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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

MLB Potential Buying Opportunities

Some of the players that I think have a chance to rise in value this season are Justin Verlander, Clay Buchholz, Edwin Jackson and Elijah Dukes.

Verlander has been pretty consistently good through his first two full seasons in the majors, with a combined 3.65 ERA, 35-15 record, 7.13 K's/9IP and 2.95 BB/9IP. His 05 Bowman Chrome Auto RC peaked out at a monthly average TAC of around $80 last season, and then fell to $50-60 during the off-season ($52.99 in February). After the Tigers had their meltdown in '07, they've bulked up their roster for '08 with the additions of Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle Willis & Edgar Renteria, and they should make a run for the post-season. Look for Verlander to continue to post 15+ win seasons for years to come, and take his place among the next-gen future HOF pitchers. His 05 Bowman Sterling Auto/Jsy RC probably has an even bigger potential for growth than his BC RC. It peaked out in the high $40's, then fell to the high $20's during the off-season.

Buchholz gained his fame last season when he threw his no-no, driving his 05 Bowman Chrome Draft RC up to an average TAC of around $21. The hobby-hype soon died down when he got hurt and missed the rest of the season, and his BCD RC got stuck in the $11-12 range for the next four months. In February, it started to show some signs of life again, moving up to an average of $13.09. His BCD Ref has been selling in the mid $40's, and his BCD X-fractor #'d 250 in the mid $80's. The last BCD Gold Ref #'d 50 that I saw sold for $437 back in November.

Jackson, who has only shown brief signs of fulfilling his potential over his five-year MLB career, could be on the verge of becoming a strong contributor in the D-Rays' rotation in '08. He'll be joined by Scott Kazmir (a future strike-out king), the newly-acquired Matt Garza and call-up hopeful Jeff Niemann (who had a great year in the minors in '07). There have been very few Jackson rookie cards listed for sale on auction over the past couple of years, but I would expect to see an increase if he can perform as well as he has thus far in Spring Training. Hopefully he just needed a few years to mature, since he came into the league at such a young age.

I had high hopes for Dukes last season, until his personal problems distracted his play, and eventually ended his season prematurely. His 07 Bowman Auto RC reached an average TAC of $17-18 at its peak, but then started its descent after his departure, bottoming out in the $8-9 range. In February, his Bowman RC averaged $9.34, and his 07 Bowman Blue Auto #'d 500 was at $14.51. Dukes is still a risky bet, but his potential brings out the gambler in many collectors. I'll probably try to pick up one of his Bowman base Auto rookies if I can find one for $7-8 TAC.

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