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.

Advertisements

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.

TTM Success 10/09/15: Dave McKay

A couple of weeks ago I received a TTM success from former Oakland Athletics infielder and coach Dave McKay. Dave played in the majors from 1975 to 1982. He was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1971. Dave made his MLB debut on August 22, 1975. In April of 1980 the Athletics signed Dave as a free agent. In his 8 year career he was a .229 hitter. Dave also played for the Toronto Blue Jays.

After his retirement as a player in 1982, Dave came back to the Athletics as a coach where he served from 1984 to 1995. He has also coached for the St. Louis Cardinals (1996-2011) and the Chicago Cubs (2012-2013). Since 2014, Dave has served as the first base coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Dave signed 3 cards for me: 1981 Fleer, 1983 Topps and 1983 Donruss.

TTM autographs from Dave McKay

TTM autographs from Dave McKay

I received this success in 189 days. Thank you Dave!

 

Box Break: 2013 Elite Extra Edition

One of my favorite products over the past few years is the Panini Elite Extra Edition. This set features over 100 of the top draft picks from the previous draft. Each blaster  box contains packs each containing 5 cards. In addition each blaster box promises 2 autographed cards. This interests me as one of my focuses in my collection is autographed cards.

2013 Elite Extra Edition Blaster Box

2013 Elite Extra Edition Blaster Box

Here are the hits I pulled from this box.

Inserts

Insert Hits: Jonathan Denney, Scouting 101; Keaton McKinney, Game Jersey; Chris Anderson, Aspirations Die Cut #108/200; Tim Atherton, Status Die Cut #042/100

Insert Hits

There are several subsets, or inserts, in this year’s set including: Scouting 101, USA Game Jerseys (15U & 18U), Elite Series, Aspirations Die Cut, Status Die Cut and Historic Picks. I pulled 4 inserts from this box. The first was Jonathan Denney (Boston Red Sox), Scouting 101. I also pulled an 18U Game Jerseys of Keaton McKinney (Akeney High School, Iowa). The other 2 inserts were die cuts.  One is of Chris Anderson (Los Angeles Dodgers), Aspirations #108/200 and Tim Atherton (Minnesota Twins, now Oakland Athletics), Blue Status #042/100. I’m sure Jesse from Section 117 @ BIB would like the Chris Anderson card.

Photo Variant

The first 10 cards of the base set also has short printed photo variations. I pulled the variant for Marco Gonzales (St. Louis Cardinals).

Photo Variant: Marco Gonzales, Card #6

Photo Variant: Marco Gonzales, Card #6

Here is the base along side the variant. I had the base card from the previous box I purchased.

Photo Variant and Base Card: Marco Gonzales, Card #6

Photo Variant and Base Card: Marco Gonzales, Card #6

Autographs

The outside of the box promised 2 autographed cards inside. It did not disappoint. I actually pulled 3 autographed cards from the box.

Autograph Hits: Carlos Salazar #607/625, Andy Burns #273/399

Autograph Hits: Carlos Salazar #607/625, Andy Burns #273/399

The first is of pitcher Carlos Salazar (Atlanta Braves) serial numbered #607/625. The next autograph I pulled was of third baseman Andy Burns (Toronto Blue Jays) serial numbered #273/399. The third was an absolute bonus…

Autograph Hits: D. J. Baxendale, Green Status Die Cut #04/25

Autograph Hits: D. J. Baxendale, Green Status Die Cut #04/25

I pulled the Green Status Die Cut Autograph of pitcher D. J. Baxendale (Minnesota Twins) numbered only #04/25.

All in all a very successful box. It was worth the $29.99 price point to me. So far I hae purchased 2 of these blaster boxes and each time I have pulled 3 autographs in each box. The one slightly disappointing thing this that I have not pulled an Oakland Athletics card. The closest is the Tim Atherton Blue Status Die Cut. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins, but was a Rule 5 pick (AAA round) in December 2013 by the Athletics and is currently on the Stockton Ports pitching staff. So, of course, I will be getting this card signed soon!

 

Stockton Ports Wrap Up Opening Series with Visalia on Sunday

The Stockton Ports will wrap up their Opening Series of the 2014 season tomorrow against the Visalia Rawhide. Game time will be 1:00 p.m. at Recreation Ballpark in Visalia. So far the Ports have taken 2 of 3 from the Rawhide. The lone loss coming on a 9th inning miscue allowing the winning run to score. Shawn Haviland will take the mound for the Ports and square off against Hector Hernandez for the Rawhide.

Ryan Cook and Craig Gentry have both made rehab appearances with the Ports as they get ready to rejoin the Oakland Athletics. Both players could be activated as early as Monday when the Athletics begin their first road series of the season in Minnesota against the Twins.

TTM Success 03/07/2014: 3 more from Spring Training

The day after receiving 3 success from Spring Training TTMs, I received a total of 4 more successes. 1 was from former Major League pitcher Rick Reuschel and 3 were from the second batch of Spring Training TTMs. The second batch was sent out on February 28th, so these three were a very quick turnaround.

The first was from Oakland Athletics reliever Evan Scribner. Evan was originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 28th round of the 2007 June Draft. One of Evan’s early highlight was in the 2012 regular season finale with the Athletics. He pitched 3 scoreless innings in the Division-Clinching win. Evan signed a 2013 Topps card for me. The autograph is really sharp and I like how the uniform number is inside the “S” of his last name.

TTM Autograph of Evan Scribnet

TTM Autograph of Evan Scribner

The next I received was from current Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Hector Santiago. Hector was recently acquired by the Angels as a part of a 3 team trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Chicago White Sox. Hector was nice enough to autograph a 2012 Topps Update card.

TTM Autograph from Hector Santiago

TTM Autograph from Hector Santiago

The 3rd Spring Training TTM I received was from Don Baylor. Don is currently the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He was a 2 time Oakland Athletics, playing for them in 1976 and once again in 1988. Don is one of 2 players to reach the World Series in 3 consecutive years with 3 different teams. 1986 – Boston Red Sox, 1987 – Minnesota Twins, 1988 – Oakland Athletics. Don autographed 3 cards for me: 1987 Fleer, 1988 Topps and 1988 Topps Traded.

TTM Autographs of Don Baylor

TTM Autographs of Don Baylor

Fun Fact: Eric Hinske was the other player to play in 3 consecutive World Series with 3 different teams. 2007 – Boston Red Sox, 2008 – Tampa Bay Rays, 2009 – New York Yankees. Interestingly enough all 3 teams are in the American League East.

 

Oakland Athletics 2013 AL West Champions!

In the bottom of the 3rd inning the news came across the Oakland Coliseum that Justin Maxwell of the Kansas City Royals hit a game winning grand slam against the Texas Rangers securing for the Athletics the division title.  By that time the Athletics were already leading the Minnesota Twins by the score of 6-1.  The Athletics would go on to win the game 11-7 completing a 4-game sweep of the Twins and finishing up the 2013 home season.

Sonny Gray (4-3, 2.90 ERA) pitched 5 strong innings securing his 4th win of the season.  Sonny allowed 4 runs  while striking out 3 batters.  The offensive onslaught was lead by Coco Crisp who went 2 for 4 with 4 RBIs.  Coco hit his 22nd home run and stole his 20th base today reaching the 20/20 mark for the first time in his career.

Oswaldo Arcia was trying to play the spoiler today for the Twins.  Oswaldo went 3 for 4 driving in 6 of the Twins 7 runs.  This is his 1st season in the majors and he is batting .254 with 14 home runs.  The 22-year-old Arcia could be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.

Evan Scribner came in to pitch the 9th inning.  After giving up 2 runs, Evan struck out Josmil Pinto to end the game and begin the celebration of the division title.

Congratulations to the Oakland Athletics on being the American League West Division Champions for the 2nd year in a row!

Oakland Athletics Magic Number: 2

2

With the combination of the Oakland Athletics resounding victory over the Minnesota Twins and the Kansas City Royals narrowly defeating the Texas Rangers, the Magic Number for the Athletics to clinch the AL West Division slides down to 2.

The Athletics will look to wrap up the division this weekend before the home crowd prior to heading out on the road to take on the LA Angels in a 3 game set starting on Monday.

Athletics rout Twins increase lead to 7.5 games

With only 8 games left to play the Oakland Athletics extended their AL West Division lead to 7.5 games on Friday night.  The Athletics trounced the Minnesota Twins 11-0.  Bartolo Colon picked up his 17th win of the season lowering his ERA to 2.64.  He struck out 8 in 6 innings.   Continue reading