Monday, May 31, 2010

Featured card: 2010 Bowman Throwbacks Kendry Morales #BT 69

I picked up the Los Angeles Angels [Torii Hunter / Hideki Matsui / Kendry Morales] cards from the 2010 Bowman Throwbacks set because I still familiar with the 1992 Bowman set as one from a 'nine or 10 years ago,' though it has actually been 18 years since its release - I like the novelty of the reprinted card designs because there is a 'what-if' quality to them, even the cards themselves are anachronistic and some of the details on the original cards may not actually be mimicked on the insert cards.

When I overheard a couple of Angels fans [I'll assume] telling former Halo Adam Kennedy [during batting practice before the Washington Nationals / San Diego Padres game in San Diego on Saturday] - how Morales got injured after hitting a walk-off grand slam, I was in disbelief. The biggest news for this fan on Saturday wasn't Roy Halladay's perfecto, but the Halos losing their 'bully' in the middle of their lineup with light tower power from both sides of the plate.

Morales is probably close to as done for the regular season - who knows how he will bounce back if somewhat healthy enough to make a return this year.

In 2009, the Angels had to deal with Nick Adenhart's passing - but losing a guy for a chunk of the season because of an apparent walk-off celebration adds insult to injury and is a blow to a team looking for some consistency.

Maybe the real question is how are the Halos going to be able to get production from first base with the possible options they have available - will the Angels trade for a first baseman who can hit with some pop or is the organization content to 'fill in the blank' at first base with someone within the farm system or perhaps someone currently on the Angels.

Friday, May 28, 2010

My purchase - a 2010 Bowman Prospects set

I wanted to see what the 2010 Bowman cards looked like, but obviously it has been an overhyped product since its release - with the lottery / rat race mentality of speculators and collectors alike chasing Stephen Strasburg's first-year [non-USA team, not unlicensed Tristar] parallels / autographed cards. 

I ended up getting a hand collated base set of the prospects [around $30 shipped from a seller on eBay] - so at least I can have a basic Stephen Strasburg first-year card for my personal collection and also get a complete set of 109 other prospect cards featuring such up-and-comers like Jose Iglesias [Boston Red Sox], Starlin Castro [Chicago Cubs], Aroldis Chapman [Cincinnati Reds], Dustin Ackley [Seattle Mariners; card looks too dark for an autograph], Donavan Tate [San Diego Padres; card looks too dark for an autograph], Hak-Ju Lee [Chicago Cubs], Wilmer Font [Texas Rangers], Brett Jackson [Chicago Cubs], Thomas Neal [San Francisco Giants], Grant Green [Oakland Athletics], et al.  

The Strasburg card should be a $10-$15 card by itself, though by the end of the year - Topps will have likely rolled the presses on releasing various basic, non-autograph MLBPA rookie cards [~Actual rookie cards people! Not just these silly 'first year' cards printed of guys who haven't thrown one pitch or had one at-bat in the Major Leagues~] of Strasburg, along with more valuable parallels/ autograph cards. 

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Angels are not getting it done in the American League West

The Angels are horribly inconsistent and cannot get anything going at this point - they are my team and it is early, but it isn't fun watching a baseball team that can't consistently get off the mat. 

The Mariners were depending on one Milton Bradley to be a middle of the lineup force - so they suck too with Bradley taking his ball and going home. As much as I'd like to be a contrarian and root for Bradley the player and perhaps the person, his mood swings have made him an unsympathetic figure in my eyes. As much as he maybe calling out for help, it maybe time to cut the cord on his MLB playing career. 

Meanwhile in the rest of the suddenly 'weakened' American League West, the A's are emerging as a scrappy bunch who looks like they may stand out - I don't know if they have enough pitching and offense, while I think scrappy guys like Adam Rosales, Cliff Pennington and Kurt Suzuki can only take the team so far. 

However, unlike the 'Moneyball' era A's teams, my perception is the current A's are a more balanced team - with their ability catch the ball, run and perhaps do more than wait for the three-run home run from a Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada or Eric Chavez. 

Can it be conceivable the A's and the Texas Rangers will be the two teams in the AL West battling for the division title - the Rangers' lineup can score lots of runs and if their pitching holds up, it makes them a team with some staying power. It looks like Vlad Guerrero is getting some of his mojo back and if healthy, maybe a comeback player of the year candidate.

Torii is playing well, but the rest of his Angels' squad isn't coming together anytime soon.

Maybe the slumping Godzilla needs a rest. 

Monday, May 03, 2010

Featured autograph - Alex Gordon

I think everyone has always thought Alex Gordon looked the part of a Major League All-Star or even potential superstar - maybe I've seen him just a few times, but at the plate I've always assumed Gordon had the ability to battle pitchers into deep counts before lashing a line drives to the gap or perhaps even hit a long home run. He had the innate ability to make hard contact once the ball met his bat.

However, after not living up to the hype in parts of four seasons with the Kansas City Royals, with numbers of games played decreasing from 151 in 2007, 134 in 2008 to 49 in 2009 - the former uber prospect continues to be a question mark. Perhaps not being entirely healthy, he was sent down to the minors after hitting .194 with a .323 slugging percentage in 31 at-bats.

I'm not so sure the Royals have as much patience with Gordon like they did when he was burning through the minors - seems like he's more likely to go down the path of Sean Burroughs than Robin Ventura at this point.