Last season, several players had cards that were hot hobby commodities. One of them was Dan Haren. In his final year with Oakland, he achieved career-bests in wins (15), ERA (3.07) & strike-outs (192). As a result, his 03 Bowman's Best Auto RC was selling in the $35-40 TAC range by mid season. He cooled after the break, but his BB RC still maintained a $20-30 market value. This season, Haren is on track to improve in wins & strike-outs, and repeat his low 3.00's ERA. Pretty darn good, especially considering that it's his first year with the D-Backs. And what is his BB RC doing? Plummeting with every month that passes by. In April it averaged $22.75, then fell to $22.25 in May, $20.61 in June, $17.17 in July, and now $15.77 in August. So Haren went to a play-off contender, improved his overall stats, and his values are dropping. Is something wrong with this picture?
Alfonso Soriano, despite missing 50 games so far this season, is batting .293 with 23 HR, 63 RBI & 17 SB (only 2 CS) in the lead-off spot for the NL-leading Cubs. He'll probably reach the 300 HR-300 SB milestone within the next couple of seasons (he's currently 264-246). All this, and his 99 Topps Traded Auto (his only rookie-year auto) is selling for around 38% less than it was at it's peak in '07. It's averaging $76.38 TAC this month, close to the lowest it's been in over a year. I consider Soriano to be the best established lead-off hitter in the game, who's cards should experience a rise in value, possibly during this year's post-season play.
The Tigers' Justin Verlander is giving up more runs & walks, and striking out fewer batters this season vs last, and his team is 11 games behind the AL Central-leading White Sox. What's the good news? Collectors have an opportunity to buy his key rookies cards at good prices! His 05 Bowman Chrome Auto RC is averaging in the $40-45 TAC range, down from it's $65-80 range in '07. His 05 Bowman Sterling Auto/Jsy RC is selling for $20-30, down from $35-45 in '07. Despite his high 4.43 ERA, he's still had 14 outings this season in which he's allowed 2 or fewer earned runs. It's those 9 other outings with 5+ earned that have really hurt him. Verlander was quite consistent in '07, and I believe that he will regain his old form going forward.