After signing a $340 million 14-year contract – the longest and third largest in MLB history – the 22-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr is set to become the San Diego Padres franchise’s face for years to come. The deal pays Tatis between $5-11 million over the first 3 years of the agreement and ramps up heavily afterward, earning the young slugger $22 million per year between 2025-2028 and $36 million per year from 2029 onward. But Tatis’ bank-account isn’t the only thing that’s booming, with his Topps Chrome rookie-card investors seeing gains of 158% over the past 3 months. However, with a PSA 10 population of more than 6,000 cards already in circulation, collectors who value scarcity may want to look at some alternate FTJ investments, three of which are outlined below.
Last selling at just $100 for a PSA 10, the Tatis Allen & Ginter rookie-card could make for an attractive option for collectors on a budget. Beyond the price, good “eye-appeal” and a population of just 545 cards make this an interesting play not only for Tatis fans but for investors and flippers as well. With that said, it’s important to note that the population of all modern cards is likely to increase over the coming months as PSA works through their backlog, which has been rumored to be in the range of ten million cards.
The Topps Heritage set is one that offers unparalleled nostalgia for old-school collectors. Released in 2001 in celebration of Topps 50th anniversary, Heritage was intended to offer modern players the cards’ style from decades ago. Last selling for $690 with a population of just 287
PSA 10s, Tatis Jr’s Heritage card has appreciated by 58% over the past 3 months, an incredible return by typical investment standards but one that still trails most other FTJ cards. Whether that’s due to a lack of interest or a slower growth curve is anybody’s guess, but it seems likely that it will play catch-up sooner or later should the Tatis market continue to grow.
One of the earliest Tatis cards in existence, this visually-pleasing autographed card has grown by 220% over the past 3 months, going from a sales price of $2500 to $8000 just 90 days later. And although the card shows Tatis in a White Sox uniform (potentially dissuading Padres fans from hopping on board), it seems clear that investors have taken a serious liking to it, driving its market-cap to half the size of the populous Topps Chrome with less than 3% of the population.
So regardless of which Fernando Tatis Jr rookie-card one chooses, with a stacked Padres roster now featuring two of the seven largest contracts in MLB history (the other being Machado’s $300 million deal signed in 2019), the expectation is that the team will be in contention for the foreseeable future, likely driving its stars’ rookie-card prices up in the process.