Fernando Valenzuela Sacrifice Bunting

This baseball card is extremely disgusting and overwhelmingly awesome at the same time:

fernando_donrussThere are so many things wrong with Fernando’s technique that I really don’t even know where to start. First, let’s start with the fact that the back of the card lists Fernando at 5’11” and 202 pounds; don’t ever forget about how big this dude was. Second, please notice his top hand practically wrapped around the bat barrel just waiting for his pitching hand to get shattered. This is something you learn when you are 6 years old ; don’t wrap your fingers around the bat. Third, look at his weight distribution; I’d say about 80% of it is over his front leg causing him to; fourth, apparently lunge at the ball as it approaches his plate. Fifth, and this is a result of his weight distribution and lunging, but he has absolutely no bat angle to ensure that he lays the ball on the ground in fair territory. Now on to the things that he is demonstrating correctly: 1) he’s rocking the stirrups over the socks (a classic look) and 2) he’s got his ‘bunt’ grimace on. Every decent ballplayer knows you can’t sacrifice the runner from 1st to 2nd in the 3rd inning of a scoreless game without grimacing. Thanks to Collingwood again for this beautiful card and another stack of cards that have captured the art of bunting in action just waiting to be analyzed. Stay tuned and go O’s!!!

-Chris

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Andy MacPhail for President!

The rumors are true; the Orioles today acquired P Rich Hill from the Cubs for the infamous Player To Be Named Later. The player will depend on how well Hill pitches this year. Hill was out of options so the Cubs had to move him on the cheap to make room on their 40-man roster. This is  yet another low-risk, high-return move by MacPhail who continues to make all the right moves (except for the Bradford for Cash deal last year to the Rays). Anyways, a 1-2-3 of Guthrie, Uehara, and Hill really doesn’t sound that bad to me…here’s a link to the story.

-Chris

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Andruw Jones Jersey Swatch (Ugh!)

Is there anything worse than an Andruw Jones baseball card?  He went from hero to zero over night and has never looked back.  I hate when I pull his cards, he is so irrelevant now.  Anyway….broke another box of 07 Fleer Ultra SE.  I think this will be my last box of this brand; I think I’ve tapped the well.  The hits have lost their luster and the base set is pretty much complete.  I enjoyed Ultra a lot and would recommend this set to anyone, but it does get old.  I can’t argue with a Mornaeu jersey with a stripe though!  “momorneau,” this card is coming your way for a jersey Mauer you may have lying around!

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I’m not sure what I’d like to buy next for our box break.  I know I want to get my hands on ’09 Topps Heritage!  I’m sure we all do.  In the meantime I’ll probably look around for a good deal and run with it.  I’ve never been one to purchase boxes that are over $100.  I’m not even sure I would if I found a $100 bill on the ground.  I’m all about collecting base cards of Joe Mauer and collecting his high value cards via trades or ebay.  I’d rather buy a blaster of ’08 Stadium Club than a hobby box.  Chances of me pulling a Mauer auto from the hobby are slim, but I’ll probably get his base card from a blaster.  I have finally put together Mauer’s checklist 2002-2008 so I’ll start chipping away at it.

Enjoy the big game this weekend!

-John

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Orioles 2009 Roster

…you knew it was coming. After John’s fantastic break down of his Twinkies line-up, I’ll go through ours and let me tell you something, I’m getting kind of excited! As an O’s fan, I can’t honestly tell you the last time I was actually excited heading into a season. Here we go!

wieters2Catcher: I guess the discussion should be about who’s going to start Opening Day, but who cares when you’ve got, arguably, the #1 prospect across all of baseball chomping at the bit down in Norfolk to get his shot on April 16th? Don’t get me wrong, the Greg Zaun signing was a great move by the Orioles; they bring back a homegrown talent and an excellent tutor for the next ‘can’t miss prospect’ Matt Wieters. How many times have you heard about a ‘can’t miss’ prospect that well…missed? Ryan Leaf anyone? I saw Wieters play at Bowie last year and, unfortunately, he didn’t do anything spectacular, but how can you argue with the numbers he has put up AT EVERY LEVEL?? The kid is something special and is the symbolic backstop for the Andy MacPhail era in Baltimore. I guess Quiroz or Moeller or someone will back-up Zaun until Wieters comes up but that doesn’t really matter at all.

1B: Well, Kevin Millar officially isn’t going back to Baltimore and he’s not happy about it. I have mixed feelings about this guy. I love the way he plays the game, goes out there everyday and gives it his all knowing that he doesn’t have the ability to honestly keep up with his peers. On the other hand, when he threw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game as a current member of the Orioles, that really pissed me off. With the recent transactions, it looks like Aubrey Huff will get a shot to earn the duties of everyday player at 1B and I hope he holds his own. After the season he had last year he deserves a shot. After him though, it’s kind of weak; Luke Scott can fill in and when you look at organizational depth it’s not too good: a converted catcher in Brandon Snyder and then maybe recently-cleared waivers Oscar Salazar?

2B: Brian Roberts. Period. Because frankly there is no one else, literally.

SS: Last year I think we ran out 5 or 6 different shortstops to stop the bleeding and none of them did. A lot of people really hated on the Brandon Fahey solution and to those people I say, “Brandon Fahey played Major League Baseball and you didn’t.” You have to give respect to the kid who weighs less than me and looks like a strong wind might blow him over. Anyways, we’ve got Cesar Izturis for the next two years whom is a FANTASTIC defensive shortstop and will actually be an improvement offensively at that position too. I’m looking forward to seeing some glove flashed around the dirt at shortstop in Baltimore again. Maybe Blake Davis is the youthful, long-term solution, but I prefer that MacPhail keep looking.

3B: Melvin Mora has like 23 babies and is 55 years old and keeps getting it done. Mike Costanzo and Scott Moore are great youthful options as well. Gotta love Melmo though personally. Mora is the only player that actually panned out from the barn burning days of Syd Thrift WHO WAS/IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST BRAIN IN BASEBALL.

OF: ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? I get to watch an Outfield of Felix Pie, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis with a spelling here or there by Ryan Freel? What? I get to watch that for like the next 10 years? I’ll take it. Throw in Lou Montanez, Nolan Reimold, and Jeff Fiorentino as back-up plans and I don’t believe you are even talking about the lowly-Orioles.

DH: I hate the DH, I think it has ruined baseball and the way that the game is supposed to be played. However, if I have to watch a DH, I’d like to watch Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuke Scott; one of the classiest guys in the game. Did you hear that one way he’s preparing for the season is by chopping wood? He’s a man’s man.

SP: I know John will do a separate post on Pitchers, and I will too, but this is the best part and I can’t believe that the O’s system got so stocked with young arms so quickly. Here’s a roll call: Jeremy Guthrie, Radhames Liz, Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Dennis Sarfate, Kam Mickolio, Troy Patton, Pedro Beato, Brandon Erbe, and David Hernandez.

Can you all say 4-team race in the AL East…in 3 years?

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Twins ’09 Roster

2005_twins_logo_2Only 12 days remain until the first Pitchers/Catchers report to Spring Training.  I thought I’d take the time to forecast the Twins depth chart.  I am no Ron Gardenhire, but I’ll try my best. 

C – Mauer(Duh!  I would like to see him make a transition to 3B at some point in his career.  He is very tall and squatting will eventually take a serious toll on his knees.  You have to keep his bat in the lineup at all costs, but I would like to see him play the field, not just DH.)

1B – Morneau (Really cooled off toward the end of last season, but is still progressing and is our franchise first baseman.  Easy pick.)

2B – Casilla (Only played in 98 games but shows great potential, especially as a defensive wizard.  His bat is slowly coming around.)

3B – Buscher/Harris– Harris will probably get the nod to start the season.  Many people believe Buscher will platoon with Harris throughout the season.  Makes sense but I would like to see one of those guys step up and win the job out right.  Buscher is homegrown and can crush the ball when he is in the zone and hit for average.  I hope he is the future, however, his glove may hold him back.  Gardy preaches defense and fundamentals.

SS – Punto – Everett is gone, and not a second too soon.  Punto has zippy competition at this position and I can’t think of anyone who could overtake him this year.  I love Punto, he fits the Twins mold (i.e. team player, great defense, plays the game hard), but his bat is something to be desired.  He certainly has his moments with the lumber but is a hole in our lineup.  His saving grace in his leadership and defense.  Punto is one of the best infielders I have ever watched.  He is a vaccum!

|OF – Young/Span/Cuddyer/Gomez– This is where things get VERY complicated.  We have TOO much talent in the OF (great problem to have!).  I have racked my brain for weeks trying to figure out how this will shake out.  Gomez is great #9 hitter, but has not developed enough to leadoff.  He has fantastic defense but has a lot to learn about the game.  I don’t want him to waste away on the bench all year so may I be so bold as to start him in Rochester this year.  Let him continue to develop plate patience.  In my opinion Span is further along in his development and has the same tools as Gomez, so he takes over CF.  Young is a firecracker in your hand just waiting to explode with talent (or so we Twins’ fans pray).  I believe Young’s bat will finally develop into the power hitter we need him to be.  I’m a little skeptical of his defense, he looks very slow and stiff in LF, but his cannon of an arm may help mask his speed.  Cuddy gets the nod in RF, one, because he is from the state I was born in (VA), and two, he is a proven player.  We could debate this position forever, but like I said, Gomez should start in AAA.

DH – Kubel – Why Monroe even sniffed the field last year is beyond me.  I think Gardy did not have complete faith in Kubel to be an everyday DH.  However, at the end of the year Kubel showed enough consistency to win the job out right and did a great job.  He was second on the team in HRs behind Morneau.  Morneau had 623 ABs and 23 HRs, Kubel had 463 ABs and 20 HRs.  He is here to stay.

This isn’t a science, just a gut feeling from what I’ve seen on the field.  We have a lot of great weapons this year and a ton of Minor Leaguers waiting to make a name for themselves.  I can’t wait to see how everything shakes out in Spring Training.  I’ll go over Pitchers next post. 

-John

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New Domain Name

Heads up everyone, we here at Sac Bunt Baseball Card Blog are moving up in the world after only about 2 weeks in the industry bloggin’ game; thanks for all the quick support. We are now the proud owners of www.sacbuntbaseball.com! Please stay tuned for information on the migration to the new domain name (could take 2 days or 2 months). Thanks for the support already thus far.

-Chris & John

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Superbowl Group Break (shh…it’s football)

Ok ok, this IS a baseball blog but we here at Sac Bunt can’t ignore a good thing when we see it. Via Sports Cards Uncensored, we learned about a great football group break that Jason over at Houston Card Collector is hosting based off a contest at Blowout Cards. Whew, I think I got that right. Anyways, head over to Houston’s blog (link above) to check out the logistics and make sure you sign up! I won’t get into the details but basically you pay 9 bucks and have the possibility of getting some HUGE returns. Both John and I have already reserved a slot.

-Chris

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