DeGrom could make 2014 Heritage High Numbers set more interesting for Mets fans

Jacob deGrom (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Jacob deGrom (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

I’m still working on the Mets team set from the regular release of this year’s Topps Heritage set, but that’s probably not stopping Topps from giving me a few more cards to chase next month.

For the third consecutive year, Topps will release a limited edition 100-card Heritage High Numbers update set in October. For approximately $100, you get the update series plus a random autograph – last year’s checklist of signers included exciting stars like Yasiel Puig and Jose Fernandez, as well as a bunch of players like Brandon Maurer and Darin Ruf.

I don’t have the cash lying around to play the Topps Heritage lottery, but I imagine you can do pretty well if you’re lucky and can turn the cards around quickly. Team collectors will want the base set singles, and rookie cards of players like Jose Abreu and Masahiro Tanaka should attract a larger pool of buyers. Get a decent autograph in the set(s) you buy, and you’re looking at a nice potential profit.

Topps hasn’t released a checklist for this year’s set yet, but I imagine it will be more interesting to me as a Mets fan than the first two releases were.

I still need to track down last year’s Zack Wheeler card (I think I did get John Buck‘s at some point last winter.)  I’m pretty sure I got Jon Niese, Andres Torres, Jordany Valdespin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis from 2012.

With the exception of Wheeler, who already had plenty of rookie cards by the time Topps Heritage High Numbers came out last year, none of the featured Mets players have been all that exciting and some weren’t even Mets by the time collectors had the cards in-hand.

This year might be a different story. Aside from a digitally-manipulated prospect card in this year’s Bowman set, Jacob deGrom has not appeared on a nationally-issued baseball card yet. A rookie autograph redemption in this year’s Topps Finest Set is selling well out of my price range and is limited to 100 copies. (Who knows when the actual cards will be delivered.)

Beckett Media mentions that deGrom is among the tentative signers for this year’s Heritage High Numbers set. That may be a redemption card, too, but it probably means he’s part of the base set as well.

And that would be a card I’d remember adding to my collection.

An ugly situation in Queens

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I’d rather be talking about the remaining pennant races, making playoff predictions or showing off some cool baseball cards.

I’d probably even have more fun trying to guess Sandy Alderson‘s plans for improving the Mets this winter.

But I keep coming back to a story that broke last week.

At SI.com, columnist Emma Span rightly criticizes outgoing MLB Commissioner Bud Selig for turning a blind eye towards a troubling situation in Queens.

I’m not talking about the Mets’ payroll – as a fan, I wish they’d do more to acquire the talent they need to become a pennant contender, but I don’t pretend to understand enough about high finance to know whether the team is in violation of baseball’s “internal economic rules.”

Former Mets executive Leigh Castergine‘s lawsuit against the team and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon alleges that she was discriminated against and ultimately fired for being a single mother.

The Mets issued a statement saying that the claims in the suit are without merit.

I believe in due process, and that’s really the only reason I can continue to be a Mets fan while Jeff Wilpon maintains an important leadership role with the team.

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The minor league affiliation shuffle

BaseballWe’re in the middle of the annual period where minor league baseball teams can change which major league organization they are affiliated with if their agreements have expired. This year, there seems to be a bit more activity than usual.

You can read Josh Levanthal‘s rundown of all the changes at Baseball America, but I’m just going highlight the changes that might be of interest to us in the New Jersey area.

  • The Colorado Rockies signed a two-year Player Development with the New Britain (Conn.) Rock Cats of the Double-A Eastern League. New Britain had been affiliated with the Minnesota Twins for the past 20 years. The Rockies had their original Double-A affiliate in the Eastern League, the New Haven Ravens, from 1994-98. (New Britain visits Trenton for a four-game series Aug. 31 – Sept. 3, 2015)
  • While not technically an affiliation shift, the New York Yankees will field a team in Pulaski, Va. next season that replaces the Seattle Mariners’ Appalachian League Rookie-level team. The Mariners organization decided not to continue to operate a team in that league after this season.

Wilmer Flores (and other shiny Bowman baseball cards)

Until this month, I had more or less been ready to write Wilmer Flores off. But in September, he’s beginning to look like a player who should be part of the Mets’ plans for the future.

Last night, the 23-year-old had the best game of his young career – a three-for-four performance at the plate, with two home runs, three runs scored and six RBI.

Wilmer Flores 1989 Bowman Is Back 2014 Bowman insert card

Wilmer Flores 1989 Bowman Is Back 2014 Bowman insert card

So it seems fitting to show off the sparkly “1989 Bowman Is Back” insert card I got this week as part of a lot I won on Listia. As I mentioned back in June, I think this insert series is one of the best parts of the 2014 Bowman set – they bring back good memories from the summer of 1989.

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Tempering enthusiasm for Sterling Award winners

The New York Mets' 2014 Sterling Award winners pose for a group photo before last night's game. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The New York Mets’ 2014 Sterling Award winners pose for a group photo before last night’s game. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The New York Mets recognized this year’s group of Sterling Award winners prior to last night’s game.

Dilson Herrera and Dario Alvarez have already started to make contributions at the major league level, albeit in a very limited way.  I’d like to believe they will only get better, and players like Steven Matz, Matt Reynolds and Kevin Plawecki will join them sooner rather than later.

But here’s the thing – we call minor league players “prospects” for a reason. Sometimes they don’t work out at all. Sometimes success is just reaching the major leagues and sticking for a little while in some role. Very, very rarely do they turn out to be stars.

Take a look at the players who were honored in September 2011, Sandy Alderson‘s first opportunity to hand out Sterling Awards:

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