Monday, August 19, 2019

Red Sox with No Cards: 2017

Here we go again.  The Red Sox in 2017 once again finished in first place in the AL East, in the final season under John Farrell.  Unfortunately, they ran into a buzzsaw in the first round of the postseason and were eliminated by the Astros in four games.  Players like Ben Taylor and Kyle Martin managed to find themselves on some cardboard, but a number of arguably more-deserving players were still left off.
I will never understand how some middle relievers get cards, but others do not.  This is why we need a real Topps Total release again.  Abad was in his first full season with the Red Sox, and his second overall.  This time around though, Abad pitched in 43.1 innings over 48 games (almost a third of the season).  He was impressive, with a 3.30 ERA and a 2-1 record.  He struck out 37 and walked just 14 in those innings.  He tended to give up a lot of hits, but was otherwise effective, particularly against left-handed batters.  He did not appear in the postseason.  Abad was a free agent after the season, but did not appear in the Majors again until this season with the Giants.  Abad does appear in a team-issued photo set.

Boyer was a well-traveled relief pitcher when he came to Boston as a free agent early in the 2017 season.  He had been a veteran with the Braves, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, Twins and Brewers.  He had been successful at times, but never really kept his success going from year to year.  He was 35 coming into the season, but still had something left.  Boyer appeared in 32 games, throwing 41.1 innings with a 1-1 record and a 4.35 ERA.  He struck out 33 and walked 14.  Boyer played for the Royals in 2018, but has not been seen since.  Boyer does appear in a minor league set.

Okay, this one I get.  d'Arnaud, the older brother of current Rays/former Mets slugger Travis d'Arnaud, is more of a utility infielder.  He made his debut in 2011 with the Pirates and has played with the Phillies and Braves, before joining Boston as a waiver wire pickup.  2016 was the only season in which he played in more than 50 games in the Majors, while he was with the Braves.  d'Arnaud spent most of his stint with Boston in the minors, but appeared in two games, one as a pinch defensive replacement at second and the other as a pinch runner  He picked up a hit in his only at bat as a Red Sox and scored two runs.  He was later placed on waivers and picked up by the Padres.  He played with the Giants in 2018.

Davis was an August trading deadline pickup for the Red Sox in order to add some speed to the lineup.  Davis had been a veteran of twelve years and had appeared with the Pirates, Giants, Athletics, Blue Jays, Tigers and Indians.  He had some clutch moments for the Indians in the 2016 postseason and led the league in stolen bases that season.  Davis appeared in 17 games for the Red Sox down the stretch and hit .250/.289/.306 with three stolen bases in 38 plate appearances.  He scored seven runs and drove in two runs.  Davis appeared in one game in the postseason, but did not have a plate appearance.  After the season, he returned to the Indians and has been with the Mets in 2019.

Elias was in his second season with the Red Sox, but appeared in just one game at the Major League level.  The acquisition of Elias and Carson Smith for Wade Miley did not work out as planned.  In 2018, Elias appeared in just one game, ending the game with one-third of an inning, walking one and striking out one.  He did not do much in the minors for the Red Sox organization either.  Early in 2018 he was traded back to the Mariners, and he impressed out of the bullpen.  He started the 2019 season with Seattle, but was then traded to the Nationals.  

Boston signed Kendrick as a low-cost starting pitcher primarily as organizational depth.  When the Red Sox had some injuries to the rotation, Kendrick was called up to start a couple of games.  He had previously been a consistent, if somewhat ordinary, starting pitcher for the Phillies for several seasons winning double digits six times.  He had a disastrous 2015 season with the Rockies and did not appear in the Majors in 2016.  Kendrick lost both of his starts with Boston and had a 12.96 ERA in 8.1 innings, giving up 18 hits, striking out three and walking three.  He has not been back in the Majors since.  Kendrick does appear in a minor league set.

This is the third time that Ramirez has appeared in one of these posts.  Ramirez had been a fourth round pick of the Red Sox in 2011 and has appeared in a number of minor league sets, but never made it into a Major League set with the Red Sox.  2017 was his final season in Boston before being waived in August.  The Angels picked him up and he has had some success in their bullpen since.  With Boston in 2017, Ramirez appeared in just two games, throwing 4.1 innings and notching four strikeouts.  He had a 3.86 ERA.  If it's any consolation, Ramirez has not appeared on a card with the Angels either, despite being a big part of their bullpen.

Boston's big trading deadline pickup was Reed, who had been having a very good season with the Mets as the team's closer.  Reed had notched 19 saves and a 2.57 ERA for the Mets and was in high demand.  He had previously been a pretty good closer for the White Sox, picking up 40 saves in 2013.  Boston though had Craig Kimbrel, who was having a great season at closer, so Reed was not expected to close for the Red Sox.  They gave up a number of pitching prospects, including Gerson Bautista to get Reed.  Reed did his job for the Red Sox, pitching in 29 games down the stretch and accumulating a 1-1 record and a 3.33 ERA over 27 innings.  He struck out 28 batters and walked nine.  He appeared in three games in the postseason against the Astros, but had an ugly 7.71 ERA.  After the season he joined the Twins as a free agent, but had a rough season and has been injured in 2019.

Due to injuries, Selsky was actually on the Red Sox Opening Day roster.  He had made his Major League debut with the Reds in 2016 and played in 24 games, hitting a couple of homers and batting .314.  He had impressed in Spring Training in 2017 and made the roster as a backup.  Selsky though played in just eight games with the Red Sox, and had just one hit in nine plate appearances.  That hit was a double, for a .111/.111/.222 line.  Boston released him and the Reds picked him back up.  He played all of 2018 in the minors and apparently is out of baseball.  Selsky does appear in a minor league set.

Of the players missing, I think Addison Reed probably qualifies as the most surprising given the fact that he was an important pickup for the team at the trading deadline.  Granted, he was not a closer, but he was highly sought-after.  It was a bad year to be a Red Sox reliever because both Blaine Boyer and Fernando Abad were important members of the bullpen as well.  Rajai Davis also arguably should have received a card.  I would probably pick Abad as the player I most wanted to see.  He pitched the most innings and had a legitimately good year as a lefty out of the pen.  He narrowly beats Reed.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Red Sox in Cooperstown Pt. 28: Hugh Duffy

HUGH DUFFY
Years in Boston: 1921-1922 (136-172)
Best Year in Boston: 1921 (75-79)
Like the last post in this series (Frank Chance), Hugh Duffy is far more known for his playing career than his managerial career and it is his managerial career that brought him to the Red Sox.  Duffy spent 17 seasons in the Majors and had his best seasons prior to the 20th century.  He nearly won the Triple Crown as an outfielder for the Boston Beaneaters (later, the Braves) in 1894 when he hit .440/.502/.694 with 18 home runs and 145 RBIs.  He was something of a slugger of the time period, hitting double digits in home runs three times.

Duffy was a player/manager for a few years late in his career, but was mostly out of Major League baseball after 1911.  The Red Sox hired him to be their manager in 1921 and he inherited a team that had lost a ton of talent to the New York Yankees.  The 1921 team still had Herb Pennock, Bullet Joe Bush and Everett Scott and had just acquired Del Pratt.  That team was not terrible, finishing four games under .500, which was an improvement from the prior season.  Hopes were high.

Unfortunately, the team jettisoned more talent going into 1922, shipping away Bush, Scott and Stuffy McInnis.  New acquisitions were Jack Quinn and George Burns.  Despite a few decent seasons from Burns, Pratt and Joe Harris, the pitching was in shambles and the team finished 61-93.  That was it for Duffy as manager.  Duffy though remained in the Boston organization, mostly as a scout until 1953.  He died in 1954.

Duffy's time with the Red Sox is largely irrelevant to his presence in Cooperstown.  He was not a successful manager and his career as a scout is mostly a footnote. 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Your 1981 Red Sox Pt. 16: Rick Miller

In this series, I will look at each player who played in 1981, the year I was born. Because, why not?
Rick Miller was a second round draft pick by the Red Sox in the 1969 draft, the same draft that produced Dwight Evans (fifth round).  He made his debut for the Red Sox  just two years later and spent the first seven seasons in Boston, mainly as a platoon outfielder and injury insurance.  He had a few decent seasons, but was never really all that good.  He did have some speed though, which was an element in short supply in Boston in the 1970's.  After the 1977 season, Miller signed with the California Angels, where he played the next three seasons.

In December of 1980, Miller was re-acquired by the Red Sox along with Mark Clear and Carney Lansford in the deal that sent Butch Hobson and fan favorite Rick Burleson to California.  The deal ended up working out well for Boston as Hobson was immediately a non-factor and Burleson's career was derailed by injuries.  Miller was the least impressive part of the return, but he was the team's regular center-fielder in 1981.  

Miller had one of his better seasons in 1981, hitting .291/.349/.377.  He had next to no power, hitting just two home runs and his speed had declined (three stolen bases and caught five times).  Unfortunately, Boston did not really have too many other options at center (Lynn had been traded) and his hitting and defense were decent enough.  The problem was that they kept putting him out there for a couple more years.

Miller stayed with Boston through the end of his career in 1985 despite diminishing returns each season.  He was a regular in 1982, despite a bad year, then was replaced in center by Tony Armas in 1983.  He was a utility outfielder the rest of his career.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Topps Now: May 22, 2019

Time to get going again.

On May 22, 2019, Michael Chavis won the game in the 13th inning against the Blue Jays in a wild game.  Boston led by a run in the bottom of the ninth inning, but couldn't get the job done (a frequent problem this year unfortunately).  The Blue Jays tied the game.  Boston took the lead in the 12th inning on a Mookie Betts home run, but again, the bullpen gave it back to Toronto.  Michael Chavis, who was on a tear in May homered in the 13th inning, and this time, Heath Hembree held onto the lead to give Boston the win.  Chavis has cooled significantly since May, but is still having a very good rookie campaign.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Total Red Sox

I have mixed feelings about the return of Topps Total.  The brand meant two things to collectors: 1. player selection and 2. inexpensive.  The return does accomplish the first part, but definitely not the second one.  There are several players in the new Topps Total that do not receive many cards, but packs cost $10.00 for ten cards and are only available online.  They are also being released in nine 100 card waves so you only get ten cards from each wave.

I am tracking down the Red Sox singles and recently picked up the Wave 2 cards.  Matt Barnes and Rick Porcello are not exceedingly rare, though they usually only show up in larger sets.  For Porcello, that's odd since he is a former Cy Young Award winner.  But then there is Heath Hembree, who is the primary reason I went for this lot.  I only had one card of Hembree before and it was a Prizm card, so the team logo was airbrushed out and it came after he was acquired, so it was unlikely that it was a Red Sox card in the first place.  So, of course I went for this. 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Beyond Frustrated

Over the last couple of weeks, I have picked up several blasters.  I have picked up two blasters of Leather and Lumber, two blasters of Stadium Club, a blaster of Prizm, and then a hanger pack of Topps Series 2.  The title of the post alludes to this:
Those are all of the new Red Sox cards I have added from all of those blasters.  Just four cards (there were two duplicates).  Also, you will note that all four are from Topps Series 2.  No Leather and Lumber.  No Stadium Club.  No Prizm.  I did not pull a single Red Sox card from any of those blasters.  Not one.  It is one of my worst cold streaks.  And I'm really annoyed by it.  I know a lot of people that would say just to stop buying packs, but I love the feeling of opening a pack and finding a Red Sox card that I needed.  And I am excited about those cards that I did pull, particularly the Ted Williams insert.  So I will keep opening packs.  The streak has to end somewhere.

Here are the team totals:
NEW YORK YANKEES: 12
NEW YORK METS: 11
LOS ANGELES ANGELS: 10
ATLANTA BRAVES: 9
CLEVELAND INDIANS: 9
LOS ANGELES DODGERS: 9
CHICAGO CUBS: 8
KANSAS CITY ROYALS: 8
MINNESOTA TWINS: 8
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: 8
CINCINNATI REDS: 7
DETROIT TIGERS: 7
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: 7
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: 7
BOSTON RED SOX: 6
HOUSTON ASTROS: 6
OAKLAND ATHLETICS: 6
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: 6
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: 5
SAN DIEGO PADRES: 5
TAMPA BAY RAYS: 5
WASHINGTON NATIONALS: 5
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: 4
MIAMI MARLINS: 4
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: 4
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: 4
SEATTLE MARINERS: 4
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 3
COLORADO ROCKIES: 2
TEXAS RANGERS: 1

At least I'm not a Rangers fan.  Yeesh. 

BOSTON RED SOX: 80
ATLANTA BRAVES: 74
LOS ANGELES ANGELS: 71
HOUSTON ASTROS: 69
NEW YORK YANKEES: 67
CLEVELAND INDIANS: 65
NEW YORK METS: 59
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: 58
CHICAGO CUBS: 55
WASHINGTON NATIONALS/MONTREAL EXPOS: 53
TAMPA BAY RAYS: 52
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: 52
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: 51
OAKLAND ATHLETICS: 50
DETROIT TIGERS: 48
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: 48
KANSAS CITY ROYALS: 47
MINNESOTA TWINS: 47
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: 46
LOS ANGELES DODGERS: 45
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: 44
SAN DIEGO PADRES: 42
SEATTLE MARINERS: 41
COLORADO ROCKIES: 40
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: 39
CINCINNATI REDS: 39
MIAMI MARLINS: 39
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 36
TEXAS RANGERS: 36
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: 31
OTHER: 2

Boston remains on top even though the lead has shrunk.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Topps Series 2 Hanger Pack

I was at the store and just grabbed a hanger pack.  It said it was guaranteed to have two of the Mookie Betts inserts, so I thought why not?

Here are the Red Sox:
In half the number of cards, I pulled two more Red Sox cards than the previous blasters.  That was pretty damn impressive.  On top of the base cards of Pearce, Benintendi, and Leon, I pulled two of the Mookie inserts, a Ted Williams Iconic card reprint, and the best card of the lot: a Mookie Betts insert that also had the 150 Years parallel stamp.  Not bad at all.

Here is the breakdown:
BOSTON RED SOX: 7
MINNESOTA TWINS: 5
NEW YORK YANKEES: 4
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: 4
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: 3
CHICAGO CUBS: 3
LOS ANGELES DODGERS: 3
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: 3
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: 3
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: 2
ATLANTA BRAVES: 2
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 2
CLEVELAND INDIANS: 2
HOUSTON ASTROS: 2
KANSAS CITY ROYALS: 2
MIAMI MARLINS: 2
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: 2
NEW YORK METS: 2
OAKLAND ATHLETICS: 2
TAMPA BAY RAYS: 2
WASHINGTON NATIONALS: 2
COLORADO ROCKIES: 1
DETROIT TIGERS: 1
LOS ANGELES ANGELS: 1
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: 1
SAN DIEGO PADRES: 1
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: 1
SEATTLE MARINERS: 1
TEXAS RANGERS: 1
CINCINNATI REDS: 0

Not shocking to see Boston way in the lead here. 

BOSTON RED SOX: 74
ATLANTA BRAVES: 65
HOUSTON ASTROS: 63
LOS ANGELES ANGELS: 61
CLEVELAND INDIANS: 56
NEW YORK YANKEES: 55
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: 52
NEW YORK METS: 48
WASHINGTON NATIONALS/MONTREAL EXPOS: 48
CHICAGO CUBS: 47
TAMPA BAY RAYS: 47
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: 45
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: 44
OAKLAND ATHLETICS: 44
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: 44
DETROIT TIGERS: 41
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: 40
KANSAS CITY ROYALS: 39
MINNESOTA TWINS: 39
COLORADO ROCKIES: 38
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: 38
SAN DIEGO PADRES: 37
SEATTLE MARINERS: 37
LOS ANGELES DODGERS: 36
MIAMI MARLINS: 35
TEXAS RANGERS: 35
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: 34
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 33
CINCINNATI REDS: 32
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: 27
OTHER: 2

And the Red Sox are now way ahead: nine cards ahead of the second-place team.  The Braves once held such a lead though, so anything could happen.