Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Starling Marte - Part of the Future in Pittsburgh?

Another card that I managed to pull from my packs of 2012 Bowman Platinum was this Top Prospect card of Starling Marte:

It's a great looking card - I think the color scheme goes well with the Bucco's colors and I couldn't agree more with Topps' decision to bestow the title of top prospect on Marte.   I'm no Pirates fan but I can't say that I haven't enjoyed seeing them have a second consecutive successful season.   Sure, it was my Braves that ended the last dynasty in Steel City.   I can still see a very young (and skinny!) Barry Bonds sitting in the outfield grass of Fulton County Stadium moments after that fateful slide by Sid Bream.   I was ecstatic that the Braves had pulled it off and didn't think much about what would happen to the Pirates after they parted ways.

Here we are two decades later and as any Pirates fan can tell you - it has been a tough road up until last year.   But now there is some promise in Pittsburgh.   They've pulled together a very talented club, centered around their amazing center fielder, Andrew McCutchen.   He was as hot as they come earlier in the season, cranking out HR's like nobody's business.   Garrett Jones has been pretty impressive to me, too.   He seems to be a bit of a defensive liability, but hey - what are you going to do?   If Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez and Tabata could ever all start hitting at the same time.....they could be unstoppable.

For pitching, the Bucs had a great first half of the season from James McDonald.   Not sure where his 'stuff' has gone here in the second half, but he'll be one to watch next season.   A.J. Burnett, bless his heart, has actually come through as expected for Pittsburgh - providing staff and clubhouse leadership as the team's undeniable ace.   He is finalizing some single-season pitching numbers that they haven't seen in some time.   As a Yankees fan, I'm sorry it didn't work out for A.J. in the Bronx, but I'm happy for him.

For Mr. Marte, though - he started off with a HR in his first MLB at-bat.   You can't beat that!   He cooled off a bit and everyone wondered if it was some sort of beginner's luck or if the pressure was too much for this kid.   I'd say he settled in rather nicely.   He needs to work on his patience at the plate a little bit but overall I think he contributed and met some expectations.   He could be another piece of the puzzle.   He has now in the middle of a DL stint, so I hope that he makes a quick recovery and can rejoin the team for what may be a VERY exciting finish to the season.   A pennant chase and wild card race that has the Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers and Pirates within 3 and a half games of each other?   Yes, please!   Four of baseball's classic organizations has a sweet taste to it.   I can't wait to see who the Yankees will face.....

What?   :)

Here's the back of his Top Prospect card:

Overall, these packs of Bowman Platinum were very enjoyable to rip.   The card design really grew on me.   Perhaps it was just the luck of pulling some cards of players I like and am excited about (does that help or what?), but it's the feeling I've come away with.   That being said, I won't be chasing this set.   I'll try to post up a list of the cards (base, insert, etc.) that I don't want for my collection so that you all can see what you need or want.   Gladly up for trade talks!

I've stared down some Topps Chrome a few times over the past week.   I just can't make myself pull the trigger for only 4 cards per pack - which equates to about 75 cents per card.   I know, it's all about risk and reward with the more premium releases but I just can't do it.   I think I'll save the funds for a box of Update in October.   I didn't build last year's Update set and I think I'd like to do so this year as I wrap up my final season of hand-collating sets for my son.   For now, the goal will be to stick to a factory set per year starting in '13  for him and shift focus back to my own vintage collection and 'lifetime topps' mission of completing '79 through '93.

Do you think I'll be able to stay away?   I know.....Vegas doesn't like those odds either.

Thanks for reading!

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