Tag Archives: San Diego Padres

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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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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Andy Benes

Benes Topps

1989 Topps

Topps’ 1989 cards introduced me to the Draft Pick system. I was absolutely mesmerized when I pulled cards like this. I seem to remember Jim Abbott, Steve Avery, Monty Farriss, Bill Bene, Robin Ventura, and Mark Lewis joining Benes in the cards in this set (oh yes, and Ty Griffin and Willie Ansley – can’t forget those flops). They were in different uniforms – they looked a lot younger than your average star, and there was this sense of promise about them. This was a little before the Gregg Jefferies incident (which I will detail soon, very soon), so I can’t point the finger at that for my fascination with younger players. I really think it was the break in formula in the base set that did it. Seeing those cheap little uniforms fired my imagination.
Once I learned about the draft, I was completely hooked. It was like gambling on the future. How awesome was that?
As for Benes – I don’t know, he may have arguably been the best of the bunch. Avery would have overtaken him if not for overuse, and it’s debatable about his career versus Robin Ventura, but I’d take Benes over Ventura when building a team. And yet I had a lot more Ventura cards. Intriguing…

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