Monday, January 29, 2018

MLB's Top 100 Prospects

Saturday night Major League Baseball announced its latest Top 100 Prospects list. Shohei Ohtani was named baseball's top prospect, which was no surprise. He's the next Babe Ruth after all. What was a surprise was the absence of many Red Sox prospects. This is the first time that the impact of last off-season's trades hit home for me.  With 30 major league teams, the law of averages says we should expect to see the Red Sox with one prospect in the top 30, one more in the top 60, and one more in the top 90.  But there were no Red Sox prospects to be found in the top 30.  Nor were there any in the top 60.  Instead, here's how and where the Red Sox were represented.

Third baseman Michael Chavis was the #79 ranked prospect.  His bat has been showing lots of pop in the minor leagues.  But he's blocked from the bigs by Rafael Devers who appears to have third base claimed for a long time into the future.  Perhaps Chavis will continue to show promise in the higher minor leagues, enough to be attractive trade bait at some point.

Pitcher Jason Groome was the #85 ranked prospect.  You never hear about pitchers being blocked to the majors because you can never have enough good pitching.  Groome was only 3-9 last year, and has yet to pitch even one inning at AA ball.  But somebody must know something for him to make the list.  Hopefully, we see him in Fenway in the next couple of years.

So that's it.  The Red Sox had two minor leaguers represented, and both well down the list.  MLB has what they call "prospect points" which is the metric they use to compare the prospects of the major league clubs against each other.  Boston was tied for 5th worst.  It's a good thing the big league club in Boston is young and talented, which will hopefully give the farm system time to replenish.

There were a couple more on the Top 100 list who were in the Boston system until recently.

Pitcher Michael Kopech was at #10.  He was of course part of the Chris Sale deal last year with the Chicago White Sox.  Even with Kopech's high ranking, I'd make that same trade over and over again.

Pitcher Anderson Espinoza was ranked #89.  He was in the Drew Pomeranz trade with the San Diego Padres.  Again, I'd make that same trade today too.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Lakers Are Having a Ball

It's with the Los Angeles Lakers sitting in 11th place in the Western Conference, ten games under .500 and six games out of a playoff spot, that the 2017-18 Panini Hoops team set arrived.  This was supposed to be the year that things ticked up for the NBA's worst team over the past three years.  Magic Johnson with all his real-world experience was added to the front office.  Luke Walton, the young up and coming coach was hired.  And the youthful roster of high draft picks was supposed to be getting it's mojo together.

Lonzo Ball's rookie season has been a disappointment overall in my mind.  His points are lower than expected and his shooting percentage is awful.  He's now missed six straight games because of a MCL sprain.  He's got good rebounding and assist numbers though.  And he's popular.  We went to a college basketball game a couple of weeks ago and two players were sporting identical hairdos to the one Ball has on this card.

Brandon Ingram is in his second season and has improved in just about everything over his rookie year.  He's second on the team in scoring and is showing consistency.
Julius Randle plateaued in his second season as an average player, and that's what he'd been giving the Lakers ever since. 

Jordan Clarkson's playing time is a career low, obviously being affected by Ball's presence.  But he's still scoring at a decent clip despite fewer minutes.
Larry Nance has remained a decent player off the bench.  His playing time is the same as last year, but his scoring and rebounding are slightly up.

Brook Lopez has been a disappointment to say the least.  He'd been a 20 points per game guy most of his career.  The center position was ripe for the picking when he came to the Lakers this past offseason.  But his productivity is markedly decreased.
Another offseason acquisition was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from Detroit.  KVP's numbers have been really good, almost exactly what he put up with the Pistons the past three years.

Rookie Josh Hart hasn't been getting a lot of playing time.
But that's not the case with fellow rookie Kyle Kuzma.  He's having a great rookie season.  He leads the team in scoring.

I guess the Lakers couldn't stand not having a Bryant on their team for more than a year, so they drafted Thomas Bryant.  He's seen all of seven minutes of court time so far this year.
Ivica Zubac was supposed to be a great pickup a couple of years ago.  But he's hardly played this year, way less than last year.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

More Progress on 1973 Baseball Set, Refractors, and Prizms

I started shooting for putting together complete sets of Topps baseball for 1973, 1974, and 1975 at roughly the same time.  I only need one more card for 1975, George Brett.  I only need one more card for 1974, Dan Fife.  But with 1973 I've run into a hurdle that I assume will be there for every set going back from there, high numbered cards.  I found a not-bad deal on eBay at $1 each.  But he didn't have a lot that I needed.  I was able to get 14 of them.

I have 23 more to go for 1973!

My pursuit of team sets for the Red Sox, Steelers, and Lakers of refractor-like issues has had a few more trickle in too.

2017 Panini Prizm Prizm (no, I didn't stutter, that's what it's honestly called)

2001 Finest Refractors

2012-13 Panini Prizm Prizms

2017-18 Panini Prizm Silver Prizms

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Trade Bait - Take a Look

I may not be All Trade Bait, All The Time, but I AM all trade bait THIS time.  My recent complete set purchases included a number of throw-ins of cards I don't collect.  Ironically, they were all included in sets that were missing cards.  It's hard to complain about a missing common when they throw in 25 freebies.

There's some baseball and basketball.  Take a look and let me know what you want.  I apologize again for the picture quality.  The camera on my phone has a cracked lens.  My goal was to at least make things legible should you zoom in on the pictures.

2013 Topps Chasing the Dream

2013 Topps Making the Mark

2013 Topps Minis 1972 style

2013 Topps Red???

2013 Topps World Baseball Classic

2013 Topps and Topps Update Blue???

2013 Topps Chasing History

2013 Topps Calling Card and 2013 Topps The Greats and 1994 Upper Deck

2013 Topps Chase it Down

2000 Skybox Prospects and 2013 Topps Franchise Forerunners and 2013 Topps and 1991 Classic Best and 1999 Skybox Premium
2006-07 Fleer basketball

2008-09 Fleer Hot Prospects

Monday, January 22, 2018

In the Mail - A Jester, a Hoarder, and a Plate

I got three packages in the mail Saturday.

The first one was from Matt at Diamond Jesters.  He sent me this Dustin Pedroia from 2007 Upper Deck.  It was on my want list.  Now I'm down to two left for that team set.
Matt also included a bonus Carl Yastrzemki card which I did not have.  My PC of Yaz is growing very slowly lately, so this was a welcome addition.  Thanks, Matt!  I'll have something on the way back to you shortly.

The second package was from Jason at Hoarding Cardboard.  He had a contest where he was giving away cards from December 1 thru 25.  I only entered a couple of the days, but was fortunate enough to win one with a Red Sox connection.

And the third package was a recent eBay purchase.  My Aaron Sele PC is down to cards which are extremely rare or difficult to find.  This 1999 Stadium Club Printing Plate was a surprise to see.

It's the magenta variation.  Though not spelled out separately on the trading card database, I assume there are black, cyan, and yellow versions as well.  Usually the TCDB lists those out though, so I'm not exactly sure.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Hoops and Topps Basketball

There were two more complete basketball sets in my post Christmas purchases, and they've both arrived in the mail.  First up is the 2015-16 Hoops set.
Blake Griffin has been all the talk after his recent non-fighting incident.

Next is the 2007-08 Topps set.  I'm sorry that the words don't show up so well in the scans.
Carmelo Anthony on the Nuggets.

Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant.  That's a nice shot of the under side of the Lakers scoreboard.

Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James.

Yao Ming and Shaquille O'Neal.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Outragious Use of Super Glue in 2013 Topps Baseball

These sets I've been purchasing lately are mostly hand-collated.  They're a lot cheaper that way.  But the risk is missing cards, and I got burned with the 2013 Topps baseball set.  Two cards were missing, and are now on my want list.  There was an extra Giancarlo Stanton.  Anybody need it?

As I was sorting this set, I realized that Super Glue is used on a lot of the cards.  I mean it's everywhere.  Most years' sets have some of it here and there, but the 2013 set must hold the record.  Super Glue is used to stick baseballs to about anything you can imagine on these cards.  Here are some examples.

The players use it to stick baseballs to the front of their baseball caps...

to the barrels of their bats...

And to their open gloves...

They're sticking baseballs to their bodies too.
To their fingertips...



pinkies...  (That's some strong glue there!)

upper arms...



Doh! No comment on this one.


Fielders are gluing baseballs to the rims of their gloves...

Catchers are gluing baseballs to their chest protectors...

Relief pitchers are sticking baseballs to themselves in the bullpens.

Poor Ben here got two drops of Super Glue, resulting in both his shoulder and hat being stuck to the ball.

The fans in the stands want to be just like the players, so they're using Super Glue too.  They're sticking balls to their shoulders and shins...

more shoulders...

heads and chests...

sides and tops of heads...

cheeks and arm pits...
Look around the ballparks.  Baseballs have been glued to...
outfield walls...

foul poles...


even to the lenses of television cameras...

Oh the painstaking work it must have been to stick each individual ice cube!

I doubt Super Glue can stick to liquids, so this is most likely a perfect timing shot that caught it in mid air.

Super Glue is a registered trademark product.  There should be an R in a circle next to each time it's used in this blog.  I didn't know how to add that in this text editor.