Tag Archives: Fleer

Dual Prospects: Brad Pounders & Jerald Clark

1989 Fleer

1989 Fleer

Brad Pounders was retired by the time this card was issued, so he’s DOA, unless you want to count him as a potato farmer. Still, he appears to have been a big power prospect for the Padres in the mid-to-late 80s, hitting 35 home runs in A ball in 1986 and 31 home runs between AA and AAA in 1987. In fact, looking closer, he was something of a Three True Outcomes guy, having a .381 OBP in 1986 and 1987 with 129 Ks in 86 and 79 in 87. I’m a bit baffled to as why he gave up – he looks like a decent enough prospect, but
 
Jerald Clark is the focus of this card now, though there was probably a time when Pounders would have been the better prospect. A 12th round pick in 1985, Clark had smacked 18 home runs in 1987 at AA Wichita, but beyond that, he had shown some decent power, never OPSing below .810 up through 1988. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite hold up when he came up to the majors. He debuted in the majors in 1988, but didn’t stick until 1990, when he had a 195/250/317 line in six games. Long-term, though, he had a decent if not spectacular major league career, finishing with a .257/.301/.408 line careerwise. He had an okay eye in the minors – not quite sure why that didn’t translate, but I surely wouldn’t call him a failed prospect.
 
Card Rating: B/D. Good choice of prospects at the time; I certainly can’t fault Fleer looking back at the guys’ numbers. This could have been a really big card at one time. Pounders really brings down the overall value of their careers, though. Clark on his own I would rate a C/C+, but Pounders’ F brings down the grade overall. Not a valuable card, but interesting nostalgia.

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Filed under Padres Prospects

Dual Prospects: Luis De Los Santos & Jim Campbell

1989 Fleer

1989 Fleer

New feature for Teen Prospector…I want to look at the cards from the past that feature multiple rookies and grade them both on the quality of the prospects at the time as well as how their careers worked out. These cards have always been fun for me, even if they went nowhere, so I thought it would be excellent to take a look at them.
 
So, Luis De Los Santos first. Selected in the second round in 1984, he was a corner OF/1B/DH type who had shown almost no power but could hit for a decent if not spectacular average. My guess is that he was expected to develop into a power hitter, but it just never came; the most home runs he ever hit was six in 1988, when he earned his promotion to the majors (to be fair, he did hit .307 that year). In 11 games in 1988, he hit .091/.231/.227. How did that earn him this card? Haven’t a clue. Guess it was the AAA numbers. He fared a little better in 1989, going .253/.293 (ick)/.310 in 28 major league games at the age of 22.
 
Yes, that’s correct, he’s 21 in that picture. I can’t believe it, either. Anyway, he never did much better, only getting one more year in the majors in 1991, when he managed a 25 OPS+. He bounced around the minors for a couple of years, but was dropped out of organized baseball in 1993, at the age of 26.
 
Jim Campbell was one of a million men so named in major and minor league history. A 32nd round pick in 1987, it’s a little baffling as to why he even made this card. Sure, he went 6-0 with a 0.73 ERA in short-season A in 1987 at the age of 21 (no great feat), but he was a pedestrian 4-3 with a 3.60 at AA Memphis in 1988. What was Fleer looking at here? He wouldn’t even make the majors until 1990, when he went 1-0 with a 46 ERA+ in two games. And that was it for his major league career. Nice pick, Fleer!
 
Card Rating: F/F. Poor choice of prospects to begin with, and neither made a dent career-wise. Best used as kindling.

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Filed under Royals Prospects

Guillermo Velasquez

1993 Fleer Final Edition

1993 Fleer Final Edition

Guillermo is a forgotten power-hitting prospect for the Padres. Signed as a free agent out of Mexico, he slugged 21 home runs in his third year in the minors, 1991, and got the attention of the Padres.  He also hit .295 that year, but here’s where it gets baffling. Moved up to the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League the following year, his average went up (as expected) to .309, but his homers fell to seven. That was good enough for a cup of coffee in 1992, where he had a 116 OPS+ in 15 games. In 1993 he boosted his average to .333 and got another promotion to the Majors, where he had a 50 OPS+ in 79 games, performing mostly in a platoon role when Fred McGriff went down with an injury. That was his last year in the majors, and he hung around in the minors until 1995. He resurfaced in the Mexican leagues in 2005, performing fairly well that first year but going down quickly.
 
I’m not sure how I feel about 1993 Fleer – it’s just kind of there. I mean, this shot is okay, but it never jumped out at me, and the design is pretty bland. Still, I remember being pretty excited about this guy for some reason, so I needed to feature him here.

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Denny Neagle

1991 Fleer Ultra

1991 Fleer Ultra

My oh my, Denny Neagle. What a checkered history this guy ended up having. In 1991, though, Neagle was just a top Twins pitching prospect, part of a bounty of pitchers that the Twins were supposed to be graduating at that time. He had won 20 games between two levels in 1990, putting up ridiculous numbers and good-looking peripherals. I had scooped every card of the guy I could, including the then-bizarre Fleer Ultra 91 card.
 
I’m not sure just what Fleer was trying to achieve with this set. Was it meant to compete with Upper Deck? Because while the stock might have been there, the design was nowhere close, nor was the photography. And, of course, it already looked hilariously outdated compared to sets like Stadium Club. I bought the cards because they had a lot of prospects that I thought might pan out, but I didn’t like the design at all. Of course, Ultra found its stride the next year, but 1991 was an absymal year for the set.
 
Neagle was actually similar. He took some time to finally hit his stride as a major league pitcher (and you have to wonder if steroids had something to do with that). He only pitched seven games for the Twins, traded to the Pirates with Midre Cummings for John Smiley. I guess the Twins felt they had pitching to spare after that World Series victory. It didn’t quite work out that way, after all.

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Filed under Twins Prospects

Alex Cole

1990 Fleer

1990 Fleer

Oh, the sad saga of Alex Cole. I kind of remember getting this card in early 1990 and dismissing it – who the hell was this guy with the goofy glasses, anyway? Then he came up with the Indians later that year (his third team of the year, should have been a sign), and dazzled us on the basepaths. I was a kid, I was naive – I have all the excuses I need. I thought the guy was going to be an absolute superstar. He was electrifying to watch. And you know, looking at his numbers that season, he was actually a pretty damn good value as a rookie. A 108 OPS+ with speed on the basepaths and good defense is a valuable asset in centerfield.
 
He was actually pretty good in 1991, too…then the wheels seem to come off. I’m curious if he got involved in heroin at that point. It seems like something went downhill then…it took him until 1994 to recover, but by then I think the damage was done.
 
As a sad postscript to his career, he was arrested in 2001 for trafficking narcotics. He ended up pleading guilty and serving 18 months in prison. Four years later, he was served a judgment for over $30,000 for running up credit card bills under a friend’s name and failing to pay them. Well, Alex, here’s hoping you cleaned up your life. Thanks for the years of entertainment.

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Filed under Cardinals Prospects

Retro Rookie: Ellis Burks

1987 Fleer Update Glossy

1987 Fleer Update Glossy

Or as we called him, “Sille Skrub” (pronounced silly scrub). Ellis is the first in a new series here at Teen Prospector, all about the prospects and rookies who were a little before my time. I’ll be learning more about them and so, hopefully, will you too.
 
I think a lot of people know about Ellis from his later years, so I’m not going to go too in-depth there. What I want to look at is his minor league and rookie years. Ellis was Boston’s first pick in 1983, #20 overall. He hit .241 with 2 home runs in short season A-ball that year at the tender age of 18. He slowly improved after that, hitting as many as 14 homers in the minors, but never getting his BA above .273 (OBP is not available for that era of minor league ball). It’s kind of odd that he got the call in 1987, as his numbers weren’t that strong, but he did well, going 20/20 that year and making a lot of All-Rookie Teams.
 
Of course, he went on to have a productive, but not a Hall of Fame, career, but he was a pretty big star in the late 80s, when we christened him with the name. You can tell we weren’t big Red Sox fans…

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Filed under Red Sox Prospects, Retro Rookies

Nigel Wilson

Wilson 93 Fleer

Continuing on from yesterday’s entry about John Burke, here is the top Marlins prospect that I remember (although I remember him as a Blue Jay first). It’s funny, though, he was never an interesting Blue Jays prospect, and yet as soon as the Marlins drafted him #1, I became interested in him. I was a victim of expansion hype. I admit it. Of course, Wilson didn’t pan out, just as his standing in the Blue Jays system would have suggested, but that didn’t stop me from snapping up every card of him I could find.
 
And we get to the 93 Fleer Final Edition; I’ve already shown the Kevin Rogers card from this set, but didn’t comment on it. However, I was absolutely crazy about this set when it came out. It was loaded with rookies and prospects, many of which will eventually make their way here, and many of which never made an impact. Looking back, though, it’s a butt-ugly set, and I’m not sure that I would have cared if it weren’t for the prospects.

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Filed under Marlins Prospects