Another team set from my Summer Baseball Tour. This is the Mudcats set from last year when they were an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Currently they are a Braves team. Two quick notes on the set before we get into the players and scans of the cards:
1. This set is really well designed. The fronts of the cards have nice clear photography (Minor League sets can be grainy at times) and the backs of the cards have both a color photo of the player and a stat line. The stat line is not extremely rare, but it's never a given in Minor League sets. The color picture on the back is a really nice touch.
2. Looking over the checklist I was initially to disappointed to not see Francisco Lindor in the set. At some point during my time on social media last week I had discussed this set with a few fellow collectors and mentioned the fact that he was not in the set. After checking Lindor's record he was not actually with the Mudcats last year, but was there in 2013. I know I had seen Lindor last year, but he was with Columbus (AAA) for the last part of the season.
So just like the South Atlantic League set from yesterday, I am going to pick out three players from this set who are good players to keep an eye on in the future. I will pick two obvious players and then go out on a limb for one.
(Scanning is a little crooked and might be slightly disproportionate- I will lay off the water)
1. Ryan Merritt- He's the only player in this card set that is ever mentioned in anywhere on any Indians top prospects list. Merritt actually recently threw a no-hitter for the Indians Double A team in Akron. From the sounds of things, Merritt is not an overpowering pitcher, but does a good job of locating pitches. Possibility that he is a contributor to a Major League team at some point in his career.
2. Luigi Rodriguez- If you ever get the chance to watch Luigi Rodriguez he looks the part of a really good player. He's got a nice swing, the ball has a good sound coming off his bat, and he looks good in the field (he's a second baseman). The only thing missing was the numbers. His career slash line is .278/.353/.421 with a career high of 11 home runs in a season with Lake County (low A). I am not sure what exactly has happened to Luigi this year, but he seems to have finally find the results. His slugging percentage is at .508 and he has already matched his career high in home runs. Luigi also has 17 doubles, 8 triples, and 19 steals this season. He might make it to the Majors a little bit later, but still could be another good player for the Indians in the future.
Under the Radar:
3. Steve Karsay- I know, Steve Karsay already made it Majors, but he is trying to make it back as a pitching coach by working his way up through the Indians Minor League system. This was his third season working with Indians minor leaguers. This season Karsay is with Lake County in the Midwest League. Karsay seem to be well regarded as a pitching coach and there are a lot of teams that promote within to find their coaches. Hopefully Karsay makes it back to the Majors again.