Saturday, April 12, 2014

Collecting the Durham Bulls: Kevin Kiermaier

A few injury issues for the Rays have forced my hand on this post.  Kiermaier was high up on my list of players for this line of posts, but we will go ahead and cross him off the list since he was called up by the Rays Thursday afternoon.  I really like Kiermaier and would love to see him back in Durham, but at the same time, if he just stayed in Tampa the rest of the season I would not complain.  That being said, it was a great day for a Bulls game on Thursday, and I missed seeing Kiermaier in the lineup. 


Back Kiermaier.  The Rays drafted the speedy outfielder from Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois during the 31st Round of the 2010 MLB Draft.  He was actually called up to the Rays at the very end of last season and was actually on the team's initial playoff roster appearing in the American League Wildcard Game as a defensive sub.  Kevin Kiermaier does not appear on the Top 20 Prospects list for the Rays, but I would imagine their is a spot for him somewhere on the roster as a good glove, speedy and smart base runner, and an underrated bat.  He's actually shown a little bit of pop at the beginning of this season which carried over from last season's International League playoffs.



Card wise Kiermaier has a few options out on the market for collectors.  He has not appeared in a Bowman set yet, but has two Topps issued cards both from 2011.  The first is a Topps Pro Debut which uses the base 2011 Topps design, but pictures the players in their minor league uniform.  


In this case Kiermaier is a Princeton Ray.  He also has a card in the 2011 Topps Heritage Minor League set and is wearing a Bowling Green Hot Rods jersey on the card.  Kiermaier also has all of the usual team issued cards from the different minor league stops before Durham including Montgomery and Princeton.  

What about something higher end?  Another collector asked me a few days ago when I started this thread about finding nicer cards for some of these players.  The answer is two fold.  First, if they are on the Durham Bulls they have made it to AAA and there is a pretty good chance they will get some big league playing time.  That will result in more cards, more cards, and probably better cards.  Second, is to chase the extremely limited print runs and printing plates of the cards that are available.  For example, Kiermaier's Topps Pro Debut Printing Plate sold last month on Ebay. 

 

I know printing plates can be tricky to find, but if you are patient and are willing to spend roughly $20 it's not totally impossible.  More on this when we get to Vince Belnome. 



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