Thursday, December 26, 2013

WSC Birth Years: Bryan Anderson

Card #147 - Bryan Anderson

Born: December 16, 1986

The St. Louis Cardinals selected Bryan in the fourth round of the 2005 draft. He made a limited amount of appearances for the red birds in 2010 and 2012, but not much more than a third or fourth option for catcher materialized. His best season was his rookie season of 2010, where Anderson batted .281, drove in four and had nine hits in fifteen games. 2012 saw less games for Bryan, coupled with a slight dip in batting average. He was granted free agency after the 2012 season and signed with the White Sox.

Anderson saw action in ten games for the Pale Hose in 2013, aided by a team going through a ninety-nine loss season. Bryan was competent behind the plate but committed a throwing error, allowing a runner to score, in his last game for the 2013 season. The backstop was granted free agency after the 2013 season.

Friday, December 20, 2013

WSC Birth Years: Erik Johnson

Card #146 - Erik Johnson

Born: December 30, 1989

Erik was chosen in the second round of the 2011 draft by the Chicago White Sox. Johnson spent 2011 and 2012 in class A ball. In 2013, he was considered to be the third ranked prospect in the White Sox organization. Erik started the year in AA, but quickly vaulted through the levels until his MLB debut on September 4, 2013.

Johnson's time with the Pale Hose in 2013 was a quick five games, but he has already racked up a few highlights, including striking out Ichiro Suzuki with the bases loaded. Erik could be a little wild at times, but that could be from the expected jitters of pitching in the big leagues for the first time. Johnson pitched well enough to win in the majority of his starts, but he was a victim of poor defense in a few cases. His MLB sampling could earn him a long hard look during the 2014 season.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

2013 Pinnacle

Welcome back, Pinnacle. How many of us missed you? I can honestly say that I really didn't.

It's not that I didn't like Pinnacle. I sorta did. I remember buying packs and being marginally happy with the product. It never wowed me though. It had a lot of hype, but no bite. After a few years, the original sets sunk themselves into parallel hell and any hopes of resurrecting itself into something viable slowly was crushed by the weight of the wasted trees used in the production of endless mirror cards and shallow gimmicks.

So... what's Pinnacle like after a fifteen year absence? Pretty much as you remember it. The basic black designs from the first sets are imitated nicely, but the card feels dated, and not in a good way. These cards could have been released anywhere between 1992 and 1995 and no one would have batted an eye.

Are there parallels? Yes, Virginia, there are parallels. Even one of the parallels has a parallel. It is parallel heaven, if you're into that sort of scene. I, for the most part, am not, so this does nothing but irritate me, similar to a mosquito buzzing by your ear. It's not the worst thing in the world and it won't ruin my evening, but I'd be happier if it wasn't there.

The White Sox have five cards in the base set.

27 - Paul Konerko
94 - Alex Rios
99 - Dayan Viciedo
108 - Chris Sale
122 - Adam Dunn

What would a nineties revival be without inserts. And there are plenty of them.

Awaiting The Call
8 - Frank Thomas

Clear Vision Hitters
14 - Paul Konerko
31 - Alex Rios
70  - Frank Thomas

Clear Vision Pitchers
16 - Chris Sale

Position Powers
19 - Alex Rios

13 - Adam Dunn

Swinging For The Fences
5 - Adam Dunn

Team Pinnacle
5 - Frank Thomas/Albert Pujols

4 - Chris Sale
21 - Frank Thomas
66 - Paul Konerko

To add to the fun, there are no logos on any player, so theoretically, there is much more to collect for the team collector, if they are game. Bo Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr., Steve Carlton and Tim Raines are the former White Sox players that stuck out during a quick perusal of the list.

Pinnacle is a harmless release. I'm on the fence as to whether I would collect it or not, but if you do, it isn't the worst set that you could pick up. Call me unimpressed but slightly nostalgic.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WSC Birth Years: Marcus Semien

Card #145 - Marcus Semien

Born: September 17, 1990

Marcus was originally drafted by the White Sox in the 34th round of the 2008 draft. Semien did not sign and opted to go to the University of California, Berkeley instead. Chicago drafted Marcus again in the 6th round of the 2011 draft. This time Semien signed and started in Class A Kannapolis. Marcus rose through the ranks fairly quickly and eventually made his MLB debut on September 4, 2013, playing third base in New York against the Yankees.

In his first at-bat, Semien hit a single to right field against C.C. Sabathia. He would collect two hits that day, the other against David Robertson, resulting in Marcus' first RBI. From mid-September until the end of the 2013 season, Semien played regularly in the infield, mostly at third base. He got his feet wet and made a good impression. Marcus is setting himself up to possibly become the everyday third baseman in 2014.

Friday, December 6, 2013

WSC Birth Years: Andre Rienzo

Card #144 - Andre Rienzo

Born: June 5, 1988

The first Brazilian born pitcher in the major leagues, to start and win a game, made his debut on July 30, 2013 for the Chicago White Sox. Andre went seven innings and gave up six hits, three runs, three walks and six strikeouts in a no decision against the Indians in Cleveland. Rienzo would have to wait nearly a month later until his first MLB win, on August 21st, against the Kansas City Royals.

Andre signed with the Pale Hose as an international free agent in November 2006. He slowly worked his way up the organizational ranks. After toiling in rookie and A ball through the 2011 season, Rienzo was promoted to AA Birmingham in 2012. Andre was added to the 40 man roster following the 2012 season. Rienzo's walk rate will need to improve slightly in order to stay in the rotation beyond 2013, but his enthusiasm and good extension should land himself a place on the team for the 2014 season. At only twenty-five years old, Andre has the potential to be a bright spot with the White Sox.
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