January 28, 2009

My venture in prospecting

I've tried my hands at prospecting twice. The first time was around 1998 or 1999 and I was looking for the hottest newcomer. There was one name that stuck out for me - Erubiel Durazo.

I bought several of rookie cards off eBay thinking, perhaps I can add something good to my collection. Instead, I've ended up bookends or something.

My second attempt at prospecting was more expensive. This time I decided I would go for a Yankees prospect because what better way to start a new player collection is to get all his prospect cards from the beginning. I checked eBay, Naxcom, sportlots, everything to find all the cards I can on this guy.

Jose Tabata. That was guy. Over the last two years he was one of the highest touted prospects for the Yankees. He was projected to be the Yankees centerfielder in a few years, possibly 2010.

Even though he was only in Tampa, scouts couldn't stop talking about him.

Then, he went to Trenton.

Him and Austin Jackson were side-by-side and Jackson outshined Tabata.

Instead, Tabata -- once an untouchable -- nearly had a nervous breakdown. He left the field one night in Trenton and wanted to go home.

The Yankees ended up trading him to Pittsburgh for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte.

Now, I stare at my Tabata cards and think, now what?


  1. prospecting is by definition tough. Doubly so if one is chasing Yankees.

    I imagine It is better to start the chase with down market clubs and hope that a prospect emerges there and eventually gets traded or Free Agency to the Yankees or one of the other big clubs.

    Bad Wax been running a pretty interesting series on Prospects.

  2. Prospecting is indeed a difficult venture. It consumes copious amounts of time analyzing statistics, organizational depth charts, market trends and developing hunches on which cards of a particular player will experience the most optimal market growth (e.g. bang for your buck).

    In order to make it a profitable venture, you then, in turn, need to also figure out the best time, marketplace, and method to sell your speculative purchase as well.

    I have been doing it for more than 10 years and, as the internet has grown, so have the resources that are available to the prospecting public. This, of course, creates a more competitive arena for finding those gems in the rough.

    That said, the dyed in the wool prospector would tell you that that the pride is in the process. I can't tell you what my net gain or loss is over the past 10 years, but the satisfaction I have in elbowing a buddy or family member and saying "I told you he'd be good" is worth more to me than any 100% profit yield.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and keep prospecting!


  3. I love looking at the younger players and trying to figure out their potential. However, I'm not sure I want to spend my money in trying to figure them out.

    I have several other Yankees prospects cards I picked up, but I don't know how far they are going to get.

    I have several Betances cards and Brett Smith. I think Betances may more of an upside than Smith.

  4. For a Yankees fan, I think it comes down to this:

    - The Yankees "farm system" is really a farm system for the other 29 teams.

    - The 29 other major league teams are a farm system for the Yankees.

    Just pick out the best players on other teams, and if they're good enough, like C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, they'll be Yankees within a few years.

    Your other choice is to join me in the growing legion of ex-Yankees fans. You might find that it's a lot more fun to root for a team that has to work hard to compete.

  5. There is another team I enjoy watching and rooting for, but I can't help but love the Yankees.

    I'm not sure I could ever jump ship.

    I just had an idea ... I should figure out who the best short stop is out there because soon the Yankees will have to replace Jeter.

    How old will Hanley be then?

  6. Since I live in a market that has a Yankees Minor League affilliate (Low-A Charleston Riverdogs) I get to watch the newcomers. I'd say keep an eye out for Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances, Carmine Angelini, Austin Krum, Austin Romine and Justin Snyder. They all played in Charleston last year and they made all the early Prospects list. Montero and Romine have been invited to Spring Training.

  7. I too am stuck with a bunch of Tabata cards. Since I am go to Scranton Yankees games I tend to bulk up on prospects cards like Dan. The way I figure it, if Armageddon comes I'll have something to burn. Then again, maybe he turns his career around with the Pirates and gets traded back to the Yankees or signs a free agent deal with them.
    In the meantime I'm stocking up on Jesus Montero and Austin Romine's.

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