This week has been pretty busy for me which is why I have posted more sporadically. I guess when you spend eleven days trapped indoors the errands you need to run your day to day life really pile up on you. Nevertheless, I do not intend to ever skip my Friday posts because I like writing these Rating the Rookie Cups posts more than anything. I hope you enjoy reading them as much.
Today's team is the most modern team that I have ever reviewed, the 2011 Topps Rookie All Star team as shown on the 2012 Topps set. There are several interesting notations about this particular team. The biggest is that this is the only time in history that Topps did not choose both a right handed and a left handed pitcher to the team. They switched things up and chose a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher only. I believe it was a way to wedge Craig Kimbrel onto the team. This was not as blatant as the previous year's wedging in of Stephen Strasburg, but it was still fairly obvious.
Another point of interest with this team is that it included a second generation rookie cup winner in Dee Gordon (I'm not using his new hyphenated name). Tom Gordon, Dee's father, was the RHP on the 1989 Topps Rookie All Star Team shown on 1990 Topps. I have not researched the total number of father/son combos on RASTs, but I know for a fact there is at least one more along with at least one set of siblings. I'll do the research and let you all know next week.
The third interesting aspect of this team is the inclusion of so many rookies that did not play full seasons. Four of the eight position players played less than 90 games in 2011. I can't remember another instance of that many short term rookies taking a place on an All Star team. We'll have to see if Topps made the right call on those choices.
The cards are on the 2012 Topps design, which is not one of their better ones. It's not horrible, but the rookie cup cards suffer the same fate as a lot of the other cards in the set, photos that are zoomed in way too much. It gives you good detail on faces, but it removes the context of the photo in most cases. Background imagery is almost as important to me as the main focus of the photos. The "surfboard" name plate is not horrible, but not one of my favorites either. Some of the RAST players also suffer from Topps using the rookie cups as short prints, including one where Josh Reddick is photoshopped into an Oakland uniform. I do not count those SP cards as part of a rookie cup collection, so I am using the regular base card sans cup for a couple of players. Overall, this set is by far my least favorite of the 2011-2015 era.
Let's take a look at the 2011 Topps Rookie All Star Team.
J.P Arencibia - C - Blue Jays - Season Rank (23 of 61) - Career Rank (45 of 61)
Mark Trumbo - 1B - Angels - Season Rank (15 of 61) - Career Rank (35 of 61)
Danny Espinosa - 2B - Nationals - Season Rank (12 of 61) - Career Rank (35 of 61)
Desmond Jennings - OF - Rays - Season Rank (157 of 184) - Career Rank (141 of 184)
Ben Revere - OF - Twins - Season Rank (158 of 184) - Career Rank (123 of 184)
Josh Reddick - OF - Red Sox - Season Rank (169 of 184) - Career Rank (91 of 184)
Jeremy Hellickson - RHP - Rays - Season Rank (31 of 50) - Career Rank (27 of 50)
Craig Kimbrel - RP - Braves - Season Rank (3 of 34) - Career Rank (2 of 34)
Strongest Team Members (career) - Craig Kimbrel, Jeremy Hellickson, Dee Gordon
Weakest Team Members (rookie) - Josh Reddick, Ben Revere, Desmond Jennings
Weakest Team Members (career) - Desmond Jennings, J.P. Arencibia, Brett Lawrie
Rockies on the team (Present and future) - 0 (although Kimbrel seems like he could be an end of the career Rockie)
Best Card (IMHO) - J.P. Arencibia (no cup, but the best of a bland lot of photos)
Worst Card (IMHO) - Josh Reddick (no cup + he isn't the player in focus)
NEXT WEEK'S PREVIEW
The 1981 team pictured on 1982 Topps cards.
Thanx for reading.