23 September 2015

2013 SEGA Card-Gen Extravaganza 14: Texas Rangers

It's been a while since I posted in this ongoing series of posts that highlight the 2013 SEGA Card-Gen trading cards out of Japan. I was able to grab a full set from a seller on eBay in early 2014 and I've been scanning the cards in team-by-team to post about here on my blog. These cards were quite a hit when they were first introduced to the blogging world by Zippy Zappy and his trademark Zippy Zappings. Based on the page views for these posts lately I would guess that these cards are seen as old hat now, but that could just be due to the fact that my posts are team-centric and might only hold interest from fans of the featured team. But I've come this far and I'm nearly complete with the AL teams, so I can't quit until I get through the whole thing. Enough navel-gazing; let's get to the cards. As per the usual format, the team set for the Texas Rangers runs through the fielding positions from Catcher through Right Field, then Starting Pitchers, Relievers, and Closers. Many team sets don't have enough cards for that, so most teams are missing a position or two.

A.J. Pierzynski is one of the most disliked players in the game. Ozzie Guillen said, "If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less." Right now A.J. is with the Braves, his third team since leaving the Rangers. He spent part of 2014 with the Red Sox and part with the Cardinals. He won a World Series ring with the White Sox in 2005.

Ian Kinsler was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Prince Fielder. Fielder had a neck injury last year and missed a large portion of the season. Even tossing out that season I think Detroit probably got the better end of the deal from a performance standpoint. Kinsler has 11.8 WAR (5.9 avg.) over the two seasons while Fielder has 2.0 WAR so far in 2015 after his lost 2014.

Adrian Beltre has been very good for a long time. He gets a pretty good fielding picture on this card, with plenty of action and a nice shot of the fans in the seats. But my favorite thing about Beltre is that he hates for people to touch his head, which is a quirk that Elvis Andrus takes advantage of as often as possible.

Brian McCann can't even watch that video without scheduling a team meeting to discuss professionalism with the younger players. There's nothing uglier than two baseball players enjoying themselves while playing a game.

Speaking of Andrus, here he is! His card calls him an Infield Single Artist, which I think is a nice way of saying that his speed helps him to overcome a weak bat. The biggest thing that got me when I looked at his Baseball Reference page was that he's got 7 seasons under his belt already. I guess I always thought of him as a younger guy, and really he is still pretty young. That's what happens when you get called up at age 20 and stick on the big-league roster.

David Murphy left the Rangers after the 2013 season. He signed with Cleveland for 2014 and played with them for part of 2015 before being traded to the Angels in late July of this year. I think 2012 was pretty much the peak for him unless he's got a resurgence on the way.

Nelson Cruz has been an All-Star with three different teams in the last three years. In 2013 he was with the Rangers, in 2014 he played for the Orioles, and now he is with the Mariners. It looks like they've locked him up for a little while. 

Yu Darvish is injured this year, but he's been an All-Star all three years he's played in the MLB so far. He throws a butt-load of strikeouts. Hopefully he is able to come back and remain dominant. I like those red jerseys.

Matt Harrison had a great 2012 but has lost each of the last three seasons to a back injury. I would imagine it will be pretty difficult for him to come back from it. He was sent to the Phillies this year in the trade that brought Cole Hamels to Texas. I imagine his inclusion in the trade had more to do with making the money work than it did any potential he has left.

Colby Lewis is another pitcher who has lost significant time to injuries. He is back this year, though, and has pitched fairly well, with good-not-great numbers across the board. I guess it's been good enough to help the Rangers take the lead in the AL West.

Now with Boston, Alexi Ogando is an okay bullpen arm. There isn't much else for me to say about him. He was an All-Star in 2011 as a starting pitcher. In 2012 he moved to relief, in 2013 he was a starter again, and then he moved back to relief work for the next two years. I wonder if all the bouncing around has hurt his consistency?

Josh Lindblom pitched a handful of innings for Oakland in 2014. They released him and the Pirates picked him up and then released him. It looks like he has found a spot in 2015 as a starting pitcher in Korea for the KBO's Lotte Giants.

Joe Nathan found a lot of success as a closer/reliever from 2004-2014 with the Twins, Rangers, and Tigers. He has spent 2015 on the DL with an arm injury. He's got 377 saves and has been named an All-Star 6 times.

Well, that does it for the Texas Rangers. The team set features 12 cards, which is one less than the average of 13 cards per team in the 390-card set. All that's left for the AL is the Toronto Blue Jays, and then it's on to the NL teams. I've only been posting these things every couple of months lately, so it should take me several more years to get through it. By that time most of these guys will be retired.

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