Card of the Week: Bruce Maxwell 2014 Topps Pro Debut Magenta Printing Plate

Now that I just completed a stretch of working 16 days in a row, I can get back to some semblance of routine. This week’s Card of the Week is the 2014 Topps Pro Debut Printing Plate of Bruce Maxwell. Bruce is currently the Oakland Athletics No. 28 Prospect on MLB.com. This card features Bruce’s time on the Beloit Snappers. This is the 3rd printing plate I own. The great thing about printing plates is that they are a true 1/1.

Bruce Maxwell 2014 Topps Pro Debut Magenta Printing Plate 1/1 - Front

Bruce Maxwell 2014 Topps Pro Debut Magenta Printing Plate 1/1 – Front

Bruce was drafted in the 2nd round of the June 2012 Draft. This past year he was with the Midland RockHounds and helped them to their 2nd straight Texas League Championship. Bruce spent part of the 2013 and 2014 seasons with the Stockton Ports where I got to see him play. He was also named to the 2014 California League All-Star team.

Bruce Maxwell 2014 Topps Pro Debut Magenta Printing Plate 1/1 - Back

Bruce Maxwell 2014 Topps Pro Debut Magenta Printing Plate 1/1 – Back

Click to see the previous Card of the Week entries.

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Autograph Card Collection Acquired – July 18, 2015

On July 18, 2015, I acquired part of a collection of In-Person Autographed cards from a friend of mine.  Like me, he collected autographs from players in the California League. This collection is from the era just before the Stockton Ports became an Oakland Athletics affiliate, approximately 1999-2002. The collection I acquired contains approximately 800 cards. One aspect of this collection I find interesting is that some of the cards are from the time when Stockton changed their name to the Mudville Nine (2000-01).

There are quite a few duplicates in this collection, however that does not bother me as there are many duplicates in my collection. A couple of the better known prospect names include Josh Hamilton, Francisco Rodriguez and Jake Peavy. A couple of coaches who were retired MLB players include Tim Wallach and Manny Trillo.

It will take me quite a while to go through this collection and figure out what is in it.  After the first look through the cards I have to say it was a worthwhile investment. I will be posting some pics of the collection in the next few days.

Showoff Sunday: From the California League to the Major League, Part 1

The past 2 Showoff Sunday posts have been about former Major League players who are now coaches in the California League. Today we take the opposite approach and look at players in the California League that have made it to the Major Leagues. This is the first of 2 parts in this series.

I have only been collecting autographs in the California League since 2011 so not may have risen through the ranks. Here are some of the big names that have.

Dan Straily, Oakland Athletics
As many of my readers know, Straily is one of my favorites. I have many fond memories of him as a Stockton Ports. Not only watching him pitch, but being able to talk to him at time before games. Here are a couple of items I had autographed during his time on the Ports.

Dan Straily Autographed Cards

Dan Straily Autographed Cards

Dan Straily Autographed California League Game Used Ball

Dan Straily Autographed California League Game Used Ball

Dan Straily Autographed Ticket Stub

Dan Straily Autographed Ticket Stub

A.J. Griffin, Oakland Athletics
Griffin joined Stockton about 6 weeks into the 2011 season from the Burlington Bees, the Athletics Class A Full season affiliate before they moved to Beloit. He did so well that season he not only was moved up to AA Midland, but he pitched one game for the AAA Sacramento RiverCats.

A.J. Griffin Autographed Card

A.J. Griffin Autographed Card

A.J. Griffin Autographed Ticket Stub

A.J. Griffin Autographed Ticket Stub

Michael Choice, Texas Rangers
It pains me to list Michael Choice as a Texas Ranger. Choice was the 2010 No. 1 Draft Pick of the Oakland Athletics. There were high hopes for Choice to be a big part of Oakland’s future. However, a glut of outfielders and specific needs forced the Athletics to shop Choice this past off season. Fortunately, Michael Choice did make his Major League debut as an Oakland Athletic.

Michael Choice Autographed Card

Michael Choice Autographed Card

Michael Choice Autographed Ticket Stub

Michael Choice Autographed Ticket Stub

Grant Green, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Green was another No. 1 Draft Pick (2009) that the Athletics sent packing last year. Green was a highly touted prospect who never really settled into a position. His hitting was unquestioned, but the huge question mark was his defense. He didn’t really have a defensive home and that is why Oakland moved him last year.

Grant Green Autographed Card

Grant Green Autographed Card

C.J. Cron, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
I was surprised to find out that C.J. Cron made his major league debut this season. I had lost tabs on him and then I suddenly saw his name pop up in my Twitter feed. I remember watching him play for the Inland Empire 66ers in 2012, he was a legitimate threat back then. I was able to get these 3 cards signed by Cron.

C.J. Cron Autographed Cards

C.J. Cron Autographed Cards

Showoff Sunday: California League Coaches – South Division

I’m a couple of days late with this, so we will call this the Wednesday Edition of Showoff Sunday. This week I will continue with the autograph collection I have amassed this season of the coaches in the California League. The focus of this post will be on the coaches in the South Division.

The teams in the South Division include Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Inland Empire 66ers, Lancaster JetHawks, High Desert Mavericks and the Lake Elsinore Storm. At this point in the season only the Quakes, Mavericks and Storm have made the trip up north to Stockton.

During the first weekend of May, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes made their one and only trip to Stockton. On the coaching staff is former MLB pitcher Matt Herges. He has been the pitching coach with the Quakes for a couple of years now. I have already had a few cards signed by Matt, so this year I only found one card of his that I did not have autographed.

Matt Herges Autographed Card: 2002 Bowman Chrome

Matt Herges Autographed Card: 2002 Bowman Chrome

From April 25-27th the High Desert Mavericks made their first of 2 trips to Banner Island Ballpark. The coaching staff consists of 2 former Major Leaguers: Max Venable (hitting) and Andrew Lorraine (pitching).

I was able to get these 4 cards signed by Max Venable.

Max Venable Autographed Cards: 1981, 1987 Fleer, 1986, 1987 Topps

Max Venable Autographed Cards: 1981, 1987 Fleer, 1986, 1987 Topps

At the time I only had one card for Andrew Lorraine to sign. I will be better prepared when the Mavericks come back to town this coming weekend.

Andrew Lorraine Autographed Card: 1996 Upper Deck Collector's Choice

Andrew Lorraine Autographed Card: 1996 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice

The other South Division team that has made the trip to Stockton is the Lake Elsinore Storm. The Storm made their annual pilgrimage to Banner Island Ballpark from April 21-24. To me the Storm has 2 of the bigger names in the California League coaching staff: Jamie Quirk (manager) and Jody Davis (hitting coach).

I was able to get 6 cards (5 Chicago Cubs and 1 Atlanta Braves) signed by Jody Davis.

Jody Davis Autographed Cards: 1982, 1986, 1987, 1990 Fleer, 1988 Topps, 1988 Score

Jody Davis Autographed Cards: 1982, 1986, 1987, 1990 Fleer, 1988 Topps, 1988 Score

I was also lucky enough to get 6 cards (3 Kansas City Royals and 3 Oakland Athletics) signed by Jamie Quirk.

Jamie Quirk Autographed Cards: 1981, 1987 Fleer, 1988 Topps, 1990, 1992 Mother's Cookies, 1991 Donruss

Jamie Quirk Autographed Cards: 1981, 1987 Fleer, 1988 Topps, 1990, 1992 Mother’s Cookies, 1991 Donruss

I will be posting updates as the 66ers and JetHawks come to town for the first time and the Mavericks come back to Stockton.

I will also be posting an update (really soon) on the California League North coaches as I have added more cards to that autograph collection.

Bruce Maxwell and Seth Streich to Represent Stockton at All Star Game

On Wednesday morning the California League announced the All Star roster for the 2014 California/Carolina League All Star Game. The game will take place on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at the Daniel S. Frawley Stadium, home of the Wilmington Blue Rocks, in Wilmington, DE.

Two of Oakland Athletics’s Top 20 Prospects will represent the Stockton Ports. Catcher, Bruce Maxwell (No. 16) and Pitcher, Seth Streich (No. 18) will be making the trip to Delaware.

This season, Bruce Maxwell continues to show why he is a top prospect in the Oakland organization. He is batting .282 with 4 home runs and 19 RBIs in 48 games. Bruce has also thrown out 43% of all would-be base stealers.

Seth Streich has picked up right where he left off in 2013. On the 2014 season he is 6-4 with a 3.41 and 67 strikeouts in 63.1 IP.

For a complete list of California League All Stars click here: 2014 California League All Stars.

Zach Neal Named California League Pitcher of the Week

On Monday, May 26, 2014 new Stockton Ports starting pitcher Zach Neal was named California League Pitcher of the Week for May 19-25. This is Zach’s first award of this type at any level. Prior to his stint with the Ports, this year Zach has pitched with AA Midland RockHounds and AAA Sacramento River Cats. He was recently sent from AAA Sacramento to A Advanced Stockton so that he could stay on rotation and make some quality starts. During the week Zach pitched in 1 game against the San Jose Giants. He threw 8.2 innings of shutout, 3 hit ball while striking out 11 batters and giving up no walks.

Side note:
Zach continued his dominant ways as he pitched on Tuesday (May 27th) in Stockton against the same San Jose Giants. He threw seven innings giving up only 1 run allowing 5 hits. He stuck out 8 batters and still did not walk any along the way. The Ports eventually lost in 10 innings 2-1.

Dan Straily named PCL Pitcher of the Week

On Monday, May 26, 2014, Dan Straily was named the Pitcher of the Week of the Pacific Coast League for the week of May 19-25. During the week Straily won both of his starts allowing only one run in 14 innings pitched. In his first start against the El Paso Chihuahuas Straily struck out 8 batters. His next start was against the Las Vegas 51s where he struck out 7 and only allowed 3 hits.

After being optioned by the Oakland Athletics on May 16th, Straily has made 3 starts for the River Cats. He is 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA and 20 strikeouts.

This is Dan Straily’s second PCL Pitcher of the Week award of his career. His first was in 2012 for the week of July 9-15. Straily has now earned pitcher of the week honors in the minors a total of 6 times.

Dan Straily’s Pitcher of the Week Honors
2014
May 19-25: Pacific Coast League

2012
July 9-15: Pacific Coast League
June 4-10: Texas League
May 14-20: Texas League

2011
April 18-24: California League

2009
August 24-30: Northwest League

California League Standings: May 21, 2014

Here are the California League Standings entering play on May 21, 2014

North
Club Affiliation Win Loss Games Behind
Bakersfield Blaze CIN 29 17
Visalia Rawhide ARI 28 18 1.0
Stockton Ports OAK 23 23 6.0
San Jose Giants SF 20 26 9.0
Modesto Nuts COL 13 33 16
South
Club Affiliation Win Loss Games Behind
Lake Elsinore Storm SD 27 19
Lancaster JetHawks HOU 27 19
High Desert Mavericks SEA 25 21 2.0
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes LAD 21 25 6.0
Inland Empire 66ers LAA 17 29 10.0

California League Playoffs Update

2013 California League Playoffs

Round 1

North –  Visalia Rawhide defeat Modesto Nuts 2-0
Game 1: Visalia Rawhide 4, Modesto Nuts 3
Game 2: Visalia Rawhide 3, Modesto Nuts 2, 12 innings

South – Inland Empire 66ers defeat Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 2-1
Game 1: Inland Empire 66ers 6, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 3
Game 2: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 8, Inland Empire 66ers 5, 10 innings
Game 3: Inland Empire 66ers 7, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 6

Round 2

North – Visalia Rawhide leads San Jose Giants 1-0
Game 1: Visalia Rawhide 4, San Jose Giants 2
Game 2: Visalia Rawhide @ San Jose Giants
Game 3: San Jose Giants @ Visalia Rawhide
Game 4*: San Jose Giants @ Visalia Rawhide
Game 5*: Visalia Rawhide @ San Jose Giants

South – Lancaster JetHawks leads Inland Empire 66ers 1-0
Game 1: Lancaster JetHawks 4, Inland Empire 66ers 1
Game 2: Inland Empire 66ers @ Lancaster JetHawks
Game 3: Lancaster JetHawks @ Inland Empire 66ers
Game 4*: Lancaster JetHawks @ Inland Empire 66ers
Game 5*: Inland Empire 66ers @ Lancaster JetHawks

* = If Necessary

2013 California League Final Standings

Here are the final standings for the 2013 California League Season

North
Club Affiliation Win Loss Games Behind
* San Jose Giants SF 83 57
& Visalia Rawhide ARI 77 63 6.0
# Modesto Nuts COL 75 65 8.0
Stockton Ports OAK 69 71 14.0
Bakersfield Blaze CIN 55 85 28.0
South
Club Affiliation Win Loss Games Behind
*# Lancaster JetHawks HOU 82 58
& Inland Empire 66ers LAA 69 71 13.0
& Rancho Cucamonga Quakes LAD 65 75 17.0
High Desert Mavericks SEA 64 76 18.0
Lake Elsinore Storm SD 61 79 21.0

* Won 1st Half Title
# Won 2nd Half Title
& Wild Card