Product Spotlight: 2015 Bowman

In which I praise Topps for getting (some) things right

The evolution of the Bowman brand has been interesting lately.  Since the last major redesign in 2012, Bowman has added ice parallels, wave refractors, and mini shimmer refractors, removed the First Bowman Card designation, added a new 1st Bowman designation, introduced Bowman Black autographs, confused collectors with 2013 Kris Bryant Bowman Chrome autographs in 2014 products, added wrapper redemptions, ended wrapper redemptions, dropped the pretense of a “base set” in Bowman Draft, and much, much more.  After three years of incremental improvements, Topps reshuffled the deck in 2015 and brought order to an increasingly chaotic product.

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2015 Mets Draft Class Autographs

No first round pick? No problem.

Full list of 2015 Mets draft picks

Thanks to the Michael Cuddyer signing, the Mets didn’t make their first pick in the 2015 draft until #53.  While you can understand (even if you don’t agree with) the reasoning behind reluctantly giving up a first round pick when the goal is to win now, it certainly makes it hard to get excited about the draft.  The Mets had to be hoping that some signable top talent would fall into the second round.  As a collector, I was just hoping for someone who would make it into the fall’s autograph lineup (though last year’s top Mets pick Michael Conforto is still waiting for his Bowman Chrome autograph, due out this Friday).  September is here and there is reason to hope for some nice prospect autographs from this group in the coming months.

With their top pick, the Mets took Desmond Lindsay, who was left off most amateur top prospect lists due to injury.  The Mets obviously thought he was worth the risk and saw him as clear first-round talent.  So far, he has performed well enough to earn a promotion to Brooklyn and should be the obvious choice for a Mets representative in upcoming draft products.

Once again, this year’s draft class had plenty of autographs available on draft day thanks to Leaf.  After Lindsay, Max Wotell, Thomas Szapuki, Sixto Torres, Brendan Illies, and L.T. Tolbert (who apparently goes by a variety of names) all have Leaf Perfect Game autographs.  Of them, all but the last two signed with the Mets.

2 Desmond Lindsay 3 Max Wotell 4 David Thompson 5 Thomas Szapucki
6 Chase Ingram 7 Corey Taylor 8 Patrick Mazeika 9 Kevin Kaczmarski
10 Wilt Haggard 17 Sixto Torres 33 Brendan Illies (DNS) 34 L.T. Tolbert (DNS)

Previous Entries

Previous Draft Class Autographs:

2014 Mets Draft Class Autographs
2013 Mets Draft Class Autographs
2012 Mets Draft Class Autographs
2011 Mets Draft Class Autographs

21 August 2015 – Binghamton Mets at New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Fastball is not The Way

It was a wet and wild night in Manchester as passing storms threatening to delay the start gave way to late-inning walks that threatened to chip away at Binghamton’s commanding lead. Gabriel Ynoa barely made it through six innings before auditions for bullpen September call-ups began. The B-Mets offense, now bolstered by journeymen who began the year in independent league ball, never stopped working and delivered a 9-5 victory that in a far closer game than the final score would seem to indicate.

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2010 Mets Draft Class Autographs

Generation TJ?

Full list of 2010 Mets draft picks

Five years after the bulk of Generation K was drafted, the whole bunch was coming up bust. Whatever excitement had been building was gone as each player would miss significant time due to injury before being dealt away for practically nothing. What does that have to do with 2010? As it turns out, the Mets’ 2010 draft class was loaded with stud pitching. And serious injuries. But that’s where the similarities end.

1 Matt Harvey 3 Blake Forsythe 4 Cory Vaughn 5 Matt den Dekker
6 Greg Peavey 7 Jeff Walters 8 Kenneth McDowall 9 Jacob deGrom
10 Akeel Morris 11 Adam Kolarek 24 Erik Goeddel 30 Josh Edgin

Matt Harvey didn’t exactly excite the fanbase when he was drafted number 7 overall in 2010. A high risk/high upside pick, Harvey was coming off a somewhat problematic stint with UNC after being drafted 118th overall out of high school three years earlier. The talent was there, but could he figure out how to use it? Harvey impressed at every level but somehow never attracted much hype in the minors. That all ended in 2012 when Harvey made his MLB debut and quickly became the Mets’ ace. A month into the 2013 season, Harvey was a hobby hero; his autographs commanded $100 due to their high demand and relative scarcity. When he finally signed his 2011 Bowman Platinum autographs two years late, Matt Harvey was one of the biggest sports figures in New York City. And then he broke.

Harvey wasn’t the first pitcher from this draft class to go through Tommy John surgery and he wouldn’t be the last. Just a few months after the draft, 9th round pick Jacob deGrom, a converted shortstop, went under the knife. After missing a year, deGrom followed Harvey’s path through the minors, quietly impressing with even less hype than the fallen ace. As a 2014 without Harvey loomed, deGrom was almost forgotten among a trio of hot young pitchers starting the season in AAA. Scouts gave deGrom high marks, but most people saw the bullpen in his future. When spots in the rotation opened up in mid-May, Jacob deGrom made it clear that he was not destined for a relief role. Matt Harvey returned to the rotation in 2015 sharing the ace role with the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year.

The bullpen had its share of surgeries in this draft class as well. Minor league closer Jeff Walters had Tommy John surgery in 2014 after setting the AA Binghamton saves record in 2013, and then Josh Edgin, a rare bright spot in some awful Mets bullpens, went down in 2015. This opened the door for Erik Goeddel, a 24th round pick due to signability concerns. Four Tommy John surgeries, two top starters, and two relievers who have contributed at the major league level. Not bad. And that’s not counting Akeel Morris, who is still in the low minors, or Greg Peavey, who was lost in the Rule 5 draft. So what about the bats?

The Mets went with three position players after picking Harvey, catcher Blake Forsythe and outfielders Cory Vaughn and Matt den Dekker. Forsythe was dumped off in the beginning of the 2014 season after ominously being assigned to Binghamton without being issued a number. Vaughn was promoted to AAA after being the most ineffective Binghamton outfielder at the plate and looks like he won’t get any further by the time he becomes a minor league free agent. And Matt den Dekker watched Juan Lagares take over as the Mets’ starting center fielder while recovering from a 2013 spring training injury. While he still got a chance to prove himself in 2014, den Dekker would start the 2015 season with the Nationals after being dealt for bullpen help.

Five years later, Generation TJ has already surpassed Generation K with one more arm still developing. The bats never came around, but with these arms, who needs bats? Right, the 2015 Mets…

1991 Mets Draft Class Autographs

Birth of Generation K

Full list of 1991 Mets draft picks

Today’s Mets have a clear surplus of talented young pitchers. With Matt Harvey returning from Tommy John surgery, Jacob deGrom coming off a Rookie of the Year season, Noah Syndergaard making his MLB debut tonight, and Steven Matz not far behind, the future looks bright. And that’s without even considering Zack Wheeler, who should be back on this list sometime next year after he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Hot young pitching is nothing new for the Mets, but neither is heartbreaking disappointment for Mets fans. Case in point: Generation K.

The Mets were a complete disaster in the early ’90s. One after another, big-name free agents failed to deliver anything but embarrassing headlines. The only hope for Mets fans came in the form of the 1991 draft class, which contained pitchers Bobby Jones, Bill Pulsipher, and Jason Isringhausen. The “Worst Team Money Could Buy” Mets were terrible, but Generation K (Pulsipher and Isringhausen plus 1994 pick Paul Wilson) promised to turn things around and send the Mets back to the World Series.

1 Al Shirley 1s Bobby J. Jones 2 Bill Pulsipher 2s Marc Kroon
8 Randy Curtis 12 Jason Jacome 16 Donny White 22 Jason Isringhausen

Partially thanks to their increasing prevalence in MLB, MiLB, and unlicensed baseball card products, prospects were being hyped more than ever before. By 1994, autographs from every team’s top prospects had become commonplace. Pulsipher and Isringhausen had autographs in 1994 and 1995, but the most successful pitcher of the bunch for the Mets, Bobby Jones, would have to wait until 1996 for his first autographs. Rounding out this draft class is a trio of relative nobodies, Randy Curtis (shown in a Mets uniform but with the Padres), Jason Jacome (who actually spent time with the Mets), and Donny White (who signs as Donnie but is listed as Don on Baseball-Reference).

As luck would have it, the Mets would make it to the World Series with the help of someone from this draft class. But not anyone from Generation K. Bobby Jones couldn’t do it by himself though, so we’ll pick up the story in 1995.

Product Spotlight: 2015 Topps Series 1

Changing up the base Topps formula

When it comes to base Topps, there hasn’t been much of a difference from year to year in a long time. Most of the elements of the flagship Topps products date back to at least 2012, some all the way back to 2001. It was time for a change.

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