Thursday, March 31, 2016

2016 Baseball Season Predictions

In just 3 days the 2016 baseball season will start and more importantly 4 days from today my Los Angeles Dodgers will be in San Diego taking on the Padres to start both of their seasons. I like all of you that are reading this probably can't wait to smell the grass and hear the bats whacking away at the balls being thrown at them. I personally will be taking in an Angel game before I catch the Dodgers in person but that is how much I love baseball and just want to be around it.

What is now a yearly tradition I am sharing my predictions on the upcoming season for all the major awards and how I think the standings and playoffs will go. That said lets get into it with the awards first.

American League :

Manager of Year : I believe the AL is going be balanced (compared to the NL) with most teams fighting for playoff spots well into August and September but I think the A.J. Hinch of the Astros is going to win the award as he will guide the Astros into the postseason once again.

Rookie of the Year : Always the hardest to handicap as you just never know which young player is going to burst onto the scene and take your breath away. I believe that Joey Gallo of the Rangers will eventually snag the award as he will be "protected" in the Texas lineup and will benefit with Beltre, Fielder and others around him so the pressure will be off of Joey and he will excel.

Cy Young : I've picked him before and even though he didn't win I am picking him again as I think Felix Hernandez of the Mariners will rise to the top once again and snag another Cy Young award.

MVP : The best everyday player will and should win. Mike Trout has been robbed twice (Donaldson last year and Cabrera in his non Triple Crown year) even though he should have won both. We are watching history in the making but the writers are giving it to players that might have a slightly better stats year. Mike will be pushed again this year but I think he pulls it out.

National League :

Manager of the Year : This is where it gets interesting so stay with me for the long run through the standings predictions. I can see Joe Maddon winning this easily but I think the Dodgers Dave Roberts wins this year for taking a surprisingly resilient team to the playoffs for the 4th year in a row.

Rookie of the Year : Award 2 and Dodger number 2 as I believe (and most of the world for that matter) Corey Seager will have a great year. and help the Dodgers back into the postseason. While he won't be as good as his 2015 September I don't think its a stretch to see him hit 280-290 with 25 home runs and 80-90 rbi's.

Cy Young : What you must think is a bias going on, here we go with award 3 with a prediction of a Dodger winning it. Kershaw has 3 awards to his name and was robbed of a 4th (New York bias in 2012) and could have won last year. That one I could live with even though there is an arguement he should have won. No way Arrieta duplicates his 2nd half 2015 season with a full 2016 season and Greinke moving to AZ will jack up his ERA. If it doesn't then he probably should win but I think Clayton will reclaim his seat on the thrown in November.

MVP : For the full sweep of awards the Dodgers.... just kidding. I believe we will see back to back winning Bryce Harper on the podium when the dust clears. He will get continue to have support as unlike last year he will guide the team into the playoffs.

Now for how I think the teams will play out over a grueling 162 game season.

American League :

East : In probably the most balance division in the Majors I think the Blue Jays prove last year was not a fluke and squeak out the title over their rivals the Red Sox. The Rays will make some noise but eventually fall by the waste side.

Central : I didn't believe the Royals could duplicate their 2014 in 2015 but they proved me wrong.and I am going to pick them to make it to the playoffs once again. The White Sox made some noise in the off season and the Tigers have Cabrera but he is a year older and not getting any better. In the end the the Royals are on top once again.

West : Can't believe I am saying it even though they won last year. I am picking the Astros to win it once again and actually do better in the playoffs than last year. It won't be easy as the Rangers will be better and the Angels have Mike Trout but they learned a lot from last year.

National League :

East : While the Mets will prove last year was not a fluke they will succumb to the Nationals of Washington D.C. in the end. Bryce Harper will not be denied the playoffs 2 years in a row.

Central : I just want to say the Cardinals as they always seem to pull it out now matter who they have but the young kids from the Chi Town will win it this year going away and will probably have the best record in the Senior League.

West : In what probably will be the hardest division in baseball the Dodgers will barely stave off the Giants and Diamondbacks. The Giants are a thorn in their side every year and 2016 will be no different while the Diamondbacks will make a valiant effort but eventually run out of gas. 2017 though watch out for the Snakes. All that said the Dodgers will probably will win by no more than 2 games and first place will come down to the last weekend of the season.

AL East : Blue Jays
AL Central : Royals
AL West : Astros
AL Wild Cards : Red Sox and Rangers

NL East : Nationals
NL Central : Cubs
NL West : Dodgers
NL Wild Cards : Mets and Giants

ALWC : The Red Sox will use their home field advantage and prevail over the Rangers to have a date with the Royals.

ALDS : On one side of the bracket we will have the Astros hosting the Blue Jays in a very exciting 5 game set but in the end the Astros of Houston will win because of Dallas K. For the other series the Royals with their best record will host the Red Sox and will beat them in probably 4 games max setting up a rematch from last year between the Royals and Astros

ALCS : In another barn burner both teams will put out their full effort but unlike last year the Astros will not "choke" and will earn a return trip to the Fall Classic.

NLCS : Not sure who will have home field but that won't matter as Madison Bumgarner of the Giants will show up again with his playoff savvy and push the Giants past the Mets to set up a match up with the Cubs.

NLDS : The Giants will be overmatched from the get go and will be dispatched by the Cubs in 3 or 4 games as Madison will only start 1 game which will hinder their chances severely. In the other series the Dodgers will host the Nationals and after going back forth the good guys aka the Dodgers will prevail in a hard fought 5 game series to meet up with the Cubbies.

NLCS : ... and any assumption of my bias ends here as though I love the Dodgers I think they will be dispatched by the Cubs in 6 games. I know, it hurts me to type that but after Kershaw wins his 2 starts the Dodgers will be hard pressed to win 2 more without him on the mound. The Cubs return to the World Series.

World Series : The curse of the goat ends..nuff said.

Recap :

Red Sox over Rangers
Royals over Red Sox
Astros over Blue Jays
Astros over Royals

Giants over Mets
Cubs over Giants
Dodgers over Nationals
Cubs over Dodgers

Cubs over Astros

What say you?

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Card of the Day - 2011 Bowman Draft : Mike Trout Base Chrome Blue Refractor Parallel (169/199) BGS Graded Mint 9.0

The long wait is over. Since I started my off season goal of acquiring as many Mike Trout graded cards that I could get my hands on this blue refractor from Bowman Chrome has been 1 of 2 (the other being a red Topps Update card) that was on top of that list. Now to be fair there is actually another blue one I want to acquire which hails from the base Chrome set but if I could get either one I would consider it a good off season for me. Well I indeed picked one up but I had to do a little eBay hustle for it.

When it comes to the 2011 cards of Trout unless it is very limited, aka less than 100 print tun, I want/need all of them to be at least gem mint 9.5's so why did I pick this one up when it has a silver banner and not a gold one? Well the reasoning and explanation will be in tomorrow's post but till then here is a blue graded beauty of the best everyday player in baseball today. Bowman Chrome was my favorite brand when I left the hobby back in 2001/2002 and is still one of my favorites since I came back.

One Hundred and Sixty-Nine
One Hundred and Ninety-Nine

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Card of the Day - 1961 Topps : Duke Snider Base BVG Graded Excellent Plus 5.5

Unlike with Koufax most Dodgers from yesteryear I am only looking for 1 card in my collection to represent them (unless something really catches my eye) and Duke here is finally in the collection as I played cat and mouse with this card's auction.

When I first saw this card, which happened to be on a very reasonable priced BIN auction, I had my sight set on a different card's auction which was due to end in 5 days. Both had a similar book value but I wanted to wait the other one out to see if I could score a better deal than this one. Until the last 20 minutes it looked like I was going to land the other card but then it jumped $10 in price and with that I went back to this one and clicked the BIN button and added The Duke to my vintage collection.

Thank you for reading have a blessed day.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

62 Cards Submitted to Beckett For Full Grading at South Bay Sportscards on March 12th, 2016

After a few days of recaps (edit, that was finished 2 weeks ago but I had to show off all these cards in their own post 1st before doing this post hence the delay) from the raw grading portion of the recent BGS drop off event last Saturday I now present the meat of it.

Of course what I am always after are the labels that look like the picture up above but I am realistic and know that all will not earn that grade. And as I have said many times before when it comes to Kershaw autographs if they do not earn a 9.5 then they have to have at least a 9 attached to them and I am "fine" with that.

As with ever other submission I like to post a copy of the card I am submitting and my thoughts on why or why not if it will or will not earn a gold banner. There are a lot of cards to go through here and I will put them in the order or least to most likely to earn a 9.5 (or better). Let's dive in shall we?

1953 Topps Johnny Podres

The first of 3 "cards" that I don't care what grade is attach to them no matter the grade and that is good when it comes to this 63 year old card of the Game 7 winning pitcher of the 1955 World Series.

This was my 1st vintage card purchase from a couple years ago and now that I have gotten more into the yesteryear cards I wanted to slab this beauty. I have no idea what grade this card will get as it could be anywhere from a 1 to a 3.5 in my mind but that all depends on the person who grades it. The card is fragile and old and that is the reason I want it in a case. Easier to care for and easier to file.

2011 Panini Alyssa Milano Autograph

Well hello there pretty lady.

My only non baseball card per se as Miss Milano is on a card that features her and her love for the Los Angeles Kings. I always wanted an autographed card of Alyssa in Dodger blue of some sort but she has never had one produced hence why I picked this one up as it is an on card autograph of my 2nd favorite sports team.

Just like the Podres card I just want the card slabbed and don't really care about the grade as it is not going anywhere from my collection. That aside I think it has a 50/50 shot at a mint 9.

Clayton Kershaw Signed MLB Debut Ticket

... and the final "card" that I wouldn't care what the grade is but in this case it will not be receiving a grade.

8 years in the making and I finally will have Clayton Kershaw's MLB debut ticket signed by the man himself and slabbed so I may store it away and bring it out on special occasions or just because I want to show it off again. Even though this is not my most valuable Kershaw autograph it is my most prized.

2012 Topps Museum Clayton Kershaw Photo B Autograph (46/100)

The first of handful of Kershaw autographs in the batch and one that I hopefully finally earns at least a 9 so I can I actually be satisfied with it and keep it in the collection.

I had a different copy of this same card before and just like this one I submitted it to BGS and it came back with a disappointing 8.5. Promptly cracked that one open and found this one for the same price aka no money out of pocket. This is the Photo B version and I already have Photo A in a 9.0 case hence why I hope this finally gets an acceptable banner so I can finish this mini project. With the naked eye you can tell it is slightly off centered and there is a corner that is a tad rounded. Both subs should still earn at least a 9 so I hope that everything else pans out so the card earns an overall 9.0

2014 Bowman Draft Corey Seager Black Chrome Refractor (22/75)

The first of 2 colored parallels of Corey from the 2014 Bowman Draft release. Reason this one is up first is that I believe the centering is just a little more off than the blue version that I also submitted. Everything else looks good under the loop but I still feel this one falls short of gem mint status by half a point. Prove me wrong Beckett. 

2016 Topps Heritage Corey Seager Photo Variation

I debated on submitting this Corey card as I believe it is destined to earn a measly 9 instead of a coveted 9.5 but in the end I pulled the trigger and threw it in the pile for slabbing.

Like most paper cards this Heritage card is not without its flaws as there is a corner issue on the back of this copy. I am just hoping it holds to a 9 and doesn't get dropped into the 8.5 category and if so some reason it does then it will find itself dropped back onto eBay to offset the cost of acquiring a better conditioned card. 

2016 Topps Heritage Clayton Kershaw Color Swap

If this earns a 9.5 then it will be a major shock and a coup for me.

Most of this batch is made up of chrome cards but this Heritage is good old paper and there is a suspect edge that I think at best earn a 9. That would be fine but with centering obviously not 50/50 then I fear that this will come back with a silver banner. Damn..

2016 Topps Corey Seager Gold (586/2016)

Another paper card for the batch but unlike some others if this comes back as a 9 I won't be as disappointed. Yes, a silver banner for a gold card is not color coordinated but considering the low acquisition cost for this card was just $2.75 I can't complain all that much. That said I think this is either a strong 9 or a weak 9.5. Come on weak sauce.

2013 Topps Finest Clayton Kershaw 93 Retro Refractor (21/25)

I would so love to this earn a gold banner (just like every other card I submit) but I know its almost impossible but weirder things have happened before so you just never know.

This is the refractor version of a retro insert set of one of my favorite sets of all time, the 1993 Finest set. There are only 25 copies of this card so in the end I am just happy that I have 1 of them to call my own. When I acquired this card I knew full well that centering was off on the front as you can plainly see in the photo. Everything else looks fine to me but I fear that centering will end up with an 8.5 which means the overall can't be a 9.5. Of course if centering somehow sneaks in with a 9 then I think the card earns a 9.5 but I am not holding my breath.

2014 Bowman Draft Corey Seager Blue Chrome Refractor (32/399)

... and the second colored parallel of Corey. Unlike the black version I believe the centering is better on this blue one but I still think they both earn a silver banner of 9.0. That said if either one would earn a 9.5 I think this one is more likely as the corners look much sharper than the black so maybe it squeaks into the 9.5 club. 

2013 Bowman Chrome Corey Seager Green Refractor

Yet another chrome card with a centering problem which makes me believe that the return will be a 9 instead of a 9.5.

Since this is part of the rainbow project for Seager all I need is for this to earn a 9.0 for me to be happy. While I would love the whole rainbow to be adorned with gold banners there are already silver banners in the collection so if this earns a 9.0 it becomes a member of the placeholder group waiting to be replaced by a gem mint. Now, maybe I get lucky and this earns a 9.5 but if not a 9 is fine... for now.

2015 Topps Strata Sandy Koufax Black Autograph (26/50)

This is my 3rd Koufax autograph in my collection and the first that I am afraid might actually earn 9. I was lucky enough to pick up a Topps Five star in raw form and submitted it to BGS and it came back with a 9.5. Nice! I then picked up an already graded gem mint of Koufax from Topps Finest and thought I was nearing my cap on Koufax autos as they are pricey to come by. Well I ended up with one on hell of a deal and hoped to add it as my 3rd 9.5 Koufax auto but depending on one sub grade that streak may or may not end.

With the naked eye everything looks fine but under closer inspection on the back side of this card one of the edges has an issue. Enough to knock its sub grade to an 8.5? If so then this card has no chance at a gold banner but if somehow it can hold the line at a 9 then I could claim my 3rd gem as I do not see anything else wrong with this card. Hoping for a 9.5 but expecting a 9.

2014 Bowman Chrome Mike Trout Gold Refractor (20/50)

If this gold Trout earns a gold banner not only will it look really nice since its a gold card coupled with a gold banner but it will be a major coup price wise as I picked this up basically on a fluke as I think people forgot to bid,

While other chromes in this batch have been having centering problems this one does not look to be affected by that problem. The issue with this one is that there is slight fraying on the back side of the card. Expecting an 8.5 on that sub grade but if somehow it can pick up a 9 then I think the overall grade is a gem mint. 

2016 Topps Heritage Clayton Kershaw Black Chrome Refractor (55/67)

Another Kershaw card that sadly falls into the borderline pile of 9.0 or 9.5 when it comes to what grade BGS will give this.

Last year I bought my one and only Heritage black of Clayton and sent it to BGS and it came back with a nice gold banner across the top of the slab. While I was confident that card would earn a 9.5 I am not that sure on this one. Centering, surface and edges look to be good to me but there is a corner flaw on the backside of the card. While I hope it can hold to a 9 past history lends to the fact it might receive an 8.5 on that sub grade. We shall see if I will be hunting for another copy in the future to get a 9.5 but hopefully it won't come to that.

2012 Topps Chrome Mike Trout Blue Refractor (127/199)

Another chrome, another one with centering issues. 

As with almost every single chrome card in this batch so far with off centering it seems that is the only problem with this card like all the others. And just like the others, I expect it to earn an 8.5 on that sub grade but if it earns a 9 I can't see how the overall is not a 9.5 as nothing else seems to be out of place. 

2015 Topps Chrome Clayton Kershaw Blue Refractor (39/150)

Another borderline chrome card and this time its Kershaw's turn.

Centering while not perfect looks like it should earn a 9.5 but what gives me pause is that one of the corners looks a bit rounded. That said I have been seeing BGS graded cards on eBay lately with obvious chipping (white showing) on corners and they get a 9 on that sub grade. Using that as a measuring stick this should be a gem but you just never know what grader you get the day your card gets inspected.

2015 Topps Chrome Mike Trout Blue Refractor (119/150)

Another borderline Trout chrome card but if push came to shove I think this earns a weak 9.5 instead of a strong 9.0.

Nothing is "perfect" on this card but everything looks damn good. Good enough for at least 3 subs to earn a 9.5? Or "bad" enough that there are 2 9.5's and 2 9's to give the card an overall 9.0? Obviously I am hoping for the former instead of the latter but we shall see.

2015 Topps Supreme Clayton Kershaw Autograph

The design on this card is a tad all over the place so I don't know if its off centered or not. I want to say its 55/45 but at the same time it could be 60/40 or closer to 50/50. With that thinking I place this card in the borderline pile on whether it earns a 9 or 9.5. As always I am wishing for a 9.5 but at the very worst another 9.0 for the Kershaw autograph collection is not a bad thing.

2016 Topps Heritage Clayton Kershaw Mini (16/100)

I may or may not move away from grading these paper cards as it seems more times than not there is some small issue and this one is no different. Unlike Ginger which I seem to have pretty good luck on Heritage here does me wrong when I buy/acquire them and this one comes with a slight flaw on a corner on the back side. While everything else looks great will that one issue drag the overall grade down? Hopefully not but not holding my breath.

2016 Topps Heritage Mike Trout Action Photo Variation

Another Heritage card and another expected so so return.

Just like the Kershaw before it I think this Trout will have a hard time earning a gold banner and if it does its only because the one flaw on the back side holds at a 9 while everything else comes in with a 9.5. Not holding my breath but I can still hope can't I?

2014 Topps Heritage Clayton Kershaw Black Refractor (37/65)

Another borderline card that may or may not earn a 9.5 but unlike a couple others that fall into that category I really hope this makes it into the gold banner club,

Heritage has had black chromes of Kershaw over the course of 6 years and are very limited and even though I just want all of them I really would like them all to be in 9.5 cases. I already have 1 and now hoping to add some more to that group. Surface and corners look to be in great condition on this card and don't worry me. What does worry me is centering and a possible edge problem. Centering at worst is a 9 but might squeak out a 9.5. The bottom of the card might or might not be considered fraying. I have seen it before on my cards and some get 9.5's while others received a 9. I don't mind if either get a 9 as long as they both don't get a 9.

2015 Topps Museum Clayton Kershaw Silver Signatures (33/50)

Even though this is a thick card and they are infamous for condition issues and more particularly the corners being dinged coming out of a pack this copy seems to be in tip top condition. Will it earn a 9.5? Well when it comes to Five Star I always hold my breath but I think this has a better than not chance of earning that gold banner. 

2012 Bowman Sterling Corey Seager Autograph

Whether this earns a 9 or 9.5 it is all gravy for me as my good blogger buddy Frankie gave this card to me out of the kindness of his heart last Christmas. If he actually reads this there will be a little something for him in the box I am shipping back to him with his cards from this joint batch. That said I think this card earns a 9.5 but the autograph is giving me slight pause as there is 1 streak in it. Most of the time you can get away with that and still earn a 10 but I shall see what type of grader I get the day he looks at this card. 

And once again let me take the opportunity again to say thank you for the card Frankie.

2016 Topps Corey Seager Black and White

With all my issues with Corey's cards in this years Topps release I was pleasantly surprised when this card came in with no flaws that could be seen with the naked eye. Only once under the loop can you see the smallest of imperfections. 

Even though this card is not numbered it would a great piece to have in a gold banner case which I think this card has a great chance of earning. Since this year is his "rookie" year that would make this card a nice little investment piece. 

2015 Topps Update Mike Trout Snow Camo (95/99)

Can a great deal with a blogger friend get even better with a 9.5 return on this limited Trout card? I hope so and halfway expect it to. 

I picked this up from Judson on a trade/purchase a month ago and like he said this card looked to be in great condition and I agreed with him once I had it in hand. Now I hope BGS agrees with us. It is well centered with no surface issues and the only thing I see "wrong" per se is that one of the corners is slightly dinged and that can only be seen under a loop. So 9.5 please Beckett people.

2015 Topps Strata Clayton Kershaw Black Autograph (42/50)

Still a handful more Kershaw autographs in the batch and from here on out I expect aka hope they all come back with a minimum of a 9.5

I have not seen a single Strata Kershaw graded yet so I hope when this comes back it is the 1st gem mint one as well. Unlike the Strata Koufax this one does not have an edge issue or any other issue for that matter that I can see. Corners sharp, edges clean with a non smudge auto.  

2013 Topps Chrome Clayton Kershaw Blue Refractor (130/199)

Blue parallel card of the best player on the best blue team in baseball aka the Dodgers. = )

No investment potential here but I am putting all my colored parallels of Kid K in BGS cases and this one looks to be a lock for a gold banner. Nothing wrong here as all the sub grade sections check out. Centering is dead on, no scratches and corners are crisp. 

2015 Bowman's Best Mike Trout Atomic Hi Def

Though unnumbered this card only shows up every 50 cases so it is semi rare. Unlike other thick Topps cards these seem to come out of the pack in better condition and thankfully mine seems to be in pretty good shape.

I noticed on the population report that there have already been 2 of these submitted to BGS and both received a 9.5. My copy looks void of any issues and I hope to be number 3 of the gem mint group. The only thing that "may" cause an issue is that centering is not 50/50 but at worst it should still pull out a 9 on that with the other subs coming with a 9.5

2015 Bowman's Best Corey Seager Atomic Hi Def

Just like the Trout card this Seager shows up every 50 cases and just like Mike's card Corey's looks great in hand. I rank this one higher as this one seems to be a lot closer to 50/50 centering than the other and I believe this is more of a lock for a 9.5 than Mike's. Of course I would love both to have a gold banner adorning the case.

2013 Bowman Chrome Corey Seager Orange Refractor (2/25)

The only reason I put this card so far "down" on the list is that I want to temper my expectations on this card. 

This was the final piece picked up for the rainbow and with its print run of just 25 I would really like to come back with a gold banner as I do not know if I will ever see another copy as it took me two years to hunt this one down. I believe it should be a solid 9.5 but again I don't want to get my hopes up and be disappointed in its return so I will expect less and be pleasantly surprised if and when it comes back with a 9.5

2014 Allen Ginter Mike Trout Mini EXT Variant

A lot of people have shared with me the one reason they do not like A/G is that they experience quality issues when they buy packs and the card's condition is not up to their standards. I guess I should consider myself very lucky that I have had very minimal issues when it comes to that and once again I think this Trout EXT rarity should grade out quite well.

Even I was surprised when I received this from an eBay auction and noticed nothing wrong with it. The only thing I can see that might be an issue is that from top to bottom it is slightly off centered but other than that nothing else looks out of place.

2015 Allen Ginter Mike Trout Mini EXT Variant 

Just like the previous EXT Trout card this one comes in looking like it should gem from BGS. The reason this gets a better place in line is that unlike the 2014 version this 2015 one looks to be perfectly centered. Corners are crisp and no fraying is seen under the loop. Would love to double up on EXT Trout in the same batch with 9.5's

2015 Allen Ginter Mike Trout Flag Back (5/25)

Lookie... another mini Ginter Trout card and another one that I believe should earn a gold banner.

This was one of the last cards I acquired prior to submitting this batch and glad that I received it just in time as I see nothing really wrong with this card and think and hope that I scored another great deal on a limited card which will be certified gem mint.

2013 Topps Heritage Black Refractor (29/64)

Another black chrome of Clayton from the Heritage brand but unlike the 2014 version I am just a little more confident of this one earning a 9.5 from BGS. 

While both look pretty centered this one is even closer to 50/50 than the 2014 version. While that one has a potential "fraying issue" this one has no such problem hence why I think I should be adding another gold banner to the Kershaw collection with this card. 

2016 Topps Clayton Kershaw Black and White

Another black and white parallel from the 2016 Topps release and like the Corey version I am confident that this Clayton one will earn a 9.5.

Surprisingly I can't find anything wrong with this card but considering it is a paper and not a chrome I still am a tad hesitant of the return grade till I actually see it. That said, there wasn't anything wrong I could see other than the centering might just be a tad off of 50/50.

2015 Topps Chrome Mike Trout Purple Refractor (213/250)

Purple and gold aka Los Angeles Lake colors or for the purpose of this post what hopefully this Trout card comes back as.

More and more I love these purple parallels and this Trout copy has perfect centering and no corner issues whatsoever so I am expecting a gold banner here. Since the print run is "high" its not really a investment piece but it nonetheless it will/would great in a gold banner.

2013 Bowman Chrome Corey Seager Blue Wave Refractor

I am going to put this card in the expected gem mint return pile as even though you can tell that the card is not centered from top to bottom (60/40 at worse) but it is centered from side to side.That is the only issue I see and considering there are no surfaces flaws and the corners are beyond sharp I expect at least 3 9.5 sub grades with an outside chance of four. Though it is not numbered it is still a beautiful card and considering I picked it up on a trade it can only get better with a high grade.

2015 Topps Five Star Clayton Kershaw Gold Autograph (20/50)

Another Kershaw autograph and another thick card and this time it is from last year's Five Star release.

What can I say? I just love me some high quality Kershaw autographs and this one definitely fits the bill. While centering might not be perfect that looks to be the only thing that looks "wrong" with this card. No bent corners or edge issues to speak of so even though its a thick card I am hoping and thinking this comes back with a 9.5 attached to it.

2015 Topps Tribute Mike Trout Black Autograph (43/50)

The only Trout autograph in the batch and if/when it comes back with a 9.5 then it will make the acquisition all the sweeter as I picked this up for FREE during the last eBay quarter using eBucks and gift cards.

This card came from Topps in a case and it stayed in the case as I didn't want any potential issues with handling. Under the loop it looks like only the corners might hinder the overall grade as 1 looks a tad rounded.

2014 Topps Chrome Clayton Kershaw Sepia Refractor (42/75)

Another Kershaw parallel from the 2014 Topps Chrome set and another one that I believe should come back as a gem mint.

Centering 50/50
Corners, sharp
Surface, scratch free.

With that I am thinking this is a lock for a gold banner.

2015 Topps Chrome Clayton Kershaw Purple Refractor (220/250)

Another purple chrome card but this time its of Kershaw but just like Trout I expect it to gem.

The reason this one gets a higher billing is that under the loop the corners look extra sharp. Even more so than the Trout version. So nice that this might be a candidate for a pristine 10 but I'll try not to get ahead of myself.

2015 Topps Chrome Mike Trout Green Refractor (93/99)

Like most of the chrome cards in this batch I expect those and this green Trout to receive a 9.5 or better. The reason this is higher on the list is because of the the print run being so low (99) if it were to gem or possibly pristine then the value of it would get a nice bump. Again, I'm not looking to move it but if I ever had to it's nice to know that I could get a nice figure for it in return.

2015 Topps Chrome Mike Trout Pink Refractor

Another chrome and another expected gem mint return for Mr. Mike Trout here. 

I snagged this for a great deal on eBay and think it will have no problem earning a gold banner and while it won't drive the value all that much up it would double my or possibly triple my profit if I were ever to move which I have no plans to.

2013 Topps Chrome Clayton Kershaw Black Refractor (34/100)

Now for back to back black chromes of Mr. Clayton Kershaw.

I put these higher up on the list not because they are in better condition than the other chromes but because they are black. No matter how many colored parallels I acquire black to me is still the best and the ones I hunt down the most. Only centering here might be a slight issue but other than that I hope and expect another gem here.

2014 Topps Chrome Clayton Kershaw Black Refractor (50/100)

And now the final Topps black chrome of the batch and of course it is of Kid K aka Clayton Kershaw.

Just like the 2013 version I think and hope this 2014 one comes back with a spiffy gold label affixed to the case. The reason this one gets a better place in line is that unlike the 2013 one I do no see a centering issue here. Someday I would love to have a black parallel to have a black label (four 10 sub grades) maybe this could be the one?

2014 Topps Dynasty Clayton Kershaw Autograph (10/10)

Another encased card from Topps and unlike last years Piazza from this same Dynasty brand I hope this Kershaw comes back with a gold banner unlike Mike's which earned a 9.0

To be fair under the loop you could see a slight issue with Mike's card but I didn't think it would hinder it that bad but it ended up coming back as a strong 9. Rather have a weak 9.5 than that 9 and I expect that this Kershaw might end up as that. There is 1 corner that is a tad fuzzy which might hurt the overall grade a little but I don't enough enough to make it a mint 9.0.

2014 Allen Ginter Mike Trout Flag Back Mini (17/25)

Only a possible 25 chances of earning a gem mint return on this card as that is the print run for it so hopefully BGS agrees with me and says its a gem as I can not see anything wrong with it as corners, surface, edges and centering all look pretty damn good to me. 

2014 Allen Ginter Sandy Koufax Mini Red (24/33)

Another Ginter for the this big batch of cards and another one that I hope and expected will return to me with a gold label affixed to it.

Still working on the quantity of my Koufax collection the quality is for sure there and my thinking is this will come back with a minimum of a 9.5 as I could not see anything wrong with it. This is definitely the strongest Ginter of the batch and anything less then a gem mint return will be considered a disappointment. 

2014 Topps Chrome Mike Trout Blue Refractor (50/199)

Another chrome, another Trout card.

I put this up higher up on the list as when I look at it in hand I really can't see anything wrong with it. Centering is perfect (I believe), corners are sharp and no surface issues. Can this earn a 10? Possibly but I think at worse it should come back with a 9.5 attached to it and with that it will be another fine addition to my gem mint Trout collection.

2014 Topps High Tek Sandy Koufax Black and White (13/15)

Now we get to the interesting part of the batch. The next 7 are all from the High Tek brand and if you don't know they are plastic cards which minimizes corner issues. Of course even with that thinking nothing is guaranteed.

All my High Tek cards are of the numbered variety and this Koufax has the lowest print run by far with a scant 15. With minimal Sandy cards in my collection and availability in products I would really like to see the ones I do have gem from BGS. Nothing looks wrong with this card up close so I am thinking this is an easy 9.5.

2015 Topps High Tek Clayton Kershaw Low Diffractor (38/50)

Now for back to back very similar Kershaw cards with only one distinct difference but I still expect both to come back with a gold banner affixed to each of them.

Absolutely no issues on this card can be seen under the loop and only centering is off just a tick but I don't think it will be enough to knock it down grade wise.

2015 Topps High Tek Clayton Kershaw Low Diffractor Autograph (3/25)

... and now the brother to the previous Kershaw card with the one difference, a spiffy autograph.

Like the other one there is only one minor issue and that is that one of the corners is every so slightly dinged but with everything looking to pan out I still believe that this beauty earns a gold banner.

2015 Topps High Tek Clayton Kershaw Drama Tek Performers (38/50)

Another Tek card, another Kershaw card.

While not as visually appealing as the diffractors this numbered drama card is still a nice have for the collection. Like with all the other Tek cards this one also looks void of any issues and hopefully it will be part of a clean sweep of 9.5's in the Tek category.

2015 Topps High Tek Mike Trout Drama Tek Performers (36/50)

Same insert set (drama performers), same small print run (50) and same brand (Tek). The only difference between this one and the previous one is the player show on front. The only reason this one gets a higher billing is that Trout has a better resale value in the market than Kershaw does. Other than that I see this Trout receiving a 9.5 as well.

2015 Topps High Tek Clayton Kershaw Home Uniform Variant

The only non numbered Tek of the batch but it still a variant as this shows Kershaw in his home whites not his road grays as that is the base card in the set.

Like all the other Tek cards I expect this one to gem as the only thing I can see on this particular card that might be an issues is a fuzzy corner which shouldn't cause too much trouble. 

2015 Topps High Tek Mike Trout Bright Horizons (25/50)

The final High Tek card of the batch and its appropriately labeled "bright horizons" as that is what Trout's career path is presently on track for. 

Like all the other Tek cards I see nothing major that can cause this card to receive anything other than a gold banner. 

2016 Topps Mike Trout Framed (15/16)

I have a 100% gem mint return on all the Topps Framed parallels that I have submitted to BGS for grading and I hope and expect that the streak to continue with this one.

I submitted 6 (4 Kershaw and 2 Trout) cards last year for the full slab treatment and 1 (Seager) this year for raw review and each one came back as a 9.5 with 1 even receiving a 10. Corners and edges shouldn't be a problem here (its metal) so the only thing that would worry me is if there were issues with the surface which I could not see so I look forward to another gold banner BGS. Don't disappoint me.

2011 Topps Heritage Clayton Kershaw Black Chrome (21/62)

... and now we reach the best part of this any other batch that you can submit. The guaranteed gem mint grade which this and the next 3 cards will receive. The only question is will it be a weak or strong gem as I will not know the sub grades till they are graded. With that said I am going to say this Kershaw Heritage card will come back as a weak 9.5 as I can tell that centering is off too much which is what I think the one 9 sub grade will be on this card. Even with that its still a gem. = )

2015 Topps Finest Mike Trout Gold (22/50)

Gold parallel
Gold banner
Golden day

Adding a gem mint Trout card to any collection is a cause for celebration but when I can add a limited (50 print run) one that is even better. This card will look great with the matching colors of banner and card.

2015 Topps High Tek Mike Trout Gold Rainbow (10/35)

Exact same situation with the Finest gold of Trout but the only reason this receives higher billing is because this one has a lower print run (35 vs 50) than the Finest version so this one is more "rare" which means it probably holds a higher value. Either way both are great and glad I have them to call my own.

2011 Topps Sandy Koufax Diamond Anniversary

To finish this post up I end with a guaranteed pristine 10 in the batch and it will be my first ever for my Koufax collection (unless the Tek shocks me and comes in with a 10 as well but I am not getting greedy as a 9.5 there is fine by me).

The question will be is this a black label 10 or a plain ole "boring" gold 10? Would love to add a black label to my collection at some point and even though this card's value will not increase that much it would make the deal I got for it all that much sweeter. In any event at least I will have 1 ten in the batch and that is OK with me.

Starting to sound like a broken record but once again that is end of my biggest batch ever. Every single time I say that the next one ends up being bigger than the previous one. Obviously by the time I have gone through all of these on recap/update posts I will probably have another batch already growing for my next submission. Hoping for a lot of gold in this batch and I think that prospect is looking good. Knock on wood I am right.

Thank you again for your reading and have a blessed day.