Roberto Hernandez had another quality start for the Dodgers yesterday afternoon, despite having runners in scoring position in four of his six innings. He struck out three, walked two, gave up six hits and allowed only three earned runs. I wonder if the results of his work in Blue has made a potential trade for Bartolo Colon less likely. Graphic above via @Dodgers on twitter.
Furthermore, the Dodgers offense exploded against the Diamondbacks. They racked up nine runs on fourteen hits, and every starting player, except for Puig, recorded a hit. Six different players drove in a run, and Matt Kemp hit his sixteenth homer of the season. Overall, the Dodgers displayed a well-balanced attack. They were even helped along by a couple of Instant replays that went our way during the six run fourth inning. Ken Gurnick at MLB.com has a good rundown on what happened there, here.
The Dodgers victory allowed them to maintain their 5.0 game lead ahead of the Giants. Now, below are some links to check out:
- Via Jim Callis at MLB.com, "Pipeline Perspectives: Urias worthy of callup."
Of course, the chances that the Dodgers will bring up Urias are roughly equivalent to the odds that the franchise will move back to Brooklyn. The reasons are many: he's barely 18, he's three levels away from the Majors, they don't want to add more stress on his arm, he doesn't have to be protected on the 40-man roster until after the 2016 season. If he did get the call, Urias would be the youngest player in the big leagues since Willie Montanez in 1966 and the youngest pitcher since Larry Dierker in '64.
- Via Ron Cervenka at Think Blue LA, "Is Jose De Leon the next Clayton Kershaw?" Likely not, since that's a tall order. But he could be a fine pitcher for us someday.
- Via Daniel Brim at Dodgers Digest, "Tracking Yasiel Puig’s Power Outage."
Even with the scary corresponding timing between the hip injury and the power loss, we should be cautious about assigning the injury as the only cause for Puig’s struggles. There’s the whole “correlation does not mean causation” thing, and as Chad noted in the excerpt above, Puig’s mean fly ball distance almost matches last season. A few of the longer hits have been classified as line drives, too. This could just be regression to the mean, using arbitrary endpoints to describe a story. In other words, it could be a coincidence. Puig hasn’t been visually impacted by his hip in some time.
- The other day Chris Olds at Beckett unveiled some early preview picks from Topps 2014 Heritage Baseball card set slated to come out in Early March. Go here to check those out. To the right is a Kershaw insert card.
- Here's a scouting report fron FanGraphs. Via Ron Shah at FanGgraphs, "Dodgers Righty Chris Anderson Flashes Big Stuff."
- This is a very interesting article that I think is worth reading and studying for modern day Baseball card collectors. Check out what Jeff Hwang at Sports Collectors Daily says about, "The Upside of the Modern Baseball Card."
In The Modern Baseball Card Investor, we used the term multiple expansion to describe the widening spread in values between premium-grade (PSA or BGS Gem Mint+ in modern issues) and ungraded cards, and also the spread between premium limited print, serialized parallels and base cards in Chrome Era modern issues (1993/1996-present), generally as a function of some combination of increasing demand due to growing star power; the card removal effect; and/or grade scarcity. Multiple expansion is not hypothetical conjecture, but a very real concept, with the clearest evidence of its existence present in the values of vintage issues.
So premium graded modern scarcities can and have already experienced multiple expansion in values with the added caveat that beta (to borrow a financial term for risk) is significantly higher due to the players standing in the hobby. In other words, as long as a player is deemed to be a legitimate Hall of Fame-caliber player the values for their scarce issues should continue to be strong.
A great example of this are the prices for scarce and high-graded Michael Jordan cards. I am constantly amazed at the values certain low-numbered cards regularly receive. So, ten to twenty years from now can you imagine the kind of values a Mike Trout scarce rookie card might achieve if he continues being a monster at the plate, or a Clayton Kershaw? I'm not saying you should run out and become a card investor, I just think it's interesting to think about.
On a side note, if I had the discretionary funds to spend significant dollars on cards I would focus my attention on vintage (in particular pre-war cards). As the article intimates, there is less risk involved with those issues. Modern scarcities may represent a potential higher return, but they also represent the greatest risk.
- Following up on the above article, Tom Bartsch at Sports Collectors Digest notes that, "High Grades Lead to Skyrocketing Market Values for Modern Cards." He notes that a PSA10 1971 Topps Steve Garvey rookie card recently sold for $25,393. Wow! I know that issue is extremely difficult in high grades, but that is amazing. Another card to look at are the OPC Wayne Gretzky cards. I've been told that they are absolutely on fire.
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