Late last week, I needed a pick-me-up. I've been working a ton, leaving very little time for me to do anything hobby related. So, it was great to see a yellow envelope in my mailbox from Dennis at Too Many Verlanders. The note that Dennis sent me was that he went to a recent card show and found a few Brewers to send my way.
Starting off, there was what has to be an authentic Steve Woodard autographed 1998 Score. It has to be authentic because the only three people I can think of who would even want a Steve Woodard autograph are Jaybarkerfan, Thorzul, and me.
The vast majority of the Brewers cards that Dennis found were from 2014. First, there were a couple of those Bowman "top prospects" mini refractors from last year's Bowman offering.
Last year, Jimmy Nelson was the Brewers' top prospect and Taylor Jungmann was the number 5 prospect according to the list on the back of the cards. This year, they are both in the starting rotation at this point of the season. Both are still young, but both may appear to be questionable choices.
Both were the types of draft picks that Doug Melvin tended to prefer -- college pitchers with slightly more limited ceilings but with a higher floor than, say, a high school pitcher. Jungmann was selected 12th overall in the 2011 draft out of the University of Texas. Disappointingly from a personal perspective, Melvin chose Jungmann 6 picks before Vanderbilt pitcher and current Oakland A's starter Sonny Gray. Well, that's not as disappointing as selecting Jed Bradley (who really doesn't look to be a prospect at this point) out of Georgia Tech four picks before Gray.
It proves that you should never take a Yellow Jacket.
Nelson was selected from the University of Alabama in the second round in 2010 -- 4 picks before Rays starter Drew Smyly (out of the University of Arkansas) and 6 picks before the Braves selected Andrelton Simmons.
Again, there's still a lot of time left in their careers to show that they were good selections. Perhaps they will mature into quality starters in time for the next Brewers playoff team in 2018 or 2019.
Dennis also sent me two Jean Segura cards from last year. Jean Segura is the reason that I'm taking a wait-and-see approach on adding any new player collections at this point. Segura came out like a house-of-fire his first year in the majors, making the All-Star team on the strength of that first half: he hit .326/.363/.487 before the All-Star break in 2013.
Over the last two seasons -- 2014 and 2015 -- however, his line is .251/.287/.324, "good" enough for an OPS+ of 69 (a stat which places league average at 100 and takes the player's home ballpark into account). In other words, he's been pretty damn awful -- basically barely above replacement level according to WAR on Baseball Reference (last year, 0.6 WAR; this year, 0.1 WAR). Now, he's still young -- just 25 years old. But, Orlando Arcia is getting closer and closer to ready in the minors. If Segura wants to be anything more than a platoon partner for Scooter Gennett at second, Segura will need to show a LOT next year.
Okay, let's move on to some cards of guys no longer with Milwaukee.
Alcides Escobar spent parts of three seasons in Milwaukee before being traded to the Kansas City Royals with Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress, and Jake Odorizzi in exchange for Yuniesky Betancourt and Zack Greinke. The Brewers got two years of Greinke (well, a year-and-a-half, before the Brewers traded him to the Angels for, in part, Segura). The Royals got two All-Stars and trade bait (with Wil Myers) for Wade Davis and James Shields. Can't complain too much about that.
One last card:
This card was definitely the highlight of the package. A Rickie Weeks/Bill Hall dual autograph card from UD Premier in 2007 serial numbered 12 of 25 -- and sorry Gavin, you're not getting this Christmas card! It's a great addition to the Rickie Weeks player collection for me.
Dennis, thank you for thinking of me while perusing the cards at your baseball card show!