20 June 2014

2013 SEGA Card-Gen Extravaganza 6: Houston Astros

The sixth team in the 2013 SEGA Card-Gen set is the lowly Houston Astros. The average number of players per team in this set is 13, but the Astros only manage to get 9 cards in the set. The first card, as usual, is the catcher position. Jason Castro was the Astros' lone All-Star representative last season. This year he is playing okay, but hasn't exactly set the world alight. To this point in the season he is just outside the top 20 catchers in fantasy baseball, after finishing in the top 10 for 2013.

Brett Wallace gets the first base slot in the team set. He hasn't had a lot of success at the major league level and has spent a fair amount of time being traded between teams. He was released by the Astros early this year and is currently in the Baltimore Orioles' minor league system.

Jose Altuve is the other sort of established guy on the team, and the first one to show up in the set with more than one star on his card. This 2013 Astros set isn't big on star power. I've had the opportunity to watch a few Houston games on my computer over the last few days, and the thing that has really struck me is how little Altuve is. He looks like a hyperactive kid out there on the field. He made the All-Star team in 2012 and is currently 3rd in the AL in batting average. He is currently the second-ranked 2B in fantasy baseball for 2014 behind Brian Dozier of the Twins, mostly on strength of that .331 batting average and 26 stolen bases.

By the time 2013 rolled around, Jed Lowrie was a member of the Oakland Athletics. He had a pretty good 2013 season, but he is struggling so far this year. He is currently just barely inside the top 25 for fantasy baseball shortstops. He at least gets a decent photo in this card, getting ready to throw while sliding around on one knee.

One good thing about the Astros' team set in this product is the variety of uniforms shown off among the 9 featured players. In J.D. Martinez' card we get a little bit of rainbow action. I thought Martinez was out of the big leagues, but he has found a little bit of playing time this season with the Detroit Tigers, and according to an article I found he just had a pretty good series against the Royals, which could lead to more chances to hang around and play.

Here is the fourth different uniform look in the team set, with Justin Maxwell sporting some pinstripes. He was traded to the Royals halfway through 2013, and hasn't really done a while lot. He's spent a few years as a part-time player for the Nationals, Astros, and Royals.

Carlos Pena makes up whatever constitutes 'star power' in this team lineup, with a whopping four stars on his card. He is shown wearing his Rays uniform from 2012. His best years were well behind him at this point and he was released by Houston partway through 2013. Kansas City picked him up and he played in 4 games for them. For 2014 he has spent time with the minor league systems of the Angels and Rangers.

Harrell is one of two pitchers in the Astros team set. In 2013 he gave up the most walks in the AL and also led the AL in losses with 17. Pretty good stuff. In 2014 he was traded to the Diamondbacks at the end of April. He's made 3 starts for them, good for a 9.49 ERA and a 2.27 WHIP.

Bud Norris was traded by the Astros to the Orioles partway through 2013. He had an okay season, I guess. This year he has again pitched okay. In Astros-related news, he recently badmouthed the team and/or Jon Singleton for the long-term deal the rookie signed, and called the Astros the outcasts of baseball. I guess he's not a big fan of his former team.

The Card-Gen folks didn't even bother with the Astros' bullpen, and after seeing the starting lineup they trotted out you can hardly blame them. The team only gets 16 stars for 9 players, or an average of 1.78 stars per player. That's pretty rough territory. I doubt it will be matched by any other team in this set. Most of the excitement in the organization was lurking in the minor leagues during 2013, and only a portion of that talent has been called up for 2014. They've put some good games together but are still a long way from contending.


  1. Wait, you just noticed now that Jose Altuve was short? He's been getting a ton of buzz for being the shortest player in the majors these past few years.

    Anyway nice cards. Provided that SCG continues this long, the Astros in the 2016 SCG set will be quite something.

    1. I haven't been able to watch much baseball over the years, because I've been generally unwilling to pay for TV. But I got MLB.TV this season and have been watching a lot of Astros and A's games. So I finally found out just how small that Altuve guy is. Most of my sports exposure comes through fantasy sports and trading cards, plus whatever NFL games are on public TV on Sunday.

  2. Great cards -- those old Astros unis make me long for the late 1980s!