Random autograph of the day: Mike Devaney

Mike Devaney holds a special place in my heart, because he’s a former Mets prospect, and I, of course, am a Mets fan.

He showed great potential in the early going, posting a 5-0 mark with 1.95 ERA in 14 starts his first professional season, 2004, and going 10-4, 3.88, while averaging just 7 hits allowed per 9 innings, in his second campaign. In 2006, he was 12-5 with a 2.13 mark, an excellent year indeed, before slipping to 6-9, 4.85 in his fourth and final season.

It’s odd the Mets didn’t give him another campaign to redeem himself, with 2007 being his first real struggle. Sure, he was 24 in 2007, but that is far from old. One wonders if injuries did him I’m, of that I’m not sure. Either way, he was 33-18 with a 3.24 ERA overall, a great line for someone who never made the majors. 


Random autograph of the day: Paul Ellis

Paul Ellis was a St. Louis Cardinals first round pick, taken 30th overall in 1990 between outfielder Midre Cummings and pitcher Brian Williams. Though he never became a recognizable face in the majors … because he didn’t reach them … he did become well-known at Double A Arkansas, spending three full seasons and two partial years there.

While he did not find much success in the affiliated ranks, he exploded in independent baseball: With the Western League’s Reno Chukars in 1997, he slashed .337/.464/.570 with 16 home runs and 75 RBI in 84 games. To that point, he had not hit higher than .255 or had more than 6 home runs in a season. That was his only year in indy ball, however, and was also his final professional campaign. Another point of interest: He did not steal a single base in 696 pro games.

Random autograph of the day: Kevin Mulvey

Kevin Mulvey is a former Mets prospect, a 2nd round pick later traded with others for star hurler Johan Santana.

Though he posted some decent numbers on the farm, Mulvey never pitched in a big league uniform for the Mets—and, in the long run, he barely pitched in the big leagues, at all.

New York shipped him to the Twins in February 2008, and by July 2009, he was on a major league mound. He spent 27 1/3 unsuccessful innings there, including just 1 1/3 with Minnesota, going 0-3 with a 7.90 ERA overall. The Twins shipped him to Arizona as the player to be named later in a deal for relief pitcher Jon Rauch in September 2009 and after a few more rocky appearances, he was back in the minors for good.

He ended his professional career in 2012 where it all began, in the Mets system. 

Random autograph of the day: Ryan Carter

For those who think these signatures look a little off, I believe they are ghost-signed—that is, someone other than Ryan Carter signed the cards.

Carter was drafted twice, initially out of high school in 1997, then in the 8th round out of the University of California, Los Angeles in 2000. He was taken in the same round as future pitching stars Dontrelle Willis and Brandon Webb, though such success was not in his professional future.

He played in the minor leagues from 2000 to 2003 and had modest success in the lower levels, striking out 132 in 138.2 innings in 2001. However, in his Double A debut in 2003, he went 2-7 with a 6.00 ERA in 17 starts in what would be his final season. 

Random autograph of the day: Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes was a Yankees uber-prospect coming up, a former first round draft pick out of California that rocketed through the team’s farm system. He was named Baseball America’s 39th-best prospect going into the 2006 season, and #3 going into 2007; Baseball Prospectus ranked him #2. Through his first four minor league campaigns, including a five-start stint at Triple A, he was 25-8 with a 2.09 ERA; In 275 innings, he had 311 strikeouts and just 171 hits allowed.

But the major leagues is a far cry from the minors, even Triple A. Though his debut campaign, 2007, wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t what fans were expecting—in 13 starts, he went 5-3 with a 4.46 ERA. After an awful sophomore campaign, when he went 0-4 with a 6.62 mark in 8 starts, he was relegated to the bullpen for 2009, where he had some success. In 51 appearances (7 starts), he posted a 3.03 ERA with 96 Ks in 86 innings.

Back in the rotation for 2010, he went 18-8 in 176.1 innings to earn an All-Star nod, before falling to 5-5, 5.79 in 2011. That pattern would define Hughes’ career—a good year, then a bad year, then a good year. He went 16-13, 4.19 in 2012, then 4-14, 5.19 in 2013. 16-10, 3.52 in 2014, 11-9, 4.40 in 2015. The wheels fell off in 2016, and from then on, he was a combined 5-10, 6.01 in 145.1 innings.

While he didn’t live up to his billing, his career was solid—he went 88-79 overall—and he had some noteworthy highlights. His postseason career, especially, had some excellent games, such as his 2010 ALDS start against the Twins. In 7 innings, he allowed no runs on 4 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 6 batters. He last played in the majors in 2018.

Random autograph of the day: Dana Allison

Dana Allison was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 1989 and moved up in their system quickly. The relief pitcher had a 1.52 ERA in his first pro season, spent at Single A, then posted a 2.33 ERA in 47 games between three stops, including Triple A, in his second campaign, 1990.

By April 1991, he was in the major leagues, but whatever magic he had was lost—in 11 big league games that year, he had a 7.36 ERA, then at Triple A, his mark was 4.37. He bounced around the Athletics system until 1994, finding use as a starter and reliever, but never returned to the majors. 

Random autograph of the day: Beau Allred

Beau Allred was a spot player for the Cleveland Indians from 1989 to 1991, earning the majority of his playing time his final campaign, when he appeared in 48 games and started 38 of them. It’s not glamorous, but the highlight of that season was his on-base percentage: He worked 25 walks, in addition to 29 hits and a single hit by pitch, for a .359 mark, despite batting just .232.

The highlight of his career, however, was his first home run—he walloped the shot off of superstar hurler Roger Clemens in 1990. And, wouldn’t you know, his next homer, hit in 1991, came off future Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley! He was more productive in the minor leagues, hitting 102 dingers in 8 seasons there.

Random autograph of the day: Macay McBride

Macay McBride—the only known “Macay” in professional baseball history— was one of those relievers that had a single solid year in the majors, only to vanish within a couple seasons (Lee Gardner also comes to mind).

Taken by the Atlanta Braves in the 1st round of the 2001 draft, the local kid— he was born in Augusta, Ga.—was in the majors by 2005. That first year, he posted a 5.79 ERA in 23 relief appearances. By 2007, after posting a 4.96 mark in 38 games, he was out of the bigs.

In between, he was a vital cog in the Braves bullpen, going 4-1 with a 3.65 mark in 71 games in 2006; he later pitched a scoreless inning in that year’s National League Division Series. He made a single appearance at Triple A in 2008, then one more in the independent ranks in 2010, before finally calling it quits. 

Random autograph of the day: Ryan Basner

It seems if one is a minor league relief pitcher, he needs to strike batters out at a exceptional rate, post a superhuman ERA for an extended period, or at the very least, rack up a ton of saves, to earn a big league promotion.

Basner did none of the above, so despite spending part or all of four seasons at Triple-A, he never reached the majors. His career was not without highlights, however.

With the rookie-level Danville Braves in 2003, during his first year of pro ball, he went 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA in 19 appearances, averaging 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings. The next year, he averaged 9.7 whiffs per 9 frames. Those years were the outliers, however, as his career rate was 7.6 K/9 IP.

In 2009, his penultimate campaign, he had a 2.88 ERA in 54 games for the independent Somerset Patriots. Unfortunately, his career totals paint a less rosy picture, as he went just 27-32 with a 4.26 ERA and 609 hits allowed in 568 2/3 innings overall. 

Random autograph of the day: Tim Burcham

Tim Burcham spent more than a decade playing professional baseball, with part or all of five of those years at affiliated Triple-A (he spent seven years at that level if you include his time in the Mexican League). The pitcher won ten-plus games twice, including a 17-6 record for the Class-A Palm Springs Angels in 1987. That was his third year in pro ball. Skip to 1996, his final campaign. Back in Palm Springs with the independent Suns, he posted a 2.56 ERA in 102 innings.

Because his campaigns in-between weren’t stellar, he never earned a promotion to the major leagues—though he got close. Named a strike replacement player in 1995, he was on the San Francisco Giants Opening Day roster, but was sent down once the strike ended, never to appear in a game. His son, Scotty, is currently in the Colorado Rockies system.