Thursday, July 1, 2010

50 Year Counterparts, Pt. 8

While the recently injured Arodys Vizcaino is the most talked about piece of the offseason trade that sent Javier Vasquez to the Yankees, lefty Michael Dunn is proving to be a diamond in the rough for Atlanta.

2010 Topps Heritage #322 Michael Dunn-RC

Originally drafted and signed by New York as an outfielder, Dunn was moved to the mound halfway through the 2006 season, after hitting only .160 in 187 ABs over 66 games. The move wasn't completely foreign to the 25 year-old Dunn, as he had pitched in high school. During his first year as a pitcher ('06), Dunn appeared in 14 games between the Gulf Coast Yankees & Class A Staten Island. He then spent most of the next two years as a starter between Charleston, Tampa, and Trenton, going 17-12 over that time period. Since his final year in the Yankee system, Dunn has been moved back to the bullpen, where he has really cemented his place as a prospect. Though he has struggled with control issues during his career, Dunn has improved this area of his game significantly this year, seeing his WHIP drop while his strikeout totals have improved dramatically as well. Through June, the lefty is 2-0 at AAA Gwinnett, having pitched 38.1 innings in 28 games, with a microscopic 0.70 ERA/ 6 sv / 24 hits, 52 K and only 16 walks.

Though Dunn appeared in Topps' 2010 Series 1 base set, the card didn't indicate that he had been traded to the Braves- so this was actually the first card that depicts him in an Atlanta uniform.

1961 Topps #496 Ken MacKenzie

Appearing on card #496 in the 1961 Topps set was another Brave rookie prospect- lefty Ken MacKenzie. The Canadian-born reliever was a Yale graduate who was signed by Milwaukee as an amateur free agent in 1957, played for 5 MLB teams, and was out of baseball by the age of 31. His stay in Milwaukee was a short one, as he appeared in only 14 games for the Braves over two years, with 1961 being his last year in the organization.

The following year he spent with the New York Mets in their inagural season, and was the only pitcher for the Metropolitans to post a winning percentage above .500- as he went a CY Young-like 5-4.
MacKenzie only appeared on two cards for the Braves- this '61 card, as well as the 1960 Topps #534. There's no word on whether or not he's credited with inventing the "Tomahawk Chop."

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