Due to… *ahem*… production issues, Series Three is nearly a month late, but it has finally been released. I’ll have some updates on the later series down at the bottom of this post.
The Series Two wrapper promised us rub-off tattoos, what type of insert do we learn about from the Series Three wrapper?
OK, well, clearly Series Three is a work in progress… in addition to being weeks late. Management is going to have to take a look into this.
We’ll start right off with some of the “stuff” for Series Three, inserts which feature players from the 2015 Futures Game. I always feel like the Futures Game should get more attention than it does, given the number of current MLB players who were part of this showcase. The Futures Game is played to little attention on the Sunday before the All-Star game, but you only have to go back two years to find names like Kolten Wong, Delino DeShields, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Billy Hamilton and (sadly) Oscar Taveras.
The Futures Game should be represented on cardboard, and now it is, sort of. Our first card is of a guy who didn’t take anything close to two years to make it from the Futures Game to the majors…
Michael Conforto, the Mets’ top draft pick last year, got called up to The Show a couple of weeks ago, much to the delight of Mets fans desperate for offense. Of course, now he’s already been overshadowed by the Mets’ rental of Yoenis Cespedes, which is probably just as well for Conforto.
I wrote about Conforto just over a year ago because his mother, Tracie Ruiz-Conforto was an Olympic Gold Medal winner and was featured on a card when Michael was just three years old. FWIW, I still don’t have her card.
Moving on… The Yankees picked up Nathan Eovaldi over the winter in a trade involving Martin Prado. It was the kind of deal that gets a quick “Hm, interesting” and then you move on with your day.
One morning early this week I was reading the recaps of baseball games, and I saw that Eovaldi won a game and brought his record to 10-2. I nearly spit out my morning caffeine, “TEN and TWO?!? When the [bleep] did that happen?” I’ve heard relatively little about Eovaldi this year, and was shocked that it was even possible for a Yankee to fly under the radar… but there it is. From looking at his record, he hasn’t been dominant, but he’s been consistently good. I picked him up for my last-place fantasy team, which could use a dose of “consistently good”. Eovaldi rewarded me with a solid but unspectacular win against the White Sox last night, so now he’s 11-2. Zoinks.
To make room for Eovaldi on my fantasy team I ditched Taijuan Walker, who’s had a shaky July.
Check out the awesome striped socks!
So this morning I’m reading the paper and see that Walker, fresh off being dumped off my roster, pitched his first career complete game and tied his career high with 11 K’s. After the obligatory “D’OH!!”, I grabbed my laptop, found that Walker was still out there on waivers, and I picked him up again (this time ditching a position player).
Taijuan Walker is another Futures Game alumni.
With the non-waiver trading deadline passing yesterday, there will be some scrambling in Shlabotnik World Headquarters to show some notable names in new uniforms. One of the players who will undoubtedly be appearing before very long is Cole Hamels… I saw something somewhere about some sort of accomplishment during his last game with the Phillies.
I hope that the newly-acquired players can help the Phillies maintain the winning that’s gone on since the All-Star break, and they can make the Marlins the deserving possessors of the title “Worst team in baseball”.
Jose Reyes used to be my favorite Met. While I was disappointed that he signed with the Marlins several years ago, I understood the Mets’ reluctance to give him big money, given Jose’s history of being injured. I also understood Jose’s signing the big contract with the Fish, although I’m sure it has worked out nothing like he expected. Jose is on the move again, this time to Colorado.
I think this might be the first Rockies card I’ve posted, and there’s no better way to debut their cards than with Jose Reyes’ smiling face.
This past week, Nick Markakis returned to Baltimore for the first time since signing with the Braves as a free agent. Like Jose Reyes, I was sad to see Nick go, but didn’t blame him. Unlike the Mets with Reyes, I do think the Orioles should’ve made much more of an effort to re-sign him.
Clearly I’m not the only one, because Nick got a standing ovation with each game in Baltimore.
Another insert in Series Three are Draft Picks… I previewed these a couple of weeks ago, but here’s an actual card (as actual as they get, anyway).
D.J. Stewart was the 2014 ACC Player Of The Year with Florida State, lead the nation in on-base percentage this year, and was assigned to the short-season Aberdeen Ironbirds as soon as he signed. He’s the first outfielder drafted by the Orioles in the first round since… guess who? Nick Markakis. That wasn’t something I realized when I included both in the same post, but it’s a happy little accident.
Scott Kazmir is another ex-Met on the move, going from the A’s to the Astros.
I had thought that Mets fans may have finally let go of the trade where a young, unproven Kazmir was traded to the Rays for Victor Zambrano, who was a washout in Queens. I was proven wrong when I saw comments during the trade deadline along the lines of “If the Mets trade Zack Wheeler, it’ll be Kazmir all over again!” Mets fans are nothing if not pessimistic… and stubborn. Let it go, people. Kazmir has been good, but he’s also been less-than-good, he’s been injured, and is decidedly not the second coming of Tom Seaver.
As mentioned at the top, the delays in Series Three have disrupted the schedule and our production team is currently assessing our options.
Series Four was originally scheduled to be released in mid-August, that will get pushed back a couple of weeks. A decision has yet to be made on whether there’ll be a fifth series in October. A lot depends on whether it will interfere with production of the offseason “Hot Stove” set.
Still remaining to be decided about a potential Series Five: Whether it will be sold in virtual packs or as a virtual box set; whether it will be a “Virtual Hobby Store Only” release; whether the card numbering will carry over from Series Four; whether it will be called “Series Five”, “Update” or something else entirely.
We’ll make an announcement about the 2015/16 TSR Hot Stove set sometime in September… probably. There are some changes planned, but the base set will continue to be made up of “2-D Super Stars” cards…
…And I suspect that Yoenis Cespedes will get a Hot Stove card for a second year running…