Monday, January 27, 2014

Loot Crate Opening: January 2014

Well, I was given a subscription to Loot Crate for Christmas and I got my first one in today.

It had some pretty cool stuff in it. Stuff that I probably wouldn't buy normally but am excited to have.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Recent Pickups: Freddie Freeman, Lucas Sims, Justin Black, FY Refractors

Picked these up at the East Cobb show in Marietta, GA on Sunday:

2007 Bowman Chrome Draft Draft Picks X-Fractors #BDPP12 Freddie Freeman #/299
2012 Bowman Chrome Draft Draft Picks Refractors #BDPP1 Lucas Sims
2012 Bowman Chrome Draft Draft Picks Blue Refractors #BDPP1 Lucas Sims #/250
2012 Bowman Chrome Draft Draft Picks Gold Refractors #BDPP56 Justin Black #/50
2012 Bowman Chrome Draft Draft Picks Orange Refractors #BDPP56 Justin Black #/25

I already had one of the Freddie Freeman X-Fractors but grabbed three more at this show.

Lucas Sims is the Braves top prospect according to both Baseball AmericaJohn Sickels and Mike Rosenbaum of Bleacher Report, drafted by the Braves in the 1st round (21st overall) in 2012 out of Brookwood High School in Northeast Atlanta.  John Sickels has this opinion on him:
Grade B+: Borderline A-. All the attributes of a future number two starter. I want to see how he handles a larger workload going forward, but that’s nitpicking at this point. Clearly the class of the system. Went 12-4, 2.62 with 134/46 K/BB in 117 innings in Low-A, just 83 hits. Low-to-mid-90s, good curve and change, throws strikes, athletic. Complete package.
and Mike Rosenbaum this:
6’2” right-hander is athletic with a live arm and little mileage; consistent arm slot and release point; made huge strides in overall development this past season after moving into starting rotation for second half; showcases impressive and underrated blend of stuff and polish; already knows how to pitch at a young age; flashes potential for a four-pitch mix of at least average offerings; pounds the strike zone. 
Lucas Sims’ fastball registers in the low- to mid-90s range; velocity increased a few ticks along with the weather; good arm-side life to the pitch; curveball is a hammer and swing-and-miss pitch; features big shape and heavy downer action in the upper 70s; showcased a quality slider during professional debut in 2012 but relied on it less this past year; changeup improved significantly this past season; flashes average potential in the low to mid-80s with late sink and fade to the arm side.
For more information about Lucas, check out here, here and follow him on his twitter.

Like the Freddie, I already had one of the blue refractors and picked up three more at the show and grabbed five of the regular refractors.

Justin Black was taken in the same draft as Lucas by the Braves in the 4th round out of a high school in Montana. From what I can gather, he has HIGH upside but since he never played in high school (Montana doesn't have high school baseball), he is very raw. Some more links about him here, here and also his twitter.

Recent Pickups: Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Chris Johnson, Mike Minor, Rookie Autos, Refractor

Well here rounds out my pickups from December with the Atlanta Braves stuff I grabbed:

2010 Topps Chrome Rookie Autographs #174 Jason Heyward
2010 Topps Chrome Rookie Autographs Refractors #174 Jason Heyward #/499
2010 Bowman Sterling Rookie Autographs #20 Jason Heyward
2011 Bowman Chrome Rookie Autographs #205 Freddie Freeman
2011 Topps Tier One On The Rise Autographs #CJ Chris Johnson #/699
2011 Topps Chrome Rookie Autographs #217 Mike Minor
2012 Topps Golden Moments Autographs #MMI Mike Minor S2

These are the first autographs of these two guys I've had, but they're the ones I have now. Picked them up for about $10 each off eBay and a trader off Beckett.

Unfortunately, after the 2009 Bowman Chromes, Freddie Freeman got really lazy with his autographs and has got even lazier lately by basically drawing two 7's with a line through them.

Thankfully, Jason Heyward started signing a full signature starting again in 2012. Pretty much all his 2010 and 2011 autographs look like these or lazier though.

Mike Minor has always been pretty consistent with his signature since his USA and DEEE stuff.

I find it pretty funny that the Chris Johnson is only two years old and he is wearing a uniform from two teams ago.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Met Dan Uggla yesterday...

Had the opportunity to meet Dan Uggla yesterday. My shift was over at work, and I was waiting for my girlfriend to meet me so we could go to a brewery tour together. While I was waiting, he walked past the restaurant on his way to the bathroom. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Are you Dan Uggla?!?!
DU: Yes... (with a look of 'I wonder if this guy is going to yell at me, or be excited')
Me: That's awesome!
Well, then he went to the bathroom. When he passed by the restaurant again, I asked if I could take a picture with him, and that's how this came to be. Dude is as jacked as all the stories of him working out would suggest. 

This makes Brave number 5 I've taken a picture with in public. The others being Brian McCann, Jeff Francouer, Yunel Escobar and Freddie Freeman.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Recent Pickups: Victor Caratini, Christian Bethancourt, Mauricio Cabrera, Ian Stiffler, Carlos Salazar FY Autos, Refractors

The final prospect pickups from December:

2013 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks Prospect Signatures #45 Victor Caratini
2013 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks Prospect Signatures Green Prizms #45 Victor Caratini
2013 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs #CB Christian Bethancourt
2013 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs #MC Mauricio Cabrera
2013 Bowman Chrome Draft Draft Picks Red Refractors #BDPP65 Ian Stiffler #/5
2013 Bowman Draft Draft Picks Orange Ice #BDPP48 Carlos Salazar #/5

Victor Caratini is the 2nd round pick of the Braves in 2013. Drafted as a catcher but it looks like they're trying to convert him to 3B.

Anyone who follows the Braves at all HAS to know who Christian Bethancourt is, so I won't bother.

Mauricio Cabrera is another international signing out of the Dominican. He can apparently touch triple digits on the radar guns. Supposed to top out as a 1 or 2, but is pretty far from that right now.

Ian Stiffler and Carlos Salazar are both 2013 Draft picks, Salazar in the 3rd round and Stiffler in the 7th.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Recent Pickups: Jose Peraza, Luis Merejo FY Autos

Why these 2 together you ask? Well, because I have a dual auto card of them and thought it'd be silly to make separate posts with the same card.

Here's what's up there:

2013 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs #JP Jose Peraza
2013 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Blue Wave Refractors #LME Luis Merejo #/50
2013 Topps Pro Debut Autographs #JP Jose Peraza
2013 Topps Pro Debut Autographs #LM Luis Merejo
2013 Topps Pro Debut Side By Side Dual Autographs Gold #PM Jose Peraza/Luis Merejo #/50
2013 Bowman Black Collection Autographs #JPP Jose Peraza BC #/25

They're both international signings, Jose Peraza from Venezuela and Luis Merejo from the Dominican.

John Sickels has this to say about Peraza:
Grade B-: Borderline B. Stole 64 bases in Low-A and has a slick glove at shortstop, but lack of power is problematic and I want to see how he handles High-A and Double-A pitching. Like Bethancourt, he will reach the majors on the strength of his defense and will probably have a long career, but will he be a strong regular or just a useful reserve?
The Braves see him as a potential leadoff hitter with great speed, playing well above average defense up the middle. I am a very big fan of Andrelton Simmons and hope he's a Brave for a long time, so I'm going to hope to see Peraza at 2B. You can read more about Peraza here and here if you're interested.

Merejo had injury problems at the end of July that shut him down for the rest of the year but before that was striking people out at a rate of 9.9 K/9 in Danville. Hopefully he comes back strong next year and the Braves have another hard throwing lefty. Some more about him here.

There's 1 or 2 more posts of prospects, then I'll get to the stuff I got of the big boys.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Recent Pickups: Jason Hursh FY Autos, Patch, Printing Plate

Picked these up off eBay lately:

2013 Leaf Metal Draft Prismatic Blue #JH1 Jason Hursh #05/25
2013 Leaf Trinity Inscriptions Printing Plates Yellow #DTIJH2 Jason Hursh #1/1
2013 Leaf Trinity Inscriptions Silver #DTIJH2 Jason Hursh #06/10
2013 Leaf Trinity Jumbo Patches Red #DTPJH2 Jason Hursh 

Also grabbed 6 of the Leaf Metal Draft base autographs.

Jason Hursh is the 1st round pick (31st overall) for the Braves in 2013 out of Oklahoma State. Here's the story about his draft and a bit more about him.

Here's what John Sickels has to say about him:
Grade B-: I liked what I saw of first round pick Hursh at Oklahoma State, but he needs to refine his secondary pitches to go with the hard sinker. Need for better secondaries seems a common theme with Braves pitching prospects, but the organization has a good track record with young pitching.
I really like the look of the Leaf Trinity cards. The design and color of them almost make you forget they aren't licensed. The Metal is also appealing to me as well, but the blankness on the dark blue hat keeps reminding me of the atrocities Topps is putting us through.

I have seen other inscription cards of him that read "Oklahoma State Cowboys" or just "Go Braves!" and am excited to have the version I have.

It was a busy December of cards for me. I'll put up more of what I picked up later.