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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Triple Play,

Thanks for your comments. Regarding Joba Chamberlain, I think that his cards have still retained a good amount of their potential value throughout his time spent in the bullpen. In the past week or so, his 07 Bowman Chrome Auto RC has been selling in the $120-150 range, his Bowman Sterling Auto RC in the $70-80 range, and his in the Bowman's Best Auto RC $60-70 range. I don't know what these cards were selling for before (when he was starting), but these are all very high prices for a non-starting pitcher, meaning that collectors never believed that he wouldn't return to the rotation. When he does return, I think that his values could still increase if he does well, but if he doesn't meet expectations, his cards could potentially experience a bigger drop than we've seen thus far.

With the Yankees struggling so far in '08, Chamberlain could very well move back into the rotation very soon, and have the opportunity to shine (maybe he could take Phil Hughes' spot?). Honestly, Chamberlain isn't one of the players that I watch too closely, so all of this is just my semi-informed best guess.

Yes, I am a fan of Micah Owings (that obvious huh?) Did you see that he had a pinch hit 2-run homer tonight? He may put it all together this season. So far he's off to a well-balanced start, with a 4-0 record, 3.48 ERA & 8.13 K's/9IP pitching, and is batting .421 with 1 HR & 3 RBI in 19 AB. Not too bad!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

NBA Playoffs: First Round

Some of the stars that have stood out during this first round of the playoffs (and have hobby presence) are Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard.

Kobe led his Lakers into the 2nd round last night, finishing off their sweep of the Nuggets. Leading the league in playoff scoring thus far with 33.5 ppg (including 49 pts & 10 assts in game 2), Kobe has been virtually unstoppable in the 4th quarter. Many people are speculating that this may finally be his year to win the MVP (which would be well-deserved), but part of me thinks that someone else may slip in and take it from him. His 96-97 Topps Chrome RC averaged $176.54 TAC in April (one sold for $196.77 the day after his 49-point performance), up from $159.28 in March, and it's season-low average of $109.46 in December. His mid-level rookies haven't faired as well as his Chrome. His 96-97 E-X RC averaged $27.55 TAC in April, down from $33.98 in March, and his 96-97 Finest RC averaged $23.90, down from $26.60. It seems like collectors are favoring his high-end cards rather than investing in his more common issues. With the Mavs on the outs and Tim Duncan passing his prime, the Lakers are on their way to forming the next Western Conference dynasty. A lot of sports fans seem to actively dislike Kobe, which could keep him from reaching his full hobby potential.

Chris Paul & the Hornets have been the hottest surprise of the season. Paul posted a triple-double tonight as he & his crew handed the Mavs their second straight first round playoff exit. He averaged 24.6 ppg, 12 apg, 5.6 rpg & only 1.2 turnovers/game through the Dallas series. Everyone seemed to automatically think that the Spurs were going to move on to the conference finals against the Lakers, but now there's probably a lot of reconsideration going on. Personally, I think that it would be great to see this young & exciting team challenge L.A. for the Championship rights. Paul's mid-level rookies have been just as hot as his on-court play, with his 05-06 SP Authentic Auto RC #'d 1299 averaging $138.12 in April, up from $114.57 in March (it started the season averaging $57.25 in November). His SPx Auto/Jsy RC #d 750 averaged $188.70, up from $133.36 (it averaged $90.84 in November). I saw one of his rare 05-06 SP Authentic Auto/Patch RC #'d 1-100/1299 sell for $283.95 in April. These cards were selling in the $215-230 range during Nov-Dec. Paul may be the one player that could steal the MVP from Kobe this year.

The Magic eliminated the Raptors on Monday 4-1, led by Dwight Howard's 22.6 ppg, 18.2 rpg & 3.8 bpg for the series. He's quickly becoming the most dominant center in the league, and at only 22 years old, you can bet he's gonna get even better. The Magic may not win their conference this year, but expect them to be in contention very soon. His 04-05 SPx Auto/Jsy RC #'d 750 averaged $127.31 TAC in April, down from $142 in March, and it's season-high of $160.25 in December. His 04-05 SP Authentic Auto RC #'d 999 averaged $121.30, down from $157.51 last month, and it's season-high of $160.51 in December. Both of these cards started to increase in sales price toward the end of this month, signifying a revitalization of hobby interest. I haven't seen any of this higher-end rookies for sale in April.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

MLB Briefs: Early Rises & Falls

Manny Ramirez had a slow start in '08, batting .256 with 1 HR & 8 RBI through 4/11. During those first two weeks of the season, his 92 Bowman RC was averaging $12.20 TAC. Since then, he's been lighting it up at the plate, now with a .356 BA and 6 HR & 20 RBI. That same Bowman rookie is now averaging around $17.99.

Through 4/6, Rick Ankiel was batting .348 with 3 HR & 6 RBI, and his 99 Ultimate Victory RC was selling in the $40-56 TAC range. It was all downhill from there, with his BA plummeting to it's current .244, with just 4 HR & 11 RBI total so far for the season. His UV rookie has also been falling, first down to the $30's last week, and now into the $20's this week.

The Yankees' Phil Hughes was commanding top $ this past off-season, but has not been able to find his groove through his first 4 starts. His first outing was decent, posting a 3.00 ERA and a no decision. He then proceeded to lose his next 3 starts, and his ERA has risen to 8.82! All of his key Auto rookie cards have experienced drops in value as a result. His 05 Bowman Chrome Auto RC fell from around $112 TAC at the beginning of the month down to the mid $80's range. His BC Ref Auto RC dropped from the high $140's down to the low $130's, and his BC X-Fractor Auto RC dropped from around $280 down to around $250.

Johan Santana was a super hot commodity when he got traded to the Mets. Last month, his 00 Bowman's Best RC #'d 2999 averaged $76.57 TAC, and his 00 Finest RC #'d 3000 avearged $136.76. Through his first 4 starts, he's posted a disappointing 2-2 record & 3.12 ERA (hobby expectation was much higher, with a lot of anticipated value already built into his pricing). Both of key rookies have dropped off quite a bit in April, with his BB RC averaging $65.75 (last sale $46.88 on 4/20) & Finest RC averaging $114.10 (last sale $99.65 on 4/20).

Felix Hernandez started the season with a 0.00 ERA in this first two starts, but received no decisions in both due to disappointing reliever performances. He finally got his first win in his 3rd start, and is now 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA after 5 starts. His 04 Bowman Chrome Auto RC was selling for around $105 TAC in early April, and has since risen to around $115. His BC X-fractor Auto RC was at around $220, and is up to around $230 now.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Player Focus: Ervin Santana

Angels' pitcher Ervin Santana is off to a solid start, going 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA, and averaging 7.33 K's/9IP & only 2 BB/9IP. On Saturday, he tossed a 3-hit, 8-inning gem to help the Angels beat the Mariners 4-1 (only run allowed was a solo-homer to Adrian Beltre).

The 25-year-old Santana entered the majors in '05, and had his best season thus far in '06, posting a 16-8 record, 4.28 ERA, and averaging 6.22 K's/9IP. Collectors then had him on their radar, and anticipated bigger & better things in the following year. Unfortunately, '07 turned out to be a huge disappointment. Santana's inconsistencies sank him, as he posted a horrible 7-14 record & 5.76 ERA. You can imagine how that impacted his card values (I had him on my watchlist for over a year, and ended up dropping him to make space for other players). For those collectors who still believed in him (or felt like doing a little gambling) in the past year, your investments may start paying off this season. I had bid on a few of his rookie auctions, but didn't end up winning any of them.

One of his BB rookies sold on Saturday for $10.26 TAC.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rays' Ace Kazmir Prepping for Return

Scott Kazmir, last season's AL strikeout leader (1 K short of Jake Peavy's MLB-leading 240 K's), began '08 on the DL due to an elbow injury. On Friday, he had his first rehab start in Class A, and reported that he was able to work on all of his pitches, and "felt good for the most part". In 3 IP, he gave up 1 ER & 1 H, with 0 BB & 3 K's.

For those who read my top pitchers list last season, you know that I consider Kazmir the best in his age group. His rookie cards remained relatively inexpensive in '07, despite his strong performance (probably a lot of it has to do with him playing for Tampa Bay). I like his 02 UD Prospect Premiers Auto XRC & 04 Bowman Sterling Auto/Jsy RC, which can be found for around $40 & $20 TAC, respectively.
The Rays started the season 3-1, but then hit some rough patches and fell to their current 7-10 record, putting them into last place in the AL East. Kazmir is now expected to return to the team on 5/3; not a day too soon.
Bynum Update

The latest official news on Andrew Bynum, who's been out since 1/13, is that "his knee still feels "unstable", and that he feels pain during movement", according to the L.A. Times on 4/12. Now, 6 days laters and 2 days till game 1 of the LA-DEN series, people are speculating that he may not return until the Western Conference Finals, to give him extra rest since he shouldn't be needed until the Lakers face the Spurs or possibly the Suns, who both have big centers that Pau Gasol wouldn't be able to handle.

As I wrote before, Bynum's key auto rookies have hit record TAC values since he's been out. Collectors were hyped when he was playing so well at the beginning of the season, and it seems that they've just continued to carry that feeling for the past few months, with the expectation that he would return to help lead the Lakers to a championship. I myself have shared this sentiment, to some degree, also. It's probably true that they couldn't contain Tim Duncan without Bynum (although in the case of the Suns, Shaq is a far cry from what he used to be several years ago, and the Lakers could probably deal with him on the floor for 25 mpg). In my opinion, the Lakers can make it to the Western Finals without Bynum, but to move on to the finals with Boston, they'll need him on the floor playing close to the level he left off at when he got hurt.

Bynum's 05-06 SP Authentic Auto RC #'d 1299 is averaging $98.05 TAC in April (another monthly record high), up from $87.73 in March (and up from $24.34 last November!). His 05-06 SPx Auto/Jsy RC #'d 1499 is averaging $88.90 in April, down from $97.10 in March. I'm attributing his SPx price drop to the lazy sig that's on this card - "AB#17" (check out my post on 11/27/06 titled "Player Focus: Andrew Bynum Auto Variations" for more details). Although, I wouldn't be surprised if this card does start to jump up to the $100+ range, since collectors tend to like the triple-threat rookie card: serial #'d, auto & game-used all on the same card.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Around the MLB

The Royals' Zack Greinke is 3-0 in his first 3 games of '08, posting a 0.75 ERA and allowing just 2 ER in his last 24 innings pitched. A perfect start to a comeback season, after missing time in the majors over the past two years due to psychological issues and inconsistent pitching. Greinke's 02 UD Prospect Premiers Auto RC has been selling $25-30 TAC range this month. If he can keep consistent, and mentally stable, this card should see it's value rise very soon.

Florida's Scott Olsen had a good outing on Tuesday, allowing 5 hits, 0 runs & 0 walks with 3 K's in 7 innings pitched. He's now 2-0 with a 3.05 ERA after 3 starts. In his first full season in '06, he set the Marlins rookie strike-out record with 166, and picked 12 W's. After having a subpar '07 season, I think that Olsen is due for a rebound. His 04 Bowman Sterling Auto/Jsy RC has averaged in the $6-9 TAC range over the past year, and could be set for a rise in '08.

David Wright is off to a good start, batting .313 with 4 HR & 15 RBI. On Tuesday, he helped his Mets beat the Nationals, going 3-for-4 at the plate, with a 2-run HR, 2 doubles & 5 RBI. Wright is coming off of a strong '07 season, where he hit .325 with 30 HR, 107 RBI & 196 hits. The Met's are gonna need him to lead their offense if they want to compete with the Marlins & Phillies for the NL East title. His 02 Bowman Chrome Auto RC has been selling in the $260-300 TAC range this month.

Justin Verlander was one of the most consistently good pitchers in the league the last two seasons, but his first 4 starts in '08 have been horrible (just like his team). He picked up his 3rd straight loss on Wednesday, as the Indians pounded the Tigers 11-1, and now has a 0-3 record with a 7.03 ERA. Verlander's 05 Bowman Chrome Auto RC averaged $69.32 TAC in March, up from $52.99 in February. I haven't seen any sell so far in April, but I would expect to see prices fall. His 05 Bowman Sterling Auto RC averaged $39.05 TAC in March. Ditto for this one too. Verlander is a definite talent and should have a productive MLB career ahead of him. If and when his prices do fall, there should be some good buying opportunities out there.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Young D-Backs Off to Great Start

The Arizona D-Backs are off to a great start this season, posting an 8-2 record (MLB best) in their first 10 games. They have 5 decent-potential players in their line-up that are 25 years old or younger, and any one of them (or more) could be on the verge of a breakout season. I'm focusing on the three that should make big improvements in performance this season, versus in '07. (Note: All stats are as of 4/11/08).

Mark Reynolds, their 2nd year third baseman, is batting .308 with 5 HR & 14 RBI; both MLB bests. Last season, in 111 games, he hit .279 with 17 HR & 62 RBI, and averaged 1.16 Strikeouts/game. There's been an increased amount of market activity on his 07 Bowman Chrome RC & it's parallels. He also has base auto rookies in 07 Upper Deck Future Stars, Exquisite Collection Rookie Signatures (#'d 199), UD Black (#'99), Bowman's Best & Finest (I could be missing a few). If he can keep consistent & reduce his SO/game (vs last season), he should be on his way to helping the D-Backs to another post-season appearance.

Justin Upton, their 2nd year rightfielder, is batting .368 with 4 HR & 7 RBI. Last season, in 52 games, he hit .221 with 2 HR & 11 RBI, and averaged 0.86 SO/game. Upton is considered to have the most potential out of all 5 of these players, with commentators on ESPN predicting that he'll soon be a perennial All-Star. He's been on fire so far this season, hitting 4 homers in his first 10 games (twice as many as he did last season in 52 games!). Upton's 06 Bowman Chrome Auto RC & it's parallels have been hot sellers since their release. Expect to pay close to $200 for his base card. At this point, a lot of his future value has already been built into current prices. Reynolds is probably a better buy right now, from a "bang-for-your-buck" standpoint (of course I could be wrong - look at Albert Pujols' 01 Bowman Chrome Auto RC!).

Stephen Drew, their 3rd year shortstop, is batting .294 with 2 HR & 2 RBI. Last season, in 150 games, he hit .238 with 12 HR & 60 RBI, and averaged 0.67 SO/game. Drew's rookie cards have held decent value over the past year, and should have a good amount to grow if he can gain more consistency at the plate. His 05 Bowman Chrome Draft Auto RC has averaged in the $42-52 TAC range over the past year, with April sales in the high $40's. His 05 Ultimate Collection Auto RC #'d 99 has been selling in the $90-116 range.

Just as I'm writing this post, I hear on ESPN that Justin Upton hit a 3-run homer against the Rockies earlier today, giving him 5 HR for the season. He's now batting .415 with 5 HR & 11 RBI. Reynolds picked up his 15th RBI.

These guys could potentially experience the same type of hobby explosion that the Brewers' young stars had in '07. Prince Fielder was one of the hottest players before the break, and Ryan Braun took over the spotlight thereafter.

For those who left me comments recently:

Gellman - Great Santana sale! I unfortunately didn't pick up any of this cards while they were down. Those are the stories that keep us all in the market, searching for that next player who'll jump in value.

Thomas - Thanks for your complement. My content & writing quality isn't as good as I'd like, but I'm glad to hear that someone out there is reading it! Much appreciated.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Player Focus: Micah Owings
The D-Backs' RHP (and sometimes slugger), Micah Owings, has done quite well on the mound in his first two starts this season. He's 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA, 3 BB and 13 K's in 13-2/3 IP. His bat, though, hasn't quite warmed up just yet (1-for-6 with 3 strike-outs).

In '07, Owings made his MLB debut on 4/6/07 tossing 5 shut-out innings to help his team beat the Nationals 7-1. On 8/18/07, he had 7 K's in 7 IP and allowed 3 ER, in addition to batting 4-for-5 with 2 HR & 6 RBI in a 12-6 win over the Braves. He had his first career shutout on 9/18/07 against the Giants. In his final start of the regular season, he pitched 6-1/3 shutout innings and went 4-for-4 with 3 RBI at the plate enroute to an 8-0 win over the Pirates. Owings had his ups and downs during his '07 rookie campaign, and unfortunately his one post-season appearance was one of his downs. He allowed 6 runs (2 earned), including a 3-run HR to Matt Holliday, in the D-Backs' 6-4 loss to the Rockies in the 4th & deciding game of the NLCS.

Owings only has one base auto rookie - 05 Topps Chrome Update Auto. This card has had a monthly average TAC of between $9.00-15.50 since last August. The two parallel versions of his TCU RC, the Refractor Auto #'d 500 & Black Refractor Auto #'d 200, have averaged in the $11-20 range and $20-39 range respectively, over the same time period.

In my opinion, Owings has a good amount of hobby potential, with his ability to help his team both defensively & offensively. During his bad pitching months last season, I had mentioned that maybe he could follow in Rick Ankiel's footsteps. But, given his first two starts this year, it looks like he may have the skills to remain in the D-Backs' rotation, and provide the added bonus of an occasional HR here & there instead.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

MLB Briefs: Poor '08 Starts

Phil Hughes, the Yankees' 21-year-old pitcher, picked up his 2nd N/D in 2 tries on 4/8. He now has a 2-game record of 0-0 with a 5.00 ERA, allowing 10 hits, 5 BB with 6 K's in 9 IP. Collectors' belief in Hughes' potential have kept his top rookie card values high. His 04 Bowman Chrome Auto RC has averaged in the $95-120 TAC range in the past couple of months (compared to someone like Justin Verlander, who's 05 BC RC has sold in the $50-70 range, despite having accomplished so much more on the mound than Hughes has). His 04 SP Prospects Auto RC #'d 400 has been selling in the $165-175 range, and his 04 Donruss Elite EE Auto RC #'d 1485 has been in the $35-60 range. Because of his age, he'll get quite a bit of hobby-leeway (at least for a little while). He may become a huge star for New York in the future, but as of today, I'd say that he's a higher-risk bet, at current market values. Of course, that risk level would come down some if his cards become more affordable.

At one point, Hunter Pence was one of the hottest commodities in the hobby in '07 (until he got injured). He posted an impressive .322 BA with 17 HR & 69 RBI in 108 games played. So far in '08, he hasn't been able to keep his 3-6 Astros out of the NL Central's bottom spot. He's batting a pitiful .179 with 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 BB and 10 strike-outs in his first 9 games. His 04 SP Prospects Auto RC #'d 600 is selling for around $160 TAC this month, down from close to $200 in March, and a high of $309 last July. His 04 Donruss Elite EE Auto RC #'d 672 has been selling for around $100, down from a high of $134 last July, and his 04 Hot Prospects Auto RC #'d 299 has been selling for around $125, down from a high of $139 last July. Pence has the chance to be a part of one of the best line-ups in the NL, with guys like Miguel Tejada, Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman (potentially that is - so far none of them have been too consistent).

Last year's NL ROY runner-up, Troy Tulowitzki, hasn't been able to carryover his strong offense from '07 into the '08 season (so far). In his first 8 games, he's batting .212 with 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 BB & 6 strike-outs. The bright side is that he started the '07 season batting a similar .200 with 0 HR & 1 RBI through his first 8 games, and still ended the year at .291, 24 HR & 99 RBI. So there's still hope for him to turn things around in '08! His 05 Topps Rookie Cup Auto RC (his one-and-only base rookie auto) has seen huge growth over the last year, averaging $33 TAC last July, then peaking out at $82 last November. This month it's been selling in the $70's range, signaling that the hobby still maintains the belief that Tulowitzki is the future of the franchise, and could possibly help the team reach the post-season again. The only complaint that I have about the TRC set is that there are too many parallels; #'d to 399, 299, 199 & 50, in addition to the unnumbered base).

Sunday, April 06, 2008

MLB Briefs

Edwin Jackson, the 24 year-old veteran D-Rays pitcher, had a great 1st outing this past week. In 6 IP, he allowed just 5 hits, 1 run, 2 BB with 4 K's against the high-powered Yankees, en route to his first W of the season. I've been writing about Jackson, with the hope that he would one day gain the consistency that his coaches obviously believe he can achieve. Currently, all of Jackson's rookie cards are dirt cheap, but if he has a few more starts like this past one, expect hobby interest to grow, along with his values. I personally like his 03 Leaf Limited Auto #'d 99.

Clay Buchholz lost his season debut, as the Red Sox got blasted by the reinvigorated Blue Jays 10-2. He pitched 5 innings and allowed 6 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 2 BB with 7 K's. It wasn't too bad of a performance, but he didn't get any run support. Buchholz's 05 Bowman Chrome RC has been selling for around $10 TAC this month, down from $12.69 last month, and $13.09 in February. Expect to pay in the $30's range for his BC Ref, the $70's range for his BC X-fractor #'d 250, the $200's range for his BC Blue Ref #'d 150, and the $300's range for his BC Gold Ref #'d 50.

Roy Oswalt, a week after getting out dueled by the Padres' ace Jake Peavy, got beat down again for his second straight loss. In 6-2/3 IP, he allowed 10 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 1 BB with 0 K's against the Cubs. He's now 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA. The last sale that I saw for his 00 SPx RC #'d 1600 was for $107.50 TAC back on 4/5. I expect this card to fall to the sub-$100 level very soon. The Astros, who are now 2-5, really need their top ace to get into the swing of things if they want to make any kind of a run for the NL Central title.

Jake Peavy was even more dominating in his second start than he was in his first. On 4/5, he tossed a 1-run complete game, allowing just 2 hits & 1 BB with 8 K's to beat Brad Penny & the Dodgers 4-1. He's now 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA. While watching the Dodgers beat the Padres on 4/6, they had a poll asking who the public thought would be the top pitcher in the NL West between Penny, Peavy & Brandon Webb, and Penny actually won with 45% of the votes. I personally don't see it. The last sale that I saw for Peavy's 01 Bowman Chrome Ref RC was for $42.88 on 4/2, down from an average TAC of $50.36 last month. I wouldn't be surprised if this card hit the $100 mark this year, as Peavy is probably the most dominant pitcher in the majors. Also, I doubt that the "dark substance" observed on Peavy's hand was anything to worry about. Unfortunately, when a player is on top of his game, there will always be those people out there trying to find something negative to bring them down.

Florida's lead-off hitter, Hanley Ramirez, has been hot in the hobby for the past few years, and is off to a great start here in '08. He hit his first homer of the season on 4/5, and is batting .400 as of today (4/6). Last season, he hit .332 with 212 hits, 29 HR & 51 SB. Ramirez is a rare commodity, and his cards will definitely continue to rise, despite their current lofty price levels. His 03 Bowman's Best Auto RC is averaging $63.33 this month, down from the $80 level it's been selling at for the past two months. His 03 Bowman Chrome Auto RC has been selling in the $175-185 range in recent.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Arenas Makes Comeback

Gilbert Arenas finally made his return, joining his fellow Wizards against the Bucks on Wednesday. Coming off the bench (actually not coming out of the locker room until 5:30 of the first quarter), he scored 17 points in 20 minutes of play, and shot 5-for-9 from the field, including 2-for-3 from 3PT, and 5-for-7 free throws. Arenas' top rookie cards have been pretty scarce since his injury back in mid-November, for obvious reasons. His 01-02 SP Authentic Auto RC #'d 1525 was a hobby standout last season, reaching into the $100's range. This season, it peaked out at $77 TAC back in November (probably below the $100-mark because of his embarassing comments made at the beginning of the season), and dropped down to around $60 in March. I would expect a little increase in value now that he's back, but not the big jumps that he could've had if he had returned earlier in the year, and helped the Wiz earn their current #5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

MLB Highlights 3/31/08
Erik Bedard had a strong debut with the Mariners, helping them to beat the Rangers 5-2. Despite not getting a decision, he only allowed 1 earned off of 3 hits in 5 innings pitched, with 5 K's. Over the last 6 months, Bedard's top rookie card, his 01 Donruss Class of 2001 #'d 625, has been selling in the $25-32 TAC range. I didn't see any of these cards sell in March, but I expect to see more hitting the market as sellers try to cash in on his early success in his new home.

Joe Torre's first game as the Dodgers' skipper went well, with a 5-0 shutout against the Giants. Ace Brad Penny tossed 6-2/3 scoreless innings. Unfortunately his lone rookie card, his 97 Bowman RC, is pretty much value-less (meaning no market value; didn't want to use "worthless"). L.A.-newbie Andruw Jones went 1-for-4 (1B) in his first game with the team. His 95 Bowman's Best & Bowman RC's averaged around $18 & $13 TAC, respectively. Both of these cards have a good amount of potential for upward movement if he and the Dodgers can improve on their sub-par performances from last season.

Johan Santana didn't disappoint in his Mets debut, helping his team to a 7-2 win, going 7 innings and allowing 3 hits, 2 ER and 2 BB with 8 K's. He allowed a 2-run homer to Josh Willingham in the 4th. Santana's 00 Bowman's Best RC #'d 2999 averaged $76.57 in March, down from $97.06 in February. His 00 Finest RC #'d 3000 averaged $136.76, up from $125.06 in February. I saw two of his Finest Ref RC #'d 1000 sell in March, for $203.50 on 3/8 and $258.65 on 3/23.

David Wright went 2-for-4 (two 2B) with 3 RBI for the Mets. His 02 Bowman Chrome X-fractor Auto RC has been selling in the $400-440 range recently.

In the best pitching match-up of the night (and maybe the week), Cy Young winner Jake Peavy outdueled his hunting buddy Roy Oswalt to help his Padres to a 4-0 victory. Peavy allowed just 3 hits & 3 BB in 7 IP, with 4 K's. Oswalt got squeezed for 11 hits & 3 runs in 5-1/3 IP with 6 K's. Peavy's career opening day record in 3 starts is now 2-0 with a 0.45 ERA.

Peavy's 01 Bowman Chrome Ref RC averaged $50.36 in March. From last November through February, this card had been stuck at around $46 TAC. Oswalt's 00 SPx RC #'d 1600 averaged $99.01 in March, it's lowest level in the past 10 months.