Well, if you're a fan of one of the 28 teams not in the World Series right now, you're probably looking forward to next season already. I mean, like the overwhelming majority of baseball fans, I'm pulling for the Royals to win it, but I still spend more time thinking about my Padres.
For me, no set is more geared to thinking about the future than the Heritage Minors set.
Sure, Bowman has a bunch of hot, up and coming prospects, but it seems like Heritage has a few more players that will be making an impact sooner rather than later.
So, let's take a look at the Padres team set from this year's Heritage Minors set, starting with the Yeison Asencio relic above. Pretty sure that deep blue jersey swatch isn't from a San Antonio Missions jersey, so that's… interesting.
Of the four minor league clubs that were included in the set, here are the two teams that only had one card. Matt Wisler tore up A and AA ball, but wasn't quite as hot when he joined the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas. Seemed to find a groove late in the season and seemed primed for a late season call up, but the call never came. Look to see him compete for a starting rotation gig in Spring training. This is the Chihuahuas first year of existence, and even though I'm not a big fan of the name (I thought that Aardvarks woulda been a cool name, as it was one of the finalists in the voting), this is a good looking card.
Hunter Renfroe is a hot Padres prospect that has a lot of raw power and looks to be a future fixture at a corner outfield position. Seems like he's doing pretty well in the Arizona Fall League right now. Go Storm! Lake Elsinore is a great place to catch a game if you get the chance.
Here are two players that I got to see this year when I went down to San Antonio. Austin Hedges is a pretty unanimous #1 prospect by everybody. He's a great defensive catcher, calls a good game, and has got a cannon for an arm and a quick release. The question continues to be his bat, and for that, I'm a little weary of getting too excited about having him be promoted. Yeison Asencio won a single A batting title a few years ago, back when he was playing under a false name. Not a highly ranked prospect, but has done well in both the games that I saw him play in.
Cory Spangenberg is probably my favorite of the Padres prospects. He was a big surprise to get a September call up, even though he never played any AAA ball. He did pretty well, coming up with some clutch hits and seems like he might not be quite the light hitter he was billed as. I'm excited to see how he progresses from now til next season. My first year at spring training, my brother Ammon and I both got him to sign a ball for us, so that was kinda cool as well.
Oh, and I'm a sucker for San Antonio Missions cards because I love those jerseys. I like how they incorporated the Alamo into the design. If you haven't been there, it comes highly recommended if you are ever in the San Antonio area. And I don't think I'm normally one to get excited about visiting historical sites. Very cool place.
Here's a trio of Tincaps. A little less to get excited about here, in my opinion. Walker Weickel was a high draft pick a few years ago who has put up some brutal numbers in the minors thus far. I guess he's only 20, so there's plenty of time for him to figure it out, but a ERA of 5.94 last year (5.44 career) doesn't seem promising. Gotta love a cool catcher card of Dan Phillips, but seems like he'd be blocked by Hedges as far as playing for the Padres is concerned. Max Fried is supposed to be the real deal, but has had Tommy John surgery, and based on the Padres luck, I'd be surprised to see him come back any time soon.
Oh, and the eBay seller who I got this from included this Phillips are of him sans logo. Pretty generous, though these cards look horrendous.
Well, there you have it, all of the Padres include in the Heritage set this year. I think there are a few autos/relics/shortprints, but here are the base cards. I keep telling myself that sometime I'll get a hobby box of Heritage Minors and do a break, but… well, this wasn't the year, I guess. Easy enough to pick on eBay anyways.
Any other Heritage Minors fans out there?
EDIT: I wrote this late at night and left out a few things that I had meant to include.
1) The Tincaps have the best uniforms in the Padres organization, but only because the Eugene Emeralds are now with the Cubs. Love seeing their cards.
2) I wish that Trea Turner had been added to the checklist, but he was a draft pick this year, and I guess they didn't include those.
3) Walker Weickel's mustache is awesome.