5. Former Durham Bulls in the Majors
The ultimate goal of a minor league team is to graduate players to the Major Leagues. Even if they do not end up playing for the Rays in the long term, it is still cool to watch a baseball game and see somebody in there from the Bulls. This year's Topps Update set offered several Durham Bulls, but since this post is using five(ish) cards I am going to limit this section of my blog post to exactly five cards.
First, there are the normal Minor League types who get called up to the Majors and make the team. Mahtook was a high draft pick by the Rays out of LSU and Andriese was in the Brad Boxberger/Logan Forsythe trade with the Padres. Both players had been with the Bulls before this season and had proven their worth to the Rays.
Then there are a few former Durham Bulls who are good stories. Joey Butler was a career Minor Leaguer who started the year out in Durham, but spent the majority of the summer with the Rays playing well in his first extended stay in the Majors. Sometimes players like Butler can fly under the radar in the Update sets, great to see Topps get him a card.
Stephen Vogt has an All-Star card in the set. He was kind of a forgotten player with the Rays and ended up being more or less dumped in a conditional trade to the A's. Awesome to see him get a little recognition for his good play this year with a trip to the All-Star game.
and then there is this card. Yes, Travis Shaw is a nice looking prospect for the Red Sox, but Allan Dykstra is also on the card. Last summer he won the Triple A All-Star Game home run derby in Durham. He signed a minor league deal with the Rays, spent time in the Majors during April, but was released in the middle of the summer. He still has the championship belt.....
4. Former Cardinals on the All-Star Team
It was great to see Albert Pujols regain some of his power this summer, although his slash line was down across the board, and make the American League All-Star team. Shelby Miller was a really good story this year. Sure, his win-loss record was something terrible, but he still pitched well for the Braves and seems to be an important part of the team's future.
3. Current Cardinals All-Stars
2. Jason Heyward on the Cardinals
I'm not sure if the Cardinals are going to sign Heyward. I have enjoyed watching him play this year, but this card could be just about the last wearing a Cardinals uniform, or this could be the start of a long run of cards with him in Cardinal red.
1. Rookie Cards
The best part of buying Update sets is the rookie cards. I liked the Joey Gallo and Kris Bryant cards the best. I swear that's Joey Gallo in all of that Gatorade. Pretty cool card. The Bryant card is a little simpler, but it's always nice to see a card with Wrigley Field in the background.