year and I declined as we both agreed that giving The Lost Collector vintage heart attacks is more entertaining.

So Mark Hoyle, you didn't pop my T205 cherry but know that it was nothing personal ;).


Accompanying the Highlander was another Highlander, a blog favorite, JACK CHESBRO!
In Tri-Star Obak mini form too. These Obak cards are all gray whales. I can find them easily since Chesbro doesn't have too many cards and these are available, but they're all more than I'm willing to spend (usually).


More Happy Jack! And this is not a mini. It is vintage though (note, my definition of vintage is anything before I was born). This is Jack Chesbro's card in the 1948 Hall of Fame Exhibits set. I've seen this floating around in the past but never pulled the trigger on one myself. And now I don't have to thanks to PTT.


I don't think it's hyperbole to suggest that this is the greatest battery combination in the history of baseball.
Obviously I had both the Fleer and LUIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSS BoChro and PTT already knew that. But PTT also knows that I won't say no to Vintage Chesbro or any Torrens cards.
Seriously though, I'd love to see Luis Torrens try to catch Jack Chesbro's spitball. I know it can't happen, that's why I want it to happen!

PTT knows that I love Yankees prospects so this is a nice/abrupt transition to the prospect/newer portion of the epic P(-To)WNAGE.


Like this double dose of Gosuke Katoh!
The 2013 second rounder hasn't had too many bright spots since joining the organization but Katoh has shown improvements after initial struggles at the levels he's been assigned to. So there is hope.


This is actually a BoChro mini version of Casey Stevenson. Also signed by Casey Stevenson. I'm not entirely sure how PTT got this (care to elaborate PTT?). Stevenson was with the Yankees between 2010 and 2014 before being released. He hasn't been picked up by an affiliate since but he did spend the 2015 season in Indyball. If I had to guess this is either an old TTM request, IP auto or something PTT picked up at a card show.


The last card in this EPIC package was this jersey relic of Chien-Ming Wang. Former Staten Island Yankee great, Chien Ming Wang that is.


And there was my latest P(-To)WNAGE package from P-Town Tom. PTT's packages are always special because they know that my interests are Yankees prospects, Highlanders and a few things in between. Not everyone has either of those things and yet PTT managed to find a little bit of all three and sent it in one convenient package.

Well rest easy PTT, my next Zippy Zapping for you will not be just a PWE with a dozen ex-Yankees making up the bulk of it. I will get even (my own twisted definition of even).

So yeah, go check out Waiting 'til Next Year. I hear the Cubs are no longer terrible.

Any thanks again to PTT for the awesome cards.

And as always thank you the readers for stopping by. Take care.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

2016 Has Officially Begun

So a month or two after the fact, I finally have gotten my first taste of 2016 Topps flagship.


Yes I know, I'm late to the party. I can see all of you crinkling up your Heritage wrappers.
I don't really mind since I threw out the invitation and wasn't willing to pay the $20 entrance fee. Plus that whole no buying cards goal.

Anyway that Andrew Miller came courtesy of Night Owl Cards, one of the finest bloggers you'll ever see in this corner of our blogosphere.

Normally I don't bother with veterans and non-Yankees farmhands but I made an exception for the Miller. One reason why is that I thought it'd be nice to get my first taste of 2016 Topps just to know what it's like. And I know N.O. doesn't like the Yankees so I figured I'd at least ask.
The fact that Andrew Miller doesn't really have a ton of cards (certainly not as a Yankee) out there helped for I obviously wasn't going to get a "oh buggar, another useless Jeter" type reaction.

And of course another reason was for a TTM request (I blame The Lost Collector). By the time this post goes up the card above is already in a mailbag somewhere waiting to be sent to Tampa.


Night Owl even pulled the gold parallel for me. That was mighty thoughtful of them. Although in retrospect maybe I should've sent this out for my TTM request instead. Ah well.

Okay, well since I dedicated a whole post to these two cards I might as well go on with my opinions on the cards.

We're The Millers

So 2016 Topps has gotten some flack for the design. Namely that there are no borders and that it looks more like an insert set design or a design for another product like Stadium Club. That's fair I guess. Design wise 2016 Topps has more in common with the set Topps released for Team USA in the Olympics back in 2012 than any normal flagship design.

Night Owl referred to these as smoking cards and I can definitely see why. I personally thought two different explosions were happening in the upper left corner and lower right corner so it fits.


The backs aren't really anything to write home about either. They're the same usual uninspired backs you expect from modern day cards. Although I do like seeing Miller's saves total jump from 1 to 36. I don't really like the saves stat but the unfortunate truth is that people who rack up saves get PAID. Miller was one of the few players the Yankees dangled as trade bait after the San Diego Padres got a really really great package from the Boston Red Sox for Craig Kimbrel. And it's not like there weren't any potential suitors for Miller either. Teams like the D-Backs and Astros were definitely interested. Ultimately a trade never happened and the Yankees then got Aroldis Chapman on a discount. Considering the whole offseason though, I often wonder if maybe the Yankees could've gotten Dansby Swanson for Andrew Miller. Wouldn't that have been something.

So my final verdict on 2016 Topps is, is Bowman out yet?

Anyway thanks for the Millers and for the rest of the awesome cards N.O.

And as always thank you, the readers, for stopping by.

Take care.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Tinny Tin Tin

So recently I received another package from another one of my Japanese contacts. Or former Japanese contact I should say. This other person, let's call them T-san, decided to put a halt to collecting after their professional life started getting too busy for them to keep up with the hobby.
Nonetheless I did have a few cards for T-san including two personalized autographs so I sent them one last package and in return T-san sent me one last thank you package.


As far as cards go the crown jewel was this Wilkerman Garcia Bowman Chrome autograph. It's the base card version but I have no qualms about adding another certified autograph of MLB.com's FIFTH best Yankees prospect in my collection. Plus this will go nicely with my refractor version of Wilky's BoChro autographs.


There was also this Correlle Prime autograph from 2015 Bowman Chrome. If memory serves this was a dupe that T-san pulled (note, T-san is/was a Rockies collector) and they probably sent me this.


There were a bunch of non-auto'd cards (mostly Yanks and Rocks) but the best of the rest was this green refractor a Series Next die-cut insert of Jacob deGrom. This one is numbered 09/99 too. As a New York resident, this will come in handy in the future.

Of course the cards were what I was expecting and that would've been an absolutely great package on it's own but of course T-san sent me something cooler for one last hurrah.


Like these cool Star Wars Episode 7 themed tins filled with candy!

Two of these tins contained cubed chocolate. The last one contained marshmallows.


There was also this big tin box with a really cool 3D cover which had Kylo Ren from one angle,


And R2D2, BB-8 and C-3PO on the other angle. Isn't it cool?!

The tin contained chocolate.

So yeah that was a really cool trade package from a person I hope returns to this hobby one day. For now, all I can say that is that this was quite a farewell package.

Tーさん、今回のトレードありがとうございました!今まで本当にお世話になりました、色々ありがとうございました!

As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).