As with the other posts in this series, I’m simulating the checklist from the 1964 Topps Giant-Sized All-Stars set (commonly known as “1964 Giants”) by selecting three representative players from each team.
FYI, I’ve got some comments about the future of this series down at the end.
Spoiler alert: Both teams are going to feature a finalist for the NL Cy Young Award.
Full disclosure: I semi-collect Aaron Nola because I saw him pitch in the minors a few years ago (and he was pretty impressive in the game I saw).
…Not that I need a disclaimer on including Nola. 17-6, 2.37 with 224 K’s and a 0.975 WHIP. Nola was an All-Star and was one of the top NL pitchers this season. Last year he went 12-11 for a team which lost 96 games.
Jake Arrieta is probably the most debatable of the three I’d selected; he’s clearly not the dominant pitcher who won the Cy Young in 2015, but he is one of the bigger names on the Phillies.
I’ll admit, now that in going back to retroactively justify his inclusion, I’m having a hard time doing it statistically. I’ll just say “He’s a big name on a young team” and leave it at that. I feel confident that any major card company would include either Arrieta or Carlos Santana in a team set just because of the name recognition.
Wrapping up with Rhys Hoskins; he lead the team in homers (34), RBI (96), doubles(38) and slugging (.496), plus he was second in runs scored (89).
Others considered: Seranthony Dominguez, Cesar Hernandez, Odubel Herrera, Pat Neshek, Nick Pivetta, Carlos Santana
I almost didn’t do a Mets team set, because early in the revival of this series I decided that I would not feature any teams which were sellers at the trade deadline… But I *am* a Mets fan, and I decided that Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Bautista or Jeurys Familia were not going to make the final cut (although arguments could be made for Cabrera and Familia).
Like with Nola, you can’t have a discussion of who gets included without a no-brainer lobbed in the direction of Jacob deGrom. Ignore the 10-9 record he ended up with, the team’s bats and bullpen often failed him.
Focus instead on the league-leading 1.70 ERA, the 0.912 WHIP and the 269 strikeouts.
As any Mets fan can tell you (or at least point you in the general direction of), there were 22 games where deGrom pitched at least 5 innings while giving up no more than 1 run, and *eight* of those games ended in a no-decision, while two ended as losses. Turn half of those into wins and you’re looking at a 15-8 record to go with the other gaudy stats. (This message paid for by deGrom for Cy Young)
Noah Syndergaard pitched a shutout which, as a sad indicator of where the game is right now, tied for the league lead. He also went 13-4 (leading the team in wins and W/L %) with a 3.03 ERA, 155 K’s and a 1.212 WHIP.
The Mets aren’t all about starting pitching… MOSTLY, yes, but not entirely. There was a tight race for the position player represented here, and while a case could be made for Brandon Nimmo, I went instead with Michael Conforto who lead the team in runs, homers and RBI this year, plus lead the team in On-Base % and Slugging last year… as well as being a 2017 All-Star.
Others considered: Asdrubal Cabrera (who was traded to the Phillies), Todd Frazier, Brandon Nimmo (lead the team in doubles, triples and on-base %), Amed Rosario, Zack Wheeler (who emerged as a solid pitcher this year)
Big names which weren’t really considered: Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright
With these two teams I’ve finished half of the checklist. My plans are, for each of the remaining 15 teams, to list the three players I selected plus one custom “Giants” card.
I’ve gotten enough positive feedback in the past couple of weeks that It’s made me open to considering any requests.
If you would like to see customs for all three players selected for any of the remaining teams (Angels, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Giants, Mariners, Marlins, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Reds, Royals, Tigers), go ahead and make a request by leaving a comment or tweeting me (@Shlabotnik_Rpt).
If you’d like to see any particular players and ask me nicely (as reader Adam Kaningher did when he asked for Kyle Freeland as an “Update card”), I will see what I can do.
For either type of request, how many I do will depend greatly on how much free time i have, as well as whether I can find any suitable images to use on these cards.
Thanks for reading!