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!

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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.

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

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 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.

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.

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!