Baseball Hats and Caps

Moving On from Mo

Posted on February 14th, 2014 by Matt | Posted in Baseball Hats and Caps, Players

For the first time in what seems like forever, the Yankees will be heading into the 2014 season without Mariano Rivera as their closer. While they did go through a period of time without Mo in 2012 when he was injured, this time it is permanent. The Yankees will need to find a solution at the end of the game to try and lock down at least most of those saves that Mariano was logging so regularly. It certainly seems unlikely that they will find anyone to be as successful as the sure-fire Hall-of-Famer, but move on they must.

What’s Next?

It is not an enviable position to be the player that has to replace Mariano Rivera, but that task is likely the one that is facing David Robertson. The team hasn’t officially named Robertson the closer robertsonfor the 2014 season, but he seems like the logical choice unless the Yankess are able to make a move in free agency or via trade. The good news for the Bronx Bombers is that Robertson is a very capable right-handed pitcher. He has been a reliable setup man for the Yankees over the past three seasons, racking up impressive strikeout totals while running an ERA of well under 3.00.

The Biggest Hurdle

Certainly it would seem that the biggest challenge for the Yankees and whomever takes on the closer role is the fear of the unknown. While Mariano Rivera didn’t actually save every game successfully, it felt like he did. When the Yankees took the field in the 9th inning with a lead, it seemed like the game was over. At times, it seemed like even the opposing team was resigned to its fate. When the new closer takes to the mound for the first time, and probably for a good while after that, everyone in the stadium will be nervous in a way that they haven’t been in years. The aura of Mariano Rivera taking the mound in the 9th was almost as impressive as his pitching – and that is something that just can’t be replaced.

A Good Start is Crucial

Whether it is David Robertson or someone else who starts the 2014 season as the Yankees new closer, a good start to the season will be paramount for their confidence, and the team’s success. If the new closer is able to go out and nail down the first few saves, it will probably go a long way toward moving on and writing a new chapter. However, if there are a few blown saves in April and the fans start to get restless, the task will likely become all that much more daunting. For an organization that sets its sights on the title each year, every loss is put under the microscope. When those losses come due to a blown save in the last inning, the pressure can quickly multiply.

If it is David Robertson that assumes the mantle of closer, he seems positioned well to be successful. Having experience working closely with Mariano Rivera, and already used to the Yankee Stadium atmosphere, Robertson might be more comfortable than a free agent who is just forced into the spotlight. Whatever the Yankees end up doing with the closer role in 2014, it certainly will be exciting to watch.

Current Pitchers Baseball Collectors Should Pay Attention To

Posted on February 9th, 2012 by admin | Posted in Baseball Cards, Baseball Hats and Caps, Bats

Current Pitchers Baseball Collectors Should Pay Attention To

Baseball is a great sport for collecting for many reasons, one of which is the history and tradition surrounding it.  Baseball collectibles have been around for well over a century, providing lasting memories and great amounts of money for them.  However, baseball collectors should also focus on the here and now, especially those who are serious about the sport and want to get a heads up on everyone else.  Here is a list of four current starting pitchers that baseball collectors should pay attention to, for the value of their collectibles should rise dramatically over the coming years.

Justin Verlander

When Randy Johnson won his 300th game, some baseball analysts have predicted that there may never be a starting pitcher who will achieve this milestone ever again.  One pitcher who may prove them wrong is Justin Verlander.  Verlander has been in the Major Leagues since 2005, and has continuously improved every year since.  After a low point in 2008 where he won 11 games and lost 17, Justin has had three consecutive years of win totals hovering around 20, with 2011 being the year where he finally broke the mark.  In fact, in 2011 Verlander won both the American League MVP and Cy Young awards, amassing a 24-5 record with a 2.40 ERA, 250 innings pitched, and 250 strikeouts to his credit.  Why should you pay attention to him at this time?  Verlander is a workhorse with a blazing fastball, and will certainly be around for quite a long time.  He has the best chance of any starting pitcher right now of reaching the 300 win mark, and it is for this reason that baseball collectors should start picking up his memorabilia.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw is only 23 years of age but has already had four full years of Major League Baseball under his belt.  Similar to Verlander, Kershaw has consistently improved over his four year career to this point, starting with a 5-5 record in 2008 and transforming it to a 21-5 record in 2011.  Kershaw won the National League Cy Young Award in 2011 with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts as well.  The fact that the team he played for in 2011 was mediocre should show collectors his future potential.  Not only does he have a great pitching delivery that should help him to have a long career in baseball, but he is still at a young age and could certainly be up there with Verlander in the race to 300 wins if he can maintain consistency over the next few years.

Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum doesn’t have the gaudy win totals that a Verlander or Kershaw has, and in fact he only compiled a 13-14 record in 2011.  However, when examining his other stats it becomes apparently quickly that Lincecum has a great deal of upside.  Since 2008 Tim has averaged at least 220 strikeouts, 210 innings pitched, and in three out of the four years an ERA below 2.75.  He has a great deal of consistency in only the handful of years he has pitched in the Major Leagues to this point, and these numbers are a good sign for baseball collectors to start paying attention to him before his prices really start to rise.

Mat Latos

You may not have heard much of Mat Latos, and for good reason.  He has not put up the numbers one would expect out of the previous two pitchers mentioned.  In fact, he has only pitched three years in the Major Leagues, and for a small market team in the San Diego Padres.  However, his recent trade to the Cincinnati Reds should give a good reason for baseball collectors to take an interest in him.  In his three years with the Padres Latos has a 27-29 record, but also an ERA of 3.37 and 413 strikeouts.  He pitched almost 200 innings in 2011, with 185 strikeouts and a 3.47 ERA alone.  He has tremendous upside now that he is on a better ball club and should continue to improve at only 23 years old.  Make sure to get in on his memorabilia before it is too late.