Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Collecting the Durham Bulls: Mikie Mahtook

I have been waiting for Mikie Mahtook to show up in Durham the last few years.  I have caught glimpses of him on different highlights and liked what I saw.  Mahtook was a great college player at LSU and was selected by the Rays in the first round of the 2011 draft.  If you read most scouting reports of Mahtook they will rate his skills above average across the board, but he does not have one stand out skill.  Here are his career minor league stats including his first week and a half of play at Triple A. 


Really the thing that stands out the most to me is the OBP.  I always try to think of .350 as being the ideal floor for an outfielder which Mahtook is below.  This year he is at .396 so far, but he only has 2 walks in almost 50 plate appearances.  It's something to work on, but I still think that Mahtook will be on the Rays sooner rather than later and he will contribute to the team.  In someways he reminds me a little bit of Jon Jay, but he can actually cover the outfield. 



Mahtook has a ton of cardboard.  High draft choices always get a decent share of baseball cards, but Mahtook was one of the best college players in the game entering the draft and has a pretty good fan following which always helps the cause.  His first few cards actually are in a USA Baseball uniform from his time with the college all-star team including autographs.  At times these autographed cards can be a little bit pricey, given the type of player he is likely to become at the next level, but can found for less than $10 if you are patient. Of course, you can always opt for unsigned too.  Panini has a few nice base Mahtook cards that can be found for a dollar or two. 


Let's get back to the autographs.  Mahtook has been a great signer.  His USA Baseball autographs can drift a little bit higher than some of his other certified autographs.  Particularly his Bowman Platinum USA Baseball autograph which is in a great 2010 set.  You are paying for a Mahtook autograph, but you are also paying for the fact that it's in the same set as lots of other great autographs (including a very nice Steven Strasburg card).  His other autographs are almost always less than $5 on Ebay.  


His Bowman Platinum autograph from the 2012 set is one of my favorites.  It features a really nice on-card signature and is readily available several different places around the secondary card market cheap.  Mahtook also had a nice autograph in the 2013 Topps Heritage Minor League set.  It's a sticker autograph, but...


really you are getting an autograph for less than $5 and let's be honest about something.  Mahtook has a cool signature and he's not one of these guys who signs his 250 cards in 10 minutes.  All of his autographs look neat, nice, and actually look like he spent time and effort to sign.  Thank you.  One more really cool card.. 


 
There are relic cards of Mahtook and they are inexpensive.  Whose relic cards aren't inexpensive these days?  Collectors are a little bit bored with relic cards and it shows in the pricing.  However, I love these minor league manufactured patch cards that Topps has put out in the past few years.  I know that I have had a great time tracking down copies of the Durham Bulls cards like this and think this Charlotte Stone Crabs card of Mikie Mahtook is a cool find too.  

Overall, if you are a fan of the Rays, or Durham Bulls, and are looking for a player with loads of cards to collect this is a good player to look into.  While Mahtook has a lot of different cards for a Minor League most are very affordable and look pretty cool too.

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