Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2015 Topps Update #US169: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals, P

Max Scherzer signed a $210 million contract with the Nationals before the start of the 2015 season, securing him in D.C. through 2021.  Scherzer made good on his first year of the contract, receiving 2 Pitcher of the Month awards and reaching his third consecutive All-Star game appearance.  He finished 3rd in Innings Pitched, 2nd in Strikeouts per 9IP, and 2nd in Walks per 9IP.  Scherzer led the N.L. in Strikeout/Walk ratio and Fielding % as P in 2015. 

On May 11th, 2016, Max Scherzer became only the 4th player to strikeout 20 batters in 9 innings pitched.  The other three were: Randy Johnson (2001), Kerry Wood (1998), and Roger Clemens (1986, 1996).  Scherzer's feat came against the Tigers in a 3-2 victory. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

2015 Topps #491: Rougned Odor, Texas Rangers, 2B

Rougned Odor experienced his first major league playoff series against the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2015 ALDS, where he hit a HR, a Double, and 5 Single for a total of 7 Runs and 2 RBI in 18 AB's for the Rangers.  Odor went from being the youngest player in the American League during his 2014 rookie season, to the 6th youngest during his 2015 sophomore season.  He has rapidly taken over as the primary 2B for the Rangers, playing 65% of the innings in that role in 2014 and 70% in 2015.

Rougned Odor was suspended 8 games for his part in a May 15th, 2016 altercation resulting from an illegal slide by Jose Bautista, who was also suspended for 1 game.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

2006 Topps Pre-Production #PP1: Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners, OF

     Ichiro Suzuki had just completed 5 seasons in the majors to start 2006, although already 32 years of age.  He would again be selected to the All-Star team and win another Gold Glove award, both for the sixth consecutive time.  Suzuki led all of the majors with 224 Hits--a category that he would rank top two in for 10 straight years.  His 9 Triples and 45 Stolen Bases were also good enough to rank 3rd in the league that year.   

     The 2006 Topps Pre-Production release contained only 3 cards (I.Suzuki, A.Rodriguez, A.Pujols), and contained nearly identical photographs as the Topps base set.  During the 1990's, the Pre-Production sets often contained 9 cards with variation poses.  Regardless, I continue to integrate the Pre-Production cards with my base sets along with the Traded/Update sets as shown below.  Actually, the Pre-Production cards appear to be less "touched-up" than the base cards, which have always appeared to look dark to me in the 2006 set.  As always, the card backs for the Pre-Production vary a little from the base cards.  It's hard to believe that it's been over 10 years since the release of the 2006 Topps set.