Thursday, March 9, 2017

Hokies in the Pros Part 1

Three former Virginia Tech Hokie baseball players appeared in the major leagues in 2016. I've talked about Jesse Hahn on this blog in multiple posts, but not the other two, Chad Pinder of the Athletics and Ben Rowen of the Mets. This is the start of an official series that I am calling 'Hokies in the Pros'.

Side note, the 2017 Hokies were ranked after winning a series against a highly regarded Nevada squad, but promptly lost four straight to Binghampton and I'm assuming dropped out of any and all polls. It was great while it lasted!

I picked up my first cards of Chad Pinder recently.

Can't say enough how glad I am that products like these exist. So awesome to see cards of minor league players in those uniforms. Pinder steadily made his way through Oakland's minor league system after being drafted in the second round of the 2013 draft. I've got these cards scanned out of order, as he hit .317 with 15 home runs and 86 RBIs for AA Midland in 2015. He started last season in AAA Nashville, where he played 107 games.

Pinder earned an August call up to the major league squad, where he played in 22 games, mainly at second base but also at shortstop and as a pinch hitter. He is fighting for a utility spot on the big league roster in spring training but it seems most likely he will start this season in AAA Nashville. He's hitting 2 for 8 so far with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored. He also hit a home run yesterday in his only at-bat against the Italian World Baseball Classic team, but I guess that at-bat does not count for his spring training total.

I opened a blaster of 2017 Topps Series 1 shortly after its release and I was glad to see Pinder show up in one of the packs. Somehow Pinder has 203 cards already in this early part of his career. How does the player/team collector keep up with this madness? Honestly I choose to go after the base cards, inserts, and more affordable parallels and not stress about the rest unless they show up in a trade opportunity. Nothing better than a card from a player collection showing up in a pack break.

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