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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Players Who's Values Were Hot in '07, and Not in '08

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.

Friday, August 22, 2008

One to Buy: Edinson Volquez

The Reds' Edinson Volquez has been one of the biggest pitcher success stories of the season. His 15-5 record is amazing, considering his team is 57-72, and his ERA of 2.73 ranks him 3rd in the NL. Despite all this, and his 8.9 K's/9IP, Volquez's cards have been falling in value over the past month. In June, his 05 Bowman Chrome Draft RC averaged around $9.20 TAC. In July it dropped to below $8.50, and in August it can be found for around $4.50. You can find his 05 BCD Ref #'d 500 & Xfractor #'d 250 in the mid to high $20's range.

During the April to June time period, Volquez was red hot, going 10-3 with a 2.08 ERA, putting him on the hobby map. For the month of July, he posted a 4.54 ERA (despite going 3-1), which explains his drop in value. So far in August, he seems to be getting back on track, posting a 2.89 ERA over 3 starts.

Volquez is one of a handful of 25-and-under pitchers that should regularly find a spot atop the statistical charts for years to come. Now appears to be a good time to buy, as the upside potential of his cards outweighs the downside.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

No Posts - Watching the Olympics

I don't normally get too into watching the Olympics, but I've been strangely finding myself watching it every night since the opening ceremonies. From beach volleyball, to gymnastics, to swimming, it's become like a daily routine. Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh are so great to watch. Their 100+ game winning streak is amazing! They both have Auto cards in the 2007 Topps Allen & Ginters set, and you can bet that their values are on the rise. Did anyone have the foresight to secure the rights to a Michael Phelps Auto and/or memorabilia card? Actually, Donruss had a Fans of the Game Auto insert back in 04, inserted in their Leaf Rookies & Stars baseball packs. It's now selling in the $600-700 TAC range.

Anyway, I realize that I haven't posted anything since the beginning of the month, so I'm now working on getting something up soon. Possibly highlighting the MLB players that have dropped off the radar since last season, or players who are currently selling below their values. We'll see.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Manny Finally Leaves Boston, Heads to L.A.

After all of his complaining, Manny Ramirez finally packed it up and moved to L.A. this past week. After his first two games with the Dodgers, he's hitting .500 with 1 HR & 2 RBI.

Ramirez has probably been the best individual hitter in the majors over the past 10 years, with his .316 BA and 13.44 AB/HR & 4.16 AB/RBI (Alex Rodriguez has averaged .304 with 13.14 AB/HR & 4.68 AB/RBI over that same period of time). Despite his awesome hitting and the fact that he's played for one of the top 3 high profile teams in the league, his card values have never really reached their full potential. Over the past year, his 92 Bowman RC has averaged between $8 to $16 TAC. In July, it averaged $11.79.

Manny is a future HOFer who probably has a few more good years left before we see any significant declines in performance. It's unfortunate that his values have remained almost unaffected by his two World Series Championships & MVP-type hitting. It's hard to say if he'll be a good investment going forward, but I would say that his Bowman rookie is a must-have for any true collector of modern day stars, especially at these very affordable price levels.