Thursday, June 30, 2016

Teheran Stack

The Braves likely lone All-Star for 2016 should be Julio Teheran. While there have been bright spots and the team is playing better recently, Julio has been pitching so well that of course his name has been in the trade rumors. Unless the Braves get an offer that no one would refuse, I hope he remains with the Braves as part of the long-term core. He's been excellent to watch this season.

I've picked up the base Topps series 1 card along with the Gold and Rainbow Parallels. The Rainbow looks much better in person but you can kind of see colors on the top half of the card in the scan. 

While others seem to be ho-hum on Gypsy Queen, the base design is one of my favorites each year. Really like this Teheran which scanned very well. Some of the other Braves in this set are particularly sharp and there are some inserts of 90s greats as well which I will come back to in a later post.

On our way back from visiting my parents over the weekend I had an opportunity to stop by a local card shop that I've been to a handful of times over the years. They had some boxes with a variety of base and inserts. I found this new to me Teheran from 2014 Topps. Honestly anything 2014 and prior is probably new to me from before I got back into collecting so most of the time if I look through a random box of cards, I'm going to need some Braves. Teheran's first full MLB season with the Braves was a success in 2013 with a 3.20 era going 14-8 with a 3.2 WAR. Pretty strong debut.

Lastly, Teheran pitched a one hit shutout on June 19, Father's day, against the Mets. As soon as it happened I knew it would be a Topps Now card. When I saw it online in the special uniforms I decided to go ahead and get it, somewhat because I knew it would have a lower print run being Teheran. So here it is.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

One Homer is Good, Three is Bett(s)er

It has been fun following the young career of Red Sox right-fielder Mookie Betts. Hitting leadoff, Mookie is having his best season yet, and should easily surpass his 2015 totals for HRs and RBIs, and he's also leading baseball in runs scored to this point. 

On May 31st Mookie homered in the first and second innings against Kevin Gausman and again in the seventh against Dylan Bundy. As I was watching this game of course I knew there would be a Topps Now card for Mookie, and I knew that I would finally bite on the Topps Now series. 

Betts followed up the three homer game with a two homer game on June 1st, both of those home runs off of Mike Wright. He had his second Topps Now card released the following day. I went for the first but couldn't justify buying them in back to back days. Maybe I will find a good deal on ebay or elsewhere.

Nice card. Could I have found it cheaper down the road? Maybe, but glad it's in my collection.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Turn that Braves frown around, collect 2016 Bowman!

The Braves are performing better as of late, but overall the team's major league season has not gone well. Freeman has been cold, then hot, and now cold again, with the cold stretches being longer. Teheran pitched a gem the other day, but it hasn't been enough as the young pitching is not there yet and the bullpen has been poor.

Here's Freddie and Julio from the veteran portion of the set. I also picked up a Mookie for that player collection. 

Luckily Bowman 2016 is loaded with Braves minor leaguers to give Braves fans some hope for future seasons. 

Dansby was promoted to AA at the end of April. For the combined season between A-Advanced and AA he is hitting .270. The plan is for he and Ozzie Albies to make up the future middle infield for the Braves. Albies is just 19 and already playing for AAA Gwinnett and has hit well as of late. Tyrell Jenkins was recently called up to the big league squad and will work out of the bullpen, hopefully giving that unit a boost. He's had good success in AAA this year.

The Braves have a bunch of other prospects in this set but these were the three that stuck out to me to pick up.

I also grabbed a card of Red Sox prospect Mauricio Dubon. He was my favorite player on the 2015 Greenville Drive and was recently named an all-star in the A-Advanced Carolina League. Excited to see how his career progresses. Will be interesting to see if he is dealt as the middle of the infield for the Red Sox seems pretty set going forward, particularly at short with Bogaerts.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Archives Braves, including a new Klesko!

After reading about the new Archives set all over the sports card blog world, I decided to pick up the Braves from the set for myself. It's rare that I just grab all the Braves at once, for a couple reasons. First, I enjoy the chase, even on a smaller scale of putting a team set together. Second, sometimes there are guys that I don't particularly need to have in my collection. In this case it's Hector Olivera, who I am thinking the Braves would cut ties with if they could get anything for him. But for the sake of getting them all, I did end up with the Olivera as you'll see below. 

Here we've got two pitching greats. The Niekro looks better here with this design, in my opinion. Can't go wrong with a new Smoltz, though.

These might be my favorites. Hammerin Hank and a new Klesko in the Topps 79 design. Did you know that Klesko was first scouted as a pitcher?

Here's the Olivera, who is showing up in just about every 2016 set along with Freddie Freeman. It's pretty rare to see current Braves outside of these two show up in sets this year. Would have loved to see Markakis or Julio Teheran in this set.

These are pretty sharp. I was three or so years away from my collecting start in 1991.  I will likely go and pick up some of the originals after seeing this Archives release up close. Chipper was my first baseball player collection. It's ended up being outclassed by Klesko and others, but it'll always be the original. And on Spahn, being a lefty myself, can't help but admire the man who has an award for the best left-handed pitcher in baseball named after him.

Couldn't help but pick up the lone Brave in this insert set, and I have to say, I wish there were more. Great card, and well done Topps on this Archives set! And if you could, stop including Olivera? He's a rookie, but he's not playing.