Monday, April 28, 2014

Collecting the Durham Bulls: Jerry Sands

The Durham Bulls always do a really good job taking players with a little Major League experience and turn them into MVP candidates in the International League.  You can see it coming in spring training.  The Rays, like all Major League teams sign a few players to minor league contracts, offer them an invite to tryout during Spring Training, and end up spending their summer with the Durham Bulls.  Rather Crash Davis like. The list is long.  There was Midre Cummings, Kevin Witt, Dan Johnson, Chris Richard, Leslie Anderson, Shelley Duncan, Vince Belnome.  This year there is Jerry Sands. 

You have this feeling sometimes that players are going to play great in Durham.  You can see it a mile away.  First, Sands is from nearby Smithfield, North Carolina.  Hometown guys cannot let down the crowd.  Sands has played 70 games in the Majors with the Dodgers and was basically a .250 hitter with a few dingers.  His minor league track record has been pretty good up until last year.  Jerry Sands routinely flashed good power in the minors and also had a good knack for getting on base with an OBP routinely over .350.  Last year he batted just above the Mendoza line, with an OBP just above .300 with only 7 homers. 

The potential has always been there, but Sands is playing great so far in Durham. 

In 24 games so far this season Sands has posted a line of .329/.410/.635 with 6 home runs and 8 doubles.  I've been really impressed with his performance.  Here's a quick video I took earlier this year of Sands drawing a walk off of the Gwinnett Braves Daniel Rodriguez.  

Card wise Sands has a pretty deep checklist on cardboard.  He is in a ton of the 2010 Topps products.  High end, low end and with tons of autographs.  If you are looking for a just a plain rookie card I would highly recommend his 2010 Topps Finest card.  I love the look of these cards.  It's got a nice finish, but can easily be found for right around a dollar.  

Autographs of Sands are plentiful.  I only actually own one autograph of Sands, but I am thinking about adding a few nice looking ones.  The cheapest and easiest Sands autograph out on the market is his base Topps autograph from the 2011 set.  I found a copy a few months ago during spring training for just $2 shipped.  His end autographs are not much more expensive.  Sands is quickly becoming a fan favorite of the Bulls and I am not sure how I can pass over adding a few more Sands autographs to the collection.

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