Friday, May 28, 2021

2020 Topps Final Edition: Cards #262-270

After today's post, we'll have 60 cards left in the 2020 Final Edition set. It's been quite a ride, and while we've still got a lot of big ones to get to, today we reach our third multiple of 90, and are third zero ending card with this 9-cards-at-a-time model. There are some intriguing ones this year, also in the story of 2021 as well, so let's get to 'em:

Card #262- Jose Martinez, Chicago Cubs 

Jose Martinez was having a decent season DHing in Tampa, on his way to a potential World Series appearance, and suddenly the Rays decided they didn't need him for the stretch and traded him to the bench-curious Cubs. In 10 games in Chicago, Martinez failed to make any progress, with no hits, 7 strikeouts, and a .000 batting average. He unsurprisingly did not make the postseason roster. The Mets signed him for 2020, then he got injured [they could really use him about now].

Card #263- A.J. Minter, Atlanta Braves

I have to imagine Topps used Minter's disappointing 2019 season, with a 7+ ERA in 36 games, as a reason not to include him in 2020, but even still, they missed out on commemorating a strong, important season for Minter. He only allowed 2 earned runs in 2020, with a 0.83 ERA in 22 innings, and struck out 24. He was also fairly unhittable during the postseason, going hitless in the first two playoff series and striking out 8 during the Dodgers series. Minter is taking a little longer to get to a low ERA this season, but he's still a crucial piece of the Braves' bullpen.

Card #264- Daniel Castano, Miami Marlins

Daniel Castano was one of two rookies brought into the Marlins' rotation in order to cover for two of the previous year's rookies that failed to deliver. Last year, Castano was better than his compatriot Trevor Rogers, with a 3.03 ERA and 12 Ks in 6 starts. Nothing too huge, and outdone by Rogers' high-K work in 2021, but a decent harbinger of what could become a steady career. Castano is incidentally currently in the minors, but has made 4 starts in 2021, and has lost 2 of them.

Card #265- Triston McKenzie, Cleveland Indians

Oh yeah, speaking of starry 2020 rookies that haven't worked as well in 2021. Triston McKenzie started his career with a bang in 2020, with a 10-K debut for the Indians, and 32 more over the course of the rest of the season. McKenzie was not the highest-tier arm in the rotation, and sort of evened out over time, but his first few starts were LETHAL. 2021 was a definite sophomore slump for McKenzie, and while he did notch 49 strikeouts so far, he's got a 6 ERA and is giving up way more walks and runs than last year. He's currently back in the minors. 

Card #266- Yohan Ramirez, Seattle Mariners

Man, we're 3 straight with 2020 rookies that aren't currently in the majors. My luck. Yohan Ramirez was an integral bullpen piece for the Mariners, in that he was the rare Seattle reliever that actually lasted past the end of August. Ramirez had a 2.61 ERA and 26 Ks in 16 relief innings, and notched 3 saves. It looked like the beginnings of a decent career, but with the recovery of the Mariners' pen, Ramirez had less room to succeed, and disappointed in 2 relief outings so far this year.

Card #267- Phil Gosselin, Philadelphia Phillies

Phil Gosselin was the Phillies makeshift Brad Miller in the season in between his Phils years there. Miller, if you'll recall, was a bench hero for the Phils in 2019, and is right back at that in 2021. So Phil Gosselin, right at the start of the season, starts doing exactly what Miller did- 12 RBIs in 39 games, the starting DH position, and a surprising amount of contact work. Yes, the numbers died down once the season kept going on, but Gosselin, or Goose as he was called, filled a valuable hole for Philly. Of course, Miller's back now, so Gosselin's now a bench player in Anaheim.

Card #268- Alex Verdugo ASG, Boston Red Sox

I may be wrong, but I believe that in this sim'd 2020 ASG I did up for this set, Alex Verdugo was the only Red Sox player to make the team. No Bogaerts, no Martinez...Dugie had an excellent breakout season in the outfield, would have qualified for the team on his own merits, and it helped that he was one of the few bright spots in a dark Boston season. Of course, now that the team's better, he fits in a lot more.

Card #269- Caleb Baragar, San Francisco Giants

At last, a 2020 rookie that's still on the major league roster somewhere. Caleb Baragar had a decent rookie year in relief, with a 4 ERA, 5 wins and 19 Ks. He's a sharp relief piece in a whole bullpen full of tricksters, and he's having a much better season in 2021 now that he actually has a better team to fight for.

Card #270- Tommy La Stella, Oakland Athletics

A year after making an all-star team for the Angels, Tommy La Stella had mellowed into a decent infield piece on a tanking roster. His .273 average with the Angels was alright, but once he was traded to the A's for Franklin Barreto he got even better, hitting .289 with 28 hits and 11 RBIs. He also got a lot of starting reps at 2nd, and was a starter during the playoffs, where he hit .293 with 8 hits and 2 RBIs. He seemed to be off to a nice start in SF before the injury, as well. 

Monday, we've got another 9 up at bat. A few very puzzling omissions in this one. 

1 comment:

  1. I will say this every time I see a Triston McKenzie card or photo. SOMEONE GIVE THAT BOY A SANDWICH!