Category Archives: Mets Prospects

Anthony Young

Young Gold Leaf

Anybody remember Anthony Young? This was the guy that seemed like a more logical choice for Mets Gold Leaf rookie. Young went 15-3 with a 1.65 ERA in the minors in 1990 and looked ready to beat the world in 1991. And he did pretty well, going 2-5 with a 3.10 ERA and 118 OPS+ in 10 games in 1991. He had a rookie learning curve in 1992, going 2-14 with a 4.17 ERA and 83 ERA+ in 1992, but rebounded in 1993. Unfortunately, so much of pitching back then was about WINS so all people saw was his 1-16 record and not the fact that he had a 107 ERA+. Sure, he had some issues, no question, but unfortunately that was it for him in New York.
 
This is another example of how beautiful those all-blue Spring Training uniforms were for the Mets back then, and the pose is pretty crazy, on top of it. Unfortunately, it loses some points for his face being obscured, but I still think it’s a solid example from the set. 

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Prospect Auto: Butch Huskey

1996 Leaf Signature Series

1996 Leaf Signature Series

Butch was a sensation in New York for a hot minute when he went crazy one spring training. Of course, I knew of him before that, but thought he was finally living up to his potential. Uh, no. When he actually faced major league pitching that year, he ended up with a 52 OPS+ and an anemic .189 BA. He did manage to hang around until 2000, which is a lot longer than I thought, and even posted some above-100 OPS+s  over the years, but his defense was absolutely abysmal. Was it his weight? Who can say for sure.
 
Anyway, the Leaf Signature set was a dream for getting autographs of some of the prospects from my early days of collecting, and this was one of the first autographs I picked up from that set. I’m not as crazy about this one as some of the others in the set (which I will be showing over time), but hey, it was a way to get Huskey’s auto.

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Pete Schourek

Schourek Gold Leaf

Winding down toward the end of the 1991 Leaf Gold Rookies set now, here is another choice that completely baffled me. Looking back, I suppose I can somewhat understand it – in 1990, Schourek went 16-5 with a 2.57 ERA at three separate levels – all the way up to AAA at the tender age of 21. I’m actually kind of surprised after seeing that that he wasn’t hyped more in prospecting circles. I guess his track record previous to that year might have been working against him (cumulative record of 9-14 from age 18 to age 20). Turns out that those years were more indicative of his future career: he had a good 1995, but ended up with a career 91 ERA+ over 11 seasons. I am impressed he lasted that long…but baffled why it happened.
 
As for the card itself, this is yet another sharp photo for the set. I really like the different blues, with the orange popping out in the middle. I wish there was more photography along these lines today.

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Gregg Jefferies

Jefferies Fan Favorite

Okay, so I chose a slightly different version of this card for my expose, but let’s be frank: a lot of people have covered that card in a hundred better ways than I could. I’m far more interested in the concept of the Gregg Jefferies Future Star card, for you see, this was the genesis of my teenage prospecting. I pulled this card from a pack of 1989 Topps and was trading with friends with no knowledge of how special the card was supposed to be (three WHOLE dollars, folks). To me, he seemed like some no-name that I was only too happy to trade for a handful of Jose Canseco cards. It was only once the trade was complete that the group revealed my folly: I had traded a three-dollar card for about 75 cents. I felt humiliated, and swore it wouldn’t happen again.
 
So I went out and started reading up on prospects, determined to get the best of others. Star players no longer meant anything to me; it was all about the rush of grabbing up prospects who would later be the dollar or higher cards that I could spin out. Of course, I had no idea that the industry was conspiring against that plan, but I was a kid. I thought I was smarter than all the other collectors.
 
It would warp my view of the hobby and take me years to get back to just enjoying the cards.  Damn you, Gregg Jefferies.

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