Tuesday, July 12, 2016

And Now, Your Starting Lineups...

As announced at All-Star Media Day:

For the National League:

1. Ben Zobrist, CHC, 2b
2. Bryce Harper, WAS, rf
3. Kris Bryant, CHC, 3b
4. Wil Myers, SDP, dh
5. Buster Posey, SFG, c
6. Anthony Rizzo, CHC, dh
7. Marcell Ozuna, MIA, cf
8. Carlos Gonzalez, COL, lf
9. Addison Russell, CHC, ss

And the American League:

1. Jose Altuve, HOU, 2b
2. Mike Trout, LAA, cf
3. Manny Machado, BAL, 3b
4. David Ortiz, BOS, dh
5. Xander Bogaerts, BOS, ss
6. Eric Hosmer, KCR, 1b
7. Mookie Betts, BOS, rf
8. Salvador Perez, KCR, c
9. Jackie Bradley, Jr., BOS, rf

The starting pitchers for the 87th ASG are Johnny Cueto of the Giants and Chris Sale of the White Sox.

Enjoy the game everyone.


JayBee Anama

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Quintana Replaces Salazar on AL ASG Roster

On Sunday, it was announced that Indians All-Star pitcher Danny Salazar is dealing with mild elbow discomfort. While it's not bad enough that he has to be placed on the disabled list, it was decided that he should rest instead of participate in the All-Star Game. So while he will still most likely make the trip to San Diego, someone will have to take Salazar's spot on the roster.

It was announced today, as Chris Sale was getting his All-Star jersey, and Todd Frazier was getting one as well because he's heading to SD to defend his Home Run Derby title, that pitcher Jose Quintana of the White Sox will be taking Salazar's place on the All-Star Team roster.

Quintana is having a great year for the Pale Hose, although his 7-8 record doesn't show it. He has a 3.21 ERA, 105 strikeouts and a 1.11 WHIP (good for sixth place on the leaderboard) in 117.2 innings pitched. This will mark his first trip to the All-Star Game.

So add Quintana's #582 card or his CWS-10 retail team card to your binder. Will there be more players added? Who knows at this point. Stranger things have happened. Stay tuned.


JayBee Anama

2016 Topps Pro Debut at the Futures Game

The All-Star festivities are now in full swing and the highlight of this first day's events is the annual Futures Game.

Since the first Futures Game in 1999, more than 120 players who were named to either the US or World rosters have become MLB All-Stars, with many of them are participating in this year's All-Star Game. Twenty-seven players on last year's roster have already played in the majors.

Back to the point.

Today, the best minor leaguers from the United States take on the best prospects from around the world (Dominican Republic, Canada, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Lithuania, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Virgin Islands...and there was one player from South Africa who was originally selected, but is now injured). Of the 54 players (50 on active rosters, plus 4 selected players who were replaced due to injury, a MLB call-up, or suspension) who were named to either team, 26 of them appear in the 2016 Topps Pro Debut set. Who made the cut?

From Team USA:
  • Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox (#152)
  • Phil Bickford, P, Giants (#69)
  • Alex Bregman, IF, Astros (#142)
  • Willie Calhoun, IF, Dodgers (#192)
  • David Dahl, OF, Rockies (#60)
  • Clint Frazier, OF, Indians (#123)
  • Carson Fulmer, P, White Sox (#147)
  • Amir Garrett, P, Reds (#107)
  • Jeff Hoffman, P, Rockies (#29)
  • Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates (#49, injured)
  • Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres (#159)
  • Dominic Smith, IF, Mets (#148)
  • Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers (#61)
  • Dansby Swanson, IF, Braves (#1)

From Team World:
  • Willy Adames, IF, Rays (#22)
  • Jharel Cotton, P, Dodgers (#118)
  • Yandy Diaz, IF, Indians (#31)
  • Eloy Jimenez, OF, Cubs (#44)
  • Reynaldo Lopez, P, Nationals (#112)
  • Manuel Margot, OF, Padres (#63)
  • Jorge Mateo, IF, Yankees (#39, suspended)
  • Josh Naylor, IF, Marlins (#172)
  • Tyler O'Neill, OF, Mariners (#189)
  • Alex Reyes, P, Cardinals (#151)
  • Amed Rosario, IF, Mets (#96)
  • Raimel Tapia, OF, Rockies (#136)

This is a prospector's dream with many ready to sell if their guy has a breakout game. Team USA has won the last five Futures Games, and own a 11-6 record over their World counterparts. With many of these players ranked in their respective team's top 30 prospect list, this won't be the last we hear from any of them.

Let the games begin.


JayBee Anama

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sanchez Replaces Kimbrel on AL ASG Roster

With Craig Kimbrel of the Boston Red Sox placed on the DL with a "left knee medial meniscus tear," he will be out of commission for about 3-6 weeks. While he's gone, the Red Sox made a deal with the Diamondbacks, getting closer Brad Ziegler in exchange for some prospects.

But while the Red Sox has taken care of their needs, who Ned Yost, with the help of MLB, name to take care of Kimbrel's spot on the roster?

Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez will take Kimbrel's spot on the American League All-Star team. Sanchez, in his first year as a starting pitcher and another first-time All-Star under the age of 26 (he's 24 folks, feel old yet?), heads into the break with a 9-1 record, a 2.97 ERA, 103 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.19 in 118.1 innings of work.

With Sanchez going to San Diego, the Blue Jays contingency grows to five. He joins Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, Final-Man Michael Saunders, and pitcher Marco Estrada on the AL team.

Take out your binder and add Sanchez' #113 card from the main set, or his TBJ-12 card from the 17-card retail set to it.

Wow, I've posted more today than I have in the past three months. Maybe I'll make it a habit.

Stay tuned for more All-Star team roster updates as they happen.


JayBee Anama

Syndergaard, Cespedes, and Fowler are out of the ASG. Pomeranz, Marte, and Bruce are Named Replacements

Last night was not a good one for the Mets. Both of the players who were announced as All-Stars on Tuesday were taken out of the game against the Nationals. Noah Syndergaard (arm fatigue) and Yoenis Cespedes (right quad strain) will not be able to participate in the game on Tuesday.

In the meantime, Dexter Fowler of the Cubs has been on the DL since late June (right around the time of the Cubs' recent struggles). He had been hoping to be re-activated in time for the ASG, but it looks like it was decided that he take the break off as well. All three players will probably participate in the festivities, lining up alongside their fellow All-Stars.

Both Cespedes and Fowler were voted onto the All-Star team as starting outfielders. Now that both aren't able to play, Marcell Ozuna of the Marlins and Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies will take their places in the starting lineup. But who takes their places, along with Thor's, on the active roster?

With the help of MLB, Terry Collins has tabbed Starling Marte of the Pirates, a Final Man candidate, and Jay Bruce of the Reds as replacements for Cespedes and Fowler respectively, while Padres pitcher Drew Pomeranz will take Syndergaard's spot on the roster.

Marte, who finished an extremely close second in the Final Man voting, heads to San Diego with a (as of this writing) .316 average, with 6 home runs, 32 rbi's, 27 stolen bases, and a slash line of .360/.463/.822. A first-time All-Star, he joins closer Marc Melancon as the Buc's representatives on the NL squad.

Bruce, now a third-time All-Star, heads into today's action with a .265 average, 18 homers, 62 rbi's (third in the NL), 46 runs scored and OBP/SLG/OPS numbers .313/.539/.852. He joins fellow Reds outfielder Adam Duvall on the team.

Pomeranz will take the field as the host team's second All-Star, joining first baseman Wil Myers in welcoming the best in the game to "America's Greatest City." He comes into the break with a career high in wins (8-7 record), along with a 2.47 ERA, 115 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.01.

If you've been following along with me and adding cards to your All-Star binder, you should already have Marte's #83 or PPI-7 cards already out. Get Bruce's #199 or CR-8 cards and add them to the binder. If you're looking for cards of Drew Pomeranz? He's now the ninth player named to either All-Star team without a card either in the eponymous set or any retail team set. (He does have a Topps Heritage card - #336 - so it's up to you if you want to use it).

Now Craig Kimbrel of the Red Sox has been placed on the DL and will be out of action for about 3-6 weeks. While the Red Sox found a replacement for him by trading for D-Backs closer Brad Ziegler, the AL All-Star team has yet to announce who'll take his place on the roster. So stay tuned for more details to come.


JayBee Anama

Saunders and Belt win the Final Man Vote!!!

On Tuesday night, after the All-Star rosters were announced, fans were given the opportunity to add two more players to each of the league's All-Star Teams via the Final Man Vote. Seventy-two hours later, millions of votes were tallied. MLB Network even had an actual political analyst discussing up-to-the-minute vote totals and trends. While I have yet to find the complete number of votes tallied this time around, in the end, Michael Saunders of the Blue Jays and Brandon Belt of the Giants were added to their respective All-Star teams after winning the Final Man Vote.

Michael Saunders, aka "Captain Canada", had the support of almost the entire country (guess which one), and by the end of the day, earned an astounding 17.7 million votes, earning more votes than outfielder George Springer of the Astros, second baseman Ian Kinsler of the Tigers, second baseman Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox, and third baseman Evan Longoria of the Rays.

Going into Friday morning, Brandon Belt was still in second place in the five-man NL ballot. But when the final votes were counted, his 10.4 million votes were more than enough to hold off the rest of the field, including Pirates outfielder Starling Marte, rookie sensation Trevor Story of the Rockies, the Diamondbacks' Jake Lamb, and perennial All-Star Ryan Braun of the Brewers.

Saunders, a first-time All-Star, is the fourth Blue Jay player named to this year's AL All-Star Team and the second in four years to win the Final Man Ballot (Steve Delabar-2013). He makes the trip to San Diego with fellow Jays Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, and Marco Estrada.

Belt, also a first-time All-Star, is the first Giants player to win the Final Man Ballot and the fourth Giant making the trip south to Petco Park along with Buster Posey, Johnny Cueto, and Madison Bumgarner.


JayBee Anama

Strasburg and Bumgarner out of the ASG, Scherzer and Colon Named Replacements.

Another round of player replacements were named yesterday as both Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals and Madison Bumgarner of the Giants will not be participating in next Tuesday's All-Star Game. Both pitchers are fine.

Strasburg pitched last night, becoming the first NL pitcher to notch a 12-0 record to start a season since 1912. And even though Strasburg made the NL All-Star Team, he and general manager Mike Rizzo "mutually agreed that Strasburg would not pitch in the Midsummer Classic after going through an upper back strain a few weeks ago."

While Strasburg will still take in the festivities (he is a San Diego native and attended San Diego State University), teammate Max Scherzer will take his spot on the roster.

Scherzer is also having a fine season for the Nationals, with a 9-6 record, a 3.21 ERA in 18 starts this year. He also has 155 strikeouts, a 0.97 WHIP, and a BAA of .195. He joins a growing Nationals contingent that includes second baseman Daniel Murphy, outfielder Bryce Harper, and catcher Wilson Ramos.

On the other hand, Madison Bumgarner is scheduled to pitch on Sunday. Because of that Sunday starter rule, he could either be replaced on the roster by another pitcher, or he could choose to participate, but possibly be put on an extremely strict pitch count. Bumgarner decided against pitching in the game on short rest, so Terry Collins tabbed Bartolo Colon, the elder statesman of his starting rotation, as his replacement.

The 43-year old Colon, now a 4-time all-star, sports a 7-4 record, a 3.28 ERA. and 65 strikeouts in 17 starts. He has been a steady presence on a Mets rotation that, while full of young arms, have had a bit of growing pains. It will be his first All-Star Game trip since 2013. He joins (? - I'll get to this in a minute) fellow pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Jeurys Familia, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, his manager, and the rest of the Mets coaching staff to San Diego.

So add Scherzer's card #'s 209 or WN-9 and Colon's card #'s 381 or NYM-16 to your binders (I'm trying to help here...)

To the (?) part of the program. In last night's ballgame against the Nationals (you know, that 12th win for Strasburg), both Syndergaard and Cespedes were taken out because of possible injuries (arm fatigue, right quad strain respectively). Get ready for more All-Stars making the trip to San Diego before Tuesday.


JayBee Anama

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Diaz Replaces Carpenter on NL ASG Roster

2015 Springfield Cardinals Grandstand #3 Aledmys Diaz

In last night's game against the Pirates, Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter strained an oblique muscle as he was trying to check his swing during his at-bat in the third inning. He suffered a similar injury back in 2012, and the MRI results indicated that he would have to be placed on the DL to recover. He is the fourth Cardinal to be placed on the DL this week alone.

Even though Carpenter was the only Cardinal named onto the NL All-Star team, Terry Collins could pick anyone from any other team to take his place. But he made sure that a player from the St. Louis team would have some representation on the active roster.

Aledmys Diaz, the Cardinals' rookie shortstop, was named as Carpenter's replacement. His credentials include a .319 average, 12 home runs, 44 runs batted in, 54 runs scored and a slash line of .382/.534/.916 (that would be OBP/SLG/OPS). He is among the league leaders in batting average, runs scored, and doubles.

The 25-year-old now joins the swelling ranks of first-time All-Stars, and players aged 26-younger attending with full All-Star honors.

If you're looking for any Aledmys Diaz cards to add to your roster, you're out of luck. He presently has three minor league cards, all regional releases. No Topps cards to speak of, not even on the retail end. So attached is his 2015 minor league card.

Stay tuned for more All-Star team roster updates as they happen.


JayBee Anama

Kluber Replaces Estrada on AL ASG Roster

One night after being named to the American League All-Star Team, Marco Estrada of the Toronto Blue Jays was placed on the 15-day DL due to continuing soreness issues in his lower back. While he has been taking cortisone shots for the pain, the team decided that it would be best for him to take the time off and use the All-Star break to rest. He still will make the trip to "America's Finest City," with fellow Blue Jays Josh Donaldson, and Edwin Encarnacion. But now that he was placed on the DL, a replacement for him needed to be named.

That replacement will be the 2014 AL Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians. As of this writing, Kluber has a record of 8-8 with an ERA of 3.79 in 17 starts. While that initially doesn't look all that great, he has 114 strikeouts in 114.0 innings pitched, a WHIP of 1.04, and three complete games, two of them shutouts.

Now a first-time All-Star, Kluber joins fellow Tribesmen Francisco Lindor and Danny Salazar for the festivities in San Diego.

So add Kluber's #64 card from the 2016 Topps set or the CI-2 card from the retail set if you have it to your All-Star Binder. Please tell me someone else is doing this too. I can't possibly be the only one.

Stay tuned for more All-Star team roster updates as they happen.


JayBee Anama

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The 2016 All-Star Rosters Have Been Announced...What Do You Think???

Yesterday, ESPN hosted the MLB All-Star Team Selection Show. Starters that were voted by the fans, the reserves selected via the player ballot and by the respective managers, were announced officially.

I love this time of year, if only because it allows for a break in what is a long season and celebrates the game's best players. And what I do, as I have done every year since I really stated following the game, is take out the cards of the players who made each roster and put them in a special binder (my All-Star binder...if you will). I do this because it helps me not only recognize the players who became all-stars that particular year, but during the game, I use it to keep track of who's in the game as it progresses. Yes, I'm a geek.

So without further ado, here are the 2016 MLB All-Star Game rosters as announced on Tuesday night (with 2016 Topps Card # and retail team set # if applicable, for those of you playing along and putting them into your All-Star Binders):

American League Starters

1B-Eric Hosmer, Royals (#9, KCR-2)
2B-Jose Altuve, Astros(#317, HA-7)
3B-Manny Machado, Orioles(#175, BO-1)
SS-Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox (#368, BRS-54)
OF-Mookie Betts, Red Sox (#84, BRS-5)
OF-Jackie Bradley, Jr., Red Sox (#425, BRS-7)
OF-Mike Trout, Angels (#1, A-11)
C-Salvador Perez, Royals (#50, KCR-1)
DH-David Ortiz, Red Sox (#126, BRS-1)

American League Pitchers

P-Marco Estrada, Blue Jays (#466, TBJ-17)
P-Cole Hamels, Rangers (#588, TRA-11)
P-Danny Salazar, Indians (#460, CI-12)
P-Chris Sale, White Sox (#160, CWS-1)
P-Steven Wright, Red Sox
RP-Zach Britton, Orioles (#63, BO-13)
RP-Wade Davis, Royalsº (#307, KCR-13)
RP-Andrew Miller, Yankees (#218, NYY-14)
RP-Dellin Betances, Yankees (#369, NYY-15, selected by MGR)
RP-Brad Brach, Orioles (selected by MGR)
RP-Alex Colome, Rays (selected by MGR)
RP-Will Harris, Astrosª (#331 selected by MGR, replaces Davis)
RP-Kelvin Herrera, Royals (#393, selected by MGR)
RP-Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (#13 with the Padres, BRS-12, selected by MGR)

American League Reserves

1B-Miguel Cabrera, Tigers(#250, DT-1)
2B-Robinson Cano, Mariners (#268, SM-4)
3B-Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays (#200, TBJ-1)
SS-Francisco Lindor, Indians (#439, CI-1)
OF-Carlos Beltran, Yankees (#567, NYY-10)
OF-Ian Desmond, Rangers
OF-Mark Trumbo, Orioles (#39 with the Mariners, BO-8)
C-Matt Wieters, Orioles
DH-Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays (#89, TBJ-7)
SS-Eduardo Nunez, Twins (#534, MT-12, selected by MGR)
C-Stephen Vogt, Athletics (#506, OA-8, selected by MGR)

American League Final Man Candidates

2B-Ian Kinsler, Tigers (#275, DT-3)
3B-Evan Longoria, Rays (#388, TB-6)
2B-Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox (#246, BRS-4)
OF-Michael Saunders, Blue Jays (#630)
3B-George Springer, Astros (#53, KCR-10)

National League Starters

1B-Anthony Rizzo, Cubs (#327, CC-6)
2B-Ben Zobrist, Cubs(#447, CC-5)
3B-Kris Bryant, Cubs (#350, CC-1)
SS-Addison Russell, Cubs (#562, CC-4)
OF-Yoenis Cespedes, Mets (#407, NYM-17)
OF-Dexter Fowler, Cubs
OF-Bryce Harper, Nationals (#100, WN-1)
C-Buster Posey, Giants (#300, SFG-1)

National League Pitchers

P-Jake Arrieta, Cubs (#264, CC-9)
P-Madison Bumgarner, Giants (#600, SFG-9)
P-Johnny Cueto, Giants (#416, SFG-15)
P-Clayton Kershaw, Dodgersº (#24, LAD-1)
P-Noah Syndergaard, Mets (#43, NYM-11)
RP-Jeurys Familia, Mets (#190, NYM-14)
RP-Kenley Jansen, Dodgers (#458, LAD-13)
RP-Fernando Rodney, Marlins
P-Jose Fernandez, Marlins (#118, MM-10, selected by MGR))
P-Jon Lester, Cubsª (#151, CC-8, selected by MGR, replaces Kershaw)
P-Stephen Strasburg, Nationals (#637, WN-8, selected by MGR)
P-Julio Teheran, Braves (#52, AB-7, selected by MGR))
RP-Marc Melancon, Pirates (#336, PPI-12, selected by MGR)
RP-A. J. Ramos, Marlins (#42, MM-12, selected by MGR)

National League Reserves

1B-Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks (#259, AD-1)
2B-Daniel Murphy, Nationals (#554, WN-5)
3B-Nolan Arenado, Rockies (#12, CRO-1)
SS-Corey Seager, Dodgers (#85, LAD-8)
OF-Adam Duvall, Reds (#584, CR-6)
OF-Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies (#683, CRO-2)
OF-Marcell Ozuna, Marlins (#572, MM-8)
C-Wilson Ramos, Nationals (#658, WN-2)
1B-Wil Myers, Padres (#625, SDP-4, selected by MGR)
3B-Matt Carpenter, Cardinals (#616, SLC-5, selected by MGR)
OF-Odubel Herrera, Phillies (#68, PP-8, selected by MGR)
C-Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers (#344, MB-1, selected by MGR)

National League Final Man Candidates

1B-Brandon Belt, Giants (#424, SFG-2)
OF-Ryan Braun, Brewers (#298, MB-2)
SP-Jake Lamb, Diamondbacks (#288, AD-5)
OF-Starling Marte, Pirates (#83, PPI-7)
SS-Trevor Story, Rockies

º Injured, will not participate
ª Named as replacement

The rosters once again will consist of 34 active players. Each team is already at 34 players and we haven't even gotten the final man voting in yet. Why is that?

Wade Davis of the Royals is on the DL. So manager Ned Yost added Astros closer Will Harris to the AL bullpen. That was announced off the bat (pun intended).

On the National League side, Clayton Kershaw was just placed on the DL, meaning a replacement needed to be named. After finding this article on ESPN's website, I think it's safe to say that Lester was named as his replacement.

Without clicking the article, Terry Collins initially had nine "manager choices," including finding representatives for six teams (Braves, Brewers, Cardinals Padres, Phillies, Pirates). After naming players from each of those teams (Teheran, Lucroy, Carpenter, Myers - would have been Rodney had he not been traded last week -, Herrera, and Melancon), the other three players he picked were Strasburg, Fernandez, and Ramos. This leaves Lester as the only possible choice as the replacement.

Including the players on the Final Man balloting, eight players do not have cards in the eponymous Topps set or any of the retail sets. Those players include pitchers Brad Brach, Alex Colome, Steven Wright, infielder Ian Desmond, and catcher Matt "No-Topps-Cards...Yet" Wieters on the AL side, and pitcher Fernando Rodney, outfielder Dexter Fowler, and shortstop Trevor Story from the NL. Each should have cards in the expanded Update series. In the meantime, every other player has a card that at least features them on their current team as long as you count the retail sets.

As it seems to be the case these past few years, there is a lot of youth on both rosters, as well as a ton of first-time All-Stars to boot (about 26 at last count, 13 on each side). Of the 17 elected starters, twelve of them are 26 years old...or YOUNGER!!! If you look at the Final Man Nominees, all ten candidates are hitters.

Chicago is extremely well represented this year with eight players between both teams, including the entire infield for the Cubs (Rizzo, Zobrist, Bryant, Russell). Look, I know the Cubs have been (up until these last two weeks) very dominant. And while this doesn't top the eight Cubs that represented the team in 2008, the fact that more than half of the starting lineup are Cubs makes me happy. I voted...once. That was it. I know you could vote more than that, but how is that fair? Boston has six players punching their tickets to San Diego, and a possible 7th if Pedroia wins the Final Man.

Rumors have it that Bumgarner is scheduled to start on Sunday. The rule is in effect that if any of them are in line to pitch that day, they will have to be replaced. And today, Marco Estrada of the Blue Jays landed on the DL. This is just the beginning. If history is an indicator, expect both active rosters to dramatically change by the time July 12 comes. As always, I'll make sure to help you add cards to your All-Star binders by providing card numbers for the players added onto the All-Star teams.

Let's hear the answers to these questions:

Who do you think should have been chosen that wasn't (not even for the Final Man ballot)?

Of the players selected, who shouldn't be going to the game?

Were the guys you wanted from your team chosen?

If not, then who should have represented your team?

Let the debates begin.


JayBee Anama

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Fourth of July!!!

Hey Anonymous:

Just to let you know that I haven't abandoned the blog, even though it's the first time that I've actually missed posting something at least once during a month (and for the record, it's six months of inactivity before I remove myself from the SCBR).

But I will be back. After all, the All-Star Game is coming soon, and this humble, little blog gets very busy once the All-Star rosters are announced.

So get your All-Star binders ready. On Tuesday, when the initial rosters are announced, you'll want to fill them with your 2016 Topps cards, whether they're from the eponymous set or the 17-card retail sets.

Until then,

Happy Birthday America!!!


JayBee Anama