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.

Ryan Madson Set to Sign With A’s on 3 Year Deal

Veteran reliever Ryan Madson and the Oakland Athletics have agreed to a 3 year deal worth $22 million. The deal is not yet official as it is pending a physical.

This move will make long strides in shoring up a miserable 2015 bullpen. Madson was 1-2 with a 2.13 in 68 games for the World-Series Champ Kansas City Royals. The true question mark is his health. Prior to 2015 Madson missed the 3 previous seasons with a variety of arm issues. Signing him to a 3 year deal could be a risk, but it can also be high reward as the Athletics lost 53 games in 2015 by 2 runs or less.

The bullpen in 2016 had already received a boost from from the Athletics front office in the off season. In addition to a healthy Sean Doolittle, who spent a lot of time on the disabled list in 2015. Last week the Athletics added another strong arm in Marc Rzepczynski in a deal that also brought Yonder Alonso from the San Diego Padres to the Athletics for Drew Pomeranz and prospect Jose Torres.  In late-November the Athletics acquired Liam Hendricks from the Toronto Blue Jays for Jesse Chavez.

TTM Success 12/12/2014: Rob Picciolo

Last Friday, I received a TTM success from former Oakland Athletics shortstop Rob Picciolo. Rob played 9 season in the majors with the Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers and California Angels. He was a coach in the San Diego Padres organization from 1990-2005 and with the Angels from 2006-13.

Rob signed 4 cards for me: 1981 Fleer, 1979, 80 & 81 Topps.

TTM Autographs of Rob Picciolo

TTM Autographs of Rob Picciolo

TTM Success 03/06/2014: 3 from Spring Training

After a drought of 10 days I finally received some more TTM successes. Today was my best single day success as I received 3 responses. All 3 were from the first batch of Spring Training TTMs that I sent out on February 18, 2014. Included in today’s mail were: Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Eric Sogard.

Ryan Cook is one of the primary setup guys for the Oakland Athletics and is entering his third year with the club. He was originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2008 June draft. Ryan signed a 2013 Topps Heritage and 2013 Topps. Unfortunately the 2013 Topps was smeared when he put it back in the penny sleeve, but it happens. It is still a success.

TTM Autographs of Ryan Cook

TTM Autographs of Ryan Cook

The next one I received is from the hard-throwing left hander Sean Doolittle. Sean is a converted hitter turned pitcher and I think he made the right choice. He was a componsation pick following the first round of the 2007 June draft.  Sean signed for me a 2012 Choice Stockton Ports card and a 2013 Topps card. I am really excited to get this card back as I needed it for my autographed team set…only a few more to get.

TTM Autographs of Sean Doolittle

TTM Autographs of Sean Doolittle

The final success I received today was from 2nd Baseman Eric Sogard. Eric was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in the second round of the 2007 June draft. Eric signed a 2011 Bowman Chrome Refractor and a 2013 Topps Update.

TTM Autographs of Eric Sogard

TTM Autographs of Eric Sogard

TTM Success 01/21/2014: Alvin Dark

Yesterday I received my latest TTM success.  This time it was from former Oakland Athletics manager Alvin Dark.  He autographed a 1987 Oakland Athletics Mother’s Cookies card.  He also included a religious pamphlet talking about his story and how he found Christ.  Unfortunately the pamphlet is not autographed.  The autograph seen is pre-printed.

Alvin began his baseball career as a shortstop for the Boston Braves and was named the 1948 National League Rookie of the Year. His playing career lasted until 1960. In addition to the Braves, Alvin played for the New York Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies.

In 1961 Alvin made the switch to the dugout when he became the manager for the San Francisco Giants.  Alvin also managed for the Kansas City Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres.  His managerial career lasted until 1977 when he managed the second half of the season for the San Diego Padres.

Alvin is currently 92 years old and as of January 2014 he is the oldest living manager of a World Series winning, Pennant winning or Post-Season team.

TTM Autograph of Alvin Dark

TTM Autograph of Alvin Dark