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!

Jesus Luzardo heading to Midland

After only 3 starts Oakland’s No. 2 Prospect, Jesus Luzardo, has been promoted to AA Midland RockHounds. During his brief stint with the Stockton Ports, Luzardo gave up only 2 runs and 6 hits in 14.2 innings. He also struck out 25 batters and walked only 5.  In his last outing on April 17th he did not allow a hit and walked 1 in five innings against the Modesto Nuts.

Luzardo0405

Athletics No. 2 Prospect Jesus Luzardo pitching for the Stockton Ports on Opening Night, April 5, 2018

Luzardo’s first start with the RockHounds will likely take place on Tuesday at Corpus Christi. Right now Midland’s starting pitcher is listed as TBD for that game.

Luzardo’s promotion may seem fast, but he impressed many people during Spring Training this year. Luzardo pitched in 3 games, 2 as a starter. In those outings, he did not give up any runs, compiled a 2-0 record and earned a save in his lone relief appearance.

The top prospect is one of now four 20 year-old starting pitchers to make it to AA for the Oakland A’s in the past 20 years. According to Melissa Lockard (Twitter: @melissalockard) the most recent to do this were Rich Harden (2002), Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson (both in 2008). Among this group Luzardo has the fewest Class A Advanced starts with 3. Both Cahill and Anderson had 13 starts each for the Stockton Ports in 2008. Harden had 12 starts for the Visalia Oaks in 2002 before earning his promotion.

Interestingly enough both Cahill and Anderson have rejoined the A’s for the 2018 season. Cahill made his first start in Oakland on April 17th. Anderson is pitching great in AAA Nashville with a 1.38 ERA in 3 starts while striking out 20 in 13 innings pitched.

The 20 year-old lefty was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 3rd round of the 2016 Draft out of Stoneman Douglas High School (Parkland, FL). Luzardo was acquired by the Oakland Athletics with Blake Treinen and Sheldon Neuse (Oakland’s No. 11 Prospect) in the trade that sent Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to Washington.

For a video primer of Luzardo’s first 2 starts with Stockton, I recommend Real McCoy Baseball’s YouTube Channel. You can follow him on Twitter @RealMcCoyBaseball

A’s Pitching Prospects Start the Season Strong

The first full week of the MiLB season is in the books and the different leagues are handling out the first round of player and pitcher of the week accolades. The Oakland Athletics pitching prospects took home Pitcher of the Week awards in three different leagues.

Coming into the season the A’s had the 7th ranked Top Farm system by MLB Pipeline. The pitching prospects are led by A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo. However, Puk went under the knife to have Tommy John Surgery last week and Luzardo has had a very strong showing in his first two starts of the season.

Here is how the A’s prospects fared in the weekly awards (April 5th-15th):

California League, Pitcher of the Week: Parker Dunshee, Stockton Ports. Dunshee had 2 starts and only gave up 3 hits while striking out 14 batters. He won his second start at San Jose on April 12th and has yet to give up a run.

Midwest League, Pitcher of the Week: Bryce Conley, Beloit Snappers. Conley has tossed 10 scoreless and hitless innings to start the 2018 season. Conley tossed the first 6 innings of Beloit’s combined no hitter with Ty Damron and Josh Reagan finishing it off.

Pacific Coast League, Pitcher of the Week: James Naile, Nashville Sounds. Naile went 3-0 and has pitched 17 2/3 scoreless innings in 3 starts to begin the 2018 season. Naile has allowed 15 hits, only 2 walks and stuck out 15 batters.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for Oakland’s pitching prospects. The Stockton Ports starting pitching combined for 39.2 IP, 21 H, 2 ER, 9 BB, 59 K in the first 8 games. Bobby Wahl, Jeremy Bliech and Lou Trivino have each pitched in 3 games out of the bullpen for Nashville and have not given up a run. Jake Sachez, currently with Midland, has not given up a run in 3.1 IP with Midland and Nashville combined.

Athletics get Jed Lowrie back

On Wednesday Jed Lowrie was traded by the Houston Astros to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Oakland’s number 30 prospect Brendan McCurry. Jed returns to the Athletics after signing a 3 year deal with the Astros after the 2014 season. He played in 290 games with Oakland during the 2013 and 2014 seasons and batted .271 with 74 doubles and 125 RBIs. In 2015 Jed was limited to 69 games with Houston.

The arrival of shortstop Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve at 2nd base, made Lowrie expendable in Houston. Barring any subsequent moves. in Oakland he will have the chance to platoon with Marcus Semien at shortstop, Brett Lawrie at second and Danny Valencia at third.

Brendan was drafted in the 22nd round of the June 2014 draft. In 2015 he split time with the Stockton Ports and Midland RockHounds. He posted a 1.86 ERA in 50 games, converting 27 out 28 save opportunities. McCurry was selected to pitch in the Arizona Fall League this year and posted a 4.73 ERA in just over 13 innings. He was selected as the reliever on Oakland’s organizational All-Stars for the 2015 season.

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.

Billy Burns to Get 1st MLB Start Against Astros

In the series finale versus the Houston Astros, the Oakland Athletics will start rookie Billy Burns in center field. With Coco Criso still out with a neck strain Bob Melvin has said that Billy will start against left handed pitchers. Billy will be starting and leading off against the Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel.

Billy was called up from AA Midland RockHounds on Monday after the Athletics had to place Craig Gentry on the 15 day DL with a broken hand. He has played in both games of the series. He pinch hit on Monday night (o-1) and was a defensive replacement in Tuesday’s comeback win. This will be Billy’s first start.

Billy was acquired by the Athletics in the trade that sent reliever Jerry Blevins to the Washington Nationals. The Athletics took a long look at Billy during Spring Training. He played in 26 games and hit .306 (22 for 72) with 8 walks and 10 stolen bases. For the RockHounds Billy was batting .250 (91 for 364) with 44 walks and 51 stolen bases. In 2013 with the Potomac Nationals, Billy hit .315 (170 for 444) with 72 walks and 74 stolen bases.

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.

Player Profile: Seth Frankoff

Seth Frankoff, relief pitcher
Sacramento River Cats

2014 Stats (through 7/15)
2-2, 4.31 ERA, 15 saves, 31 games, 39.2 IP, 50 strikeouts

Seth Frankoff was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 27th round of the 2010 June Draft. Since that time he has been making a slow, but steady climb through the Athletics’s farm system.

Seth began the 2014 season with the Midland RockHounds (AA). A couple of weeks into the season he established himself as the closer of the staff. Seth notched 15 saves in 27 games en route to a Texas League All-Star selection. In his All-Star appearance Seth pitched a scoreless 8th innings striking out one batter.

His success in the closer’s role during the first half of the season for the RockHounds, earned Seth a promotion to the Sacramento River Cats (AAA).

Since his promotion he has pitched in 4 games for the River Cats. He has struggled posting a 15.00 ERA in 6 innings. However if history is any indication, we will see Seth’s ERA drop over his next few outings.

During the 2014 Spring Training, Seth made one appearance with the Oakland Athletics. That came on March 6th where Seth pitched 1 inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He gave up 1 hit, struck out 1 batter and earned the win.

After the 2013 season, Seth was selected to pitch in the Arizona Fall League for the Mesa Solar Sox. In 12 games he posted a 1.42 ERA with 3 walks and 15 strikeouts.

2013 was a breakout season for Seth as he spent the entire year with the Stockton Ports (A Advanced). In 48 games he posted a 2.78 ERA with a record of 2-0 in 48 games. In 74.1 innings for the Ports, Seth struck out a career high 93 batters.

In 2012 Seth pitched the entire season with the Burlington Bees. This was where he made the conversion from being a starting pitcher to a relief pitcher. It was in this transition where Seth really found his place on the pitching staff. That season Seth started in 9 games and was 1-3 with a 9.17 ERA. After the transition he pitched in 27 games posting a 4-4 record. What was significant was that his ERA for the rest of the season was 2.51, giving him a 4.83 ERA on the season.

Seth’s first full season in profession baseball was 2011. He started the season with the Burlington Bees (A Full Season). He pitched in 5 games tallied a record of 0-1 with a 11.25 ERA. He came back in June with the Vermont Lake Monsters (A Short-Season). In 14 starts he was 6-3 with a 2.34 ERA and struck out 63 in 73 innings. Seth pitched 2 complete games that season both against the Connecticut Tigers. One was on June 23rd where he gave up only 1 run notching his first victory of the season. The other was a shutout that came on August 26th.

Seth earned the New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week honors for 2 consecutive weeks on August 29 and September 6, 2011.

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.

Athletics Acquire Samardzija and Hammel from Cubs

On the 4th of July the Oakland Athletics set off not one, but two sets of fireworks. The first came in the bottom of the 12th inning when Nick Punto drove a ball to left field that ultimately allowed Derek Norris to score all the way from first base for a 1-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The second set of fireworks came around 7:50 p.m. when the Athletics traded No. 1 and No. 2 prospects Addison Russell and Billy McKinney with Dan Straily and a player-to-be-named later to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for starting pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. This is a bold move that highlights the front office’s commitment to the major league team to win.

This season Samardzija is 2-7 with a 2.83 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 108 innings. Don’t let the win/loss record fool you, Samardzija is coming from the Cubs who own a record of 38-46 and have a team batting average of .236.

Jason Hammel is currently 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA. He has thrown 108.2 innings and has struck out 104 batters. Both pitchers help to bolster one of the best starting rotations in the Majors.

The Chicago Cubs get  3 players who will be a big part of their future. Addison Russell is one of the top prospects in the MLB. Eventhough he has spent most of the season on the disabled list due to a hamstring injury he is on track to be Major League ready by late-2015. With the Midland RockHounds Addison is batting .333 with 3 doubles and a home run in 13 games.

Billy McKinney was the Athletics first round draft choice in the 2013 June draft. He has spent all season with the Stockton Ports where he was batting .241 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs in 75 games. Over his past 10 games Billy was starting to put it together as he was batting .314 with 3 doubles and a home run.

Dan Straily struggled with the Athletics early this season going 1-2 with a 4.93 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 7 starts. Since joining the AAA Sacramento River Cats, Straily has turned his season around posting a record of  4-3 with a 4.71 ERA and striking out 67 in 63 innings pitched. Straily earned PCL Pitcher of the Week honors on May 26, 2014.

Good luck to all the players on their new teams!