Timing is everything when it comes to prospect cards. If you sell a card too early you could be missing out on future value. If you buy a card too late you may have already missed out on the biggest gains. Figuring out when to buy and when to sell can be difficult. The Buying/Selling/Collecting column is my attempt to walk that fine line.
The goal of this column is to identify and maximize the value of prospect cards. Cards that appear in the Buying section are cards that I believe to have good potential to increase in value. Cards in the Selling section are those that I believe to be near their peak value. I want to emphasize that putting a player in the Selling section does not mean I believe that player’s performance will drop off. It only means that I believe it would be a smart time to sell in order to get the most value from that card. Could I be wrong about that? Absolutely. I won’t claim to be any kind of expert here. I’m still new to the prospecting side of the hobby so whatever I’m buying or selling should not be taken as a recommendation. In fact, it should be taken with a heavy grain of salt.
While the buying and selling will get the most attention, at the heart of it sports cards are a hobby. For that reason I’ve added a collecting section here. Collecting will feature cards or memorabilia pieces that I have purchased or am trying to purchase with absolutely no intention of reselling. While this website mainly focuses on prospect cards there are many other cards that I enjoy collecting as well. The great thing about card collecting is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. The collection section could be feature anything on any given week, it’s supposed to be less analytical and more driven by pure enjoyment. After all, isn’t that what this hobby is based on?
Enough of my rambling now. Here is who I’m buying, selling, and collecting:
2018 Bowman Chrome Tyler Freeman
Tyler Freeman made his first appearance on the trending list week and I don’t expect it to be his last. After being selected 71st overall by the Indians in the 2017 draft, the Rancho Cucamonga native has steadily moved up the organization’s prospect list. He was the Tribe’s #16 prospect in 2018, #3 prospect in 2019, and is currently the #2 prospect. This rise is not unearned. The former TCU commit has performed well at the plate across every level of minor league ball, most recently hitting a combined .306/.368/.410 in A and A+ during the 2019 season. Although he does not do anything one thing great, he does many things well. Scouts are high on Freeman’s well balanced skill set, especially in combination with his high baseball IQ and motor. It is expected that he will find a home at second base but with the Indians tenuous contract talks with their current shortstop, Francisco Lindor, it would seem the Cleveland’s middle infield is fully available to Freeman. The talent of Baseball America’s #69 overall prospect should be enough to increase card value but if a deal is not able to be reached to keep Lindor in Cleveland, that should help out too. Either way, I see Tyler Freeman’s first Bowman Chrome autograph card increasing well above the current $25 value eventually.
2016 Bowman Draft Kyle Lewis
The presumptive American League Rookie of the Year caught baseball fans everywhere by surprise. The 11th overall pick of the Mariners in 2016 was never even ranked as a top prospect by MLB, Baseball Prospectus, or Baseball America. After playing in 18 games and collecting 75 plate appearances in 2019, the Mercer product headed into the 2020 season with his first Bowman Chrome autograph cards sitting around $30. To say that the Mariners’ centerfielder had a good season would be an understatement. In a 60 game season, Lewis recorded at least one hit in 15 of the first 17 games of the year. After a brief slump, the 25 year old then went on another ten game hit streak. The baseball card market responded accordingly. The first Bowman Chrome autograph that was selling for an average of $31.06 in early June, has now averaged $169.90 across the five most recent sales. While it may seem prudent to hold onto such a young talent, Lewis already has the Rookie of the Year basically locked down and Seattle will be watching the playoffs from at home. There isn’t much opportunity for Lewis to add value at this point so I would be more than happy to sell at over five times the originally price.
1911 T205 John Evers
One of the biggest reasons I love collecting vintage cards is my passion for history. To able to hold an object that has a century old direct connection to the game is something I find exhilarating. When I first began collecting T205 cards it was this connection that drove me. As a tortured Cubs fan in 2012, I wanted to find something that would connect provide that connection to a time when the North Siders were one of the best teams in baseball. If I couldn’t see a World Series, then I might as well collect players that had. As a broke college student, my collection began slowly. A common here, maybe another a few months later. Collecting all 19 Chicago Cubs players in the T205 set seemed like a pip dream. As time went by though, the World Series roster began to take shape until before I knew it, I was only two cards away. The turn player of the Cubs famed double play combination was one of those two cards. It’s been over a year since I’ve added my last T205 to my collection. In that time, very few depictions of John Evers have come up for sale, especially in my price range. That is, until last week. As I was winding down for the night I pulled up Net54, my favorite board for vintage. Lo and behold, there he was. The Hall of Famer himself in all his gold bordered glory: John Joseph Evers. I could not scroll down to reply fast enough but as I did, I saw the followup post. “Evers sold” — 3 hrs ago. As soon as he had come, he was gone. I couldn’t believe it. Three hours that will now probably stretch into however many more months. To come so close you can see it, only to miss it by such a small margin reminded me of something as a Cubs fan: we’re used to waiting a long time for things.