Following up on yesterday's post, Jafronius got into the contest thanks to correctly guessing that Travis Taijeron would be the next guy from my high school to make the majors, and then he was randomized as the winner thanks to the Mets and Nats combining for 13 runs in Taijeron's debut. Big Trav went 0-4, but at least he put the ball in play each time up. He was out of the lineup for today's game and struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance. Better luck next time, Travis!
Anyways, congrats, Jafronius. Please email me your address and an idea of what you collect and I'll do my best to get a nice prize package your way shortly.
So in yesterday's post I showed off a 2017 minor league Taijeron card I just picked up, and now here's the rest of that order. Go Sports Cards is pretty much the go-to seller for modern minor league cards. You can usually save a few bucks if you order direct from their website instead of eBay. I like to place an order or two per year with them for some of my obscure PC guys.
The highlight of the order for me was the Scott Shoemaker autograph(s). They had 2 in stock and were just a buck each, so I went ahead and grabbed 'em both. Scott, another guy from my high school, rose through the Red Sox system last decade, later spending time in the Rangers and Mariners organizations, but topped out at AAA. He was one of the few modern "Guys From Granite" I didn't have an autograph from, so I was very happy to find these on the site.
John Barnes is another Guy From Granite, one of the 8 to have made the majors, which he did in 00-01 as an outfielder with the Twins. I think this is my first card of his from after he reinvented himself as a knuckleball pitcher. He made it back all the way to AAA, but never pitched in the Bigs. I already had an autograph from him, but I like this one. They come with a tamper-proof "hologram" (not really a hologram, just a silver sticker) sealing the top-loader and a business card COA. So not exactly a "certified auto" but probably as close as I'll ever find for these guys who never had pack-inserted autos.
I didn't notice it at the time I ordered them, but these cards are both from the 2006 Wilmington Blue Rocks, likely all signed the same day. Kind of a crazy coincidence for 2 guys from the same high school to be playing on the same minor league team. If my math is right, John Barnes graduated a year or two before Scott Shoemaker entered high school, so the two narrowly missed being on the same squad at Granite.
If I had to put money on who will end up the 9th Guy From Granite to make The Show, well, Andrew Brown would be a good sleeper pick. He's pitched well low in the Phillies' chain so far, and if he keeps it up he could find himself in Philadelphia in 2 or 3 years. Still just 19. This is my first real card of his. I also made a custom which I've been trying to get signed via TTM, but haven't had much luck yet.
This might be the first time in my life that I've bought 5 cards of a hitting coach at once. LOL. Shane Spencer is the only Guy From Granite to have won a World Series, thanks to getting in on the Yankees dynasty of the turn of the century. I've got several cards from his playing days, but was happy to add some more recent cards from his coaching career. I believe he's currently managing the Hwaseong Heroes in the KBO League.
As far as collecting minor league guys, they pretty much fall into 2 categories: guys who went to my high school and guys named Gavin (...and occasionally Padres top prospects).
Here's my first standard-sized card of Grant Gavin. (I also have an autographed oversized card that I showed off earlier this year). He's been outstanding in A ball with the Royals. Even though he might not be a "true" Gavin, I'm rooting for him and was glad to score a real card of his.
And finally, a couple 2017 cards of Gavin LaValley. He had a nice first half with the A+ Daytona Tortungas.
That's him getting a Gatorade shower after becoming Florida State League All-Star Game MVP thanks to a couple dingers. He's struggled a bit since getting promoted to AA Pensacola (.240, 3 HR in 59 games), but hopefully he finishes strong and can make it up to AAA next season.
So there's my latest order of minor league cards. Thanks for stopping by and hope you have a great week. And all the best to those of you in Texas dealing with the crazy flooding going on there.