Category Archives: Autographs

2016 Biggest Pulls

End of the Line?

2016 will go down as they year when I just couldn’t take it anymore. Ever-diminishing returns (even with the annual Kris Bryant autograph) already had me cutting back on hobby boxes. The proliferation of the same things in every product and the lack of anything new (Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz autographs in everything and no new prospect autographs until December) certainly gave me plenty of reasons to pass even on old favorites. And with the focus on the high end more than ever ($22,000 for one box?), nothing new was drawing my interest. And that’s just on the input side of the equation.

On the output side, rising postage rates and eBay fees (and new requirements pushing Top Rated Seller status beyond the reach of most mere mortals) made the prospect of selling unwanted cards something to dread. Why pay for a box that guarantees a hit when the hit will either be worthless or require dealing with eBay? I listed 12 items in 2016. 6 sold. And one of those got sent back, despite my listings clearly stating that returns are not accepted. That was the last straw.

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2017 Mets Debut Autographs

Waiting for Amed

So, um, that didn’t work. After three increasingly awful starts for the Mets, Tommy Milone hit the DL and hasn’t been seen since. Meanwhile, the Mets brought in Neil Ramirez to, um, exist in the bullpen and called up Binghamton’s all-time wins leader Tyler Pill to be the sensitive alternative to Rafael Montero in the rotation (Montero would later return to the rotation…). With their season hanging by a thread and a gaping hole at shortstop, the Mets held off on calling up top prospect Amed Rosario. Even after the Super 2 deadline had certainly passed, the Mets held off on calling up top prospect Amed Rosario. With just one more new Met with an autograph card needed to bring the total number of Mets with certified autograph cards up to exactly half of the all-time player list, the Mets held off on calling up top prospect Amed Rosario. Instead, they called up Pill’s 2011 draft classmate Chasen Bradford. The reasons change, but the result is the same – Rosario is not in Queens or anywhere else the big league team goes. Maybe after the All-Star break? It’s hard to argue that he’s not ready when he seems bored in Las Vegas and being ready is part of his catchphrase. He’s ready, we’re waiting, and…

Paul Sewald* Adam Wilk Tommy Milone Neil Ramirez
8 April 2017 7 May 2017 10 May 2017 20 May 2017
Tyler Pill* Chasen Bradford*
27 May 2017 25 June 2017

*MLB Debut
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1967 Mets Draft Class Autographs

If at first you do succeed, the rest really doesn’t matter

1 Jon Matlack 2 Dan Carey 11 Jesse Hudson 38 Dave Schneck

In the third year of the amateur draft, the Mets had their least eventful group of selections yet. After getting lucky on Nolan Ryan in 1965 and infamously passing on Reggie Jackson with the first overall pick in 1966, the Mets took Jon Matlack with the fourth overall pick in 1967. Matlack would go on to be named Rookie of the Year in 1972 and put together one of the best pitching seasons to not get a single Cy Young vote in 1974. After a trade to the Rangers, he eventually began to break down as players tended to do in those days and opted for an early retirement at age 33. He has no certified autograph cards, so I leave this non-certified autograph here in the hopes of someday being able to replace it with something more official. And because without it, there would be nothing to see here. Because the rest of the draft was a bust.

The Mets actually did a pretty good job picking Matlack, who was one of only four star players to be taken in the first round. After that though, it got ugly; their next four picks failed to make the majors while other teams walked away with Vida Blue, Jerry Reuss, and Don Baylor in the second round and a handful of useful players in rounds 3-5. But that’s really where the 1967 draft ended. The Mets can’t be faulted too much for the rest of the draft, in which they signed only four players who would reach the majors, worth a total of -2.0 bWAR.

After the top 100 picks, the 1967 draft was an exercise in futility. 875 more players would be picked over 72 rounds, but many would fail to sign. Of those who did, only 25 made it to the majors, so the Mets’ four was better than most. And of the 21 others, only Rick Dempsey, Gary Lavelle, and Dusty Baker had any real success, plus Jim Willoughby, Mike Paul, Jack Brohamer, and John Wockenfuss if you lower your standard to a career total of 1 bWAR. That’s one even marginally useful player for every 125 picks. That the Mets failed to land even one with their remaining 55 picks is hardly surprising.

Looking at the Mets side of the 1967 draft alone paints a bleak picture of a franchise struggling at every aspect of the game. But a look at other teams’ results puts a positive spin on an organization that was building for a run at sustained contention. Only six of the 20 teams managed to sign multiple players who would rack up at least 1 bWAR over their career. And of those, only the Cardinals (Ted Simmons in round 1 and Jerry Reuss in round 2), Braves (Ralph Garr and Dusty Baker), Twins (Steve Brye in round 1, Dave Goltz, and Rick Dempsey), and Orioles (Bobby Grich in round 1 and Don Baylor in round 2) signed picks worth more than Matlack alone. The Mets did well in acquiring one of the top five players taken in the draft.

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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.

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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
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Casey at the Pen

A rain delay anecdote

Due to the nature of the New York Penn League schedule, I only get one chance to see the Brooklyn Cyclones each year (technically three if you count individual games). When rain threatens to cancel one of those games, I have no choice but to tough it out and hope things clear up. In 2013, that didn’t work out so well. 2014’s second Cyclones game in Lowell was shaping up much the same way.

The nice thing about the rain is that it keeps the binder people at bay. You know the ones, lining the railings before games with binders filled with cards to be signed by the dozen. Do people actually buy those things? I don’t understand it, but they must make enough to justify being there. Except in the rain. On this day, there were only two or three people waiting by the dugout, so I slipped in on the off chance that someone might show up on the other side of the railing. That person ended up being Casey Meisner.

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