Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Trying Something Different: Orioles 1035-1040

Clearly this is a site that's on it's last legs. It was never my intent to neglect my beloved Orioles autographs so completely, yet here we are. And things are exacerbated heavily by the fact that the Orioles have had 52(!) players appear in a game for them so far(!) this year. I do not have the time nor energy to write that many posts about the Orioles during this season in which they currently havea 38-90(!) record.

There have been seven Oriole debuts so far in August, and only one of those players (Cedric Mullins) was even in the farm system more than a month ago. I legitimately had only heard of one of the other six players (Jonathan Villar) before they made their way to the Orioles, but I guess that is just part of a rebuild. Young, relatively no-name players abound. None of whom I currently have autographs of, and thus I continue to fall further behind the Orioles autograph eight ball.

As far as I can tell, I currently have autographs of 1065 of the 1071 players to suit up for the O's, and the six I need have all come to the system as parts of the assorted trades made around the deadline. Hopefully, I can add their autographs to my collection before they all disappear into the ether at the end of the season.

Before I can move forward, I'm taking a step back in an attempt to catch up to the current debuts. The players in this post all debuted between June and August of 2017. I don't have a ton to say about most of these guys, so this should move relatively quickly.

 Oriole # 1035- Ruben Tejada, debut 6/7/17

Ruben Tejada was purchased from the Yankees in early June as the Orioles needed help in the middle of the infield. He became their regular shortstop for about a month and a half before being replaced by Tim Beckham, who we will talk about soon enough. 

My biggest memory of Ruben is that fact that he refused to sign for me at multiple games, including a time or two where I had him one on one. Luckily, I ran into him during 2018 Spring Training at the minor league complex where players are forced to walk right past the fans. He was relatively accommodating at that point and I was happy to get this to slide into the collection. 

Oriole #1036- Edwin Jackson, debut 6/7/17

Edwin Jackson will likely end his career having played for the largest number of MLB teams of anyone in history. He is currently having a successful season with the Oakland A's, who are the 13th team he has played for, which tied him with former pitcher Octavio Dotel for the all-time record. Edwin is still only 34, so I don't see any way that he doesn't pitch for at least one more MLB franchise, even if it's as a stunt near the end of a non-competitive season. 

Anyway, there's not much to say about the three relief appearances that Edwin made for the 2017 Orioles. They covered a grand total of five innings over the course of four days, and that was that. I'm hoping to one day replace this autograph with an Old Man Card, but this is what I have for now. 

Oriole #1037- Jimmy Yacabonis, debut 6/11/17

Jimmy "the 26th man" Yacabonis, seems to be the guy the Orioles call up as the extra man for every double-header this year. He is a former reliever being converted into a starter and typically pitches a few innings as a fill-in starter for one of the games of the DH. He made his MLB debut with the O's last year and appeared in 14 games as a reliever. As far as I can tell, the Orioles see him as a fringe type MLB swing-man who could still settle into a more defined role in the future. 

 Oriole #1038- David Washington, debut 6/14/17

David Washington is definitely one of those guys that very few people will ever remember having played for the Orioles. The career minor leaguer signed with the Orioles before the 2017 season and eventually appeared in three games for the O's in mid-June. He went 0-6 with five strikeouts before getting sent back to Norfolk. Honestly, I will remember him most for running into him the BWI airport after he was sent down and he was genuinely surprised to be recognized. Seemed like a nice guy though, for what it's worth. 

Oriole #1039- Johnny Giavotella, debut 7/6/17

Johnny Giavotella might have been in the running for most forgotten 2017 Oriole if not for the aforementioned David Washington. Also, Johnny had a bit more of a name for himself as he had played parts of six MLB seasons with the Royals and Angels before his brief stint in Baltimore. 

Johnny spent most of the month of July with the Orioles, but mostly played as a late inning pinch hitter or defensive replacement. All told, he had one hit in ten at-bats over seven games. Nothing to see here. 

Oriole #1040- Tim Beckham, debut 8/2/17

Finally, a player that I have a little bit more to write about; Tim Beckham. The Orioles traded for him from the Rays at the July 31 trade deadline in exchange for a minor league pitcher. Ah, the halcyon days of the Orioles being competitive. Doesn't it feel like so much more than a year ago at this point?

Tim was on fire over his first month in Baltimore, he had 15 multi-hit games in August, while only going hitless twice. He raised his season batting average forty points and the former first-round draft pick seemed to reignite his once promising career.

Unfortunately, he hit nearly as many home runs for the Orioles last August (6) as he has over the 2018 season (9). He missed almost two months of the season in May and June due to injuries, but in addition to some offensive short-comings this year, his defense has been rather suspect. I'm seriously wondering if the Orioles will bring him back next year or try to find a cheaper more reliable middle-infielder at this point.

He has been pretty rough on the autograph front as well, and I thankfully got this card signed at last year's Oriole Fanfest.

So, I finally got around to another post. It's tough to talk about some of these guys without the disappointing creep of the 2018 season sliding into my writing, but I will continue to work my way through the 2017 and 2018 debuts, even if it's just to remember some very random guys who played for the team.

Thanks as always to my Old Man for his great custom cards that allow me to add Orioles autographs to my collection, even from players who are a blip on the radar in the history of the franchise!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Oriole #1058- Yefry Ramirez

Since I'm about 25 Oriole debuts behind schedule, with potentially two more occurring over this weekend, I've decided to skip ahead a bit. It's much easier to write about more recent debuts than to recall those that happened a year ago. Ideally, I will circle back around to catch up on all of them, but I make no guarantees.

Up today is Oriole #1058, Yefry (pronounced Jeffrery) Ramirez, who made his O's and MLB debut on June 13th against the Red Sox. He was given the tall order to face one of baseball's best hitting lineups and was matched up against Chris Sale, one of the best pitchers in the game, but he was able to keep his head above water. He pitched a respectable 4.1 innings, gave up 3 earned runs, and struck out 6. With the way the 2018 Orioles season is going, he presented himself quite well.

Yefry was sent back to AAA Norfolk after the spot start, but was recalled again prior to yesterday's game against the Mariners. This time he entered the game as a long reliever, and pitched 5 shutout innings. It was an impressive effort, and he seems to be working his way into the future plans of the O's.

The Orioles brought Yefry into their system last summer when they purchased him from the Yankees. He had a 15-3 record at the AA level last year, split between the Trenton Thunder and Bowie Baysox, and seems to have a knack for winning, even if his "stuff" doesn't seem to blow anyone away. It seems like he has an MLB future as a long reliever or back of the rotation starter.

Yefry was kind enough to sign these cards for me at Spring Training this year and one of these Old Man Cards will slide right into my collection. One of my favorite benefits of getting autographs in Sarasota is how it prepares me and my collection for these types of debuts. Semi-unexpected, and I never know which one of the dozens of fringy players will make their way to Baltimore at some point. Thanks as always to my dad for helping me be prepared to get Yefry's auto with his great OMCs. We make a good team! Now if only that could rub off on the Orioles.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Oriole #1024- Trey Mancini

While playing catch-up organizationally and blog-wise, it's amazing to me just how quickly my collection got out of hand. I've done my best to periodically organize and scan cards over the past year, but yet, I'm playing a game of what do I have and where is anything. The scans of my Trey Mancini autographs are a nice microcosm of my issues. I scanned all of the cards in this post around the times that I actually got the autographs, but then never labeled them. So I got to blindly click around my scanned cards for a five year period to track these down. But that's enough about me.

I'm not entirely sure how or why it happened, but I skipped past Trey's Orioles/MLB debut in late September of 2016 when writing my posts at the time. I would speculate that it was a combination of his unexpectedly late end of season call-up, well after the beginning of September when you expect to see guys come up from the minors, and my aforementioned disorganized autograph scans.

After being selected by the Orioles in the 8th round of the 2013 draft out of Notre Dame, Trey steadily rose through the Orioles minor league system, and played at every level from the short season Aberdeen Ironbirds all the way up through the AAA Norfolk Tides. Due in part to his continued ascension, he wasn't included in all of the minor league team sets so he didn't have as many cards as many of his fellow minor leaguers. Neither was he considered a can't miss prospect so Topps skipped him over with their minor league offerings. This led to a smaller number of cards for me to attempt to get signed, which only added to my issues with this post.

As you can see at this point in this post, in addition to help from my dad with his 2016 Mancini Old Man Cards, I discovered more than enough Trey Mancini autographs throughout my disorganized card boxes and scans. Trey was always a nice guy and willing signer throughout his minor league years, so I never had an issue with him signing, just with my having anything for him to sign.

After playing in five games with the Orioles at the tail-end of the 2016 season, and hitting three homers over fourteen at-bats during that time, Trey began the 2017 season as the Orioles everyday left-fielder. As a career first-baseman, he didn't miss a beat during the conversion to the outfield during Spring Training in 2017 and came in third in the American League Rookie of the Year race behind Aaron Judge and Andrew Benintendi. Not bad for a guy who was never considered a top prospect!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Oriole #1034- Miguel Castro

Well, hey there. Remember me? I'm the guy who used to regularly blog about Orioles autographs.

This site will never be what it once was, but I'm reinvesting myself to it in an attempt to at least post about all of the Orioles debuts that have occurred to this point and into the future. The way the 2018 season is going, I wouldn't be surprised if there end up being about 50 debuts this season alone.

To get back into things, I'm going to start where I left off last year. As far as I can tell, Miguel Castro's mid-May 2017 debut was the first one that I didn't post about at that point. So here we go, let's see if I remember how to do this...

Miguel Castro made his Orioles debut on May 17, 2017 and has been a relatively important middle reliever for the team over most of the past year. He was a nice surprise for the team through most of last season before fading in September but still ended the year with a 3-3 record covering 66.1 innings over 39 games. He's been similarly effective in 2018, and has a 1-2 record with 3.00 ERA over 36 innings in 23 games. Frankly, it's amazing that any pitcher for the 2018 Orioles has a respectable ERA considering the way the season has gone so far.

One thing that really surprises me about Miguel is that he's still only 23 years old; it feels like he's been around for such a long time. He made his MLB debut with a short stint as the Blue Jays closer  in 2015. Later that summer he was sent to the Rockies as part of the (at the time) mega-trade sending Jose Reyes to Colorado with Troy Tulowitzki heading to Toronto.

Miguel struggled in Colorado over the 2015-16 seasons and the Orioles acquired him via a trade with the Rockies in April 2017. They acquired him for virtually nothing since the minor leaguer they sent to Colorado in the trade retired from baseball. The O's got Brad Brach from the Padres in similar fashion, so it's good to know they can make some good moves to combat some horrible big money contracts. (cough Chris Davis cough)

I always like to throw in a big thank you to my dad for creating this Old Man Card (OMC) for Miguel to sign. Miguel graciously signed for me during a stint with Bowie last season, and he still seems to be a good signer even during his time in Baltimore.

It's good to write a post after such a long hiatus and hopefully this won't be the last one!