If you’ve been in the sports card collecting realm for awhile, you start to notice trends. One major trend is the increase in value cards get during the season compared to the offseason. With the lockout still looming, it’s as good a time as any to grab a few cards before they take off.
First things first, Wander Franco’s are a no go right now. His cards are at their peak currently and unless he comes out of the gate putting up Tatis, Acuña and Soto numbers, you’re going to be out a bunch of money sooner rather than later.
This also is geared towards more common cards. Anyone can tell you that buying a Ronald Acuna First Bowman Red Refractor Auto /5 is going to go up between now and the start of the season. Those cards are also worth a small fortune and only appeal to people with very large card budgets.
Let’s get into it.
1. 2018 Bowman Chrome Shane Bieber Auto
In season this becomes a $50-$60 card. Nothing that’s going to break the bank, but a card worth getting while the value is down. Two years removed from winning the pitching triple crown, albeit in a covid shortened season, Bieber is prepped for a huge season. Injuries derailed Bieber’s 2021 season but he still ended 7-4 with a 3.12 ERA and the second highest K/9 of his career (12.48). A healthy Bieber this season will flirt with 18-20 wins and 270 Ks which means at $30 he’s extremely undervalued.
2016 Bowman Inception Trea Turner Rookie Jersey Auto
From small market all-star to new starting SS of the Los Angeles Dodgers. While his cards did get a hype boost after being traded last season, as usual the hype has died down in the offseason but don’t let that fool you. He’ll be batting lead off for one of the greatest franchises in professional sports while also in a contract season. The numbers he will put up project around .300, 30 HR, 30 SB and should include a deep playoff run. Not only that, the jersey piece in this card is actually game used. Something that’s almost unheard of nowadays. This is an easy double on your investment if not more if you time it right.
2020 Topps Chrome Luis Robert Rookie PSA 10
The price drop on these since 2020 has been wild. There was a time initially when these were $60 raw. Now you can get the gem mint ones already graded for $42. This is due partly to Robert’s injuries and partly to an over saturated market when these initially dropped. With the demand dying down and Robert heading into a fully healthy season, expect these to shoot back up closer to the $100 range which would be a little more than double the current value. Through 124 career games Robert has excelled offensively batting .294 with 30 doubles, 24 HR, 74 RBI and 15 SB. Fully healthy and in that stacked lineup, Robert has 40/30 potential which puts him in Acuña & Tatis territory.
2014 Topps Update Jacob Degrom Rookie #US-57
Here’s a cheaper one, but it’s for good reason. Jacob Degrom is arguably the most dominant pitcher in all of baseball when healthy. His prices mid season tend to reflect that as well. While this card can currently be had for around $15, it was up to as high as $70 at one point last season. If you’re a collector, grab one now while you can and hold on to it. If you’re in the investing side, grab a couple and look at it as an easy money investment that wont hurt the wallet. While Degrom has only started 27 games over the last two seasons, those 27 starts have ended in an 11-4 record, 160 innings, 250 strikeouts and only 29 walks. That combined with the fact that his K/9 has risen every year for the last six years means a healthy Degrom becomes a Cy Young front runner the second the season starts. Invest confidently, this is one that’s guaranteed to go up in value.
2019 Bowman Chrome Julio Rodriguez First Bowman PSA 10
MLB.com currently has Rodriguez ranked as the #2 prospect in all of baseball. In a hobby where many unproven guys seem to have values that outperform established HOFers, seeing some of Rodriguez’s cards going for this cheap just screams “undervalued”. While he’s still only 21 years old, Rodriguez has already shown his bat is ELITE. Hitting .330 in 838 minor league ABs as well as .417 in the Olympics for the Dominican Republic. The Mariners seem poised to bring Rodriguez up this season which will only spike his value. What is now a $120 card will soon be a $200+ card the closer we get to his call up. This is an easy grab and stash away until he gets called up to the bigs.
I hope this was helpful. Maybe you see some cards you’d forgotten about, maybe you see some you have and the expected spike in value is exciting. Either way this lockout is due to end at some point which means its only a matter of time before baseball is back. Card collecting is the best hobby in the world, knowing a few discounted cards to add to your collection makes it even better.