Top Prospects in 2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball
Although this season, the majority of the hobby hype is focusing on Bryce Harper, there's still several other great prospects to consider. Here's a handful to look for in 2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball, which is scheduled for release on June 22.
Tyler Skaggs, P Arizona Diamondbacks (D.O.B. 7/13/91)
The main prospect moved in the Dan Haren trade, this will be Skaggs' first Bowman autograph. Currently, he has only one autograph, which is in 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition. At times this season, Skaggs has been dominant in the hitter-friendly California League. In 63.1 innings he has 90 strikeouts and has held opponents to a batting average of just .213. Going 4-4 with a 3.21 ERA in 12 starts, Skaggs looks to have major upside, especially considering he is still just 20-years old. Look for this to be one of the big-time autographs out of 2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball.
David Cooper, 1B Toronto Blue Jays (D.O.B. 2/12/87)
A 2008 first-round selection by Toronto (17th overall), Cooper has exploded onto the scene this year, pacing the Pacific Coast League in hitting. Hitting an amazing .406 in 170 Triple-A at bats, he has just 15 strikeouts. Cooper hasn't shown home run power this season but hitting 21 doubles shows he can reach the gaps. In a promotion to the Bigs earlier this season, Cooper struggled, hitting .121 in 33 at bats. Cooper was part of 2008 Razor Signature Series Baseball, but has not had another card in neither 2009 or 2010. Look for this Bowman Platinum card to trump his 2008 Razor, card even though they were released three years earlier.
Yorman Rodriguez, OF Cincinnati Reds (D.O.B. 8/12/92)
This will be Yorman's first hobby autograph. He was featured in the retail-only 2011 Bowman Baseball autographs, but there could be thousands, so this Bowman Platinum autograph should be Rodriguez' card to watch. Known for his speed, Rodriguez has filled out physically and could potentially be a plus power bat. Still young, Rodriguez is someone to watch despite a rough start in 2011. Through 52 games, he is hitting just .234 and only has 10 extra base hits while swiping 17 bags. He has the raw talent and tools. Factor in Yorman's youth and you've got a card to watch.
Manny Machado, SS Baltimore Orioles (D.O.B. 7/6/92)
Including his redemption in 2011 Bowman Baseball (retail packs), this is Machado's fourth pack-inserted autograph card. He has also appeared in 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Baseball and Bowman Draft Baseball. The third-overall pick in 2010, Machado is a plus rating in all five tools. Hitting .304 in 2011 with six homers and 23 RBIs in just 30 games, you can see why. He is also a wiz with the glove and a great base runner. Machado is one of the best prospects in all the minors so any autograph you can snag of him at a decent price or from a pack is worth it.
Matt Lipka, SS Atlanta Braves (D.O.B. 4/15/92)
A former Aflac All-American, Lipka is a speedy infielder that can defend well above average. Lipka is still young and raw so this card may take some time to reach its potential. The good thing is that potential is high. If Lipka can hit like some scouts project, he could put up numbers similar to Alexei Ramirez. Lipka currently has autographs in two other releases: 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition and 2010 Bowman Sterling.
Jamesion Taillon, P Pittsburgh Pirates (D.O.B. 11/18/91)
The top high school arm in the 2010 draft, Taillon has three plus pitches already. His fastball sits in the mid 90s and can touch 99. He also has a hammer curve in the mid 80s and a hard slider. His biggest question is his control. If he can learn to throw more strikes he could be Pittsburgh's ace for many years to come. Taillon was featured on autographs in all three major draft-centric sets last year: Donruss Elite Extra Edition, Bowman Draft and Bowman Sterling. This raises a big question. Will this card hold value or will it just be another second-year autograph that floats into obscurity? As long as he stays healthy, Taillon is an absoulte stud and a can't miss prospect.
Matt Harvey, P New York Mets (D.O.B. 3/27/89)
One of the top college arms in the 2010 draft, Harvey has not disappointed so far in 2011. This season he is 7-2 with a 2.49 ERA in 12 Florida State League starts. Harvey has struck out 80 in 65 innings and allowing opponents a low average of .234. In 2010, Harvey was a redemption autograph from Donruss Elite Extra Edition (/150) and was also in the Bowman Draft autograph set, so this is his third major autograph.
Kyle Parker, OF Colorado Rockies (D.O.B. 9/30/89)
Parker was the former quaterback of Clemson's football team and did not play professional ball last season. Parker was a first-round pick in 2010 and started 2011 with Low-A Asheville of the South Atlantic League. In 52 games he's hitting .287 with eight homers and 47 RBIs to go along with 13 doubles. This is Parker's first-ever card and autograph, so look for this to be a big pull out of 2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball.
Jordan Swagerty, P St. Louis Cardinals (D.O.B. 7/14/89)
The card everyone was looking for when 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition was released, it had nothing to do with Swagerty. On the card, his signature was mixed up with NBA legend Magic Johnson's. It's kind of funny how as Swagerty has succeeded thus far, his cards have gone down. He has already earned a promotion to the High-A Florida State League. For the season he is 4-3 with a 2.09 ERA in 11 starts split between A ball and High A.