Saturday, December 15, 2018

Bustin' a Box of 2014 USA Baseball

About a week ago I ripped open the 2013 version, and today we'll take a gander at what's inside a boxed set of 2014 Panini USA Baseball.
Oddly enough, the '13 and '15 sets were on sale for $15 each during Black Friday, but 2014 set I had to splurge for at $30. Even at that price, I had to pick it up to keep the little three year run together.

81 cards in the base set and this box also boasts nine hits. Let's take a look at the base cards first with card from the 15U portion.
 I figure most card collectors, especially the prospectors, know who Hunter Greene is, but if not we'll have more on him later.

I chose Luken Baker for the 18U segment, because he played in Peoria this past season for the Chiefs.
Baker was the Cardinals' 2nd round draft pick this summer and he's a monster of man at 6'4" and 265 pounds. For the record, I think the position on the card is an error. The back doesn't mention anything about him pitching and as you can see he's wearing a first baseman's mitt. Oh, he's also one of the slower baseball players I have ever seen in person.

I had two guys will Illinois ties and I couldn't decided who to represent the collegiate part of the checklist. So, I decided to show off both. Lucky you!
Zack Collins was drafted by the White Sox (the other IL MLB team) in the second round of the 2016 draft. He advanced to AA last year, but he's a career 0.232 hitter in the minors with LARGE strikeout totals. Tyler Jay pitched for the University of Illinois and was drafted in 1st round by the Twins in 2015. He has also found his way to AA, but he struggled to miss bats last season. Hopefully he'll rebound in 2019.

Like the 2013 set, there were three team cards which served as checklists, but they're kind of boring. Thus, no pictures!
 I did like this card of the USA Baseball training complex. I think I'll add this stadium to my list to visit!

To round out the 81 card set there were 12 Game Action cards.
These cards highlight some of the bigger names from the tournaments USA Baseball played in. Pictured about are Christin Stewart, who made his MLB debut for the Tigers last year, and James Kaprielian. #FormerYankees1stRounder

Onto the hits! Each box contains one red-white-&-blue parallel.
Here's Zack Collins again! The 2013 box contained three blue parallels. I like the patriotic theme of the design, but I wish they didn't cut the number of parallel cards to one for the 2014 set. 

I scored two relics. Hunter Greene kicks things off with a plain gray swatch numbered to 99.
Greene was drafted second overall by the Reds in 2017. He's a two way talent, but the Reds are primarily having him focus on pitching right now. He's averaged 11.8 K/9 so far in the minors.

This Raymond Gil relic is much sharper looking and it also has a few stitches on the right. This one is numbered to 35.  Gil will be a sophomore for the Miami Hurricanes this spring.

Gray Fenter was drafted by the Orioles in the 7th round of the 2015 draft out of high school. He spent all of 2018 in Single-A ball.
Fenter is also an example of a young player not understanding how to use the space given when autographing a card. Ugh. 

Elih Marrero on the other hand knows how to sign a card a little better. Although, it's pretty difficult to make out his name.
Marrero was drafted in the 8th round last summer by the Red Sox and hit 0.300 during his first taste of professional ball.

A Japanese player was in the previous box and this time we have a representative from Chinese Taipei.
 Again, I'm struggling to find any recent information on the non-USA players. Jui Mu Chen, from what I can find, is not playing baseball any longer. But, his autograph is pretty awesome!
Also, not sure if you can read, but this one is a "Christmas Card" as it is numbered 12/25.

Alejandro Toral is the second member from the 15U squad to sign with the Miami Hurricanes.
 He started 28 games at first base last year as a freshman for the 'Canes.

Bryan Reynolds was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 by the Giants, but he was then traded to the Pirates in the Andrew McCutchen deal.
Reynolds is a career 0.309 hitter and has advanced to Double-A so far. There's some promise here.

Dansby Swanson. Eh. He's a former #1 overall pick of the Diamonbacks. He was traded to the Braves for Shelby Miller and has two full seasons (with some injuries sprinkled in) at shortstop for Atlanta. Honestly, I think Ender Enciarte might be the best player dealt in that trade, as he has one All-Star appearance and three gold gloves.

Ooooh... something new! Blake Paugh is currently a freshman outfielder at the University of Arizona. This card is numbered to 99, but it's the acetate window that makes it stand out!

Double ooooh! A Game Ticket autograph of Thomas Eshelman numbered to 30.
 Eshelman was a 2nd round pick by the Phillies in 2015 and he's climbed the minor league ladder fairly quickly. We was in Triple-A last year, but his 2-13 win-loss record says he needs a little more grooming.

Again, Paninin's USA Baseball is a pretty fun break. It's also kind of like buying a lottery ticket, but in some cases you're going to have to wait a few years (or more) to see what you have. Maybe there's a potential Cub or two in this mix?  We'll see!

I still have the 2015 box to break, but all in good time.
Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Atlanta had a lot of hype around Dansby....that is until gohara, albies and acuna came along with the last two being significant.

  2. Solid box here. Some of these cards are really neat-like the Chen, Collins, and Eshelman. I hope for the Reds' sake that Greene is the real deal, their rotation could sure use an upgrade.

    The USA training complex is messing with my OCD. Why didnt they have all four parks meet in the middle, instead of just three? :/

    1. Yeah, that bothers me, too. The symmetry would have been nice.

  3. Always a fun break. Really like the look of the Eshelman. At the time, the Swanson autograph was probably a great one to pull. FYI, in high school and his first year at TCU, Luken Baker was indeed a P/1B, equally talented at both.

  4. These are fun breaks, because we're finally getting to see some of these guys make it to the bigs. I busted 3 boxes of 2018 Panini Stars & Stripes. Had no idea who anybody was, but I'm hoping that one or two of the guys pan out a few years from now.

  5. These are some neat cads. The Green and Swanson are solid pulls for sure.