Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pitcher with a glass arm

Did any of you read those Matt Christopher sports novels growing up? "Novels" may be a bit of a stretch, but they were sports chapter books that were around a 4th or 5th grade reading level. I probably read most of them, even for sports I didn't particularly like or follow.
I remember a couple of my favorites were Johnny Long Legs, Catcher With A Glass Arm, and The Kid Who Only Hit Homers. There was also one called Ice Magic, where a couple of boys found an old electronic hockey game that ended up predicting their games. Good stuff!
Catcher With a Glass Arm was about a boy named Jody who had the yips. He couldn't throw. He ends up being benched and feeling pretty down on himself. In a shocking turn of events, Jody has a chance to play later in the season and - SPOILER ALERT - leads his team to victory.
While Pitcher With a Glass Arm is probably better suited for my favorite prospect, Ty Hensley (who we just learned needs his second TJ surgery), I felt like it was fitting with the pickup of this Leaf Trinity Pure James Kaprielian auto, hand-numbered 02/25. As you can likely see, the card is made of GLASS. It's super thick too. I'm tempted to buy a cheap one of these - not of a Yankee! - to see if they actually shatter. I assume they do. Does anyone know? Has anyone ever dropped one?

Kaprielian has been shelved for the last few weeks with an elbow injury, although he is the prized pitching prospect in the Yankees system and they are being conservative with him. He is expected back at some point in June. Prior to the injury, he was as good as you'd expect for a polished college arm who was taken in the first round, going 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA an 22Ks in 18 innings at high-A Tampa. Hopefully he comes back healthy and ready to go, and sees time in Trenton this year.

Sadly, Ty Hensley will miss another season and some of next year with his second Tommy John Surgery. It's heartbreaking news for a kid who has been through so much. He has thrown just 42 professional innings since being drafted in 2012, and it doesn't look like he'll be on the bump again anytime soon. Still, he's a favorite of mine, and I'll always collect his cards. Here are two newer ones I just got in a recent shipment.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

TTM Success: Ronald Herrera

After 11 days, Yankees pitching prospect Ronald Herrera returned my Rookies App custom card signed. I'm excited to have this one back.

Herrera was acquired by the Yankees over the winter for spare part Jose Pirela. While not the sexiest of prospects, Herrera just turned 21 and has already logged 84 innings at AA, and even made a AAA spot start this season. He's well below the average age of AA, and just continues to advance despite not having the stuff of bigger pitching prospects. From what I read, he has good command and is very competitive. While he may never be a top of the rotation guy, he could end up being a use back of the rotation/spot starter/long relief guy as soon as next season. Still useful!

In late April, he threw a combined no-hitter with Jonathan Holder, tossing 8 no-hit innings. Pretty awesome!

Regardless, the Yanks turned a guy that might have been released into an intriguing prospect. Not a bad gamble, and so far, it's paying off.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

6 for 6.60

Michael Pineda's ERA through 8 starts is 6.60. That is crap. He's better than that, but for some reason, can't figure it out this season. It's baffling. He's still averaging a career high 10.3 K/9, but he's also letting up a career high 12 H/9. His FIP is 4.94, which is obviously a lot better than his ERA, but it's still way too high for a pitcher this good.

Maybe he won't figure it out. There are some damn good pitchers this year really struggling as well, including Matt Harvey and Sonny Gray. May it's just one of those years.

Anyways, to celebrate an ERA of 6.60, here are six Pinedas that are new to my collection. This 2015 Bowman's Best Orange Refractor is /25.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

TTM Success: Mike Fischlin

Former Yankees infielder Mike Fischlin signed and returned my two cards in 20 days. He has a very nice, readable signature, which I appreciate.
Fischlin was drafted by the Yankees in 1975, but never played for them until 1986. He was part of a 1977 trade with the Astros that netted the Yankees Cliff Johnson. He made his MLB debut that year and played a total of three years in Houston, then spent five more in Cleveland until finding his way to the Bronx.

Thanks you for the autographs, Mr. Fischlin!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Crease my a$$

Creases on vintage baseball cards don't bother me, especially when I can pick up a gem like this for the price of a pack of 2016 Topps.

Sure, I wish my cards weren't creased, but it's still cool to own cards that I wouldn't think I'd ever have. I remember flipping through card magazines as a kid, mentally taking pictures of these Hall of Famers on iconic card designs. These types of cards were for other people, not me. They were meant for the expensive glass display case at the card shop, not for my collection.

Yet, here it is, now sitting alongside other beat up Yankees, each one bringing a smile to my younger self, knowing that I have grabbed another card that once seemed like a pipe dream.

Will I ever upgrade these cards? Maybe. But that's for another day. In the meantime, I'm going to keep assembling this army of creased cardboard, because it's more fun to have them than not, no matter what condition they are in.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

TTM Success: Dietrich Enns

Whoa! A TTM success. This is a rare occurrence around these parts. My TTM requests seem to go in waves, as sometimes I am super motivated and sometimes I'm not. Well, I have been motivated lately, and have sent out a bunch.

I was a bit nervous because I sent to several Yankees prospects, and it felt like right after I mailed them, each guy was promoted to the next level. I thought I was safe and a few weeks away from promotions, but a bunch of injuries sort of set the wheels in motion.

I sent to Dietrich Enns while he was in AA Trenton, and within a few days he had been called up to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. I was bummed, thinking I missed him at that level. Luckily, this came back yesterday:
I must've jussst gotten it to him in time. I sent it to Trenton on 5/11, and by 5/15 he was making a start in Scranton. Luckily I live a few hours from Trenton, and I've found that if I send mail from Manhattan instead of my rinky dink NJ town, it gets there a little quicker. You might think this would be the opposite, but mail in NYC is pretty efficient. They can't let it pile up, so it comes in and goes out.

So I mailed it first thing on 5/11, which was a Wednesday. Then let's say it arrived to Trenton on  Friday, 5/13 (maaaaybe 5/12), so Enns either signed it on 5/13 or Saturday, 5/14. Then I assume later that day, or early the next day (5/15), he was on his way to pitch in Scranton that day, where he went 6 innings without allowing a run, striking out 6 and earning a W. The post-marked date was 5/16 from Trenton, so I'm going to say that the team mailed it out on 5/14, or made a post-office run this past Monday.

Either way, it's fun to live so close to most of the Yankee affiliates, as the expedited mail times really do help, as you see above. Also, I try to send to minor leaguers just before a homestand - just a tip for some of you newer TTMers.

I'm very excited to have this one back. Enns is a solid, yet underrated lefty pitching prospect. He has a 1.87 ERA in 83 career minor league games, 28 of which are starts. While he doesn't blow people away, guys just don't seem to hit him. He had a 0.61 ERA in 58 minor league innings last year. He consistently strikes out a batter per inning as well. He did undergo Tommy John Surgery a few years ago, but he's clearly come back as good as ever.

I'm looking forward to seeing him continue to climb the latter, and if he keeps pitching this well, he's definitely going to put himself in position for a spot start at some point later this summer.

Lastly, shout out to the Rookies App for the custom!

Monday, May 16, 2016

An ok relic of a bad pitcher

Sadly, that bad pitcher mentioned in the title is Michael Pineda, one of my PC guys.

Man, this guy just oozes with potential, but can't put it all together for whatever reason. He shows glimpses, and he was awesome in 2014, very good for the start of 2015, and since then, very, very bad. Notably, he's getting creamed in the first inning. Opponents are hitting .500 with 5 HRs off him in the first inning alone. That is...bad.

I still think with a good start or two he can turn it around, but he's he's definitely lost right now. His command just isn't there. He's already walked 13 guys, which may not seem like much, but he only walked 21 guys in 160 innings last year, and just 7 in 76 innings the year before. He's a guy that usually commands the plate, but he hasn't been himself.

I just keep waiting for that one start where he goes out and dominates and rolls from there. It could happen!

In the meantime, his stock is super low, which let's me pick up cards like the 2016 Gypsy Queen relic above for very cheap. This ran me like $1.50 shipped. There are still adorable sellers out there who think he is an ace and prices his cards like he is Clayton Kershaw, but I like the ones who start low thinking it's going to be a bidding war, yet I am the only pathetic, lonely bidder.

The design of these GQ relics are ok. Not a bad sized photo and the swatch works well within it's owm little box. Not the best, nor the worst relic card you'll see this year.