2019: Collecting Goals

Over the past couple of weeks, as 2018 was coming to a close, I began to think my collecting goals for the next year. As I covered in a previous post, 2018 was all about redefining my collection. In doing so, I revised my collecting habits and focused my collection. As we move into 2019 many of my collecting goals will be focused.

Set Collecting Goals
As for the sets I want to collect, the list right now stands at 11 sets. Topps Series 1 & 2 (counted as 1 set), Topps Update, Bowman, Bowman Chrome, Bowman Draft, Pro Debut, Heritage Minor League, Gypsy Queen, Topps Big League, Heritage (including High Number), Donruss.  This may seem like a big list, but there were easily over 50 sets released in 2018.

Most of these sets I will buy complete. My plan this year is to reduce the number of hobby boxes I purchase. There are a few of these sets that I will always want to buy a hobby box or three to open: Bowman, Bowman Draft, Pro Debut and Heritage Minor League. These are my favorite sets and I love opening those packs.

I am considering buy hobby boxes of Gypsy Queen and Heritage, but a lot depends on the price of the boxes. Last year Heritage was priced out of my range because of the Ohtani autographs. Donruss has been a fun box to open in the past and I may just get one this year.

The others however, I am going to buy as complete sets. I have met some great sellers on Twitter, like Christopher Torres (@CRT_Sportscards), that I definitely plan on doing some business with this year for my set and PC needs. As always, I will still buy a few packs here and there, just to see what the product looks like as it comes out. My intent this year is to start redirecting my hobby money to all aspects of my collection.

PC Goals
First and foremost is my Athletics PC. Above all else, this PC is my primary collecting focus for 2019. In 2018 I ended with 8,230 unique cards in my PC. The total amount of cards on my Athletics checklist is 19,726. So, my collection stands at 41.72% complete. I also have quite a few uncatalogued cards for which I need to create listings before they can be counted in the PC.

My goal for the A’s PC is to be at 50% complete by the end of 2019. This means I need to add approximately 1,633 unique cards to my collection, IN ADDITION to all of the cards that come out in 2019. There were over 600 unique A’s cards released in 2018. That means I will need to add roughly 2,000 cards in 2019 to reach this goal.

The other goal I have for the A’s PC is to complete the base sets (including traded/update) for Topps from 1970-present, Fleer (1960-61, 63, 81-2007), Fleer Ultra (1991-2007), Donruss (1981-98, 2001-05, 2014-present), Score (1988-98), Bowman (1989-present) and Upper Deck (1989-2010). The Score run will be the easiest to complete as I only need 5 cards at this point. I will cover the status of this goal in a future post.

I have quite a few player PCs that I am looking to organize and expand in 2019. My primary players include: Mark McGwire, Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Jesus Luzardo, A.J. Puk, Austin Beck, Lou Trivino, Daniel Mengden and Daniel Gossett. I was fortunate to see many of these guys in the Minor Leagues, particularly with the Stockton Ports, and they are some of my favorites.

My McGwire PC is going to receive the most attention this year. I need to take some time to reorganize it and catalog the cards I have in this PC. One goal I have is that I want to add 50 1987 Fleer Update McGwire and 50 1989 Upper Deck McGwire cards to the PC. These are two of my favorite McGwire cards along with the 1987 Topps.

I do have individual goals for each of the player PCs, but I am not going to take the time of list each goal here. Suffice it to say that I am looking to add a significant number of base cards (including doubles) and autograph cards to each of these player PCs. It would be nice to get each one of them into their own 1.5” binder by the end of 2019.

I am also considering adding at least 3 more players to the PC list in 2019. One prospect I really like that I am strongly considering is Sean Murphy. He is viewed as the A’s catcher of the future. Murphy will be starting the season with AAA Las Vegas and we could see him in Oakland sometime in 2019. I met him and got to see him play when he was with Stockton in 2017. He has a cannon of an arm.

Rainbow Project Goals
This year I will finish my current Rainbow project: 2018 Topps Update Lou Trivino. I currently need 3 more to finish it off: Gold /2018, Pink /50, Camo /25. There is another, Clear /10 that I would love to get, but only for the right price. For my collection the Rainbow only goes down to /25. Any card I get with a shorter print run is a bonus.

I will be resuming my Matt Olson 2015 Bowman Draft Rainbow. I don’t remember where this one stands, but I started it a couple years ago after I happened to win a printing plate from this set for a very good price.

I plan on starting at least one new Rainbow project this year. Not sure which player or which set or how many Rainbows, but one will be from a 2019 release. Two players I am considering are Matt Chapman or Jesus Luzardo.

Sets In Progress
I mentioned in my previous post that I have quite a few sets that I have started that I have never completed. In 2019 I intend to complete some of those sets. There will be other sets that I add to this list, but I know I want to complete.

2018 Topps Big League
2018 Topps Heritage Minor League
2017 Topps Chrome Update – 17 cards needed
2018 Topps Series 2 – didn’t buy much, may just buy complete
2013 Pinnacle – 112 cards needed

Lists for most of these sets can be found on the Sets in Progress page on this blog. (Insert link) If you have any of the cards I need for my set, I would be interested in making a trade.

MiLB Collection
I love going to Minor League Baseball games. It’s fun to watch players develop. It’s also a great way to meet prospects and get their autographs. This year I want to organize and expand my MiLB collection. The Stockton Ports are my home team and the Modesto Nuts (formerly A’s) is my secondary home team. My goal is to expand both of these collections by picking up all of the team sets I need from 1991-present. I also want to get all of the Pro Debut, Heritage Minor League and other major label Minor League cards from 1991-present for this collection.

Another goal I have for my MiLB collection is to create some binders for the other Oakland A’s affiliates by level. For 2019, my goal is to pick up all of the AAA (Nashville and Las Vegas), AA (Midland), A (Beloit) and Short Season (Vermont) affiliate team sets from 2015-present.

 

As a whole these goals do seem a bit lofty. However, over the course of the year, they are very attainable and simple. Again, these are my goals and they can change at any time. There many be a product that comes out that is simply amazing that I want to chase. Or there may be a new player that arrives at the MLB level that I want to collect. These are flexible goals. I just wanted to create a plan for myself as I head into the new year. Last year I redefined the direction of my collection, this year I want to move it forward and take it to the next level.

If you don’t already, you can follow me on Twitter at @bicemusic. I am always open to bulk trades. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter or comment below!

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2017 Topps Heritage High Number Hobby Box Recap

The other day I opened a hobby box of 2017 Topps Heritage High Number. Over the past couple of years Heritage has become one of my favorite series to open. I enjoy all of the Heritage including the Heritage Minor set. The nice thing about the Heritage High Number is that the set is smaller, 225 cards (including short prints), so there is a higher percentage of set completion from a single box.

This particular set picks up where the Topps Heritage leaves off. The base set is card number 501-700 and the last 25 (numbers 701-725) are short prints. There are 24 packs per box and each pack has 9 cards. Every hobby box comes with a topper and a hit. The topper is either a 3-card Ad Panel, 1968 Original Buyback or a Poster. The hit is either a relic card or an autograph card.

Here are some stats for this box:

Base Cards (501-700): 191 cards, no duplicates = 95.5% complete
Short Prints (701-725): 8 cards, no duplicates = 32% complete
Total Set (501-725): 199 cards = 88.4% complete

Based on the set completion percentage alone, there is no need to buy a second hobby box, unless you are chasing hits. Notable Rookie Cards in this set are: Cody Bellinger, Ian Happ and Matt Olson.

Fortunately, I pulled all 12 Oakland Athletics cards:

Notable inserts:
Chrome
Base: Koda Glover 558/999
Refractor: Kyle Freeland 453/568

Inserts
Now and Then: Aaron Judge
Now and Then: Andrew Benintendi
Nolan Ryan Highlight: Breaks Strikeout Record

2017 HHN Inserts

Parallel and Variations
Action Image Variation: Brandon Phillips
Blue Border: Josh Reddick (not serial numbered, but only 50 made)

2017 HHN Parallels

Box Hit
Clubhouse Collection Relic: Masahiro Tanaka

2017 HHN Tanaka

Box Topper
1968 Originals Buyback: Ray Culp.

2017 HHN 1968 Buyback

Other Insets (not pictured)
Rookie Performers (2): Bradley Zimmer; Dansby Swanson

Award Winners (3): Kris Bryant – MVP; Eric Hosmer – ASG MVP; Kris Bryant – Hank Aaron Award

Combo Cards (2): Carlos Correa/George Springer – Houston Hammers; Eric Thames/Domingo Santana – Brewers Bashers

Now and Then (1): Wil Myers – Triple for the Cycle

All in all, this was a fun box to break. Hertiage is known for having many variations, parallels and error cards to chase. Not all of the variations are obvious so you have to look closely at many of the cards to make sure you are not missing anything. Check out Cardboard Connections’s Heritage High Number Variation Guide for more info.

With the high percentage of set completion and the variations to chase, I believe this box is worth the money.

Have you bought any 2017 Topps Heritage Minors? Whether it is a single pack, retail Blaster Box or a Hobby Box, comment below and let me know what you think of this set!

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.

Ports Win Streak Reaches 9

On Wednesday, the Stockton Ports defeated the Lancaster JetHawks 10 to 2 at The Hangar in Lancaster. The victory raises the Ports record to 16-4 in the month of June and they are 7-0 to start the 2nd half.

The offensive onslaught was once again led by Renato Nunez who was 4 for 4 blasting 2 home run in the contest. Over the last 10 games Renato is batting .528 (19 for 36) with 5 home runs and 14 RBIs. Wade Kirkland (1 for 4) hit his 2nd home run of the season. Matt Olson slammed his 20th home run of the season going 2 for 4 on the day.  All of Stockton’s starters got at least one hit in the game except for Ryon Healy who contributed with a sac fly in the 1st inning to drive in the game’s 2nd run.

The Red-Hot Ports will now travel to Bakersfield for the final time this season to face the Blaze in a 4 game set. The series will begin on Thursday at 7:45 p.m. with the starting pitchers TBD at the time of publishing.

You can listen to Stockton Ports baseball live online via their website: Stockton Ports

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 Comeback and Defeat the Rawhide Late in Game

The Stockton Ports scored 5 times in the last 2 innings to sink the Rawhide 6 to 2 on Thursday evening. Renato Nunez was the offensive star as he went 2 for 5 with a home run and 3 RBIs. Wade Kirkland chipped in his 1st home run of the year in the 3rd inning off the Diamondback No. 3 prospect Aaron Blair. Matt Olson blasted his 7th home run of the season in the 8th inning.

Josh Bowman started for the Ports and had his first quality start of the season. He pitched 6 strong innings striking out 6 batters. The only blemish on the start was a 2-run home run hit by Brandon Jacobs in the second inning. After the home run Josh retired the next 13 batters he faced.

On Friday the Ports will travel to Modesto to begin a 3 game set against the Modesto Nuts. Game time will be at 7:05 p.m. at John Thurman Field.

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.

Sogard’s Glasses: Predicting the Stockton Ports Roster

About “Sogard’s Glasses”: Occasionally I will predict or suggest things that I think will happen during the course of the season, I decided to call these posts “Sogard’s Glasses.” This stems from a Tweet I saw during the Face of MLB competition: #EricSogard ‘s glasses are so strong they can see the future. I don’t remember who tweeted that, but I thought it would be a good feature title.

I have been paying close attention to the Oakland Athletics minor league system now for the part 2-1/2 years. I thought it would be fun to take some time and predict the opening day roster for the 2014 Stockton Ports. Why the Ports? Well quite simply it is because they are my home team and I go to at least half of their home games.

Here is how I think the 2014 roster for the Stockton Ports will shape up.

Position Players
Starters:
C: Bruce Maxwell
1B: Matt Olson
2B: Daniel Robertson
3B: Renato Nunez
SS: Wade Kirkland
OF: Billy McKinney
OF: Brett Vertigan
OF: Rashun Dixon

Bench:
C: Nick Rickles
3B: B.A. Vollmuth
OF: Dusty Robinson
OF: Aaron Shipman

Pitchers
Starters:
Andres Avila
Derek DeYoung
Ryan Doolittle
Chris Jensen
Seth Streich
Michael Ynoa

Bullpen:
Jeremy Barfield
Kris Hall
Tucker Healy
Austin House
Deyvi Jiminez
Nolan Sanburn
Vincent Voiro

Keep in mind I have no inside information. This is all for fun and just guess work based on player performance from last year. I listed 6 starters in the rotation as the Oakland Farm System has a long history of using a 6-man rotation.

If you have any alternative suggestions please comment below!

Oakland Athletics Top 20 Prospects (as of January 8, 2014)

Here is the list of the Top 20 Prospects of Oakland Athletics 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. Michael Ynoa
3. Renato Nunez
4, Daniel Robertson
5. Matthew Olson
6. Raul Alcantara
7. Billy McKinney
8. Miles Head
9. Nolan Sanburn
10. B.J. Boyd
11. Arnold Leon
12. Drew Granier
13. Dillon Overton
14. Vicmal De La Cruz
15. Max Muncy
16. Anthony Aliotti
17. Blake Hasebrock
18. Chad Pinder
19. Dylan Covey
20. Bruce Maxwell

After the Winter Meetings and trades made by the Athletics organization this is how the Top 20 Prospect list shapes up.  Off the list are #2 Prospect Michael Choice and #17 Prospect Chris Bostick who were both traded to the Texas Rangers for Chris Gentry. Back on the list is Catcher Bruce Maxwell and new to the list is Dylan Covey who was drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 Draft.