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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Around the MLB

The hobby had high expectations in '08 for last year's NL ROY, Ryan Braun, driving up the TAC of his benchmark 05 Bowman Chrome Draft Auto RC every month leading up the start of the season; $128.93 in Jan, $144.18 in Feb, $155.62 in Mar and $168 in Apr. Braun had a slow April, batting just .276 with 3 HR & 17 RBI in 105 AB, but has turned things around in May, hitting .298 with 10 HR & 19 RBI through 5/24. His BCD RC dropped off this month due to his mediocre April stats, averaging $143.04, and has yet to recover it's value. If you want to buy Braun's cards, don't wait too long because they'll probably start to jump again in the very near future. In '07 he hit 34 HR in a short 110-game season. According to, he's projected to hit 43 HR at his current pace.
Brandon Webb was a distant second to Jake Peavy in last year's NL Cy Young award race, but he started this season off as a clear favorite ahead of the rest of the pack. He put his perfect 9-0 record on the line on 5/21 against the Marlins, and despite pitching a decent game (7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB & 7 K's), picked up his first loss of the season. Webb's 03 Ultimate Collection Auto RC #'d 250, arguably his best rookie card, is averaging an amazing $148.76 TAC in May (a Gold version #'d 25 sold for $419.99 on 5/13!). His Ultimate Coll rookie cards are pretty scare, and before this month, the last one that I saw sell was back in Oct-07, and it went for $57.19 (and that was when he just completed a 16-10, 3.01 ERA season!). If you didn't already pick up Webb's key cards, it may be too late. I'm guessing that most (if not all) of his potential value is already built into his current TAC's.

Interesting Note: Jon Lester's 06 Bowman Chrome Auto RC had been averaging in the $20-25 TAC range this month. On 5/19, the day that he tossed his no-no against the Royals, one sold for $87.52! The next one that I saw sell, on 5/25, went for $23.36 (the same price level as before his no-no). What an example of hype affecting the market!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Andrew Bynum Not Returning, Will Have Surgery

Throughout most of the time that the Lakers' up-and-coming star center Andrew Bynum was out injured, his key rookie cards continued to rise in value. The hobby kept the belief alive that he would make his return to help the Lakers win the West, and eventually win the their first title since '02. It was recently announced that he wouldn't be rejoining the team this season, and today we found out that he will undergo arthroscopic surgery on Wednesday. The disappointment has been apparent in the market, with his cards finally taking their hits (with interest!).

His 05-06 SP Authentic Auto RC #'d 1299 peaked out at a monthly average TAC of $99.88 last month, and fell to $76.30 so far in May (with most recent sales at around $70). His 05-06 SPx Auto/Jsy RC #'d 1499 averaged $90.45 last month, and is at $68.13 MTD in May (with most recent sales around $55-60).

The article on said that an estimated timetable for his return would be made after his surgery. Prices should continue to fall, creating another round of buying opportunities. As long as Bynum comes back at full strength next season, he remains one of the best "big man" prospects in the league.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Kobe Wins MVP

I keep hearing about how everyone doesn't like Kobe, and that he probably won't win the MVP award AGAIN, but guess what? He IS going to finally win it, and he definitely does deserve it. I was a little worried there for a while, thinking that Chris Paul might steal the award away from him, but Paul will have his time in the spotlight before we know it. Kobe is arguably the best & most refined all-around player in the league, and his Lakers are the (again arguably) best team out there, so this SHOULD be the year that he wins it. I agree with the idea that a player who has an outstanding individual season, but who's team doesn't do well, shouldn't win the MVP (kind of like when Alex Rodriguez won the AL MVP back in '03 with the Rangers who went 71-91). So, I say again, this is Kobe's year.

Collectors seem to be targeting Kobe's higher end cards, driving up the value for his 96-97 Topps Chrome RC from an average monthly TAC of $176.54 in April to $211.78 so far in May. His 96-97 Topps Draft Picks insert is selling in the $120-130 range this month, up from around $90 in April. His mid-valued rookies have fallen in price, with his 96-97 Finest RC selling for around $20-22 over the past week, slightly down from $23.90 in April, and his 96-97 E-X RC selling for around $20, down from around $30.

Personally, I'm hoping for a Lakers-Hornets Western Final, and Lakers-Celtics Championship. These match-ups would be great for the hobby, and awesome to watch! I think that all hobbyists (and fans of the game for that matter) are tired to seeing the Spurs and/or Pistons playing for the title. Those two teams' stars have minimal hobby impact, and quite frankly aren't very interesting to watch.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

MLB Stars Having a Horrible '08

Some of the stars who have really shined in the past are off to horrible starts in '08. This list would include guys like C.C. Sabathia (1-5 & 7.51 ERA in '08 - 3x All-Star & '07 Cy Young award winner), Justin Verlander (1-5 & 6.28 ERA in '08 - '06 AL ROY & 35-15 with 3.65 ERA over last 2 seasons), Vladimir Guerrero (.257, 3 HR & 11 RBI in '08 - career .323, 36 HR & 118 RBI per 162 game season) and Troy Tulowitzki (.152, 1 HR & 11 RBI in '08 before going on DL for 6 weeks - '07 NL ROY runner-up with .291, 24 HR & 99 RBI).

Sabathia had a great regular season in '07, with his 99 Topps Traded Auto peaking at around $54 in September. After winning the AL Cy Young, collectors expected him to continue his hot pitching in '08, driving his TT Auto up to the $63-65 level in the months leading up to opening day. I haven't seen any listed since (except for fixed-price auctions). After allowing 27 ER in his first 18 IP (4 starts), he had two good back-to-back outings in which he only allowed 1 ER in 14 IP with 19 K's. I thought that it was a sign that the ace was back, but then on Saturday he picked up his 5th loss, giving up 4 earned off of 10 hits to KC. I expect to see his TT Auto drop to the $35-45 TAC range soon, creating a potential buying opportunity.

Verlander seemed like the most consistent young pitcher in the majors over the past two seasons. The Tigers as a whole were off to a rough '08 start, losing their first 7 games of the season. They've since started to recover (now 14-17), and I expect that Verlander will do the same. You can't keep a talented pitcher like him down for long. His 05 Bowman Chrome Auto RC peaked last season at an average of $81.30 TAC in July. Last month, it was selling in the $45-55 range. His 05 Bowman Sterling Auto RC peaked in the high $40's range last June, and has since dropped to the $30's range in recent. I'd keep my eye out for some major buying opportunites, until Verlander starts to turn things around (which he definitely will).

Guerrero has been a major offensive force over the past decade, hitting 30+ HR 8 times & 100+ RBI 9 times, with a career 368 HR & 1191 RBI. His 95 Bowman's Best RC has had monthly averages of around $30-45 over the past year, most recently averaging $33.86 TAC in April. They can be found in the mid-high $20's range if you look hard enough. His 95 Bowman RC averaged $26.22 last month, but can be found for around $12-15 if you're lucky. Guerrero has already experienced the peak of his career, but don't think that he's ready for retirement just yet. At 32 years of age, I'm thinking that he could have another 6 to 9 productive years left, which would make him a lock to reach the 500 HR career milestone (he only needs 132 more). Did I mention that he also has 2,001 hits? 3,000 is definitely not out of the question.

Tulowitzki was an all-around standout last season, a strong contributor with the bat and a great fielder with the glove (.987 FPCT). Before he got injured in late April, he was still fielding well (.986 FPCT), but just wasn't getting it done at the plate. His 05 Topps Rookie Cup Auto RC (his only base Auto rookie) was a steal through last September for around $30-40 TAC (probably because all of the hobby attention was on Ryan Braun, the guy that beat him out for the NL ROY). It then jumped to around $70 in October when the Rockies made their Cinderella-run to the World Series, and peaked out in the $80's range in November. Through this March & April, it's been a solid seller for around $70, but don't expect it to stay at that level. While he's out for the next several weeks, we'll probably see two things happen: 1) these cards will become very scarce on the auctions, and 2) those that are listed will be available on fixed-price auctions, or will sell well below it's most recent $70-level. It's hard to say whether or not Tulowitzki will be a good investment. I'm thinking that it will all depend on the price-point at which you buy at. (Note: The card pictured is his parallel #'d 399, not his base rookie card).