Well, yet another Blog Bat Around has commenced and it's another one I actually have time to participate in. It's a unique one at that, your "all autograph team". I wasn't too keen on the topic at first but after reading a few different entries in the series, I decided to take a stab. Seeing as I'm not really an autograph collector, I fished through my box that has my hits and otherwise good cards in it in the hopes that I might be able to put together a full nine, which I managed to do. Also, while doing so, I realized I really need to "thin the herd" so to speak in regards to some cards I have in there.
Anyway, here's what I came up with, I've got a five-man starting rotation, a closer, and a full infield and outfield. I didn't bother with a DH for two reasons ... 1) I'm used to National League style ball where the pitcher hits for himself and 2) I honestly forgot to pick out a DH. That being said, here's what I came up with ...
I'll be honest, my "goodie box" consists of mostly Reds stuff along with some Bengals and hockey stuff, so trying to find some non-Reds autograph cards was a bit of a task but I found some. While this may not be the most impressive starting rotation ever, Cueto and Martinez are definitely a solid 1-2 punch. Nola is there because there should be a youngish veteran in the mix, Tewksbury provides the finesse, and Alex Meyer ... well, he's there because I honestly didn't have anyone better for the fifth slot.
Of the options I found at closer, John Franco made the most logical sense he does rank 5th all-time on the career saves list, made four All-Star teams, had two seasons (1988, 1994) where he finished in the top 20 of MVP voting, and one season (1994) where he finished in the top ten of Cy Young voting. Plus, he owns a career 1.88 ERA in the postseason, so there's that too.
I picked Joe Oliver for catcher as he was the first Reds catcher I remember and it was always fun to watch him play. Sure, he never mad any All-Star teams or anything of the like but he played the game hard and won a World Series in 1990 with the Reds. As a catcher, he owns a career .989 fielding percentage and could also fill in as a defensive replacement at first base (or DH) if necessary.
Speaking of first base, Kennys Vargas will manning first for my team. While I'm not too familiar with his exploits, going by the stats on Baseball Reference, it looks like he's been a part-time player with the Twins for the last few years. I found it a little bizarre as well during Spring Training that the Reds claimed him off waivers from the Twins only for the Twins to turn around and re-claim him on waivers two days later. Currently, he's the DH for the AAA Rochester Red Wings and not on the Twins 40-man roster.
The speedy second baseman for my squad will be Jose Vidro, who made three All-Star squads as a member of the Expos/Nationals franchise. He would be my lead-off hitter as well.
I had many options for shortstop but I decided to go with one of my favorite players in the game today, that being Francisco Lindor. Also, this particular card is from a National Baseball Card Day pack that I got from one of my favorite card shops a few years back. The Indians have another good looking squad this year I wouldn't be surprised to see them have a decent run in the postseason again this fall.
I have exactly zero autograph cards of third baseman so I had to improvise a bit here. I went with Zack Cozart, mainly because he was one of my favorite Reds players over the past few years and the best defensive shortstop we had in a long time. This past offseason though, he left the Reds (as expected) and signed up to play third base for the Angels.
I went for a nice selection with my outfield. Soler, Castillo, and Rivers should provide a decent amount of both potential power and speed and Rivers could team with Vidro at the top of the line-up to provide some base stealing threats. Soler could hopefully be middle-to-bottom of the order threat for power. As far as who plays where, Rivers with his speed would be in center, Castillo in left, and Soler in right.
Well, there's my team. It may not be the best team ever, but it's what I could come up with on the fly.