Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Chasing the Next Big Thing

Today marks the release of 2018 Bowman and for many collectors, the chase of Shohei Ohtani in a mainline Topps product.

That means there is only one thing to do!

And that is not open any 2018 Bowman.  With hobby boxes going for over $150 and jumbo hobby boxes going for over $350 I have no interest in spending that kind of money on this product.  Sure I'll buy some retail because I do enjoy opening Bowman and trying to finish off the base set.  But hobby prices are just insane.

I don't want the next MLB prospects, I want the next, next level of prospects.  That's why for today, I opened a blaster box of 2018 Panini Stars and Stripes USA Baseball.

This is the kind of product you open up then stash away for a few years to see if any if your notable cards turned into major prospects.  I don't think these cards have significant long-term value even if a player does make it to the majors but it's fun nonetheless.

Ok so it turns out there are some current MLB prospects in this set.  He's not Shohei Ohtani but he wants to be like him some day. 

The base cards are average.  The front has a lot of shine and the back has a small write up on the player's USA Baseball career. 

The only notable thing about this product is the hits so I'm going to get right to it.

My first hit is an autograph of high schooler Ethan Hearn.  It's weird to get an autograph of someone still in high school.  At least it's not one of the 15-under players.  

Hearn is committed to playing baseball at Mississippi State in 2019.  Mississippi State appears to have a good baseball program, which should be a good sign for the value of his autograph.  

The last promised hit is a nice jumbo swatch of UConn pitcher Tim Cate.  Cate looks to be a Top 50 pick in the upcoming June MLB Draft.  

I'd say that this is another decent hit.

Well what do you know, a bonus hit! I think the USA Baseball products have a tendency to have bonus hits so I'm not too surprised.  

Jon Olsen, a pitch with UCLA, is one tough SOB.  Earlier this year he fractured his face after taking a line drive to the cheek.  Less than a month later, he returned to action.  Bravo.  

As to his skill?  He's currently rocking a 2.20 ERA with batters hitting only .200 against.  He also has a nice 28:8 K:BB ratio.  Last year he did just as well with a 2.86 ERA with batters hitting .201 against him.  He also had 80 strikeouts to 31 walks.  He should be one to watch.

Overall, outside of the hits, the product is rather "meh."  I look forward to keeping track of where Cate and Olsen end up as they appear to be decent pitchers.  

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Making Foolish Mistakes

I'll be the first to admit I don't always think logically (or economically) when it comes to cards.  Case in point: 2018 Leaf Heroes of the Game Cut Signature.

This box goes against everything I'm into as a card collector: verifiable checklists, plentiful base cards, low-risk boxes, and value.

For the whopping price of $34.99, you get one blaster box filled with one "cut" autograph card.  I say the word "cut" very loosely as this hardly meets the standard definition of the cut autograph.  They are cut cards in the sense that they were printed onto a giant sheet and cut up into smaller cards to be signed later.

The box advertises Cal Rikpen Jr. and Joe Montana as autographs. It makes no mention who else might be inside.

Time to open.  Drum roll please..........

Johnny Manziel? Oh fuck right the fuck off. I hate myself for buying this. It's not even numbered.

I knew it wouldn't be Montana or Ripken. But this joke? Uggggghhhhhhhh.

Unless someone wants to shoot me any sort of offer on this card, I'm throwing it up on eBay on a 99 cent auction.  I should be able to recoup $10.

What a dangerous game to play.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Spring Training Autograph Returns

With the book on Spring Training long closed, and the window for receiving back cards effectively shut, it's time to look at how I fared for my first spring TTMing.  

I've never submitted cards during Spring Training.  After winning the Mariners for a 2018 Topps Series 1 case break, I wanted to put those doubles (and triples) to good use.  I sent a card to every Mariner featured in Series 1, outside of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, for a total of 7 TTM requests.

When Tweeting about my plans I remarked that I would be happy with even just one return.  

So how did I do?

I received exactly one return.

Taylor Motter signed his card with Cano.  He was even kind enough to sign it on his side of the card.  Would I love to get Cano to sign his side? Absolutely.  Will that ever happen? Probably not.

I also took the time to send out some requests to Mr. Automatic Pat Neshek.  Neshek regularly tweets out his current address for TTM requests and I had been meaning to get some cards out to him.

My favorite set of the new millennium is 2008 Topps.  This card was a must send to Neshek.  

2015 Topps is another one of my recent favorites and this presented an opportunity for my first horizontal TTM return.  

Not the most plentiful Spring Training for me but some solid additions nonetheless.  If I do this next year I'll do some better advance planning and increase my TTM request range.