Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 Durham Bulls Team Set

I cannot tell you how long these cards have been out, and I bought them the first week they were for sale, but for some reason they did not get posted at any point during the season.  I actually found them a few days back while I was putting away a few other cards in a box I have with different minor league team sets and minor league single cards.  For those who have seen my card room in person, you'd be hard pressed to believe this, but I actually put the cards right away when I got home from the game.

Not sure what was happening that week that would make me do such a thing.  Usually they sit on a shelf or my desk for a week or two before they are put into some sort of stack and shuffled away to a box.  Found the International League All-Star set too, that will be later in the week.  Like tomorrow.

Here are the cards with a little commentary......

There are a lot of solid names in the first batch of cards:

  • Blake Snell is one of the Rays top pitching prospects and will spend the entire 2017 season in Tampa after beginning last season with the Bulls.  
  • Motter was traded from the Rays this offseason to the Mariners along with Richie Shaffer in the second row.  The M's have Motter on their roster at the moment, it would be nice to see him get some playing time.  Shaffer went to the Mariners, was released and signed by the Phillies, and was released again and signed by the Reds.  
  • Mahtook, Franklin, and Maile have all spent time in the Majors.  Not sure what their roles will be next year, but each of them would seem to have a decent shot of being in Tampa.  At the same time, it won't shock me if all three are back in Durham.  
  • Schultz is sort of the hidden gem out of this group.  He attended college at a small school in North Carolina (High Point) and was drafted by the Rays in the 14th Round of the 2013 Draft.  Since he has struck out more than 11 batters per 9 in almost 80 starts through four different levels of Minor League ball.  His last two seasons he struck out more than 160 in 130 innings.  He's one to watch.  

There are some older players in this grouping of cards along with some fringy prospects.  Decker, Arencibia, Sappington have all seen a decent amount of playing time in the Majors.  Varona is a Cuban defector who seems like he will likely be a AAAA player, Floro has a little potential for the next level as a ground ball specialist out of the bullpen, and Belletti would also be a bullpen arm.  That really leaves two players to chat about.....

  • Robertson was a highly regarded prospect in the A's system before he was traded for Ben Zobrist.  He's just 22 and played his first season in Triple A last year.  He had a decent .259/.358/.356 line.  Obviously the OBP makes up for the average, but that slugging percentage is too low.  The Rays have another hot shortstop prospect, Willy Adames, who should be in Durham in 2017.  Curious to see what happens to Robertson.
  • Field was apart of Arizona's College World Series winner a few seasons back and has made his was through the Rays system in the past three seasons.  He has some pop in his bat for a little a guy, more than 50 extra base hits last year and a slugging percentage over .450, but his OBP has dropped significantly since getting past A Ball.  In two A ball stops Field was at .367 and .396, since he has gone .329, .301, and 338.  You can't steal first.  

This grouping of cards is all older guys with limited potential in the Majors.  The whole group is over 25, while some Rays fans consider Seitzer somewhat of a prospect, he is not.  Nope.  

Last three.  The mascot, but not the one from the movie, Wool E. Bull is one of the better sports mascots around in any sport.  Really good.  Snyder has been the pitching coach the last few seasons.  He went to UNC, so there is a local connection, and he seems to give my son a ball (we often sit near the bullpen) almost every time we are at the game.  Ozzie Timmons is Ozzie Timmons, pretty awesome.  


  1. I like the design pretty well this year. I can't believe I haven't picked up a set so far.

    1. The team sets seem to always linger around for a year or two. The International League sets always seem to go quickly though. I like the design on the Bulls set, but I also really liked a bunch of the players in this set. At the time this set was released Motter only had one card out, eager to get the second.

  2. I am really excited to see what Richie Shaffer can do with a new organization and my favorite team, the Reds. He was a top prospect with the Rays' organization but one bad season and suddenly he was expendable. He has bounced around this off-season with four different teams and finally landed with the Reds. I really hope that he finds his stroke in spring training. The Reds are in full rebuild mode and right field is calling his name!

    1. One of the biggest problems I have had with the Rays handling of the Bulls players is the number of times they send the players back and forth between Durham and Tampa, failing to provide consistent playing time. There was a really good write up last summer, I want to say it was in the Tampa Bay Times, that looked at the playing time of Mahtook shuffling back and forth. He sat in Tampa when they called him up, they sent him down, and had a hard time getting back into the rotation of outfielders. I think the same thing can be said for several other players like Motter and Shaffer. I hope both do well in their new homes, I think both have more upside than the players like Beckham and Mahtook. Looking forward to seeing Shaffer crank out some dingers, just not against the Cardinals....