Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Pair of Panini USA Baseball Cards

I have slowly been assembling cards from the 2013 Panini USA Baseball set and picked up two more great cards for my collection during the past week.  I am not trying to put together a complete set or anything, but rather just gather some of the good Cardinals and NC State players appearing in the set.  I might sprinkle in a couple other cool cards along the way too.

First up this morning is a jersey card from NC State junior to be Carlos Rodon.  Keith Law on ESPN is already projecting him as the first overall pick in next year's draft and most would be surprised if he fell very far past the first couple of picks.

2013 Panini USA Baseball Carlos Rodon Jersey Card

Rodon is a left-handed power pitcher and has the Verlander-esque quality of actually ramping up his velocity during the course of a game.  He might start out a game throwing 92-93 and by the fifth inning is sitting at 95-96.  One of his best performances of the year was during the ACC tournament against UNC.  Rodon pitched 10 innings, allowed 1 hit, 1 unearned run, and struck out 14.  UNC has several top offensive prospects including Colin Moran.

The value of his cards is already pretty much sky high for a guy who has not thrown an inning of professional baseball.  Perhaps they will fall a little bit out of season, but I am not counting on much of a slide.  His autographs are generally pushing triple digits in price.  Hate to say that Rodon has priced himself out of my market, but I generally do not push the envelope gambling on high end prospect cards.  

2013 Panini USA Baseball Kolten Wong Autograph 

My second card this morning is an autograph from Cardinals second base prospect Kolten Wong.  The Cardinals currently have Matt Carpenter playing second, but many people believe that Wong will still get a chance at second with Carpenter returning back to his natural position of third base.  That means that third baseman David Freese is likely trade bait, or will be non-tendered at the end of the season.  

Second base has been a bit of a revolving door for the Cardinals during the past decade.  There was Bo Hart, Tony Womack, Mark Grudzielank, Aaron Miles, Hector Luna, Ronnie Belliard, Adam Kennedy,  Julio Lugo, Skip Schumaker, Daniel Descalso, and Carpenter.  Not exactly the model of stability.  The Cardinals are hoping that Wong will hold down the position a little bit longer than some of his predecessors.  

Currently Wong is posting a .298/.358/.466 line in AAA Memphis.  He's, by all accounts, a solid defender too.  I am guessing he will get a call up in September and will compete for the starting job next year.  

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