Spring Training TTM Batch No. 1 Ready

It’s that time of the year. Pitchers and Catchers start reporting this week and soon Spring Training will be in full swing. It is also the time where I send a couple of TTM batches to current Major and Minor Leaguers in hopes of getting their autographs on some cards.

This year my first batch is almost exclusively Oakland Athletics. Honestly this is no different than in years past. There is only one non-Athletics player and that is Daniel Robertson of the Tampa Bay Rays. As many know he was drafted by and played for the Athletics’ minor league system until he was traded prior to the 2015 season.

In the first batch there are 11 players/coaches that I am sending requests to. Usually my batches are in groups of 10, but I had a couple of extra stamps so I decided to add one more. 4 of these players are ones I have received TTM successes from in the past. 7 I have not sent to before. 1 of those 7 can be classified as “Why not? What’s the worst that could happen?” (i.e. Long Shot)

Here is the list of players in the first batch:

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

The Long Shot:
Mark McGwire

From time to time I see successes from Mark McGwire so I figured why not? What’s the worst that is going to happen? I lose 1 card. The potential reward far out weighs the risk.

*Received prior successes.

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TTM Success 10/26/2015: Ben Zobrist

On October 26th I received a TTM success from Kansas City Royal Ben Zobrist. I had sent a 2015 Topps Opening Day card out to Zobrist during the last week of the season. He is one of the few position players who usually has a quick turnaround time during the season.

Zobrist began the 2015 season with the Oakalnd Athletics. He came to the A’s with Yunel Escobar by way of a trade that sent catcher John Jaso along with minor leaguers Daniel Robertson, Boog Powell to the Tampa Bay Rays. Zobrist was later traded at the deadline to the Royals for Aaron Brooks and minor league pitcher Sean Manaea.

Zobrist signed 2 cards for me: 2015 Topps Opening Day (one I sent) and 2015 Testimony card (Bonus)

TTM Autographs from Ben Zobrist

TTM Autographs from Ben Zobrist

With every request Zobrist included an additional signed testimony card. The back side has a description of his relationship with God. I received this success in 28 days. Thank you Ben!

Zobrist is one of those player I have liked since he came up in the Rays organization. I just wish he could have stuck with the Athletics for more than just 67 games. I was fortunate enough to see Zobrist rehab with the Nashville Sounds when they came to the West Coast in late May. He signed a MLB Ball for me before the game I went to in Fresno.

Ben Zobrist autographed baseball from rehab appearance with Nashville Sounds on May 24, 2015.

Ben Zobrist autographed baseball from rehab appearance with Nashville Sounds on May 24, 2015.

Post-Draft Top 20 Prospects

Now that the signing deadline for the 2014 June Draft has passed the Top 20 Prospects have been updated by MLB.com. There are many new faces on the Oakland Athletics list as well and a few that have moved up the ranks based on their performance so far this season.

New to the list are 2014 Draft Picks Matt Chapman (No. 4), Brett Graves (No. 13) and Daniel Gossett (No. 14).  Also new to the list are Ryon Healy (No. 18) and Jaycob Brugman (No. 20). Aaron Shipman (No. 19) makes a return to the list for the first time since 2012 with his breakout season under the radar in Stockton.

Notable jumps on the list are Bruce Maxwell who moves from No. 14 to No. 10. Chad Pinder makes the jump from No. 15 to No. 6. Seth Streich makes the biggest jump moving from No. 18 to No. 8 with his All-Star season with the Stockton Ports.

Off the list are B.J. Boyd, Dylan Covey, Chris Kohler, Miles Head, Arnold Leon and Dustin Driver. Boyd and Covey are having strong seasons, so they are not far off the list. Meanwhile Kohler and Head have been battling injuries and could possibly make a return to the list in the next season or so as they return to form.

1. Daniel Robertson
2. Matthew Olson
3. Renato Nunez
4. Matt Chapman
5. Dillon Overton
6. Chad Pinder
7. Raul Alcantara
8. Seth Streich
9. Max Muncy
10. Bruce Maxwell
11. Bobby Wahl
12. Nolan Sanburn
13. Brett Graves
14. Daniel Gossett
15. Tucker Healy
16. Michael Ynoa
17. Billy Burns
18. Ryon Healy
19. Aaron Shipman
20. Jaycob Brugman

To be eligible for the list the player must have rookie eligibility.  Players cannot exceed 130 at bats or 50 innings pitches with a Major League club.  Also the player cannot be on the active roster for more than 45 days during the 25 player limit period.

Top 20 Prospects – Updated July 2014

Following the blockbuster trade that sent the Oakland Athletics top 2 prospects, Addison Russell and Billy McKinney (along with Dan Straily) to the Chicago Cubs for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel the Top 20 Prospect list needed to be updated. Here is the updated list as compiled by MLB.com.

New to the list is Tucker Healy at No. 18 who is having a breakout year pitching at three levels with the Stockton Ports (High A), Midland RockHounds (AA) and currently with the Sacramento River Cats (AAA). Arnold Leon returns to the list at No. 19 as he is hiving a strong year posting a 9-2 record with a 4.47 ERA in 17 games for the River Cats.

This list will be changing over the next few months as Draft Pick from the 2014 June Draft are evaluated and other prospects have their seasons re-evalutaed.

1. Daniel Robertson
2. Raul Alcantara
3. Matthew Olson
4. Renato Nunez
5. Bobby Wahl
6. Dillon Overton
7. Billy Burns
8. Nolan Sanburn
9. Michael Ynoa
10. B.J. Boyd
11. Dylan Covey
12. Chris Kohler
13. Max Muncy
14. Bruce Maxwell
15. Chad Pinder
16. Seth Streich
17. Miles Head
18. Tucker Healy
19. Arnold Leon
20. Dustin Driver

To be eligible for the list the player must have rookie eligibility.  Players cannot exceed 130 at bats or 50 innings pitches with a Major League club.  Also the player cannot be on the active roster for more than 45 days during the 25 player limit period.

Autograph Update: 05/14/2014

I just wanted to write a quick post and give an update on some recent autographs I have received. On Tuesday I went to the Stockton Ports and San Jose Giant game at Banner Island Ballpark. I was able to get 11 cards signed by various players and coaches.  Here’s a list of the players who signed for me on Tuesday:

Stockton Ports:
Billy McKinney x2
Renato Nunez x1
Daniel Robertson x3

San Jose Giants:
Brian Ragira x2
Lenn Sakata x3

On Friday I will post the first in a series that will showoff (as @cpuJesse calls it) the cards and autographs I have collected this baseball season.

Reminder as similar blog post is on Jesse’s blog Section 117 @ Banner Island Ballpark located here: Showoff Time!

Ports Take Down the Nuts for 3rd Straight Victory

On Friday night the Stockton Ports finally put together a winning streak defeating the Modesto Nuts 5 to 2. They are winners of their last 3 games. This is their first winning streak since their 6 game run from April 22-27.

Matt Buschmann was the star of the game as he held the Nuts scoreless and hitless for 6 innings. Modesto got their first hit with one out in the 7th inning as Derek Jones singled off Jonathan Joseph.

Daniel Robertson reached base 4 times in the game going 1 for 2 with 3 walks. Matt Olson and Wade Kirkland each had 2 hits in the game. Wade is showing signs of life as he is 4 for 10 in his last 3 games.

The weekend series continues on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Hunter Adkins (0-1, 6.19 ERA) will take the mound for the Ports facing off against Devin Burke (1-1, 7.11 ERA) for the Nuts.

Special Note: Saturday Night’s game will be Modesto’s Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night and Pink Jersey Auction

Ports Corral the Rawhide in 4-3 Victory

For the first time in the month of May the Stockton Ports are victorious. On Wednesday night the Ports defeated the Visalia Rawhide by a score of 4 to 3. The deciding blow came in the 8th inning as Ryon Healy drove in Renato Nunez with a sacrifice fly to left field.

Jeremy Barfield earned his 2nd victory of the season striking out 3 in his 2 innings of relief despite blowing the save and giving up 3 home runs. Tucker Healy came on in the 8th and pitched 2 scoreless frames to collect his 3rd save of the season. All 6 outs Healy got came via the strikeout, giving him 24 in 14.1 innings pitched this season.

Daniel Robertson raised his season average to .275 after going 3 for 5 with a double and a home run.

The Stockton Ports wrap up the 4 game series with the Visalia Rawhide on Thursday. Josh Bowman (0-4, 8.05 ERA) will take the mound for the Ports as he looks to snap out of his early season struggles. He will be opposed by Arizona Diamondbacks No. 3 prospect Aaron Blair who will be making his Cal League debut for the Rawhide. Game time is 7:00 p.m. at Recreation Ballpark in Visalia, CA.

Oakland Athletics Top 20 Prospects: 2014 Pre-Season Edition

Here is the list of the Top 20 Prospects of Oakland Athletics coming into the 2014 season as compiled by MLB.com.  To be eligible for the list the player must have rookie eligibility.  Players cannot exceed 130 at bats or 50 innings pitches with a Major League club.  Also the player cannot be on the active roster for more than 45 days during the 25 player limit period.

1. Addison Russell
2. Billy McKinney
3. Daniel Robertson
4. Raul Alcantara
5. Matthew Olson
6. Renato Nunez
7. Bobby Wahl
8. Dillon Overton
9. Billy Burns
10. Nolan Sanburn
11. Michael Ynoa
12. B.J. Boyd
13. Dylan Covey
14. Chris Kohler
15. Max Muncy
16. Ronald Herrera
17. Bruce Maxwell
18. Chad Pinder
19. Miles Head
20. Dustin Driver

One for the more notable jumps came from Billy McKinney who jumped from 7th to 2nd on the list. Interestingly enough Dillon Overton has jumped from 13th to 8th eventhough he is recovering from Tommy John surgery and has not played a game in the Oakland system.

New names on the list include the speedy Billy Burns, Bobby Wahl, Chris Kohler, Ronald Herrera and Dustin Driver. Off the pre-season list are Arnold Leon, Drew Granier, Vicmal De La Cruz, Anthony Aliotti and Blake Hassebrock. The prospects taken off the list are not necessarily any worse than they were last year. This is a highly competitive list and there is not room for everyone.

Ports Extinguish Blaze’s Hot Start

On Monday night the Stockton Ports (3-2) handed the Bakersfield Blaze (4-1) their first loss of the 2014 season. The Ports won by a score of 4 to 1 at Sam Lynn Ballpark in Bakersfield. The Blaze were held to only 2 hits in the first of 28 meetings between the 2 teams this season.

Seth Streich started for Stockton and pitched 5 strong innings. Bakersfield’s only run came in the 5th inning when Marquez Smith hit an RBI double off Streich scoring Kyle Waldrop. Tucker Healy and Nolan Sanburn both pitched 2 scoreless inning securing the victory for Streich.

Stockton’s offense provided 10 hits Monday night. Oakland Athleteics No. 3 Prospect Daniel Robertson led the charge going 2 for 5 raising his average to an impressive .450 in the first 5 games. Chad Pinder, Dusty Robinson and Bruce Maxwell each hit a home run.

This series continues Tuesday night at 7:15 p.m. in Bakersfield as Josh Bowman (0-0, 3.00 ERA) will take the mound for the Ports.

Spring Training Prospect Update 03/26/2014

With the Cactus League wrapping up today I thought I would wait until this time to do the final update for Oakland Athletics Prospects. The Athletics finish with a Cactus League record of 13-13-5. While there are some prospects who will be travelling to the Bay Area to play in the Bay Bridge Series, this will essentially be the final Spring Training Update.

Position Players
Anthony Aliotti, 1st base: 1-6, 1 2B, 1 RBI in 6 games
Billy Burns, outfield: 22-71, 12 runs scored, 10 stolen bases in 25 games
Chris Giminez, catcher: 8-33, 3 2B, 3 RBI in 25 games
Jose Martinez, 2nd base: 6-27, 3 RBI, 3 runs scored in 19 games
Bruce Maxwell, catcher: 1-4, 1 2B in 4 games
Billy McKinney, outfield: 5-13, 1 2B, 2 RBI in 12 games
Luke Montz, catcher: 7-24, 2 HR, 5 RBI in 13 games
Max Muncy, 1st base: 1-1, 1 run scored, 1 RBI in 1 game
Ryan Ortiz: 1-3 in 4 games
Shane Peterson, outfield/1st base: 2-12, 4 walks, 1 RBI in 10 games
Daniel Robertson, shortstop: 5-23, 1 RBI in 17 games
Addison Russell, shortstop: 7-25, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 1 stolen base in 12 games
Michael Taylor, outfield: 17-62, 5 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBIs in 26 games

Pitchers
Raul Alcantara: 4 IP, 2 SO
Ryan Dull: 27.00 ERA, 5 ER, 1.2 IP, 2 SO
Seth Frankoff: 1 IP, 1 SO
Arnold Leon: 2.13 ERA, 12.2 IP, 11 SO
Sean Murphy: 4.1IP, 2 SO
Zach Neal: 1 W, 3.2 IP, 6 SO
Drew Pomeranz: 1-1, 3.27 ERA, 11 IP, 18 SO
Nolan Sanburn: 16.20 ERA 1.2IP, 1 SO
Paul Smyth: 3 IP, 3.00 ERA, 1 SO
Jeff Urlaub: 1-1, 8.10 ERA, 3.1 IP
Michael Ynoa: 3 IP,9.00 ERA, 3 SO