When the previews for Topps first Minor League set (2010 Topps Pro Debut) were shown, I was tempted to try and collect the set, not only because the design used was going to be similar to the eponymous base set, but because for the first time, I was actually interested in a minor league set. Now I know that these aren't a new concept, but as I said back then, "I wasn't even this interested when Tristar, that other company, Just, or Classic made minor league cards." But the preview cards were gorgeous, so I thought why not?
Unfortunately, prices for sets were too high for my blood (thanks to prospectors and the like), and alas, I thought I would never get my hands on any of this product, especially when supplies of 2010 Pro Debut Series 1 totally ran dry.
Fast forward three years later. One eBayer, trying to time his sales to Spring Training, actually had the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Topps Pro Debut sets for sale (and some insert sets too...another time though). So guess who purchased them all??? Needless to say that I hit the Buy it Now button on all four auctions (he did split 2010 by series), and as soon as I paid for them all, I posted on Twitter that there would be a new feature to my humble, little blog.
The sets arrived earlier this week. After making sure that all the cards were included (making sure to leave feedback for the seller), and putting them in sheets, binders, and my bookshelf, I retooled the Topps Card Randomizer to add all 990 cards from the three Pro Debut sets. And beginning next Monday, at 9:00 am, the first of what will be a weekly series (just like the Random Team Set of the Week) will be posted. It will be called:
Each Monday (now known as Minor League Monday), I will profile one of the cards from the Pro Debut sets (there will still be a regular Topps Card of the Day...for people who still look forward to those). Below is an example of a typical post:
It's Minor League Monday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Pro Debut Card of the Week:
- Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 2012 Topps Pro Debut #38.
- Player Name, position, team: Henry Rodriguez, second baseman, Carolina Mudcats.
- Level-League, Team Affiliation: AA-Southern League, Cincinnati Reds.
- Minor League Stats (stats with team depicted only): 69 G, 278 AB, 39 R, 84 H, 19 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 37 RBI, 18 SB, 25 BB, 43 SO, .432 SLG, .799 OPS, .302 AVG.
- Any special information about player: Signed with the Reds as a Free Agent 03/27/2007. Bats: both. Throws: right.
- Major League Debut: September 2, 2012.
- Latest Baseball America Organizational Ranking: Cincinnati Reds #17 prospect after the 2011 season.
- Blurb on the back: "Rodriguez is a five-year Minor League veteran (including Latin American summer play) with a .307 career AVG. The switch-hitting middle infielder ranked second in the system by hitting .320 in 2011- .340 for Bakersfield and .302 for Carolina."
- Official Topps Rookie Card: 2013 Topps #86.
- Commentary: As of the end of the 2012 campaign, there are two players in the major leagues that share the name Henry Rodriguez. Both are from Venezuela. Henry Alberto Rodriguez is the pitcher who currently plays for the Washington Nationals. The Reds prospect seen above is Henry Alejandro Muñoz Rodriguez. So far, the Reds' prospect is making a case to stay in the majors, thanks to a .444 batting average, a 1.029 OPS, and three rbi's in 19 plate appearances. With Brandon Phillips planted firmly at second base, along with Topps All-Star Rookie teammates Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier holding down short and third respectively, the most likely scenario for Rodriguez is either to stay on the bench as a backup infielder, or get some playing time with the Louisville Bats, the Reds AAA team. MLB.com ranks Rodriguez as the team's #10 prospect heading into the 2013 season.