"Expect the unexpected" is a phrase you hear all too often, especially in sports. 2004 Red Sox in the ALCS, The US National Hockey team in 1980 against the Soviet Union, and the 2004 Detroit Pistons were all unexpected winners in their respective sports. You can't predict these, right? Well, baseball statisticians try to do just that to predict what will happen with a batted ball when it's hit.
Expected Batting Average (xBA): Replacing hit probability, xBA is the likelihood a batted ball will become a base hit. This factors in exit velocity, launch angle, and, one weakly hit balls, sprint speed. xBA also accounts for the spot on the field that the ball is hit to, which is why you see defenses shifting to where the batter typically hits. The average xBA last year was .250. Last years leaders include Howie Kendrick (.336), Cody Bellinger (.323), and DJ LeMahieu (.322).
What's important to look at here with the batters is the spread of what their actual batting average was to what the numbe...
Topps Series 2 rolls out this Friday and brings with it the design from Series 1. Topps did add some special inserts to spice up the checklist.
Base Cards: Picking up where Series 1 left off at #350, this set starts at #351 and goes until #700. Noteable rookies include Luis Robert, Shogo Akiyama, and Brusdar Graterol. The base set includes thirteen parallels with three separate 1/1 printing plates. There are eight base variations including Randy Johnson, Tom Seaver, and Will Clark. There's also a 100 card Clear variation that are numbered out of 10.
Inserts: As mentioned before, there are a good number of inserts in this set. Below is the list with quick synopsis of each:
1985 Topps Baseball (All Star and Chrome subsets): A tribute to the 1985 set.
Best Of Topps Now: An appreciation to an online only card that commemorates special moments throughout the previous season.
Decades' Best (Chrome subset): Each decades best players and teams.
Draft Day Medallions: Recent picks with medallions comm...
Number three in the series deserves some deep advanced statistics. Ever wonder why Yadier Molina's speed in MLB The Show is a zero? Read to find out:
Barrel: This uses exit velocity and launch angle based off of the pitches speed to determine the optimal launch angle. I personally love this statistic because it can be used for both pitchers and hitters.To be classified as a "Barreled ball", the pitch must have an exit velocity of at least 98mph. This at 99mph, the optimal launch angle is between 25-31 degrees. The range increases the faster the pitches exit velocity is. This is sort of a double-edged sword that high velocity pitchers deal with. If you throw 98mph+, it's easier to put the ball over the fence because the ball has done most of the work. You just have to match that speed to redirect the ball, but hitters that try to match this speed often strike out. Last year, the top three leaders in barrels per at bat were Nelson Cruz (12.5% barrels per at bat), Gary Sanchez (11.7%), and...
This week, three new products to rip are being released: Panini Prizm, Topps Finest, and Topps Pro Debut. Each set features tweaks and adjustments to last years versions.
2020 Panini Prizm:
Release Date: June 17th, 2020
Product Details: Panini refreshed the look of their Prizm cards for this year's set. Featuring a 300 card base set and 18 parallels (yes, the donuts are back), Prizm is arguably better looking than it’s competitors Topps Chrome. Panini also added a bunch of different ways to buy the product which each have exclusive parallels. Swing over to Panini’s to check out the different ways to buy. Inserts in the set include Brilliance, Illumination, Instant Impact, Numbers Game, and Star Gazing. Prizm also features a Machines set which is a set catered to the games top players. The case hit for Prizm is Color Blast or Gems card. Color blast reminds me of the Diamond Kings that we’ve opened already with a vibrant background. There are three sets of autographs in this set; Prospect S...
Diamond Kings has always been a set bolstered by the artists energetic colors and abstract designs. The 2020 version of Diamond Kings is no different. The set features a 100 card base set with 70 short prints. Given that this is a smaller base set, Panini added a bunch of inserts. The pack layout tends to be 5 base cards, followed by an insert and ending with either a short print base card or an All Time Diamond King card.
DK Delong is a call back to the only year of the DeLong card set. Created in 1933, this 24 card set featured mostly hall of famers, like Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Fox, with tips on how to play baseball on the backs of each card. This set only ran for one year due to Goudey releasing their set the same year.
The other DK call back is the DK 206. Every collector knows the Honus Wagner T206 card, viewed as the most valuable card in the hobby. The T206’s were featured on cigarette packs in the early 1900’s and are extremely rare. DK 206 is a representation of that with forme...
Topps has done a great job with their Bowman prospect cards especially in the past two years. Wander Franco and Jasson Dominguez have hobby lovers yanking Bowman out of the suppliers hands before it even gets on the shelves. Granted, most people are selling these cards right off because of the uncertainty of these top prospects. Here’s a couple of once thought of top prospects that didn’t exactly pan out.
Lastings Milledge: Milledge played 3B and pitcher most of his life before making it to the majors. Thanks to his electric bat, Milledge was a heart of the order hitter. Baseball America named him the best 16 year old in the US. He was drafted 12th overall by the Mets in 2003. In 2004, he broke his hand in Spring Training, but came back strong with 13HR 58RBI and 23 stolen bases to end the season. Going into 2005, Milledge was ranked the 11th best prospect in the league. He shot through AA and AAA and in May of 2006, he made his Major League debut. In 2007, Milledge suffered a foot inju...
This Friday marks the release of 2020 Bowman Baseball. This yearly release focuses on the new prospects that were recently drafted along with some other MLB players and older prospects. Players like Bobby Witt Jr, Adley Rutschman, and Andrew Vaughn highlight the set. Bowman is considered the go to for a players “1st” card because this will be their first set with their drafted teams. These Bowman 1st’s tend to be the players most valued card. Like always, it’s split between it’s paper and chrome base sets. Each of those sets have their own parallels with more chrome parallels than paper:
For the collectors out there, the paper firsts are always a good, inexpensive add to the PC. The extensive level of parallels on the chrome side make it a fun challenge to collect the rainbow of your favorite player. Their main attraction is the autograph set in Chrome. They are split in between prospects and rookies and the retail side now features some paper autos.
Hello Everyone! I wanted to update everyone on some changes to the BREAK POINT system. This new point structure will be a lot easier to keep track of and to easier to earn more points. Moving forward, here is how points will be awarded...
SPEND $10-$19.99 - EARN 1 BREAK POINT
SPEND $20-$29.99 - EARN 2 BREAK POINTS
SPEND $30-$39.99 - EARN 3 BREAK POINTS
SPEND $40-$49.99 - EARN 4 BREAK POINTS
SPEND $50-$69.99 - EARN 7 BREAK POINTS
SPEND $70-$99.99 - EARN 10 BREAK POINTS
SPEND $100+ - EARN 15 BREAK POINTS
Points will be earned on SINGLES, SUPPLIES, & BREAK PURCHASES
Look for this icon on any page from the shop to check your balance or create an account!
Design: Topps refreshed the design of Gypsy Queen from 2019 by moving the logo to the top left of the card, rather than the center bottom. They also rearranged the nameplate to feature the last name first with the first initial and position following as well as getting rid of the year across the top of the card.
Uniqueness: Gypsy Queen is unique as it bases it’s design off of the 1887 N174 Gypsy Queen set. It’s inserts are based on psychic’s and their ability to tell the future. The Fortune Teller minis and Tarot of the Diamond inserts crosses the supernatural with baseball.
Checklist: Each box contains two autographs, one chrome topper, four Fortune Teller Mini cards, three Tarot of the Diamond cards, and one Legend base set card. There are plenty of parallels for the base set as well:
In a recent break we had, I asked about the significance of the cup that was on the card of Yordan Alvarez. Topps features the cup on certain players in their Topps and Heritage products. They refer to as the "Topps All-Star Rookie Cup" and would imply that the player made the All-Star Game as a rookie. That is not always the case...
Back in 1960, Topps rolled out what they called their “Topps All-Star Rookie Team”. This consisted of a full infield and outfield plus two pitchers (a RHP and a LHP). The first set, which commemorated the 1959 rookies had the phrase “Selected by the youth of America” on it. This set was most famous for Willie McCovey. Topps dropped the “Selected by the youth of America” the year after and rolled on until their 1973 release where they added the infamous Cup. Weirdly enough, they didn’t add it for the 1974 season as well as for 1979 to 1985. In those off years the All-Star rookies were still picked and I can’t find out why they didn’t add that Cup on there. M...