Friday, February 28, 2014

Re-Drafting the Orioles - 1999

     Welcome to my brand new series that I'm very excited to bring to the blogosphere.  I will start off by saying that this is not my own idea but one that I am borrowing from Johnny of Cards from the Quarry fame.  His blog is one of my favorites since he comes up with so many innovative and original ideas.  He also does a great job of creating a custom card for each and every player in his Quarry Unlimited set each year.
     I became quite interested in the draft around the year 2000.  I was in high school at the time and playing varsity baseball.  I knew several of my friends had a chance to be drafted as well as players/friends on rival teams in our district.  Some of my buddies went on to play ball in college after we graduated in 2002.  That year my HS team battled another team in the district who had a hotshot junior pitcher by the name of Harold Mozingo.  Our team beat him 3 times in 2002!  I even had a few hits off of him.  Trust me, standing in the batters box with somebody chucking low 90s heat is not easy.  I've been there and done that.  Harold went on to be drafted in 2003 by the Mets.  He didn't sign but went to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and was drafted by the Royals in 2006.  He played several seasons for them in the low minors.  So that's my claim to fame, I hit off of a minor leaguer!

Anyways, back to my other claim to fame, this blog, I hope you enjoy reading what I've put together.  I'm going to re-evaluate the draft picks the Orioles made in certain years and see how those picks turned out.  I'm sure that the picks the Orioles made at the time were the correct picks and some look bad now.  But some turned out great.  The draft is a crap shoot.  I'm going to stick to Johnny's template pretty closely.  Only players that were drafted within the next 10 picks of the Orioles pick are eligible to be swapped out.  I won't swap out players from the 46th round into the 3rd either.  it just wouldn't have happened then so it won't happen now.  Most of the cards that I will be scanning will be ones from my collection.  There will be a few exceptions overall and I will get the images from COMC or other sources.

I'm going to start out with the first draft I remember.  1999.  The Orioles had a whopping 7 picks in the first round.  The Free Agent compensation was much different back then than it is now.  Teams who signed free agents had to surrender draft picks to the team that the player came.  There wasn't a qualifying offer back then either.  Just about every player that was a free agent had draft pick compensation attached to them.

So without further ado:
1st Round, Pick #13: Mike Paradis, RHP, Clemson University

While picking 4th year college pitchers is usually a safer bet, drafting pitchers in general is a risky proposition.  Looking at Paradis's college career, he looked like a sure thing to make an impact in Baltimore.  Sometimes things just don't work out.

New Pick: Jason Jennings LHP, Baylor University (Drafted by the Rockies with pick #16)

I think it's fitting that I steal Johnny's idea for posts and then I steal his pitcher.  Jennings was a fairly average pitcher in Coors Field.  I think I heard that he was a groundball pitcher somewhere though I could be mistaken.  Either way, I dare to say that he might have had better success in Baltimore than the thin air of Colorado even though both ballparks are notoriously hitter friendly.

1st Round, Pick #18: Rich Stahl, LHP, Newton HS, Covington GA (Pick surrendered by Cardinals as compensation for signing Eric Davis)

Drafting HS pitchers is the most risky pick teams can make.  They are more susceptible to injury since they haven't grown into their bodies and they lack the tutelage of college pitching coaches.  There usually is a huge learning curve switching to pro hitters.  Most dominant HS pitchers just blow away the hitters with pure gas and don't have to really "pitch" to be successful.  Pro hitters are pro hitters for a reason!

Back to Stahl, injuries plagued this guy.  When he was on the field, he was pretty decent.  Just staying healthy was a challenge.

New Pick: Alex Rios, 3B, San Pedro Martin HS, Guayanbo, PR (Drafted by the Blue Jays with pick #19)

Yes, this is the same Alex Rios that is still active today.  Most of us have heard of Rios before.  He has gone onto a solid career so it's not hard to see why he would be a better pick here.  Bonus Fact: I've been to Guayanbo, PR on a business trip!

1st Round, Pick #21: Larry Bigbie, OF, Ball State University (Pick surrendered by Rangers as compensation for signing Rafael Palmiero)

I think I am going to keep this pick.  Bigbie had a couple good years in Baltimore and then kinda faded away.  He was named on the Mitchell Report and that hurt him big time.
Bigbie is the first player I really followed through the minors when I was in my formative years.  I was learning about the draft and college players and how the whole farm system worked.

1st Round, Pick #23 Keith Reed, OF, Providence College (Pick surrendered by Cleveland as compensation for signing Roberto Alomar)

Reading the back of several of Keith's baseball cards, it seems he had tons of raw power and overall athleticism.  The Orioles have been drafting these types of players for a long time and more times than not they haven't panned out.  In his case however, I think it is Baltimore's fault for not giving him more than a shot in the majors.  He got 6 ABs with the varsity squad in 2005 and that was it.  If I was Baltimore and I had this guy in the minor leagues for 6 years having some decent success, I'd certainly have given him more than a cup of coffee.  It will always be a mystery to me why and for my own selfish reasons I'm keeping this pick because of what he might have become.  Sure Mike McDougal and Mr. Jennie Finch were drafted within the next 10 picks but Reed is my man here.

1st Round, Pick #34 Josh Cenate, LHP, Jefferson HS, Charlestown, WV

Not having a card in my collection of Cenate doesn't bode well for this pick.  Another high school hurler that injuries hammered.  He missed 3 full seasons and then had 2 cameo batting appearances in 2003 in SSA- ball.  Poor guy.

New Pick: Colby Lewis, RHP, Bakersfield College (Drafted by the Rangers with Pick #38)

I had my pick between Lewis and Jerome Williams who have gone on to have decent success in the majors.  Lewis has had trouble staying on the field where as Williams disappeared for a couple years before resurfacing with the Halos a few years ago.

1st Round, Pick #44 Scott Rice, LHP, Royal HS, Simi Valley, CA (Supplemental pick for losing Eric Davis to Free Agency)

This guy has been around for quite some time.  He's the ultimate underdog story since I was surprised to see that he made his major league debut last April 1st, 2013 (no fooling!), nearly 14 years after being drafted!  Congratulations to Scott for chasing his dream!

New Pick: Chris Duncan, 1B, Canyon del Oro HS, AZ (Drafted by the Cardinals with the 46th pick)

Duncan has Baltimore ties because his dad played for the O's in the 70's.  I think injuries derailed his career and forced him to retire but he had a few good seasons for the Cardinals before that.

1st Round, Pick #50 Brian Roberts, SS, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

I don't think I really need to explain why I'm keeping this pick.  Roberts will more than likely be in the Orioles Hall of fame.  I could probably hand this section over to my buddy William and let him explain it a little more though he's still a little mad at him for joining the Evil Empire for 2014!  It's kinda crazy that a player like Roberts fell this low in the draft.  For every Matt Bush there is a Mike Piazza and every Johnny Bench there is a Matt Bush.  The draft is so much like scratch-off lottery tickets!

There are several interesting players drafted in the next 10 after Roberts.  Carl Crawford, Brandon Phillips, and Ryan Doumit are all solid players but not comparable to what Brian Roberts means to the Orioles.

3rd Round, Pick #104 Jon Kessick, C, Ball State University

I would guess that the scout that was watching Larry Bigbie also found Kessick since they were teammates at Ball State.  Looking at his minor league numbers, he was probably a catch and throw guy with a below average bat even though his caught stealing percentage was only 21%.

New Pick: Hank Blalock, 3B, Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego, CA (Drafted by the Rangers with Pick #105)

Blalock was picked right after Kessick and would have benefitted from playing his home games with the short right field porch at Camden Yards.  Texas isn't too bad of a place to play in regards to hitting however.  I find it hard to believe that Hank was out of baseball after 2009 not even yet turning the big 3-0.

6th Round, Pick #187 Erik Bedard, LHP, Norwalk Community College, Norwalk, CT.

A great pick for Baltimore in a round where the talent starts to drop off in regards to how many players make the majors.  He was the ace of the staff for a few years until he was traded to Seattle before 2008.  That trade fetched the O's Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, George Sherrill and 2 others.  Bedard was good while he was here and set the O's up long term when he was traded.  It's a shame that he's battled injuries since the big trade but that's baseball I guess.

7th Round, Pick #217 Dave Farren, RHP, Texas HS, Texarkana, TX

A HS pitcher that had middlin' results in his time with the Orioles organization.  I don't know much about him.

New Pick: Coco Crisp, 2B, Los Angeles Pierce College (Drafted by the Cardinals with the #222 pick)

Coco has gone onto have a pretty good career.  He might be better known for his 2014 Topps base card.  I think it's interesting that he was a 2B in college!

The next few rounds were pretty much a wash for the O's.  Nobody stands out as a much better pick.

The 13th round is where Albert Pujols was picked with the 402nd pick, 5 after the O's picked Drew Hassler at #397.  Whoops! Thirty teams had at least 12 chances to draft him and the Cardinals were the team that took a chance on him.  I think it turned out pretty well for them!

Other Orioles Draft picks that year to make the majors were:

Aaron Rakers (23rd rd, #697)

2001 SPx #187 - Willie Harris YS RC (Rookie Card)/1500 - Courtesy of
Willie Harris (24th rd, #727).

Side Note: When I went digging through my 2003 Topps set to get the Chris Duncan and Alex Rios cards for the scans, the whole set was stuck together in one complete brick. I've heard of cards sticking together when they've sat for a while.  As you can see, both cards have "battle damage" from me pulling them apart.  I'm pretty upset that it seems like the whole set is ruined because if I pull them all apart, the paper loss will be on every single card.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this little look back at the 1999 MLB draft through my eyes.  I really did have fun putting this post together and I'm looking forward to doing more posts like this.  Doing the research and digging through cards to scan really invigorated me in regards to blogging.  Hopefully I can keep the flame burning!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Trade with Jimmy of S.Mack Talk

I haven't been as active here on my blog recently nor have I been trading as much.  Its getting harder for me to match up with traders here in the blogosphere since I'm no longer building sets and a lot of my Orioles wantlists are harder to crack.  That fact didn't seem to bother Jimmy from the brand new S.Mack Talk blog.  He found me some cards that fit right into my collection.
This Rodrigo Lopez card from 2003 Bowman has eluded me for quite some time.  It was also on my Top 10 Wanted list (which I have discontinued for the time being) for a good while.  Lopez was my favorite O's pitcher during the dark days of the early to mid 2000's.  He had fairly good results playing for some dreadful teams of retreads, never-has-beens, and never-will-be's.  I cautiously wonder what his spot on the Orioles would be today.
Talking about today's Orioles we have a 2013 Bowman Platinum base card of Adam Jones.  I'm slowly filling on my team set holes from '13.

Last but not least, Jimmy nearly completed my 2013 flagship set.  I consider the Update part of the regular set, sue me!  All 990 cards fit nicely into a 1000 ct box with a little room to spare.  I wish it would just be called series 3.  There's no need to call it an Update set because nothing is really updated.  The card design is the same!

Head on over to Jimmy's new blog and give him a follow.  I'm sure he'd appreciate the support.

Thanks Jimmy for the trade!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Trade with Matt of Red Cardboard

Trade is probably a loose approximation of what went on between Matt of Red Cardboard and myself.  A couple weeks back, Matt made a post on his blog about how he had lots of team lots(!) that he had no use for and they were available for trade. The obligation of claiming one of the lots is that you had to send him cards of only the Reds. I have plenty of Reds tradebait so I took a chance on the Orioles lot not knowing what the contents were going to be.  I usually don't agree to trades these days when I don't know exactly what is being sent.  I am glad I decided to go against my new thinking this time because I ended up with some pretty sweet cardboard!
First and Foremost, I got this Brooks Robinson from 1974 Topps.  While I already had one for my O's Team set, I didn't have one for my Brooksie binder.  I was totally not expecting a semi-vintage gem like this! 
The numbers of parallels in Topps sets these days has become maddening.  I had accumulated so many over the last few years that I started a new binder a couple months ago.  I call it "Orioles of a Different Color".  It's kind a of a play on words from the Wizard of Oz's Horse of a Different Color.  So now I can now proudly add these to the binder that is nearly full already.

It's hard to believe (or not so hard) that I'm still looking for base cards of 2013 releases.  I didn't buy any packs of 2013 Topps Re-Hash (2013 Heritage) or 2013 Topps Re-Hash Preview 2021, 2031, 2034, 2039 (2013 Topps Archives). There were several other cards not shown here that filled in some team set needs from 2013.

Thanks Matt for the Giveaway/Trade!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Trade with Brad of Red Sox Fan in Nebraska

I've been reading a lot of 2014 Topps box breaks and pack rips over the last week.  I can tell that 2014 Topps isn't going to go down in history as an all-time favorite design.  Anyways, while perusing my daily reading in the blogosphere, I noticed Brad from Red Sox Fan in Nebraska pulled a couple O's cards from his rips that I was interested in.  We came to a trade agreement so here's the cards he sent:
Even though I have stopped doing my daily searches on Ebay and COMC for Nick Markakis cards, I will still get his cards when they are available.  I've got quite a collection of Nick the Stick but I think my days of super-collecting him may be over unless I win the lottery.
This Manny Machado Power players parallel/game card also caught my eye.  Manny is the future of the O's franchise though I don't currently have the resources to start a huge collection of his cards.  Like Nick above, I'll pick up as many as I can and not fret when I don't get his urine yellow or booger green parallels.

Thanks Brad for hooking me up with these new release O's cards!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Obligatory Two Cents on 2014 Topps

Now that most of the 2014 Topps series 1 hoopla has died down a bit, I think its time I do my obligatory review.  I feel that 2014 Topps has been universally been crapped on for some reason.  I don't think its that bad overall.  I agree that the design isn't as good as 2013 but they can't all be winners like the 1965, 1987, or 2009 flagship issues.  The tab in the right side of the card is unnecessary since there is a team logo on the lower left side.  The "swooshes" under the logo aren't that bad either.  I'm still waiting with baited breath to see the Night Owl post where he will "Define the Design"!

It's not for everybody but there are still plenty things to like about 2014 Topps. It's the first new release of the year (duh) and that means spring is right around the corner (yay!).  Disagree with me if you want but I'm running the show on this blog and if you don't like it, tough!

A little side note: I'm collecting the regular Topps set a little different this year.  I'm not going to build it myself.  I'm going to lie in the weeds and be a cheap-ass. I'm going to wait until the hype dies down and buy all 3 series on ebay and do it for less than 50 bucks.  Series 1, 2 and Update for less than the price of a factory set.  It can be done and it will be done.  I just don't have the resources to bust hobby boxes and jumbo boxes to build the set anymore.  I have much less time to spend on my hobbies and I have even less energy to put towards them when I do have time.  Its just going to be easier and cheaper this way.

But I do have to do some scientific research.  That is why when I got my haircut last week, I visited Target on my way home to just conduct my experiments.  Oh who am I kidding, I just wanted to rip some packs!
While I can't believe that Topps brought back those ridiculous sparkly fake twinkle cards after all the backlash they received in 2011, the postseason variations get a thumbs up from me.   Mostly, because I got one in my two rack packs but also because it just adds a little bit of fun to the cards.  At least the celebration cards actually happened in real life.  The twinkles or orbs or whatever they are called are just dumb.
I can't complain about getting a mini of a player on my favorite team.  It's one less card I have to look for when I'm building the master team set.  I like the 1989 design but I'm not sure it needed to be diecut.  Maybe Topps is cutting back on inserts and killed 2 birds with one stone here?
I've got a bit of a head cold right now and all I can think to call these is "Booger Green Borders".  These are rack pack exclusives.  I'm pretty sure we don't need anymore colored border cards.  I'm OK with Red for Target and Blue for WallyWorld.  Camo, Pink and Toys-R-Us purple.  I can't even see the Camos when I play with my cards outside in the woods, pink isn't even a real color (it's just faded Red) and Who the Hell shops at Toys-R-Us for cards?

Apparently there are hanger box "Urine Yellow" parallels too.  Too many parallels for flagship.  The regular Topps set is about the base cards.  Well at least it should be.  Topps Chrome is where all the colored borders and refractors should be.  I don't think that any one is chasing and Matt Tuiaso- I've got to many vowels in my name -popo rainbow.  Really!
MOAR parallels.  I avoided the greens last year and red just looks obnoxious this year.
Not really a big fan of the Upper Class inserts either.  The borders are distracting and TOOOO MUCH FOIL.

I don't really get these either.  It's a 30 card insert set with 13 different players spread out.  Some players get 3 cards, most get 2.  From my count there are 15 "Future Stars" in the base set.  Why not just give those 15 players a single  "The Future is Now" insert and save the other inevitable 15 Future stars from series 2 and give them a single "The Future is Now" insert?  < Is this a run on sentence? Does it make sense?   Speaking of making sense, does some of the headlines on the fronts of the cards just don't make sense.  "Jose You Can't See" (above) and "Boogya" (on one of Manny Machado's cards) are just dumb.  I think the set could work with out the headlines.

Another insert that I've already traded away was the All-Time Rookie Cup Team. I got the Johnny Bench but swiped this Pujols example from the interwebs.  Since it is the "Topps All Rookie Cup Team", don't you think there should be a ROOKIE CUP somewhere on the card?  Really?  Oh sure there's a manu-relic version but come on, they could have printed one on here somewhere!

So to wrap things up, 2014 Topps isn't all peaches and cream.  It does contain some head scratchers but it isn't all bad.  Topps took some chances with this year's flagship and most of the ideas have fallen on their face.  I think if Topps just went back to basics for the regular set and leave the higher thrills stuff for Chrome, Ginter, Gypsy Queen, etc. they would be better for it.

Everything pictured here except for the Davis and Pujols is for trade.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ripped from the Headlines #4: Topps 2014 baseball cards: Cards go to WAR, but decline continues

I was reading some of the headlines on Yahoo this morning and saw this article in my news feed.  It kinda got my blood boiling and my passion for the hobby reared it's (ugly?) head.  I went on a semi rant because even the title says the article was about 2014 Topps, it just seemed like a vehicle for beating the dead horse  sounding the horn for the death of the hobby.  We've all read these types of articles before but I suggest reading this one.  I did comment on the article so be sure to check out the comments section to find what I wrote. I thought about posting my comment on here but it doesn't have the legs to stand on it's own unless your read the article first.

I'd love to hear your reactions so please leave a comment if you are inclined to do so.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Trade with blog reader Shant

I was recently approached by a collector by the name of Shant who had some Orioles cards I needed and offered up a trade.  He sent me a pile of 2013 Topps Updates that I needed as well as a few other O's cards that were pretty cool.
I'm not the biggest Wei-Yin Chen fan out there but I couldn't resist this mini from last year's Gypsy Queen.  I actually look foward to Gypsy Queen each year since Topps has to get creative and come up with a new design.
Shant also sent this Manny Machado X-fractor from last year's Chrome offering.  It scanned a little weird but it's a pretty sweet addition to my Manny binder!
Last but not least, he included this gold bordered parallel from the Update set.  I've always liked the gold bordered parallels and the black bordered parallels, but the other colors are just too much. K.I.S.S. Topps!
 I hope Bud has found a way to get lefthanded hitters out over the winter.  Lefties had some lofty numbers against him in 2013!  Try a split-finger fastball Bud!

Thanks Shant for the nice cards that you sent!