Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Four Dodgers Set to Play in Arizona Fall League - Check Out some AFL Fantasy Baseball Cards

Winter Ball is fast approaching and so is the opportunity to check out each clubs best and brightest minor league prospects.  For a month and a half, starting in early October, the Arizona Fall League opens its doors, and for those luck enough to participate it usually means that "The Show" is not too far away. 

For the Dodgers four players are slated to go to Arizona and will play for the Glendale Desert Dogs.  They are infielders Corey Seager and Darnell Sweeney, outfielder Scott Schebler and left-handed pitcher Mike Thomas.  They will join a team that will include other top prospects like Devon Travis and Steven Moya of the Tigers, Time Anderson of the White Sox, Zach Davies of the Orioles and Tyrone Taylor of the Brewers. 

In celebration of these players next step in their maturation process I made several fantasy cards for them.  The photos I used are from either Dodgers photographer Jon SooHoo's photog website or photographs grabbed from the Dodger Insider blog.  I also used the vintage 1970 Topps Baseball card design.

The AFL website can be viewed here.

Below is a brief synopsis of each player:

Corey Seager, 20, was drafted by the Dodgers in the 1st Round in 2012 and is now regarded as a Top-20 prospect in all of Baseball.  He was recently named the 2014 California League MVP for his play with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.  He slashed 352/.411/.633with 18 home runs and 70 RBI's before being promoted to AA Chattanooga.  Below are his career statistics, via Baseball Reference:

Scott Schebler, 23, was drafted by the Dodgers in the 26th Round in 2010.  He has had two outstanding consecutive years for the Dodgers in the minor leagues.  In 2013 with the Quakes he slashed .296/.360/.581 with 27 home runs and 91 RBI's.  In 2014 with the AA Lookouts he slashed .281/.367/.558 with 27 home runs and 72 RBI's.  Below are his career statistics, via Baseball Reference:

Darnell Sweeney, 23, was drafted in 2012 in the 13th Round and is from the University of Central Florida.  With the Lookouts he slashed .285/.384/.461 with 14 home runs and 55 RBI's.  Below are his career statistics, via Baseball Reference:

Mike Thomas, 25, was a 35th Round pick in 2011 draft.  He has been Chattanooga's left-handed reliever out of the 'pen.  In 2014 he has gone 4-3 with a 2.75 ERA, with 3 saves and a strike out per nine innings ratio of 11.6.   Unfortunately, he tends to walk far too many batters.  He pitched for the Desert Dogs last year; pitching in 5 games.  Below are his career statistics, via Baseball Reference:

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Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Ladarius Green in San Diego

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.


Unfortunately, this is the only signing event I am aware of.  If you know of anything else please let me know.

San Diego tight end Ladarius Green will be signing autographs in San Diego for the Deluxe Signature Collection.  It will be held at the Fox Sports Grill.  It is $20.00 per autograph.    Go here for information
Fox Sports Grill
Deluxe Signature Collection
1 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92101

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Blog Kiosk: 8/27/2014 - Dodger Links - Offense Came Alive and Puig's Lack of Power

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 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:
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.
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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