Obviously I had to add a group of Orioles from the set. Schoop I've talked about several times already on this blog. Excited to see how he develops.
Steve Pearce had by far the best season of his career in 2014, proving to be a steady contributor on a team that had gaps throughout due to injury. Pearce, capable of playing multiple positions, ended up playing a career high 102 games, hitting 21 home runs while hitting .293. Glad to pick up my first card of this guy.
Zach Britton pitched in 71 games for the Orioles in 2014, notching 37 saves while keeping a 1.65 era. He struck out 62 batters compared to 23 walks. What a nice transition from starter to closer. Another case of adding my first card of a player to my collection.
Here's the back of the Schoop card. I appreciate how the back combines minor and major league stats.
Here's the likely Braves starter at catcher on opening day, Christian Bethancourt. Even though Evan Gattis was likely to move to left field, trading him confirmed what we already knew, that Bethancourt is going to get consistent playing time to start the 2015 season. Bethancourt looks the part of Braves catcher of the future, but it will take some time for him to get polished. I would think getting regular playing time will only help there.
Mookie Betts made the jump to Boston in 2014 to complete his quick rise to the majors. He played in 52 games for the Red Sox, batting a very solid .291 with 5 home runs and 18 runs batted in. Betts will get regular playing time in 2015, and it's amazing how far he has come in such a short time since I saw him play for the Greenville Drive in 2013. Excited to see how he will perform in 2015. This guy is only 22 years old.
And I'll finish this post up with a Virginia Tech Hokie, Jesse Hahn. I was thrilled to see Hahn show up in the set. He looked to be in a pretty good position with the Padres, where he was likely to get regular starts in 2015. The Padres traded Hahn to the Oakland A's in December. We'll see if he can find a spot in the A's pretty solid rotation. So glad Topps included Hahn in this set since he was left out of Topps Update.
Did you know that Hahn played basketball in high school too? Makes me even more of a fan.