The Pulse of COMC – How will the Seattle Mariners Do in 2019?

Welcome to ‘The Pulse of COMC’ , a new monthly blog series where we give our team members a chance to be heard on topics ranging from sports to pop culture and everything in between! For our inaugural flight, we’re turning our attention to our local beloved Seattle Mariners baseball team.

Following another failed attempt at earning a playoff spot in 2018, the Seattle Mariners made some drastic off season roster changes, parting ways with established superstars and key players while in return replenishing their farm system with younger talent expected to make an impact in 2020 and beyond.  The Mariners have stated that their plan is to be competitive in the future, leaving a lot of question marks for what could be a ‘results may vary’ 2019.
 
With that in mind, we asked our team to answer the following questions:
 
How many games will the Mariners win in 2019?
 
“I think the Mariners have enough upside to be a .500 team. A lot key veterans were traded away, but I don’t think this will be the 100-loss disaster a lot of people are foreseeing. I’ll put my win/loss prediction at 79-83. It’s tricky because Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce add pop to the lineup, but could be traded if they perform well enough and will make it tougher to reach the .500 plateau with their absence.”  – Dieter V.
 
 
“The Seattle Mariners certainly had an overhaul of sorts, with a projected six new starters in the lineup, and do not quite have the look of a contender. However, how much did they really lose? Looking at the numbers shows you that the losses weren’t extreme. Going out was a combined 90 HR, 322 RBI, 33 SB, and a combined slash line of .263/.331/.421. The one caveat to these numbers is the fact that Robinson Cano only appeared in 80 games due to suspension and his overall production will be the toughest to replace. All in all these numbers are not hard to replace and they brought in a lot of power over the off-season with Edwin Encarnacion, Domingo Santana, and Jay Bruce while pairing that with athleticism in guys like Mallex Smith, J.P. Crawford, and Shed Long. The pitching staff remains largely the same with the exception of Yusei Kikuchi taking over for the departed James Paxton.
 
Overall I would be hard pressed to say that this team is worse, on paper, in 2019 compared to 2018 however they still have the look and feel of a rebuilding team. If they finish above .500 I would call it an over-achievement so I will make my proclamation that they finished the season with a 80-82 record.” – Kyle S.
 
“Even though the team lost a lot of fan-favorites and key producers, I look at our projected roster and I see a group of guys with plenty of high upside, but more importantly, plenty of heart and desire to play the game at a high level. I think we took a step backwards, but it won’t be as miserable as most expect. 77 wins sounds about right.” James G.
 
“Not as many as my beloved Yankees and more than my hometown Texas Rangers. Probably around 76-77″Rich K.
 
“70”Sam P.
 
“65”Darren F.
 
“Some; I mean statistically, they have to, right?”Joseph H.
 
How do you feel about the off season changes the team made?
 
“Domingo Santana was a sneaky pickup who has a few years of team control and already has a 30 HR season under his belt at the MLB level. If Kyle Seager and/or Dee Gordon return to form, the Mariners offense could be above average. Pitching is where there are some issues. King Felix has lost his crown, Mike Leake and Wade LeBlanc are #3 or #4 starters at best. Marco Gonzales is not a true ace, and Yusei Kikuchi is a #2 or #3. With no dominant starter and a patchwork bullpen, we could see a lot of runs allowed.
 
I love the acquisition of Jarred Kelenic in the trade with the Mets. He could be the future face of the franchise. If he builds on how he performed as an 18 year old, he’ll be a top 25 prospect in all of MLB heading into 2020. Kyle Lewis is finally healthy and having a strong showing this Spring. The future of the M’s outfield looks very promising.”Dieter V.
 
“How do I feel? This team robbed me of my ability to feel, long ago. Rebuilding isn’t necessarily a bad thing… but the timing and implementation of these moves… doesn’t make a ton of sense.
 
First off: Hunter Strickland is not a closer. Hunter Strickland is a moron.Secondly, How did we not trade Nelson Cruz at the deadline last year? And instead let him walk… for nothing? How much more was Cano worth after his 2017 season? Why trade Mallex Smith the first time? We ended up paying more for literally the same player we already had.I think Edwin Diaz and Mike Zunino were a larger part of the M’s 2018 “success” than most people realize. I actually like Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion – it’s too bad they aren’t going to be in our lineup past June.
 
Lastly, I think it was disrespectful to Felix Hernandez and his career in Seattle, not to go for the playoffs, in the final year of his contract.  Whatever you think of King Felix… this franchise owed it to him, to try and contend… TWO front office extensions were tenured on the assumption that we were fielding a competitive team. What impact player did Dipoto acquire mid-season? Oh yeah, Cameron Maybin. To me, these off-season moves were nearly all front-office justification — for their inability to field a contender… or even, a wildcard team. It’s a lot easier to fail if you don’t give fans the expectation that you’ll succeed.” – Sam P
 
“Having been a die-hard M’s fan in the 90’s and 2000’s, it pains me to say that for almost a decade now I haven’t cared nearly as much. I used to go to a few games a season and yet I’ve only been to a couple the past few seasons. So even though five big names are gone from last season’s epic fade job, I never grew attached to them and don’t plan on doing so with this new crop of supposed high-level talent.”Darren F.
 
“The changes made were a necessary evil. The core they had proved unfit to get the team to the playoffs and being a middle-of-the-road franchise has been growing tiresome for the team and the fan-base. They needed to blow up the team and start as fresh as they could and they did that. In my eyes the off season was successful in the now but the player development department will need to work overtime to ensure it is successful in the future. Bringing in top prospects in Jarred Kelenic, Justus Sheffield, Justin Dunn, Erik Swanson, and Shed Long really stocked up a very depleted farm system that at the time only had Evan White and Kyle Lewis to hang their hats on. The front office says they built this team to compete by 2020 and I think these off season changes help the team outlook more for the 2021 season and beyond. They still lack starting pitching and bullpen arms to build on which is why I think the rebuild takes a year longer than they projected. However I am still happy with the way the off season went and feel refreshed that this team actually has a farm system to be excited about.”Kyle S.
 

“I question if we could have gotten more value out of James Paxton and especially Edwin Diaz, such as getting both Peter Alonso and Jarred Kelenic from the Mets. I think a lot of fans will be skeptical of that deal if Justus struggles out of the gate, and he probably will given the amount of run support he’ll receive during his first season at the MLB level. The Shed Long deal was the best move they made, and although I love me some Ben Gamel, I think the swap for Domingo Santana could go down as a Jay Buhner-esque level deal. Signing Yusei Kikuchi was smart, as is the flexible deal he signed, but feels like something of a consolation prize for missing out on Shohei Ohtani a year ago.
 
It physically pains me to suggest this, but if the team was truly committed to a building a winner in 2020 and beyond, they need to make a very tough decision on Mitch Haniger, because his value will never be higher. They need to buy out his arbitration years and extend him, building the offense around him as their superstar, or they need to ship him out for a multiple top prospect package that would give us the top farm system in the majors. Haniger is my favorite Mariner since Griffey, but it would be hard to feel terribly upset about a deal with a team like the Braves if it brought over Austin Riley, Cristian Pache, and Ian Anderson.” – James G.
 
“Thank you for James Paxton. We’ll take him even for 25 starts in NY”Rich K.
 
What do you think they could have done differently, or should do in order to bring a championship to the city of Seattle?

“Could the M’s have made some moves to compete for the division this year? Probably. But with an aging roster and falling just short of the playoffs the past couple years, hitting the reset button was appropriate to try and build sustained success with talented youth rather than go all-in with an older foundation that was nearing its end anyway.”  – Dieter V.
 
“Going into last season – they should have snagged a capable center fielder and at least 2 more, starting pitchers via free agency or trade. Guys like Scott Kazmir, Nathan Eovaldi, and Gerrit Cole – come to mind. Otherwise… they called have invented time travel, called Pete Caroll, and told him to run the ball… because that’s still a more likely way to bring a championship to Seattle… than this front office – winning a world series.
 
In all seriousness;  Going forward – we’re going to need  franchise caliber players at 1st base and center field, more than anything. IMO those are the positions to build championships around, and we aren’t going to compete or even crack the playoffs with trader Jerry’s flip-floppy decision making. Justus Sheffield becoming a James Paxton level ace is pretty much a necessity in this fantasy scenario”.Sam P.
 
“I think having a real plan and sticking to said plan would make a difference. Whether that is going all in or tanking to get better draft picks; in today’s world you either have to be aggressive and overpay/go for it or just start all over again. They are in that horrible middle realm.
 
And in all seriousness, they are heavily screwed by their location and they have to travel more than any other teams.  Not that this would make a ton of difference but a team either in Vancouver or in Portland is almost mandatory so their travel can be somewhat reduced. This puts the Mariners at a very large disadvantage every season.”Rich K.
 
“They need to bring in a world-class manager who’s actually won in the post-season. I miss Lou Piniella, and his balance between fiery accountability and down-home persona. People forget that in this franchise’s 40-plus years of existence, only one manager has led them to the playoffs (1995, 97, 2000-01). I’m not sure that Scott Servais is the man to lead them to the promised land in 2021 when this ‘Step Back’ era comes to fruition. Ironically, that would mark the 20TH anniversary of their last post-season appearance.” – Darren F.
 
“Commit. Commit. Commit. What are we doing here? Are we tearing it all down, as the off season moves suggested, or are we ‘re-imagining’ the roster as Jerry Dipoto recently suggested to dodge the tough questions? Commit to the tear down, grind through a couple of bad seasons of big league ball, and when the timing is right, move all-in and sign or trade for the guys needed to push the team into October.
 
Stop giving up on guys so early. Give Daniel Vogelbach 400-500 AB’s in 2019 to prove if he is a AAAA player, or a major league hitter capable of manning the DH role for years to come. Say farewell to Felix and Kyle Seager gracefully, or eat their contracts if they become too much of a detriment to the team. Continuing developing Marco Gonzales and Yusei Kikuchi into your top of the rotation pitchers, because Mike Leake, Wade Leblanc, and Felix Hernadez do not have a future in Seattle. And above all else, since we’re making wholesale changes, Aaron Goldsmith needs to take over for Dave Sims in the booth.”James G.
 
“They are going to have to follow the mold of the Houston Astros to find success and bring a championship to Seattle. The Astros developed an amazing offense and a couple starting pitchers and then went out and acquired two big time starters in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. The Mariners need to do the exact same thing by getting Jarred Kelenic, Kyle Lewis, Evan White, Shed Long, and J.P. Crawford developed into above-average big league hitters and then add to a starting staff that should already include Yusei Kikuchi, Justis Sheffield, and possibly Justin Dunn or Logan Gilbert. The prospects they have are not only projected out to be excellent hitters but they possess above-average athleticism which will play a huge role playing at T-Mobile Park.
 
It is going to be a fine line between bust or success with these prospects but if they hit on a few of them they can certainly build on that and finish the team out through free agency. I could see a championship coming to Seattle by the year 2023 as I think it will take at least two years of seasoning for some of our top end prospects before they reach the majors.” – Kyle S.

COMC NCAA Tournament Challenge Bracket Group – Join Now and win COMC Credit!

Want to win $25 COMC Store Credit? Of course you do! We’ve created an ESPN Tournament Challenge Group for members of the COMC Nation to put their March Madness brackets up against COMC employees! The top two brackets will win COMC Store Credit!

Click here to join our Tournament Challenge Group on ESPN.com

The Password to join the group: Checkout2019

How to play:
1. Sign into (or create) an ESPN.com account, and click the join group button. Group password is Checkout2019.
2. Name your bracket the same as your COMC username.
3. Fill out your bracket prior to tip-off on Thursday, March 21st.

The top bracket in the group will win $25 COMC Store Credit, with the runner-up winning $10 COMC Store Credit. You must have a COMC account in order to claim a prize if you win. COMC employees will be participating as well, and are not eligible to win prizes. Please do not include ‘COMC’ in your bracket name, as that is how our employees brackets will be differentiated from members of the COMC Nation!

Stay tuned to to this post for future updates!

Guest Blog: Cardboard Therapy

(Editors Note: Please welcome COMC Member Jason1969 to the COMC Blog! This post comes to us thanks to the Call to Arms we put out earlier this month seeking guest writers. Jason enjoys writing about baseball and baseball cards for the SABR Baseball Cards Committee and on his personal blog. He can be found on twitter as @HeavyJ28.  His main collecting interest is vintage baseball, especially Hank Aaron, but he also boasts (and yes, that’s the right word) over 600 different playing career cards of Dwight Gooden cards, many of which he was able to obtain right here on COMC)

By Jason A. Schwartz

For my guest appearance on the COMC blog I will get personal. My hope is that most readers will never find themselves in my shoes, but I hope my experience can help any of those who someday do.

Just under five years ago I found myself in a near-empty apartment alone. In the basement was my guitar, in the kitchen was a coffee mug, and in my hands was a small cardboard box containing the top hundred or so cards I’d saved from when I was a collector back in the day.

For the first time in a decade I opened the box and flipped through the cards. The rush of memories was incredible. Sometimes it was of the player and how much I loved him (in a fan sort of way, please). Other times it was the recollection of where I was and who I was with when I bought the card. The one constant as I made my way through the stack of top loaders was joy, something I hadn’t felt for a while.

I hadn’t purchased a baseball card for 20 years, and I suspected a lot had changed in that time. Were the Beckett Monthly and the Kit Young mail-order catalog still around? (Yes.) Were there still local card shops in every neighborhood? (No.) Were my Jose Canseco rookie cards worth a lot? (No.) Had the Hobby moved to the internet? (DEFINITELY!)

By evening I had made an online purchase of three of the Hank Aaron cards I needed for his basic Topps run. There were important areas of my life where I felt powerless, but it turned out buying Hank Aaron cards wasn’t one of them. Ditto for completing my 1957 Topps Brooklyn Dodgers team set that had been one card short for more than two decades, and ditto for starting on the 1956 version of the same.

I may have gone a bit overboard at times, but man oh man did I love coming home to a #MailDay! Man oh man was it a thrill to frame my completed Hank Aaron run and hang it on my wall. And man oh man was it fun to become part of an online community of collectors who not only buy, sell, and trade cards but eat, breathe, and sleep cards as obsessively as me! (Okay, don’t take that last part completely literally.)

When we’re at low points in our lives we sometimes hear that “it gets better.” I’m here to bear witness that it does. There was a lot I did to get from there to here, and I won’t kid you that some of it—maybe most of it—completely sucked. However, one little thing I did that made a huge difference was getting back into the hobby I loved so much as a kid. In my case, pairing “cardboard therapy” with “real” therapy proved to be the perfect combination for rebuilding my collection as I rebuilt my life.

Rich Reminisces: Thurman Munson

By Rich Klein
When I was growing up my two favorite teams were the Houston Astros in the National League, and the New York Yankees in the American League. Let’s face it, you can’t really root for both New York teams unless you like the flip-flop between your allegiances. In my generation, my three favorite players growing up were Jim Wynn and Cesar Cedeno of the Astros, and Thurman Munson of the Yankees. All three of the players had some interesting life stories, but sadly one of them would not even live until the 1980’s. When Thurman Munson’s plane crashed on August 2, 1979 that truly was one of the saddest days of my young life. When you really know a player more for what they do on the field than with any off-field characteristics, it’s easier to admire what they were.
Munson was drafted as the fourth overall amateur draft pick in 1968, and while the scouting in the 1960’s was not as sophisticated as 50 years later, Munson was a wise selection as he was in the majors barely a year later. In fact, he was such as good prospect that Topps placed him on one of those two-player Rookie Stars cards early in 1970 set:
Sy Berger always claimed that Topps had a better idea than most people about whom teams would keep in the majors, and in this case they batted .500 as Munsion had his fine career, but Dave McDonald would never play with the Yankees again and make a cameo with the 1971 Montreal Expos to conclude his major league career.
It’s really not a bad card, but his second year card, now that’s an even better card! His 1971 card, because of the black borders, is even harder to get in great condition than the 1970 rookie stars card. The 1971 card is even more significant because technically this is the first action photo ever on a base Topps card. Yes, we can consider card #5 the first action card in any Topps set EVER.
Because Topps was based out of New York, many of their photographers were also based out of the Metropolitan area.  You can see the backgrounds of either Yankee or Shea Stadium on many of the photos, and in 1971 you can see lots of action photos featuring players from those two team. Here is an example of Munson on the background of a couple of cards:
Vada Pinson was a great player in the 1960’s and was still a very good player in the early 1970’s, which is why he also earned an action photo in the set. Notice the player prone wearing #15. Yep, that’s Thurman!
A couple of years later Terry Crowley‘s card has Munson featured as well:
Munson is featured just as actively as Crowley is on his own card.  There are other cool background players on 1970’s action cards. Especially in basketball where you will see Hall of Famers from other teams on many cards. But for our purposes, we’ll just stick to Munson. Recognize the player Johnny Bench is going to tag out in this 1977 World Series card?  Yep, Thurm is making another guest appearance:
Munson’s career continued to thrive and in 1976 he won the American League Most Valuable Player award. His 1976 cards have always been among my favorite cards. But if you notice both the Topps and SSPC card feature Munson with a full beard. One team rule New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner had was no beards, and these cards help to show Munson’s independent streak over the facial hair issue:

I always wonder if the photo on his 1976 Hostess card was taken as part of the same photo shoot as the Topps card:
As I mentioned in an earlier column, within a few short years Munson would perish in a plane crash, and the last card issued whilst he was living was the 1979 Burger King Yankees set. I believe it is possible to have a signed card, but I have never seen a signed 1979 Burger King card in the past 40 years. Munson was not the easiest person in giving out autographs to fans, yet in a fascinating conundrum, most Yankee team signed balls have legit Munson signatures and not what are called “Clubhouse” signatures.
And if you really want to really know why Thurman was so beloved: Munson had not hit a homer in months. His power was sapped from the 1975-77 era.  He was hurting all over. But in this 1978 playoff game, with his body aching from those hard catching years, and in the pressure packed 1978 American League Championship Series, he hit what was probably the longest homer of his career.

And the night after his plane crash, the Yankees still had a game the next day, and if you want to cry go right ahead: I once asked Jerry Narron, who started as catcher that day, about what it was like trying to catch that game, and he stated that it was the hardest game he ever had to play in.

Would Thurman had made the Hall of Fame? My instinct says his career would have wound down before getting the career stats, but in our memories he was the straw that stirred the drink for the 1970’s Yankees.

Social Media Roundup: January & February 2019

While the COMC Blog is your #1 source for COMC updates, industry news, hobby focused editorials, and much more, there are plenty of reasons that you should be following all of our social media pages! If you’re not following our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages, you’re missing out on content exclusive to those platforms such as contests, giveaways, sales of the week, and the #DailyCheckout to name just a few. We want to give you a sneak peak of some of that content that you may be missing out on, so we present our ‘Social Media Roundup’ for the months of January & February:

Facebook: 

Our Facebook Page is home to sports related contests/giveaways, including our popular ‘Caption Contest’, where we ask our followers to hit us with their best caption for a funny sports photo or picture featured on a trading card for a chance to win COMC Credit.

Our followers were also able to play along with our ‘Pick ‘Em’ contests all throughout the NFL Football playoffs and Super Bowl, with several members of the COMC Nation taking home COMC Credit, cards, and swag for their correct picks. A fair warning, we truly have some sports Nostradamus’ among the COMC Nation, so competition is fierce!

Caption Contests are a weekend tradition on the COMC Facebook Page, and recently we’ve had some of our funniest ones yet. We asked our followers to come up with a Hip-Hop Duo name for Dave & Doug Widell, who were featured in this hilarious 1992 Pro Line Portraits Trading Card, and we were not disappointed:

Winner:
“MC Hairline and DJ False Start” 

Honorable Mentions: 
“The Mile High Foreheads” 
“Recede with Caution”
“D&D Music Factory” 

Twitter: 

Over on the COMC Twitter feed you’ll find us retweeting the latest news across all major sports, as well as unique an fresh  recurring content of our own. Our Monday Morning Discussions produce great chat about various sports related topics. One of our most recent discussions polled our followers to tweet their favorite sports related video games at us, and we received nearly 100 responses:

The COMC Twitter account is also home to the #DailyCheckout, where we feature one athlete, sports personality, or subject per day. This recurring series shines light on their backstory and/or recent accomplishments, while linking to their available trading cards on the COMC Marketplace.  Each week has an overarching theme, such as our favorite All-time Seattle Mariners, best current-season NBA Rookies, or more recently our favorite Pokemon!

Instagram

If you enjoy sharing your trading card collection with others, you should consider tagging the COMC Instagram account in your #Mailday pictures! We love sharing our customer’s #Maildays to our Instagram page. This year we’ve even started sharing our Top eBay Sale of the Week on Instagram! If you haven’t been following along, here are our most expensive items that have sold on eBay through the first eight weeks of 2019:

That’s going to do it for this installment of Social Media Roundup on the COMC Blog! We’d love to hear your suggestions for content that you’d like to see on our social media platforms! Leave a comment below with your thoughts, feedback, and ideas!

Video: 2019 Topps Heritage Baseball Card Box Break

Hello COMC Nation!

In 2019 we intend to bring you more video content than ever before. In the coming weeks and months COMC will be making some pretty substantial changes to our Youtube channel. We intend to provide fresh, new trading card related content on a regular basis moving forward. If there is any particular type of video content that you would like to see, please leave us a comment below with your thoughts and ideas!

We kick off our initiative with a baseball card break video featuring 2019 Topps Heritage! Released on February 27th, 2019, Heritage is throwing it back to the classic gray bordered 1970 Topps baseball card design. The 500-card checklist features plenty of big names and rookies, while the product itself boasts plenty of hits including Real One Autographs of superstar caliber players such as Shohei Ohtani and Aaron Judge, and plenty of relic, action image and error variants, and much more.

We’ll have plenty of 2019 Topps Heritage baseball cards in-stock in the coming weeks and months! If you’re looking to finish your set, grab a few short prints or action variations that you weren’t able to pull, or are even in the market for some of the more coveted big hits, we’ll have everything you’re looking for and more!

Shop 2019 Topps Heritage Baseball

10 Baseball Rookies to Watch in 2019

Who doesn’t love rookie speculation? With the start of a new MLB season comes a fresh new crop of rookies who’s potential will spark the imagination of millions of fans. Who will walk away with Rookie of the Year honors? Who will make an immediate impact with their team? Will they be remembered among the greats of the game? Will they jump out of the gate at an unprecedented trajectory that looks to rival the record books?

Cody Bellinger and Aaron Judge put on a spectacle in 2017, crushing nearly every pitch that came there in way. Shohei Ohtani, Ronald Acuna, and Juan Soto carried the rookie torch in 2018, dazzling baseball fans with raw talent that infused much needed youth and excitement to their respective teams. Now we turn to 2019, where the next wave of call ups will have to fill some very big shoes. Without further ado, here is our list of 10 prospects that we believe can live up to that hype and then some!

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3b, Toronto Blue Jays) – The number one prospect in all of baseball is expected to make his debut in Toronto in 2019. The son of a Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero (who knew a thing or two about hitting himself), Vlad Jr. has been revered as a generational talent, capable of winning MVP awards as a premier MLB hitter for years to come. He hit .381 in the minors in 2018 split between AA and AAA ball. When he arrives in the majors he will be 20 years old, and is expected to lead a youth movement in a city that is eager to compete with the titans of the AL East.

Three Cards to Consider Owning:

 

2. Eloy Jimenez (OF, Chicago White Sox) – By utilizing his tall 6’4″ frame, Jimenez generates incredible power and bat speed through the zone, drawing comparisons to the likes of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton from a power perspective. This 22 year old also hits for huge average, hitting well north of .300 in the minor league level. The White Sox may have missed out on the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, but they have a superstar waiting in the wings in Jimenez.

Three Cards to Consider Owning:

 

3. Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS, San Diego Padres) – While all eyes might be on San Diego’s newest Megastar Manny Machado, who inked a 10-year $300 million dollar deal with the club last month, Tatis should also be arriving to the team in 2019. Tatis is a player more than capable of posting a 20-20 stat line while hitting for high average.He’s touted as above-average in the field, bringing a blend of speed and athleticism to his game. With the revival of competitive baseball in San Diego, Tatis Jr. will not fly under the radar on a team that is expected to contend for a playoff spot in 2019 and beyond.

Three Cards to Consider Owning:

 

4. Kyle Tucker (OF, Houston Astros) – Even though Tucker struggled mightily during his ‘cup of coffee’ with the Astros in 2018, failing to impress in his 72 plate appearances, the Astros have high hopes for this 2015 first round draft pick. Praised for his hand-eye coordination and strong plate discipline, it’s only a matter of time before Tucker puts it all together at the major league level. Kyle has the luxury of playing for a World Series contender, which has allowed him more time to develop in the minors before cracking the big league starting lineup. The Astros expect Tucker to bring that progression to the major league level at 2019, and he should fit in nicely to an already stacked batting order once he gets acquainted to major league pitching.

Three Cards to Consider Owning:

 

5. Austin Riley (3b, Atlanta Braves) – The hot corner in Atlanta belongs to Austin Riley once the time is right, and it appears that time will be 2019. His raw power combined with an above average arm and athleticism makes him a dual threat at the plate and in the field. Riley is not afraid to strike out at the plate, as his contact rate could use some work. With a little refinement, he should slot in nicely to an already power-packed Braves lineup. With so much protection around him, Riley could find himself in contention to deliver the same Rookie of the Year crown that Ronald Acuna Jr. brought to Atlanta in 2018.

Three Cards to Consider Owning:

 

6. Victor Robles (OF, Washington Nationals) – Suffering an injury that took him down for much last season, this rare five-tool talent is expected to return to form in 2019. All was not lost for the Nats however, as Robles injury opened the door for the emergence of Juan Soto. Robles is expected to be the rookie to watch in Washington in 2019, possessing a blend of power, speed, and athleticism that make him a dynamic player. He should have no trouble getting on base often, and keeping opposing hitters off the base pace with his defense in center field.

Three Cards to Consider Owning:

 

7. Nick Senzel (3b/2b/OF,  Cincinatti Reds) – Drafted second overall in the 2016 draft, Senzel should help boost the Reds infield in 2019. While the team will appreciate his versatility in the field, fans will love Senzel for his pure hitting ability, as he is a contact hitter who doesn’t strike out often and earns plenty of walks as well. The Reds have a good track record of developing similar players (see: Scooter Gennett), and with the Reds adding Sonny Gray and Yasiel Puig in the off season, Senzel could be the missing piece to help spark a wild card push in Cincinnati.

Three Cards to Consider Owning:

 

8. Brendan Rodgers (infield, Colorado Rockies) – Great bat speed? Check. Mammoth home run power? Check. Playing all his home games in Coors Field? Check! All signs point to Rodgers being a shot in the arm to the Rockies offense in 2019, joining the likes of Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon with his 30+ home run per season potential. Rodgers has improved his K:BB ratio over his minor league career, and is touted as an above average defender capable of playing multiple infield positions. He could be a late season call-up depending on how competitive (or lack there of) the Rockies are in 2019.

Three Cards to Consider Owning:

 

9. Forrest Whitley (SP, Houston Astros) – The second Astro featured on our list, Whitley’s arrival at the major league level will bring much needed depth to a thin pitching rotation. Beyond Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, the ‘Stros will need to find consistency, and could turn to Whitley early in the season. He posted a ridiculous 143 strike outs over 92 innings in 2017, but found his 2018 season shortened due to a drug violation suspension. Although his command could use a bit more work, he has multiple plus pitches, including a 12-6 curve and slider with late movement to compliment a 98 MPH fastball.

Three Cards to Consider Owning:

 

10. Peter Alonso (1b, New York Mets) –  A power hitting first basemen who will play his rookie season in New York. That should be all the convincing that you need that Alonso could be the real deal. The Mets top prospect mashed 36 minor league long balls in 2018, while hitting .285 and drawing nearly triple the amount of walks he did the previous season. As long as he can improve and show consistency at the plate, he will be given a pass for his below average speed and average at best defense. At 6’3″ and 245 lbs, this 24 year old should be the talk of the town if he can live up to the hype.

Three Cards to Consider Owning:

 

**Bonus** : Justus Sheffield (SP, Seattle Mariners) – A little home town bias before we wrap up, shall we? The Mariners acquired Sheffield as part of the deal that sent ace James Paxton to New York. The M’s believe they have their ace of the future in ‘Shef. He posted a 2.48 era over 116 innings between AA and AAA in 2018, while striking out 123 batters. With a wipe out slider and above average sinking fastball, Sheffield will play a pivotal role in the youth movement in Seattle and will find himself in the starting rotation in 2019 and beyond.

Three Cards to Consider Owning:

What do you think of our list? Did we snub someone who you’ve got your eye on? Let us know in the comments below who you think will be a rookie force to be reckoned with in 2019!