Fernando Tatis Jr. won’t return to the Padres until 2023, leaving trading card investors scrambling. Here’s where they should look next.
One of MLB’s brightest young stars, Fernando Tatis Jr., won’t take the field until well into next season after being handed an 80-game suspension for PEDs. The former All-Star had already missed all of 2022 so far, but was on the verge of returning before the suspension came down. That left investors of Tatis Jr. cards scrambling, as the cards’ already compromised values dropped even further.
How could this suspension affect other players and sports in the hobby? Boardroom takes a look.
The Youth Movement
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a two-time All-Star and has the Toronto Blue Jays in position for a postseason appearance after missing the playoffs four out of the last five years. Guerrero Jr., like Tatis Jr., saw his card values increase due to the pandemic boom. With the recent market correction, Guerrero Jr. cards are back to being affordable for the average hobbyist and could see a playoff boost depending on how well the Blue Jays end the season.
The Mets called up Brett Baty, who hit a home run in his first at-bat. The Amazin’s are first in their division and expect to make a deep playoff run. Baty’s Bowman Draft Chrome refractor already jumped $40 after his first MLB appearance. Baty is only 22 and if he becomes a major contributor to the Mets’ championship hopes, we could see his values continue to climb.
Finally, there’s Juan Soto. We’ve talked about his trade to San Diego and its effect on the hobby. Since the trade, Soto has hit .302 over 15 games and didn’t lose a step in moving to the West Coast. All of this was done without Tatis Jr. in the lineup. If he continues this play without Tatis Jr. and the Padres make a playoff run, we could see Soto’s value go to the moon.
Vets to Watch
A host of veteran players have their teams primed for the playoff push as well. One of those is Aaron Judge. The 30-year-old is having the best season of his career and is a huge reason why the Yankees are at the top of the toughest division in baseball, despite their recent swoon. Judge’s 2017 Topps Chrome Base PSA 10 was as low as $40 in April, and is now selling for $200+. The refractor version of the same card has had a similar trajectory, going for as low as $117 in April but now selling for north of $500.
One guy that isn’t talked about enough is Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals. Goldschmidt is having an MVP-caliber season and has the Cardinals at the top of the NL Central. Goldschmidt may be 34, but this could be a low-risk play for the seven-time All-Star. Back in May, Goldschmidt’s 2011 Topps Update PSA 10 sold for $95 and is now selling for $180. If the Cardinals win the World Series, we could see a similar boom to his value like we did with Freddie Freeman last season.
A lot hobbyists were excited to see Tatis Jr. come back, but they also collect cards across baseball, basketball, and football. With the NFL preseason already kicking off, fantasy drafts happening, and the regular season starting in a few weeks, a lot of attention has already turned to the NFL 2022 season.
Even though MLB is America’s pastime, the NFL has won the popularity contest time and again. Tatis Jr. brought a lot of swagger to the game, which has lost interest due to its unwritten rules, length of games, and so forth. Tatis Jr. brought a lot of excitement back to the game and made the Padres and MLB must-see TV.