Rays Going to Their First World Series
Thanks to those readers who wrote in while I was M.I.A. What an exciting weekend this was, watching the cinderella Rays finally take down the defending champ Red Sox. Tampa Bay has had several young players with impressive performances, but two that are still very hobby-affordable are Matt Garza & Willy Aybar.
Garza's rookie auto's have been fairly inexpensive all season, with his 05 Bowman Chrome Draft Auto RC selling in the $17-25 TAC range, and his 05 Topps Chrome Auto RC in the $12-20 range. After tonights dominant performance (7IP, 2 hits, 1 ER, 3 BB & 9 K's), I would hope that his cards finally start to pick up some hobby steam.
I've been an Aybar fan since he was with the Dodgers organization. After playing for a couple of different teams, he seems to have finally found his groove in Tampa Bay. After a slow ALDS against the White Sox, he really stepped up his game in the ALCS, batting .421 with 2 HR & 6 RBI. He only has two MLB rookie cards: 01 Bowman's Best RC #'d 2999 and 01 Bowman's Best Auto, both of which I believe were a part of exclusive rookie subsets for that product. Both of these cards have been selling for less than $10 each for a long time, and still remain at that level on the open market. I pulled one of his BB Auto cards back in '01, and have been holding onto it ever since.
Both of these players are 25 years old this year (Garza will be 25 in November), and can potentially have long & prosperous careers ahead of them. With other young players like Scott Kazmir, B.J. Upton & Evan Longoria playing by their side, you can expect this Rays team to be in the post-season for years to come. Was anyone else impressed with the maturity and confidence that Longoria & David Price displayed through this high-stress series? These two 23-year-olds are definitely ones to watch for the future.
I'm very sad that my Dodgers got knocked out by Philly, but I have to admit that they did get further than I had thought they would. Hiroki Kuroda was a nice surprise, Manny Ramirez was great as expected, and Chad Billingsley was disappointing - my take of their performance in a nutshell.
Thanks for reading...