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.

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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.

Waiver Wire: Otero Lost, Lambo Picked Up

The Oakland Athletics lost relief pitcher, Dan Otero, on waivers to the Philadelphia Phillies on November 5th.  In 2013 and 2014 Otero was a pivotal piece of the Athletics’s bullpen. In 2014, Otero posted an 8-2 record paired with a 2.28 ERA in 86 innings. In 2015, Otero was a weak link in the bullpen. He amassed a 2-4 record with a 6.75 ERA in 42+ innings. The Phillies are hopeful that Otero will return to his 2014 form next season.

The Athletics claimed Andrew Lambo off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates on November 6th. In 741 minor league games, Lambo has launched 100 home runs along with a .280 average. However, he has yet to be able to produce these numbers at the Major League level. Lambo is a career .191 hitter with only 1 home run in 59 games from 2013-15 with the Pirates. Lambo spent most of 2015 on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Oakland will give Lambo a hard look in the Spring possibly using him as a outfield/first base back up player.

Oakland currently has 39 players on the 40 man roster.

Spring Training TTMs

Today I mailed my second batch of Spring Training TTMs. This batch consisted of 10 envelopes. Most are to current Oakland Athletics.  Two were sent to former Athletics who are current MLB coaches in other organizations. One was sent to a non-Athletics player. Here are the Spring Training TTMs I have sent out.

Batch #1 – Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Ryan Cook
Sean Doolittle
Tommy Milone
Derek Norris
Jarrod Parker
Eric Sogard

Batch #2 – February 28, 2014
Jesse Chavez
Josh Donaldson
A. J. Griffin
Jed Lowrie
Josh Reddick
Evan Scribner
Dan Straily
Don Baylor, hitting coach for LA Angels of Anaheim
Steve Henderson, hitting coach for Philadelphia Phillies
Hector Santiago, pitcher for LA Angels of Anaheim

I will be posting updates as I receive these cards back. I am considering a third batch of Spring Training TTMs. Not sure for who, but will likely be mostly non-Athletics since I have already sent to most on the Athletics who are confirmed signers. If you have any suggestions please post them in a comment!

Former All-Star and Manager Jim Fregosi Dies at 71

On February 14, 2014, 6 time All-Star and former Manager Jim Fregosi passed away.  He died from complications from a stroke he suffered while on a MLB Alumni Carribean cruise six days earlier.  Fregosi was a 6 time All-Star as a player and is probably remembered for being a part of one of the more infamous trades.  The New York Mets sent future Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan and 3 other prospects to the California Angels for Fregosi.

After his playing career ended Fregosi became a manager. In his first season as a manager (1979) he led the California Angels to an AL West title. Fregosi also managed the Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Philies and the Toronto Blue Jays. Fregosi’s best year as a manager was in 1993 as he led the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series. They were defeated by the Toronto Blue Jays in 6 games.

On a personal note: On January 25, 2014 I received 3 autographed cards back from Jim Fregosi. I feel very blessed and grateful that I received these cards only a few weeks before his passing. He even accidentally signed the penny sleeve that was on the 1981 Fleer card. Fortunately he realized the mistake and signed the cards as well. Thank you Jim for the cards! You will be missed.

TTM autographs of Jim Fregosi received January 25, 2014.

TTM autographs of Jim Fregosi received January 25, 2014.

 

D’Arby Myers Hitting Streak Now at 27

In yet another loss to the Corpus Christi Hooks on Wednesday D’Arby Myers extended his hitting streak to 27 games.  D’Arby laced an RBI double in the 6th inning driving in Conner Crumbliss for the lone RockHounds run.  In reaching 27 games D’Arby matched the longest hitting streak in all of professional baseball this season and surpassed the longest in the minors.  He joins the exclusive company of David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox, and Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies, who both have had 27 game hitting streaks in 2013.  D’Arby looks to continue his streak tonight in Corpus Christi as the RockHounds play the 3rd game of a 4 game series.

D’Arby Myers was signed by the Oakland Athletics as a minor league free agent on November 30, 2012.  He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 4th round of the 2006 first year player draft out of Westchester High School in Los Angeles.