Thursday, March 21, 2019

2008 Donruss Elite, Shelby Ford

#160 Shelby Ford

How is that for a name? It is certainly better than being named Taurus, Escort, or Focus. Ranger might have been cool, though.

I got this card signed by Shelby in 2017 at a Wingnuts game. He was the hitting coach for the Grand Prairie Airhogs at the time. The 'Hogs had a rough season that year and got a little short on players. Because of that, they had to activate Shelby. He played in just two games for them and went 1-4 with his lone hit being a single.

Shelby was drafted by the Pirates in the 3rd round of the 2006 draft out of Oklahoma State. He reached AAA in 2009 and struggled mightily at the level, hitting just .188 in nearly 300 at-bats. Despite hitting .285 in AA the previous season, that stint in AAA seems to have broke Shelby. He got demoted to AA in 2009 and would hit just .233 there. He went back to AA in 2010 and he hit .245. In AA in 2011, he could only muster a .194 average through 62 at-bats (though he hit .304 in 23 AAA at-bats). The Pirates cut him loose.

He would go on to play parts of five seasons in the independent ranks before calling it a career after the 2015 season and then again after 2017. He finished his affiliated minor league career a .253 hitter with 30 home runs and 203 RBI.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

2008 Donruss Elite, Danny Espinosa

#147 Danny Espinosa

Next up from the 2008 Donruss Elite set is this die-cut card of Danny Espinosa. This card is limited to 150 copies and I was able to get it signed at the Futures Game in St. Louis in 2009. Danny signed this card and one other for me.

Danny has played eight seasons in the Majors, with all but one of them with the Nationals. He also saw time with the Angels, Mariners, and Rays during the 2017 season. Last year was spent with three different organizations at the AAA level. Right now, he is in camp with the Mets as a non-roster invitee. It will be interesting to see if he can find his way back to the majors this season. Considering that he his hitting just .067 in 30 Grapefruit League at-bats, that may be a long shot.

During his time in DC, Danny was a .226 hitter with 92 home runs and 285 RBI. In 2016, he set single-season marks for himself by hitting 24 homers and driving in 72 runs. On the flip side, he hit just .209 with 174 strikeouts and just 15 doubles. The Nats traded him to the Angels after the season and, since then, he has signed with seven different teams.

If Danny is unable to find his way back to the Majors, he will have finished his career a .221 hitter with 98 home runs and 316 RBI.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

2008 Donruss Elite, Petey Paramore

#80 Petey Paramore

Here is a card of Petey Paramore that I got signed at a Wichita Wingnuts game in 2013. Petey was playing with the visiting Kansas City T-Bones at the time and he was nice enough to sign all three cards that I had of him.

Petey was drafted by the A's in the third round of the 2008 draft out of Arizona State. He would play in the A's farm system for just five years before moving on to the independent ranks. In those five years, he would spend the bulk of his time in some form of A ball and he hit .237 with 22 home runs and 136 driven in.

He played in the American Association and Atlantic League for two seasons before retiring after the 2014 season.

Petey got the opportunity to play in two AAA games in 2012 and he did well in the limited action. In the two games, he was 2-7 with a solo home run.

Monday, March 18, 2019

2008 Donruss Elite, Juan Carlos Sulbaran

#60 Juan Carlos Sulbaran

Here is a card that I got signed at an Omaha Storm Chasers game in 2015. JC was playing for the Chasers at the time and was nice enough to sign all three cards that I had of him.

That was my second attempt at getting this card signed. In 2009, I got about as close to getting a card signed as you can without it being signed. It was in St. Louis at the Futures Game. JC was representing the World team. Though I did most of my 'graphing on the USA side that day, I did venture over to the World side when all of the American players were off the field. JC was making his way down the line signing for people. As he was doing so, there was a staffer nearby telling him that it was about time to head in. He kept on signing and he made it to me. He grabbed my card book and my Sharpie and then the staffer told him it was time to go. Rather than signing this card real quick, he handed it back to me and told me sorry. Close, but no cigar. At least I made up for it six years later.

JC spent eight seasons in the minor leagues and never made it up to the Majors. He spent time in the Reds, Royals, and Cardinals organizations and played parts of two seasons in AAA. Over those eight seasons, he was 49-65 with a 5.48 ERA.

The Curacao native also had the pleasure of representing the Netherlands in two WBC tournaments.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

2008 Donruss Elite, Josh Harrison

#57 Josh Harrison

I only bought a few packs of 2008 Donruss Elite, but I was lucky enough to pull this card out of one of them. At the time, it was just a sticker autograph of a minor league player that I had never heard of. Now, it is not that bad of a pull.

Josh was originally drafted by the Cubs in the sixth round of the 2008 draft out of Cincinnati. A year later, he was dealt to the Pirates to shore up some pitching for a playoff push that never materialized. It worked out great for the Pirates, though, as they ended up with a two-time All Star and key piece to their good teams a few years back.

During Josh's eight seasons in Pittsburgh, he would hit .277 with 52 home runs and 269 RBI while playing everywhere except center field, first base, and catcher. He made All Star teams in 2014 and 2017 and had his best statistical campaigns in those two years, though his 2014 season was probably the better of the two. That year, he had career highs in average (.315), doubles (38), and runs (77).

Josh became a free agent after this past season and will be joining the Detroit Tigers this year.

Unlike the other 2008 draft picks that I have posted from this set, Josh is not sporting his college digs in this photo. He is instead pictured in the minor league uniform of the Boise Hawks.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

2008 Donruss Elite, Jose Duran

#56 Jose Duran

Jose Duran was drafted in the sixth round of the 2008 draft by the Brewers. He signed quickly and made his minor league debut that year, hitting .221 for their rookie level team. He played A ball the next season and again hit .221. The Brewers had seen enough and released Jose. His career in affiliated ball was over.

But, he latched on in the American Association and was able to play three more seasons on that circuit. He made the rounds in the Am-Ass, setting up shop for five different clubs in those three seasons. He saw time with Grand Prairie, Ft. Worth, Wichita, Kansas City, and Winnipeg. Over the course of it all, he hit .290 in the league before calling it a career after the 2012 season. He did come back in 2014 in the United Baseball League, but played in just 26 games before calling it quits for good.

For someone that only played two seasons of affiliated ball, Jose sure got quite a few cards. He has one Bowman card and the rest are from Panini.

I got this card signed at a Wingnuts game in 2012 while Jose was playing for the Kansas City T-Bones.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

2008 Donruss Elite, Johnny Giavotella

#53 Johnny Giavotella

Even though I posted a card of Johnny last week, this is his first stand alone post. Ideally, I would have done a post about him when I was going through my 2008 Bowman. But, since I do not have any repeats in this Donruss Elite set besides Johnny, it just made sense for me to post this card instead.

As a Royals fan, I was looking forward to the day that Johnny was going to be their everyday second baseman. Unfortunately, that day never came. Johnny spent parts of four seasons with the club, but he played in just 125 games with them. The most games he ever got into in a single season with the Royals is 53 in 2012. He hit .236 with the team that drafted him before they dealt him to the Angels after the 2014 season. It was kind of a sad day as I feel that Johnny was never given the chance to prove that he could play everyday.

The Angels gave him the everyday job in 2015 and Johnny had a good season. He played 129 games and he hit .272 with 25 doubles, 4 homers, and 49 RBI. He played in just 99 games the next year, but still managed to hit .260 with 20 doubles, 6 dingers, and 31 RBI.

He became a free agent after that season and signed with the Orioles. He would spend most of the season in AAA, appearing in just seven games with the O's, probably the last seven games of his career. He was with two different organizations last season, but got released by each of them during the season. He is not at Spring Training this year and his career is more than likely done.

I got this card signed in Wilmington, Delaware at a Blue Rocks playoff game in 2009.