There are about a half dozen autographs in my collection that were, in retrospect, real turning points in the way that I collected. They either inspired me to collect a certain item, or focus on a certain subject, or helped me take the whole process of collecting seriously.
This return was one of my earliest, and was one of the first letters that I every got from a player. I had some guys write stuff on index cards, but nobody had ever left a note like this. It was thrilled, and was a huge reason that I got so hooked into collecting early on.
It helped that he was a huge prospect, and would end up going in the First Round, 9th overall, to the Rockies in the 2002 draft. He did well in the minors after the draft, rating the teams #9, #3 and #3 prospect from 2002-2004. He never really turned into a top tier starter, but did go 44-32 from 2005 to 2007 and generally pitched really well. That win total is pretty good, but a lot of that was due to the Rockies offense; he would give up 649 hits in 598 IP, for a 1.423 WHIP…but he was pitching in Colorado, so he was probably better than even his peripheral numbers indicate. His ERA+ during that run was 104 (FYI: 100 in league average).
His biggest issue during his career had been injuries. He had some shoulder issues in 2008, and he has been dinged up ever since. He has struggled for the past couple seasons, and had been generally below league average since 2010.
Still, he is only 32, a lefty, and has good control. I like to think his career is long from over, and maybe he can recapture something to help make him as effective as he was during his time with the Rockies.
|162 Game Avg.||11||12||4.94||192||220||57||127||94||1.441|