Thursday, June 5, 2014

Yulieski Gourriel

Cuban star Yulieski Gourriel will make his NPB debut tomorrow with the Yokohama DeNA Baystars.  Gourriel is the second Cuban player allowed by his government to play in Japan this year after Frederich Cepeda of the Giants.

Like Cepeda, Gourriel played in all three World Baseball Classics and has cards in several of the WBC sets.  In 2006, he had cards in the "Counterparts", "Future Watch", "Inaugural Images" (2 in that set), "All World Team" and "WBC Moments" sets.  In 2009, he showed up in the WBC Box Set as well as the WBC insert sets associated with the Bowman, Topps 2, and Topps Chrome releases.  He was also on one of the WBC box toppers from the Allen & Ginters set (along with Cepeda).  He was also included in the 2009 Konami WBC Heroes set.  He makes an appearance in the base set for the 2013 Topps Tribute World Baseball Classic set.  He also has a variety of parallel and memorabilia cards in the releases for each of the three WBCs.

Here's some of his cards:

2006 Future Watch #WBC-32

2006 WBC Moments #CM-9

2006 Inaugural Images #II-21

2009 Topps WBC Box Set #6

2009 Topps 2 WBC Insert #BCS3

2009 Konami WBC Heroes #054

2013 Topps Tribute WBC #15

It will be interesting to see what Japanese cards get made of Gourriel this year.  He arrived in Japan last weekend which is probably just a little too late for him to get a card in BBM's 2nd Version set as the deadline for that set is usually late May.  The Baystars team set has already been released so it's way too late for that.  He might make it into Genesis, although it may depend on how well he plays as usually there are only nine players per team in that set.  Other possibilities would be a Baystars team box set (if BBM decided to do one) or an SCM promo card.  I think the best chance for a card for him will be the Calbee Series Three set which is expected to be released in September.  The other scenario that would seem likely to me is if Front Runner did another "Season Summary" box set for DeNA after the season ends.

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