Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Another Grant Holmes Prospect Card for the Collection

I've never been much of a prospect collector.  It's too much like gambling and the risk/reward ratio for young stud coming through a Baseball systems just seems far too risky to spend a great amount of dollars on.  On the other hand, when we're talking about a top Dodger prospect I can be convinced to take a dive in.  (Besides, having missed out on inexpensive Corey Seager cards make me a bit ill.)

Case in point, check out this AFLAC High School All-American and Under Armour All-American Game Autograph card of Grant Holmes that was seeded into packs of 2014 Bowman Chrome Baseball in October.  It is Holmes first official card from a licensed product and his first card featuring his autograph. It is numbered to 225 signed copies.  BTW, an unsigned version of the card exist on the marketplace, and they were given away during a prep showcase ballgame at Wrigley Field in Chicago on August 24, 2013.  I do not know what the print run is for that card.

This is my second Holmes autograph card in my collection.  In November I added my first card - a 2014 Leaf Metal Draft card.  Check it out here.  As I wrote back then:
Just a couple of weeks after signing his first professional contract in mid-June, Holmes went to work on the mound in the Arizona League for the first time.  He pitched two scoreless innings against Seattle's club; striking out an impressive five batters in two innings of work.  Holmes eventually got into seven rookie level games for the Arizona Dodgers before advancing to the clubs Pioneer League team in Ogden.

Overall, he did well in Arizona. Holmes pitched 30 innings and struck a total of 33 batters.  Furthermore, batters were hitting just .187 against him, so he clearly had a good start.  Grant Holmes has a reputation for having a big mid to high 90's fastball, and early indications are that he was able to use the pitch to overwhelm batters. 

His short Pioneer League stint was not as rosy.  He got into only four games, but got hit hard on a couple of occasions.  Holmes pitched just 18.1 innings; giving up 10 earned runs and 19 hits over that span.  On the bright side, he continued to strike out batters at a healthy clip.  In those 18.1 innings he struck out 25 batters.
MLB Pipeline ranks him as the 4th best prospect in the Dodger system, and the 100th overall in Baseball. 

If you are curious, I paid just $11.00 (shipped) for this card.  I don't think that was too shabby of a deal.

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Brett Anderson Signing Official - Dodgers Designate Arruebarrena

The man Clayton Kershaw said had "probably the best stuff in Baseball" has officially been added to the Dodgers.  Brett Anderson, who you'll recall was said to have signed in mid December, will wear Blue in 2015.  It is a one-year contract and is expected to be for $10Mil plus $4Mil in incentives (via Buster Olney).

Per a Dodger press release:
Anderson, 26, has gone 27-32 with three saves and a 3.73 ERA in 92 games (81 starts) in six big league seasons with Oakland (2009-13) and Colorado (2014). During the course of his career, Anderson has posted a 1.29 WHIP and a 2.90 strikeout-to-walk ratio, striking out 386 and walking only 133. He has 56.2 career ground-ball percentage and allowed an average of only 0.75 home runs per 9.0 innings, giving up only 41 home runs in 494.0 career innings.

As a member of the Colorado Rockies last year, Anderson was limited to just eight starts by a broken left index finger and lower back surgery, going 1-3 with a 2.91 ERA. He allowed just one home run in 43.1 innings and permitted three or fewer earned runs in seven of his eight starts, including five quality starts.

Anderson was originally selected by Arizona in the second round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.
Go here to check out my previous "Welcome" post for Brett Anderson.  As you will note, he has all the potential in the world.  He just has to stay healthy.  Per Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider:
“Over the past three seasons, no starting pitcher logging at least 100 innings has generated a higher ground ball rate than Anderson (61.4%),” wrote David Golebiewski at Gammons Daily. “His expected fielding independent ERA (a measure of pitcher skill based on strikeouts, walks, and homers per fly ball allowed) over that time frame is 3.30, far below the 3.91 overall average for starters.”

The bet here, essentially, is to get as many great starts as you can from the No. 5 spot in the Dodger rotation (behind Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy), then fill in as needed behind them.
To make room for Anderson on the Dodgers 40-man roster, Cuban infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena has been designated for assignment... Wha?

I think it's fair to say that the new Dodgers regime does not see him in their future plans.  Overall, Arruebarrena has certainly proved he can get it done with the glove, but his bat is another story.  Last year he hit .259/.304/.417 in the minors, and hit .195/.244/.220 in 45 plate appearances with the Dodgers.  Paired with his involvement in a nasty brawl in AAA Albuquerque last season, you have to figure they believe he isn't worth the trouble.  As I had intimated in July when the Dodgers signed Darwin Barney, it's possible that the Dodgers no longer felt he would fit in the Dodger clubhouse.  Certainly his actions during that brawl denote some possible character issues.  The problem financially, though, is that they had just signed him to a 4-year $16Mil 5-year $25Mil contract, so they'll be on the hook for three four more season.

UPDATE:  BTW, it'll be interesting to see if the Dodgers release him, ala Brian Wilson, or retain him in the minors should they not find a trade partner.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 12/31/2014 - Dodger Links - Kuroda, Kershaw and Garvey

An obviously befuddled Jake Pitler, a Brooklyn Dodger coach, looks on as skipper Walter Alston takes a pick axe to a Dodgertown mound during Spring Training.  The photo was taken by legendary team photographer Barney Stein in 1955.  Check out the eBay auction where I found the photo here.

Below are some links to check out:
  • RIP, Hank Presswood.  Via Nick Diunte at, "Hank Presswood, Negro League player with Cleveland and Kansas City, dies at 93."
“Willie Grace went to the Buckeyes and he was the one who told them about me,” Presswood said to me during a 2010 phone interview. “He was from Laurel, Mississippi. One day I was working and who was at my job, Grace and the foreman! He asked me about going, and I wanted to go you know. … I said, ‘What in the world are you doing here, I thought you were with the Buckeyes?’ He said, ‘I am with the Buckeyes, but I told them about you. I came after you.’ I was really surprised. I accepted and went on up there.”
Even though Kershaw’s no-no has been ranked as the most dominate no-hitter in modern baseball history by ‘Game Score‘ and was but a Hanley Ramirez throwing error away from becoming baseball’s 24th prefect game, it was not the only near perfect game to be tossed by a Dodger at The Ravine.
  • Via Eno Sarris at FanGraphs, "The Best Pitches of 2014 (By Whiffs)."  Clayton Kershaw is mentioned as having the best slider of all starting pitchers... Of Course!
  • If you don't already know, there will be a hockey game between the Washington Capitals and the Chicago Blackhawks on News Years Day at Nationals Park in DC, and Mike Bertha at Cut4 has some video of them transforming the field into a hockey rink.  There's also a video of the NHL ice crew playing some ball on ice.  Go here to check that out.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *