Coming Back

For a while I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to continue this blog. It’s been almost a year since my last post. In that time I have met a lot of great people, mostly online through Twitter and Instagram, I’ve seen A LOT of baseball and I’ve had many amazing experiences.

I have decided that instead of using this blog for posting A’s and A’s related news, I am going to use it as a forum for my baseball experience, along with some life experiences thrown in.

I don’t know how often I’ll post. It will likely be inconsistent at best. I will try to write something at least once a week. A lot depends on my mood and if I have something to write about… who am I kidding, I have a lot to write about. It really depends on my mood, do I really feel like typing.

Here are a couple of pics from recent events and TTM returns that will serve as a prelude for some of my future posts. I hope you will enjoy!

Oakland A’s FanFest and a Curt Young game worn jersey I picked up at FanFest.

A couple of my favorite recent TTM successes. Storm Davis and Juan Gonzalez!

Advertisements

MLB Pitcher Tommy Hanson Passes Away

On Monday, November 9, 2015 Major League pitcher, Tommy Hanson passed away. He was 29. On Sunday Tommy was rushed to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing. He passed away from catastrophic organ failure. The exact reason that led to the failure is unknown at this time.

Tommy pitched for 5 years in the majors. From 2009-12 with the Atlanta Braves and with the LA Angels of Anaheim in 2013. In 121 starts he posted a 49-35 record with a 3.80 ERA.

After being granted free agency by the Angels, Tommy tried to latch on with the Texas Rangers and the Chicago White Sox in 2014, but did not make either club. In May 2015 Tommy signed with the San Francisco Giants. In 15 starts with the San Jose Giants and the Sacramento River Cats, Tommy went 4-6 with a 4.76 ERA.

I was fortunate enough to see Tommy pitch for the San Jose Giants in Stockton back on June 30, 2015. That night he pitched well, striking out 5 in 5 innings. The only blemish was giving up a solo home run to Branden Cogswell.

After he was done pitching Tommy was nice enough to stop on the ramp leading to the clubhouse and sign some autographs for a couple fans. That night he signed the 2 cards I brought with me. Thank you Tommy.

2011 and 2014 Topps cards autographed by Tommy Hanson

2011 and 2014 Topps cards autographed by Tommy Hanson

 

TTM Success 12/15/2014: Jackie Moore

On Monday I received 3 TTM successes in the mail. Two of these successes will be subjects of posts here. The first was from former Oakland Athletics manager Jackie Moore. As a player Jackie was an outfielder converted to a catcher and played eight seasons in the minors and one season in the major leagues (1965) with the Detroit Tigers.

Jackie is better known as a coach. He has a been a coach with 8 different organizations from 1970-2013. His longest tenures have been with the Texas Rangers and the Athletics. Jackie has been a major league manager with one team the Athletics (1984-86).

Jackie signed 3 cards for me: 1984 Topps Traded, 1985, 1986 Topps.

TTM Autographs of Jackie Moore

TTM Autographs of Jackie Moore

Showoff Sunday: From the California League to the Major League, Part 1

The past 2 Showoff Sunday posts have been about former Major League players who are now coaches in the California League. Today we take the opposite approach and look at players in the California League that have made it to the Major Leagues. This is the first of 2 parts in this series.

I have only been collecting autographs in the California League since 2011 so not may have risen through the ranks. Here are some of the big names that have.

Dan Straily, Oakland Athletics
As many of my readers know, Straily is one of my favorites. I have many fond memories of him as a Stockton Ports. Not only watching him pitch, but being able to talk to him at time before games. Here are a couple of items I had autographed during his time on the Ports.

Dan Straily Autographed Cards

Dan Straily Autographed Cards

Dan Straily Autographed California League Game Used Ball

Dan Straily Autographed California League Game Used Ball

Dan Straily Autographed Ticket Stub

Dan Straily Autographed Ticket Stub

A.J. Griffin, Oakland Athletics
Griffin joined Stockton about 6 weeks into the 2011 season from the Burlington Bees, the Athletics Class A Full season affiliate before they moved to Beloit. He did so well that season he not only was moved up to AA Midland, but he pitched one game for the AAA Sacramento RiverCats.

A.J. Griffin Autographed Card

A.J. Griffin Autographed Card

A.J. Griffin Autographed Ticket Stub

A.J. Griffin Autographed Ticket Stub

Michael Choice, Texas Rangers
It pains me to list Michael Choice as a Texas Ranger. Choice was the 2010 No. 1 Draft Pick of the Oakland Athletics. There were high hopes for Choice to be a big part of Oakland’s future. However, a glut of outfielders and specific needs forced the Athletics to shop Choice this past off season. Fortunately, Michael Choice did make his Major League debut as an Oakland Athletic.

Michael Choice Autographed Card

Michael Choice Autographed Card

Michael Choice Autographed Ticket Stub

Michael Choice Autographed Ticket Stub

Grant Green, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Green was another No. 1 Draft Pick (2009) that the Athletics sent packing last year. Green was a highly touted prospect who never really settled into a position. His hitting was unquestioned, but the huge question mark was his defense. He didn’t really have a defensive home and that is why Oakland moved him last year.

Grant Green Autographed Card

Grant Green Autographed Card

C.J. Cron, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
I was surprised to find out that C.J. Cron made his major league debut this season. I had lost tabs on him and then I suddenly saw his name pop up in my Twitter feed. I remember watching him play for the Inland Empire 66ers in 2012, he was a legitimate threat back then. I was able to get these 3 cards signed by Cron.

C.J. Cron Autographed Cards

C.J. Cron Autographed Cards

Showoff Sunday: California League Coaches – North Division

In this edition of Showoff Sunday I will be displaying autographed cards of former Major League Players turned California League Coaches. At this time there are 15 coaches in the California League who have had Major League experience. The range of experience is anywhere from 1 or 2 seasons to more than 10 years.

For this post I will focus on the North Division of the California League which includes the Stockton Ports, Modesto Nuts, San Jose Giants, Visalia Rawhide and the Bakersfield Blaze. I will begin with the coaching staff of the Stockton Ports. Manager Ryan Christenson played with 4 teams including the Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers. I have had 12 cards singed by Ryan so far this season.

Ryan Christenson Autographed Cards Pic #1

Ryan Christenson Autographed Cards Pic #1

Ryan Christenson Autographed Cards Pic #2

Ryan Christenson Autographed Cards Pic #2

Ryan Christenson Autographed Cards Pic #3

Ryan Christenson Autographed Cards Pic #3

The pitching coach for the Stockton Ports is John Wasdin. John has MLB experience with 7 different team, but most notably the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers. To date, I have been able to get 6 cards autographed by John this season.

John Wasdin Autographed Cards Pic #1

John Wasdin Autographed Cards Pic #1

John Wasdin Autographed Cards Pic #2

John Wasdin Autographed Cards Pic #2

Next up is the pitching coach for the Visalia Rawhide, Gil Heredia. Gil came up in the San Francisco Giants organization and played with 3 other teams the Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos and Oakland Athletics. I got 3 cards signed by Gil during Visala’s first series in Stockton (April 10-13, 2014).

Gil Heredia Autographed Cards

Gil Heredia Autographed Cards

The last cards I will feature on this post is the current San Jose Giants manager Lenn Sakata. Lenn is best known for his time with the Baltimore Orioles. He also played for the Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics. I got these 3 cards signed during the recent series against the Ports in Stockton (May 13-15, 2014).

Lenn Sakata Autographed Cards

Lenn Sakata Autographed Cards

There are a few other coaches in the Northern Division that I have yet to get autographs from this season. Those former players include Dave Burba (San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians), Tom Browning (Cincinnati Reds), Pat Kelly (Toronto Blue Jays) and Robby Hammond (Arizona Diamondbacks).

Next week I will feature the coaches in the California League South Division.

TTM Success 02/24/2014: Bert Campaneris

On Monday, February 24th, I received my best TTM success to date.  I received a signed card from Bert Campaneris. Bert was a 6x All-Star in 1968, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1975 with the Oakland Athletics, and in 1977 with the Texas Rangers. He was also a 3x World Series Champion with the Oakland Athletics from 1972-74. Bert was a career .259 batter with 2,249 hits and 649 stolen bases.

Back in 2012 I tried to get his autograph when he participated in the Legends of Baseball Vintage Showdown. This event took place in Stockton on the Fourth of July, but I was unsuccessful that day. I did, however, score a few other autographs that day.

Bert Campaneris is one of my All-Time favorite players and he signed a 1987 Mother’s Cookie Oakland Athletics All-Star card for me.

TTM Autograph of Bert Campaneris

TTM Autograph of Bert Campaneris

Spring Training Prospect Update

Four games are now in the books and with today’s 2-2 tie game against the Texas Rangers, the Oakland Athletics have a record of 2-1-1. Here is how some of the prospects are doing in the first four games of Spring Training:

Position Players
Billy Burns, outfield: 4-11, 3 runs scored, 4 stolen bases in 4 games
Jose Martinez, 2nd base: 3-8, 1 RBI, 2 runs scored in 4 games
Bruce Maxwell, catcher: 0-1, in 1 game
Billy McKinney, outfield: 0-1, in 1 game
Luke Montz, catcher: 2-4 in 3 games
Shane Peterson, outfield/1st base: 1-7, 1 RBI in 4 games
Daniel Robertson, shortstop: came in game as a pinch runner for Luke Montz on 3/1/14
Addison Russell, shortstop: 1-9, 1 RBI in 4 games
Michael Taylor, outfield: 2-9, 1 walk, 1 RBI in 4 games

Pitchers
Raul Alcantara: 2 IP, 1SO
Ryan Dull: 0.2 IP, 1SO
Arnold Leon: 2IP, 2 SO
Zach Neal: 1W, 1.2 IP, 2 SO
Drew Pomeranz: 1IP, 2 SO
Michael Ynoa: 1.1IP, 3H, 1SO

This will be a weekly update on Mondays beginning March 3rd.

New in Oakland, Part 2: Position Players

This is the second installment of a 3 part series introducing the newest members of the Oakland Athletics. These players were either signed as a free agent or traded for during the off season.  This second installment will introduce the new position players on Oakland’s 40-man roster.  These players may or may not make the opening day lineup, but figure prominently in Oakland’s future.

Nick Punto, utility infielder – Nick was signed as a free agent by the Athletics on November 13th. He spent last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and played in 113 games batting .255 in 294 at bats in a part time role. Nick figures to be the utility infielder for 2014 with the ability to play almost all infield positions.

Craig Gentry, outfielder – Craig was acquired with Josh Lindblom in the deal that sent Top Prospects Michael Choice and Chris Bostick to the Texas Rangers. Craig played an important role with the Rangers in 2013. He primarily came off the bench and was in a platoon role and batted .280 with 12 doubles in 246 at bats. Criag will take on the platoon role that was vacated by Seth Smith after he was traded to the San Diego Padres.

Chris Giminez, catcher – Chris was claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays in December. Giminez has limited MLB experience playing in no more than 45 games in a season over his 5 year career. He out of options and will likely be placed on waivers towards the end of spring training. He would likely clear waivers and be outrighted to Sacramento where he could figure prominently with  River Cats.

New in Oakland, Part 1: Pitchers

This is the first installment of a 3 part series introducing the newest members of the Oakland Athletics. These players were either signed as a free agent or traded for during the off season.  This first installment will introduce the new pitchers on Oakland’s 40-man roster.  These players may or may not make the opening day lineup, but figure prominently in Oakland’s future.

Scott Kazmir, starting pitcher – Scott was signed as a free agent to a 2 year contract in December. The 30 year old missed the entire 2012 season and made a comeback with the Cleveland Indians last year. In 2013 he went 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA, 162 strikeouts and 1.32 WHIP in 29 games.  Scott figures to be the Athletics’ No. 2 started behind Jarrod Parker.

Jim Johnson, closer – Jim was acquired by the Athletics in exchange for the struggling Jemile Weeks and catcher David Freitas. Jim was a league leader in saves last year as he earned 50 in 59 opportunities. Jim has a 2.94 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP. Jim will take over the closer role previously occupied by Grant Balfour.

Eric O’Flaherty, relief pitcher – Eric was signed as a free agent to a 2 year contract in January. You can see our post about it here: A’s sign O’Flaherty. While Eric is recovering from Tommy John surgery and will not be available until mid-season, Eric was an anchor of the bullpen for the Atlanta Braves over the past 5 years. In his MLB career Eric is 20-9 with a 2.85 ERA, 245 strikeouts in 343 games with the Braves and the Seattle Mariners.

Fernando Abad, relief pitcher – Fernando was dealt by the Washington Nationals to the Athletics for Minor League outfielder John Wooten. In 2013 Fernando was 0-3 with a 3.35 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 39 relief appearances

Luke Gregerson, relief pitcher – Luke was dealt to the Athletics by the San Diego Padres for outfielder Seth Smith. In 2013 Luke was a workhorse on the Padres staff compiling a 6-8 record with a 2.71 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in 73 relief appearances.

Josh Lindblom, relief pitcher – Josh was a part of the trade that brought Chris Gentry from the Texas Rangers to the Athletics for Michael Choice and Chris Bostick. It is likely that Josh will start the season with the Sacramento River Cats, but he could figure prominently in the bullpen later in the season. In limited duty with the Rangers Josh went 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA in 8 games, 5 of which were starts.

Drew Pomeranz, starting pitcher – Drew was acquired by the Athletics along with minor leaguer Chris Jensen in the trade that sent Brett Anderson to the Colorado Rockies. Drew will begin the year with the Sacramento River Cats and figures to be a starter with the Athletics some time in the next year or two. Drew pitched in 8 games, 4 starts, last season for the Rockies and compiled an 0-4 record, 6.23 ERA in 21.2 innings.

Oakland Athletics Top 20 Prospects (as of January 8, 2014)

Here is the list of the Top 20 Prospects of Oakland Athletics 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. Michael Ynoa
3. Renato Nunez
4, Daniel Robertson
5. Matthew Olson
6. Raul Alcantara
7. Billy McKinney
8. Miles Head
9. Nolan Sanburn
10. B.J. Boyd
11. Arnold Leon
12. Drew Granier
13. Dillon Overton
14. Vicmal De La Cruz
15. Max Muncy
16. Anthony Aliotti
17. Blake Hasebrock
18. Chad Pinder
19. Dylan Covey
20. Bruce Maxwell

After the Winter Meetings and trades made by the Athletics organization this is how the Top 20 Prospect list shapes up.  Off the list are #2 Prospect Michael Choice and #17 Prospect Chris Bostick who were both traded to the Texas Rangers for Chris Gentry. Back on the list is Catcher Bruce Maxwell and new to the list is Dylan Covey who was drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 Draft.