Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Prospecting Catchers Because Their Gear Is Cool

Some of my impulse bargain buys on eBay tend to be of the prospecting type. But my prospecting is a little biased in the direction of catchers. Why? Because who doesn't like a catcher in gear? I find the gear and the careers of catchers--the hardest working dudes on the diamond--most interesting to watch. So where have those careers gone since I snagged random prospect cards?

This is certainly a beautiful card, and we have a catcher in full gear. Not much to dislike. But what's Kyle Skipworth up to these days? He was drafted in the first round by the Marlins in 2008. Since then, he's been batting below .250 with some power, 16 homers so far this year in the Marlins AA club. He's still an everyday catcher and has a 35% caught stealing rate. At 22, he probably has a decent chance at the majors. It looks like the Marlins could use a power-hitting catcher.

A much less interesting card here, of the blah Bowman USA scrap-o-jersey variety. But the price was right, and Chris Chinea is a catcher. So what's Chris been up to since 2010? He's as of yet undrafted, but it looks like he might be a pick in the upcoming draft, as one a top catching prospect, according to random Googling which hardly seems reliable. That makes this card a little more exciting, as it will be interesting to see if Chris' name pops up in the draft this year.

More scrap-o-jersey blah from Bowman, but this time it's Sterling, and we get a little catcher's gear. So what are you doing Blake Swihart? Another first round draft pick, this time for the Red Sox, in 2011. According to Baseball-reference.com, Blake's rated the #72 top prospect in 2012. He's currently playing A-ball and batting .255 with 6 home runs in 286 ABs. Nothing amazing, but not too shabby. At 20, I'm thinking it'll be a few years before we see what Blake can really do. The Sox gave him a 2.5 million dollar signing bonus, which is a hell of a wad to give to a high school kid, so I suppose they see a lot in him.

Yet more Bowman Sterling USA GU here. Ficociello is not a catcher, but he's worth including in this post since I snagged the card off eBay cheap, and it turns out he was drafted by the Tigers in 2010. Not sure if he actually signed with the Tigers since he was selected in the 23rd round, but he's worth watching since he may or may not be playing with my team.

Now this is a bit cooler of a card than the Bowman USA GUs. It's a great action shot, and the gear is in full effect. Even without an MLB license, Tristar puts together a really smooth looking card here. I love the black and white fade, too. Josh was a first-round pick of the White Sox in 2009, and he got bumped up to AAA last year, where he's stayed, and is batting .257 in 2012. He has a solid caught stealing rate of 45%, which should get him a call up soon, I'm thinking. But Pierzynski is still going strong.

Prospecting can be an absurd pastime, but I find I enjoy it much more when I buy at a bargain and keep my purchases centered on Tigers and catchers. Do you play the cardboard prospecting game, too? Do you go for the hot talk-of-the-town fellas or fumble around for bargains or stuff you dig?

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