With the Albuquerque Isotopes on the road through the weekend, I thought I would take advantage of the downtime to post scans of the most recent batch of Topps 52 Rookies cards I’ve gotten autographed in person. Since I have more new ones than I feel comfortable subjecting any readers to in a single sitting, I’ve decided to first post the ones from the 2006 set, and will think of a clever method of dividing up the ones from the 2007 set in the near future.
Chris Barnwell (2006 – no. 54)
Barney has served as the Isotopes shortstop for much of the first third of the 2008 season. I’m not sure how that is going to change now that Robert Andino has been sent down by the Florida Marlins, but he would prove a formidable pinch hitter off the bench against lefties whom he is hitting at a clip of .472 with a 1.219 OPS. Capable of providing solid defense at other infield positions, I expect that Barnwell will continue to contribute to the Isotopes through the end of August.
Emiliano Fruto (2006 – no. 182)
I really like Emiliano’s signature. First I’m impressed that he can remember to spell his first name, but then it isn’t as if it isn’t printed on the front of the card. Fruto is a relief pitcher currently playing for the Tucson Sidewinders (Arizona Diamondbacks).
John Gall (2006 – no. 61)
When he used to pass through the Duke City with the Memphis Redbirds, obtaining John’s autograph proved to be a tough endeavor. He definitely has warmed to the local fans now that he has entered his second season in Albuquerque. Without question the fans have warmed to having Gall on the team with his .340 batting and .931 OPS averages. John is batting .430 at home and making some highlight reel style plays in the outfield. It wouldn’t be out of the question for Gall to get the call the next time the Marlins need an extra bat.
Paul Hoover (2006 – no. 212)
Hoover has already spent a little time with the parent Marlins this season where he squatted behind the dish for two games, and made the best of his seven at bats by stroking a pair of singles and a double. The consistency between Paul’s in person autograph and facsimile signature is worth pointing out.
Greg Jones (2006 – no. 259)
Here’s another prime example of signature consistency. One of the kool things about meeting these guys in person is noticing how different they can look. For example, it was immediately obvious that Jones has spent much of the time that has passed since the photo used on this card was taken and the present growing his hair. Jones is currently a relief pitcher with the Las Vegas 51s (Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles).
Bobby Keppel (2006 – no. 174)
One of the Albuquerque Isotopes starting pitchers, Keppel is currently tied with Frankie De la Cruz for the team’s best record at 6-2. With an ERA of 6.15 and WHIP hovering around 1.61, I’ll be keeping an eye on the Marlins transactions carefully as Bobby would make a fine addition to my fantasy Razzball league team.
Joe Nelson (2006 – no. 80)
This is one of those instances that if I hadn’t seen the player sign the card in person, I wouldn’t have believed it was real as the two signatures lack even a single element in common. Nelson has been Dean Treanor’s answer whenever a game has been on the line this season whether it is the ninth inning or the eighth. Joe has maintained a limboesque ERA of 2.10 and WHIP of 0.90 over 19 appearances, and racked up a record of 1-1 with 11 saves in the process. Nelson has struck out an impressive 36 batters over 25.2 innings, while issuing only 6 base on balls, hitting one batter and serving up only one long ball. While a call up to Florida would be great news for Nelson, it would be a major blow to the fans in Albuquerque, and would present a major challenge to Dean Treanor and pitching coach Rich Gale.