Wednesday, April 30, 2008
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
Thursday, April 24, 2008
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
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).
Friday, April 18, 2008
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
Saturday, April 12, 2008
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
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.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
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
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
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
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.