Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Team USA autographs: Future Aces, 5 Tool Player, Solid Backstop

I've been tracking down Pirates prospects wearing the Team USA uniform as of late and wanted to show off some of my recent additions to the Treasure Room.  3/4 of the cards were on card signatures and many were very cheap that I just couldn't pass them up.

2011 Bowman USA Blue Refractor Austin Meadows AUTO 18/99
Up first is the Pirates 2013 1st Round Draft Pick Austin Meadows.  The minute the Pirates drafted him, I looked on ebay for a nice refractor auto to grab.  While this card was quite pricy, if he pans out as expected this will be a steal of a deal.  It's from 2011 Bowman USA and is the blue refractor auto.

Meadows got off to a very slow start before finally turning it on.  His line is now a very solid .316/.409/.534 which gives him an OPS of .943 as a center fielder.  Many feel that Meadows has the skill set to remain a centerfielder as he continues to climb through the minors.  Some have even said that they wouldn't be surprised if he becomes the most talented player selected in the draft.
2013 Panini Team USA AUTO 63/349 Reese McGuire

From the same draft class is the player that the entire Pirates fan base thought would be their 9th overall selection and fellow 1st round talent Reese McGuire.  McGuire was linked to the Pirates days before the draft happened and many Pirates fans felt that McGuire should not be taken 9th overall.  Fortunately, Austin Meadows slipped to the Pirates and McGuire was still on the board 5 picks later when they selected 14th overall.  McGuire has had a pretty good start to his pro career, but has cooled off recently.  He began the year with a batting average over .500 for his first 10 games.  Since that time it's dipped to a .315/.375/.385 line.  McGuire has yet to show any kind of power at the plate (10 doubles of his 45 hits), but many see the power potential growing as he matures and fills out a bit more.  One thing about McGuire that will help him accelerate through the minors is his ability to recognize pitches.  He currently has a 15 SO to 13 BB ratio, showing clear judgement for the strike zone.  The most impressive thing about McGuire is the rate he's throwing runners out (41%).  To put that into perspective, many fans and scouts view Yadier Molina as the premier defensive backstop in the game today.  Molina was throwing runners out at 43% at the same level and slightly older.  I grabbed the above auto for $15 shipped.

2013 Panini USA Baseball Stars & Stripes Jameson Taillon AUTO 694/800
Next up is a Jameson Taillon USA Panini Stars and Stripes sticker auto that I grabbed for $7 shipped.  I don't understand why Taillon autos are so cheap.  I've talked an aweful lot about my excitement towards the future with Jameson Taillon so I don't really need to say anything further.

2010 Topps USA Gerrit Cole AUTO
Finally the Pirates future ace and current rookie flamethrower Gerrit Cole from 2010 Topps USA Baseball that I grabbed for $22.  Same as Taillon, I've expressed my thoughts on how good I think Gerrit Cole will be for years to come.

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