Sunday, March 3, 2013

Just a Minor Post

For all the attention currently devoted to prospects and with the dozens of cards a player can have before ever actually hitting the majors (and then subsequently getting a dozen more supposed "rookie" cards thanks idiotic rookie card designations), it has always surprised me how relatively little attention is given to minor league cards.

I try (usually unsuccessfully) to pick up as many Pirate minor league team sets each year as possible.  Still, there are more holes than full team sets from the Pirate minor league affiliates over the past decade or so.

One of the things I really enjoy is looking back and seeing the players rise (or stop rising) through the minor league system.  It's crazy to see how Andrew McCutchen's body type changed and filled out as he advanced through the minors.  But that's a post for another day.

When Piratefest rolled around in December, I made a quick run through my excel file to see which cards I had to be autographed, and which ones had already been signed.  Much to my surprise, I found two Jared Hughes minor league cards from waaay farther back than I expected that were unsigned.  Heck, unsigned is putting it lightly.  I didn't even know they existed. 

See, Jared wasn't much to write home about during his ascension through the minors.  Even in a relatively barren minor league system, he was a non-factor in the late 2000's.  Despite being a 4th round selection out of Cal State Long Beach, he crawled through the system as a starter, repeating almost every level.  At his age 25 season in AA, he looked like little more than organizational filler going into 2011.

However, upon being promoted to AAA, he was shifted to the bullpen where his numbers flourished, reaching the majors late in 2011 and sticking there in 2012.  Jared was super friendly and talkative at Piratefest.  It looks like he should be slotted into the back end of the pen this year, and I'll definitely be rooting for both he and Jeff Locke (and probably starting player collections of each) after having a chance to chat with both guys for a few minutes during Piratefest.

No comments:

Post a Comment