Modesto Nuts, 2017 Cal League Champs

As I prepare for my first trip in 2018 to John Thurman Field, home of the Modesto Nuts. I can’t help, but think back to my last trip there in 2017. It was Friday, September 15th, Game 3 of the California League Championship. The Nuts would roll to an 8-1 victory over the Lancaster JetHawks, securing Modesto’s first title since 2004 when they were an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.

As a life-long baseball fan, there are certain milestone events I have always wanted to witness in person. One of which is a team winning their league championship. I was fortunate enough to be among the 3,329 fans in attendance that night. This win completed the “perfect postseason” where the Modesto Nuts beat the Stockton Ports in the first round 3 games to 0 and the Lancaster JetHawks in the finals 3 games to 0. This was the Nuts first season as a Seattle Mariners affiliate.

Joe Rizzo, who was promoted to Modesto during the final week of the season, was named Cal League Finals MVP after hitting 7 for 13 (.538) with 1 HR and 4 RBI. The then 19-year old was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft out of Oakton in Vienna, VA. Kyle Lewis also had a strong series batting 6 for 14 (.429) with a 2B, 3B and 2 RBI. Lewis was the Mariners first round draft pick in 2016 out of Mercer College.

After the game I was fortunate enough to get a couple of autographs from the newly crowned champions. First was a Cal League Baseball signed by Kyle Lewis. Lewis was nice enough to inscribe 2017 Champs on the ball.

I was also able to get the Cal League Finals MVP, Joe Rizzo, on a Cal League Ball. Rizzo inscribed Cal League Final MVP on the ball for me.

All-in-all this was a great night to witness history. I am excited to have these 2 pieces of autographed memorabilia to remember that night.

Advertisements

2017 Spring Training TTMs Batch #1

So I sent out my first batch of Spring Training TTMs yesterday. For this batch I sent a total of 20 requests. 13 to Oakland Athletics, 2 to Houston Astros, 2 to Philadelphia Phillies, 1 to San Diego Padres, 1 to Minnesota Twins and 1 to Atlanta Braves. Quite a few of these players have a good track record for responses. A couple have no track record, so who knows if they’ll sign. Unlike last year, I’m not sending out a super long shot, like Mark McGwire. I took a chance and it didn’t work, but I only lost 1 card that I have a lot of so it’s not really a loss.

Here’s the breakdown:

Oakland Athletics
Sean Doolittle
Kendall Graveman
Jesse Hahn
Liam Hendriks
Ryan Dull
Jharel Cotton
Sean Manaea
Marcus Semien
Jaycob Brugman
Mark Canha
Jake Smolinski
Bruce Maxwell
Ryon Healy

Houston Astros
A.J. Reed
Kyle Tucker

Philadelphia Phillies
Pat Neshek
Matt Stairs

San Diego Padres
Travis Jankowski

Minnesota Twins
Hector Santiago

Atlanta Braves
Sean Newcomb

Sean Doolittle and Marcus Semien are very good at signing. I have received successes from Doolittle in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Semien in 2015 and 2016. 6 of the others on the list I have received successes from in the past. I hope to get a better success rate than what I had last year. 50 percent is a great return rate from active players, but I always hope for better.

Right now, I am planning a second Spring Training batch. I’m not sure how many I’ll send with this one. I’m always open to suggestions. So, if you know of some players with good track records, please comment below. I’m especially interested in guys who were in either the 2016 Topps Pro Debut or 2017 Topps, but I’m not limited to those.

2016 Spring Training TTM Returns

With the 2017 Spring Training getting under way (combined with my absence from this blog), I thought it would be a good time to recap my 2016 Spring Training TTM successes. Last year I sent 2 batches of TTMs to Spring Training camps. The first was on February 16th and included the following players:

Mark McGwire
Sean Doolittle
Stephen Vogt
Billy Burns
Mark Canha
Jed Lowrie
Renato Nunez
Kendall Graveman
Daniel Robertson
R.J. Alvarez
Jesse Hahn

The second batch was mailed on March 1st and included the following players:

Marcus Semien
Jesse Chavez
A.J. Reed
Eric Sogard
Joe Wendle
Chris Bassitt
Max Muncy
Ron Washington
Juan Samuel

In total I sent out 20 requests. To date, I have received back 10 successes. A 50% success rate. Not quite what I hoped. Here is the list again with the date I have received the success.

Mark McGwire (long shot, I know)
Sean Doolittle – March 7, 2016
Stephen Vogt
Billy Burns
Mark Canha – March 1, 2016
Jed Lowrie
Renato Nunez
Kendall Graveman
Daniel Robertson
R.J. Alvarez – March 18, 2016
Jesse Hahn – April 1, 2016
Marcus Semien – March 10, 2016
Jesse Chavez
A.J. Reed – April 4, 2016
Eric Sogard
Joe Wendle – June 24, 2016
Chris Bassitt – March 25, 2016
Max Muncy – March 10, 2016
Ron Washington
Juan Samuel – March 10, 2016

I will update this list should I receive any more returns.

In spite of only a 50% return rate (so far) I still plan to send out a bunch of Spring Training TTMs this year. I currently have a batch of 20 ready to go. This batch contains 13 A’s players, 2 Phillies, 2 Astros, 1 Padres, 1 Twins, 1 Braves, but those details are for another post.