…it is complete. I received the last two cards I needed for the subset yesterday. Woohoo! My first completed subset in…well…a loooong time. That means we will definitely look at the entire thing. I may move on to some other subsets of Timeline, but for right now I’m focused on some of the 2002 issues I talked about yesterday.
Poor Edinson. He looked so brilliant in 2008, then lost most of the last two years to injury. Given Johnny Cueto’s pitching motion, I always figured he would be the first of the two brilliant young pitchers to give out. I’m thinking Cueto will still eventually give out, but for now, it seems the Reds have both of them back in the rotation, along with some other great pitchers. Speaking of which, what the hell happened to Aaron Harang? That guy was a world-beater for awhile there, and now…wow. Just awful.
Anyway, Edinson returned recently and pitched a great game. Good for him! As for the card itself, I like it, but it’s not a standout in the set, exactly. They’ve applied that 92 filter (look at the way the light diffracts on his arm to understand what I’m talking about) that I just love so much (ugh), but the shot is vintage 92. It would definitely have fit in with the original set.
This was another one of those “Who?” cards when I pulled it from the blaster. Iribarren had a blistering 10 OPS+ in 15 plate appearances in 2008, and faired slightly, if not significantly, better in 2009 with a 78 OPS+. He managed a 0.0 WAR in 2009, making him the very definition of a replacement player. Good job? All I can think is he must be a glove guy, because his minor league numbers really aren’t much better. I mean, he had a .680 OPS in the friggin’ Pacific Coast League in 2008. Not exactly what you call a world-beater, but I’m always glad to see a guy like this get a card. Even if he never sticks, he’ll always have this to point to.
Let’s finish it up with a couple of Cubs. First is Reed Johnson. Reed joined the Cubs in 2008, so I wonder if he was included in this set as a sort of “traded” nod, because he’s kind of far from being the sort of young player Upper Deck seemed to be going for here. Reed’s never been the most amazing player, but 2008 was about par for the course, and shows why batting average is not the be-all end-all for judging a player. He hit a deceptive .303, but his obp was .358. Ick. He did, however, manage a 98 OPS+, not great for a corner outfielder and certainly below league average, but he accounted for 1.3 WAR. Not a terrible pickup from the scrap heap.
What a letdown this guy must be for Cubs fans. I remember the hype with him coming in, that he would be the next Ichiro or Hideki Matsui. What they got instead was a corner outfielder who couldn’t muster a 100 OPS+. Hell, even a 90 OPS+. He rebounded a bit last year, mustering a 104 OPS+ with a 3.1 WAR, but he’s back down again this year, and can’t seem to manage to get above a .260 batting average (one of those times when batting average does kind of matter). He’s been especially wretched in July. Just another thing that’s gone wrong for the Cubs.