A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Friday, August 31, 2012

Prospects

With the start of the new school year, I'm pretty pleased that I've been able to post three times this week.  Seems like a pretty good pace, not too much, not too little.  Nothing spectacular, but that would be unexpected anyways, right?

Anyways, I'm packing up this weekend and moving my family across town on Saturday, so I'll probably be quiet for a few days.  This will be a good change for us, because the rent will be more than $200 less and the house is still big enough (three bedrooms and a big backyard for a soon-to-be family of four).  I think we're closing in on a dozen different addresses in the six years we've been married.  Someday we'll stay in a place for more than a year, but not this year.  Fortunately, it's a relatively minor move, less than three miles, which is nicer than the initial 1,300 mile move that brought us to Texas.

Enough moving talk, onto cardboard.  As I've been going through my boxes of Padre cards, deciding what goes into binders and what gets put into boxes for my students, it's intriguing to see all the highly touted "prospects" that come up.

I mean, look at this card!  It might be lame to have to share space on a card, but these aren't just any prospects; these are future stars!

The question I have is this:  How many players who get the "future star" or "hot prospect" treatment from card companies actually make it big?

I have a handful of decent rookie cards from non-Padres in my collection that seem to be pretty popular among collectors...

Both pulled from packs as a kid, by the way.  I do like these cards, but wouldn't/don't go out of my way to collect either player, they just happened to be rookies during my prime card collecting years.

But for every Jeter and Jones, there's also...

You'd think with four guys on one card, they'd maximize the possibilities of finding a player with a decent big league career.

The closest thing I was able to find in terms of Padres prospects who were successful (at least moderately) were these three...

Hamilton was never considered an "ace", but was 55-44 in five years with the Padres, and was their opening day starter from '96 to '98, and Benes was a stud for the Padres and a mainstay in the rotation.  

Johnson played 186 games in three seasons for the Friars, notching a .260 average with 14 homers before joining the Giants and becoming dead to me.  Sanders lasted with the Pads for five seasons (from '93-'96, then again in '98), and had his best year in '96, when the Padres won their first division title in 12 years.  He went 9-5 with a 3.38 ERA and logged 144 innings with 157 K's.

I guess the main reason that I was thinking about prospects ("oh, after rambling on and on about nothing you're finally getting to the point?") is because of the blockbuster Dodgers/Red Sox trade that went down last weekend.  The Sox didn't get a whole lot back (sorry Loney) as far as established players go, but one of the chips they got was a guy named Allen Webster.  How do I know the name of a rival's big pitching prospect?  He happened to be the first autograph that I ever pulled, which I flipped for some better, Padre related cards.

Anyways, I was thinking of how much stoked Dodgerbobble must've been to get that card, and now he's not even a Dodger.

Since getting back into the hobby, I've been more aware than ever about the Padres minor league prospects, mostly due to Bowman sets.  The cards are cool enough to make me think that those prospects are untouchable, but there is a very real chance that they are never any good or that they don't stay with the Padres.

Now that Casey Kelly is with the big club, the big Padres prospects who are still below AAA are Liriano and Spangenberg.  Lots to like about both of them, from what I hear.

Speaking of Casey, congrats on winning his first start in the majors, over the Atlanta Braves, no less!  Six innings of shut-out, three hit ball.  Not too shabby.

It seems like there's better scouting nowadays that keeps too many rookies from coming out of the minors "out of nowhere", so maybe there's not as many of these "Prospect Cards" that don't go anywhere.  I still like looking at those vintage "Future Stars" cards and wondering how awesome it would be to be in the majors, even if it was just for a moment...

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