Author Archives: mttlg

2016 Mets Top Prospects (Cardboard Edition)

A very different kind of top prospect list

It’s that time of year again when a young (or not-so-young) man’s (or woman’s) fancy (or dread) turns to ordinal rankings of young baseball players. That’s right, top prospect lists! Everyone’s got one and you usually regret looking at the other guy’s. Why should we be any different here? Now, I am not a talent evaluator, so we’re going to have to come up with some other way to rank these guys. And after a comment I made on For All You Kids Out There (For All You Kids Out There is the official podcast of your Baseball Prospectus Mets Local site), the answer became clear – we’ll rank them by the strength of their cardboard.

Read more »

2016 Mets Draft Class Autographs

A little bit a bit late

Full list of 2016 Mets draft picks

It took nearly the entire year, but 2016 finally brought us some new Mets prospects with autographs. As expected, most of them were from the 2016 draft: Justin Dunn and Peter Alonso in Bowman Draft, Dunn, Alonso, and Anthony Kay in Panini Elite Extra Edition, Dunn and Kay in Leaf Metal Draft, and Dunn again in Bowman’s Best. All of these, however, were overshadowed by the other newcomer, free agent acquisition Tim Tebow in Panini Elite Extra Edition and Leaf Metal Draft. Sadly, that means that nobody went deeper than the second round with autographs, which should come as no surprise when you consider how little emphasis there has been on prospects this year. Good thing we’ve got top prospect Tim Tebow, I guess…

1 Justin Dunn 1s Anthony Kay 2 Peter Alonso 3 Blake Tiberi
4 Michael Paez 5 Colby Woodmansee 6 Chris Viall 14 Christian James

Previous Editions:

From a Dunn deal to the invisible Hand

For the first time in the Alderson era, the Mets took a pitcher with their top pick. Sadly, Justin Dunn has no certified autograph cards, so the top spot will remain empty here until (hopefully) 2016 Bowman Draft. Supplemental pick Anthony Kay will have to stand in for the time being, but there’s nothing after that until Christian James in the 14th round. And after that, the only picks who have signed cards did not sign with the Mets – Carlos Cortes, Rylan Thomas, and, for the second time, Jordan Hand. After two years filled with picks who signed in Leaf Perfect Game, 2016 is a bit of a let-down. All the more reason we need this Mets prospect autograph drought to turn around and get us some ink from these guys.

Back to Mets Draft Class Autographs

Finding Futures Game Memorabilia

The future is not now

Every year since 1999, MLB rounds up a few dozen top prospects to face off in the <sponsor name> All-Star Futures Game. And every year since 2000, Topps has cut up the jerseys worn during that game and used them in cards released in its multitude of prospect-focused products. Two years ago, Topps was churning out more Futures Game material than ever before, so much so that I had to put together a guide just to sort out what was where. Four Mets prospects participated in the 2013 game (though one was in the Pirates system at the time), including both starting pitchers. With three different fabric types on each jersey, plus patches, there was a lot to collect and a lot of places to find it. Since then though, Futures Game material has almost completely disappeared from the collecting landscape.

This year, the Mets had three representatives at the Futures Game in San Diego: Dominic Smith on the USA team and Amed Rosario and Dilson Herrera (who was once again traded shortly afterward) on the World Team. With distinctive brown and yellow jerseys, the material from this game should stand out. If we ever see it. So far, only a few hundred swatches of material have made it out to the collecting public from the four Mats-worn Futures Game jerseys from 2014 and 2015 combined. What happened?

Read more »

Cashing in on Hot Rookies

To sell or not to sell?

For those of us in the aging collector demographic, our childhoods were spent dreaming of the vast fortunes that awaited us in adulthood as our cards grew in value like those from generations past. The reality turned out to be quite the opposite though, as our massive cardboard reserves are now barely worth the paper they’re printed on. Ever since that harsh reality set in, collectors have struggled with the decision of what to do with hot cards they pull from packs. Sell for the quick cash? Wait and see for a little while and dump at the first sign of a downturn? Or hold on for the long haul and hope for a big return in the far future? My take is that you shouldn’t worry about it much, just keep what you like and sell off anything else that has value. Live in the now and let someone else take on the risk. But how has that worked out for me over the last 15+ years?

Read more »

25 September 2016 – Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets

The Phillies are bad and we all feel sad

Fernandez 16 jersey hanging in the Mets dugoutThe season is drawing to a close, which means it’s time for my annual pilgrimage to Citi Field. With just over a week left in the regular season, the Mets were in a tight race for a Wild Card spot. But that would not be the big story of the day.

It was 9am and I was standing on the train platform waiting to begin the 2 hour trip to Citi Field (after the usual 4 hour drive the day before). Checking Twitter, I started seeing cryptic tweets. Boating accident. José Fernandez killed. Confirmed.

José Fernandez was due to start the next day against the Mets. At 24, he had established himself as one of the game’s top pitchers. You would rather miss him in the rotation with a playoff spot on the line, but not like this. Never like this. How can this be real?

The Marlins would cancel their game that day. The Mets however would play on with a Fernandez 16 jersey taped up inside the dugout.

Box Score

Read more »

2016 Mets Debut Autographs

Not dead yet at the waiver trade deadline

It’s been a while since I updated this, so… How about that wild card race? The second NL wild card spot seems to be about as popular as hosting the Olympics, with teams stumbling over themselves in an apparent effort to avoid being the winner. The Mets made their case by calling up loads of prospects (Matt Reynolds, who finally played in a game, plus Ty Kelly, Brandon Nimmo, and Seth Lugo), picking up James Loney to fill in for Lucas Duda, and, with the trade deadline looming, adding Justin Ruggiano, who was pretty terrible before quickly hitting the DL. As trade deadline mania hit its peak, the Mets seemed to be out on everyone. In the end, they walked away with 2015 trade deadline bridesmaid Jay Bruce, dealing second baseman of the future Dilson Herrera and Max Wotell for yet another corner outfielder. Herrera was clearly never getting a shot with the Mets and Wotell was expendable, so at least the price was right. And Jon Niese came back. For Antonio Bastardo! But he’s terrible now, even in small doses. At least he’s not starting! Yeah, about that…

Shockingly, Jay Bruce failed to turn into Yoenis Cespedes and an injury-plagued Mets team went a month without back-to-back wins, calling on T.J. Rivera, Gabriel Ynoa, and Josh Smoker in the process. The real Yoenis Cespedes, however, came off the DL and once more carried the team back into contention as starts went to Seth Lugo, newly called-up Robert Gsellman, and banished-to-Binghamton Rafael Montero. Justin Ruggiano even joined in on the fun before another DL stint ended his season. Even a start from Jon Niese can’t derail this club now, as they stand within striking distance of the second wild card at the waiver trade deadline. The rosters are set to expand, but even that might not be enough to keep 25 healthy players on the Mets’ active roster for very long.

Neil Walker Asdrubal Cabrera Alejandro De Aza Jim Henderson
3 April 2016 3 April 2016 3 April 2016 5 April 2016
Antonio Bastardo Rene Rivera Matt Reynolds* Ty Kelly*
8 April 2016 30 April 2016 18 May 2016 25 May 2016
James Loney Brandon Nimmo* Seth Lugo* Justin Ruggiano
31 May 2016 26 June 2016 1 July 2016 30 July 2016
Jay Bruce T.J. Rivera* Gabriel Ynoa* Josh Smoker*
2 August 2016 10 August 2016 13 August 2016 19 August 2016
Robert Gsellman* Fernando Salas Gavin Cecchini*
23 August 2016 1 September 2016 11 September 2016

*MLB Debut
Read more »