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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.

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