Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mas Souza!

The most impressive International League player I saw last summer was Nationals prospect Steven Souza.  He spent last summer playing for the Nationals Triple A team in Syracuse.  I saw them play twice in Durham last summer, but also had a chance to see Souza play for the International League All-Star too.  What impressed with Souza?  He hit for average, he hit for speed, he runs the bases well, and plays a good outfield.  

In all Souza played only 96 games in Triple A last year, but hit .350/.432/.590 with 18 home runs, 25 doubles, and 26 steals.  It ended up being good enough to win the International League MVP and a promotion up to Washington.  While he did not hit during his brief stint up in DC, Souza did help Jordan Zimmerman seal a no-hitter with an awesome catch.  Everyone has seen that play, no video clips this morning.  

So, in a decade of watching minor league baseball I cannot think of another time that I was overly impressed with a player and then saw the Rays or Cardinals trade for the player.  When I first moved to Durham I saw Dustin Pedroia and Jon Lester play for Pawtucket.  Really impressive duo, but the Red Sox decided to hold onto the pair.  Worked out pretty well.  Joey Votto with the Reds, I could go on and on.  

With all of the trades and changes that happened with the Rays this off season I was really happy to see the team pick up Souza.  I understand that there is a lot of love for Will Myers around Durham and Tampa, but Souza is a really good talent.  

I am still not sure where he will start next year, I'd be open to an appearance in Durham, but if he starts in Tampa that's not a bad thing either.  In the meantime, I started picking up Souza cards last summer and have decided I should probably continue.   My latest Souza addition comes from the 2014 Panini National Treasures set.

I could not have made that scan more crooked.  Anyway, this is the second autographed card I have picked up from the set.  Like all Panini products I cringe slightly at the fact that there are no logos on the card.  The fact that Panini is using acetate slates instead of sticker autographs makes me slightly happier.  After his 2014 Topps Update card, this is Souza's second autograph of the year.  This card is not bare bones cheap the Topps autograph, but I suspect most of the slight mark up is due to the fact that the National Treasures set has been pretty well received by most collectors.  

I am happy to have this card in the collection and will be on the look out for some more Souza cards next year.  Hopefully we won't have to wait too long to see a Souza card with the Rays.  

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