A place where Colorado Rockies baseball card collectors (all 3 of us) can waste some time reading about our favorite sport. The Rockies and their cards will be the primary focus, but I like to go off on tangents as well so anything and everything baseball related may be covered here.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Rating the Rookie Cups - 2011

Welcome to this week's edition of Rating the Rookie Cups.  This is the first grouping of players that I will be reviewing that have yet to have much of a career.  By that I mean, these players are still in the early years of their career.  I will change one thing this week, the career ratings.  I have put a question mark on all of them because they are all still active players and just about anything can happen with any of them although some are looking more bust-like than others.  This is also the beginning of Topps giving team members two cards, one with trophy and one without.  I will be focusing exclusively on the trophy cards.  The other note about this particular All Star Team is what has become known as the "Stephen Strasburg rule."  That would be the addition of the relief pitcher slot so Topps could include their 2010 poster boy Stephen Strasburg on the team as well.  I will be ignoring this rule in my "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda" section and will be choosing only 1 RHP and 1 LHP.  Let's take a look at some rookies from not that long ago.

Buster Posey - San Francisco - C -          (Rookie)   7   (Career)  ?
Gaby Sanchez - Florida - 1B -                 (Rookie)   6   (Career)  ?
Neil Walker - Pittsburgh - 2B -                (Rookie)   5   (Career)  ?

Danny Valencia - Minnesota - 3B -            (Rookie)   5   (Career)  ?
Starlin Castro - Chicago (NL) - SS -         (Rookie)   6   (Career)  ?

Jason Heyward - Atlanta - OF -            (Rookie)   7   (Career)  ?
Austin Jackson - Detroit - OF -             (Rookie)   7   (Career)  ?
Mike Stanton - Florida - OF -               (Rookie)   5   (Career)  ?

Stephen Strasburg - Washington - RHP -        (Rookie)   3   (Career)  ?
Jaime Garcia - St. Louis - LHP -                    (Rookie)   7   (Career)  ?
Neftali Feliz - Texas - RP -                             (Rookie)   6   (Career)  ?

Strongest Team Members (in 2010) - Buster Posey, Jason Heyward, Austin Jackson

Strongest Team Members (as of 2013) - Buster Posey, Austin Jackson, Starlin Castro

Weakest Team Members (in 2010) - Stephen Strasburg, Mike Stanton, Danny Valencia

Weakest Team Members (as of 2013) - Gaby Sanchez, Danny Valencia, Jaime Garcia

Rockies on the team (Present and future) - 0 (so far)

Best Card (IMHO) - Buster Posey (there's not much difference between these cards)

Worst Card (IMHO) - Neftali Feliz (just because his non-cup card is so much better)

Overall Team Rating (1-10 compared to other RAST teams)    5

At the moment, this team does not appear to have any mega-busts although Sanchez and Valencia have become journeymen already and injuries have hit several of the players hard.  There is also the potential for some really strong careers on this team especially if Castro, Stanton, Strasburg, and Feliz all bounce back from sub-par seasons in 2013.  The next couple of years should show whether 2011 will be a really strong team or Buster Posey and the rest.


Here are the players I feel should have been on this Rookie All Star Team.  This is based on rookie year data only.

Catcher - Buster Posey - San Francisco
This is probably the easiest choice on the team, no matter what I think of Puppy Flower.  Posey, the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, was far and away better than the other full season catchers: Alex Avila of Detroit and John Jaso of the Rays.

First Baseman - Gaby Sanchez - Florida
This was probably the closest battle between Sanchez and Ike Davis of the Mets.  They each had 19 homers to lead first base rookies, but Sanchez drove in more runs, had a higher average, and struck out much less. 

Second Baseman - Neil Walker - Pittsburgh
This was another relatively easy decision with Walker easily outpacing his only real competition, Reid Brignac of Tampa Bay.

Third Baseman - Chris Johnson - Houston
Third base was the weakest overall position by far with no one really standing out.  That being said, I decided between three players that had good half seasons, Valencia, Johnson, and Pedro Alvarez of Pittsburgh.  Valencia had average and Alvarez had power, but I chose Johnson who had a bit of both.

Shortstop - Starlin Castro - Chicago (NL)
This was a three person race with Castro slightly outpacing both Ian Desmond of the Nationals and Alcides Escobar of Milwaukee.

Outfield - Jason Heyward - Atlanta, Austin Jackson - Detroit, Mike Stanton - Florida
Heyward and Jackson were no brainer choices for the outfield, but the third choice was up for grabs.  There was also no shortage of candidates for the third spot on the team.  In the end, Stanton was a little better than the likes of Tyler Colvin of the Cubs, Detroit's Brennan Boesch, and Roger Bernadina of Washington.

RHP - Jhoulys Chacin - Colorado
Some people might see this as sort of a "homer" pick, but Chacin did have a higher WAR than both Strasburg and Feliz.  Strasburg just didn't pitch enough of the season for consideration in my book and relievers would need an incredibly good year to beat a starter and 2010 AL Rookie of the Year Feliz wasn't incredibly good, he was just good. 

LHP - Jaime Garcia - St. Louis
Garcia had a good season and was quite a bit better than his only real competition, Brian Matusz of Baltimore.


Name the Rookie All Star Teams that have featured at least one player from both the Red Sox and the Cardinals.

1965 - Rico Petrocelli - Red Sox  ;  Pat Corrales - Cardinals
1967 - Reggie Smith - Red Sox  ;  Dick Hughes - Cardinals
1972 - Carlton Fisk - Red Sox  ;  Dwain Anderson - Cardinals
1997 - Scott Hatteberg, Nomar Garciaparra - Red Sox  ;  Dmitri Young - Cardinals


Which team went the longest (either from the beginning of the franchise or the 1960 beginning of the RAST) before having their first member of the Rookie All Star Team?  Hint: It lasted 8 years.


The 1989 team appearing on 1990 Topps.

Thanx for reading.

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