The end of the MLB season means the beginning of buying season in the baseball card hobby. Here’s what collectors need to know about the state of the market.
With the end of baseball season comes the beginning of buying season for MLB card collectors and investors.
Bryce Harper and Shohei Ohtani are your 2021 MVPs and the Atlanta Braves are your World Series Champs. With that settled, players league-wide are now immersed in a well-earned offseason. For baseball card enthusiasts, though, the buying season is on deck.
For collectors and investors alike, the best times to buy baseball cards are during the offseason and Spring Training. But which players will be good buys during this offseason and who can help you get prepared for the 2022 MLB season?
The 2021 MVPs
The Phillies outfielder just locked up his second NL MVP award and his career trajectory has him headed for the MLB Hall of Fame. His flagship rookie card is the 2012 Topps Base card. Last offseason, it dropped to a low of $60 for a PSA 10 grade. That same card sold for a high of $240 (growth of 400%) right around Opening Day and has stagnated to around $180. You can expect this card to drop around the same time in January, similar to last year.
A unanimous AL MVP this year, the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani wowed fans this season with a combination of stellar pitching and outlandish hitting that’s never been seen in baseball.
“Shotime” led the American League in triples while boasting a 3.18 ERA with a 9-2 pitching record. In January, Ohtani’s 2018 Bowman Chrome PSA 10 was going for around $45 and has rocketed up to a high of $2,225. Prices have dropped and continue to do so, even after his MVP award. That particular card is still a risky buy at $610, but the Angels are looking to make a run next season. They just signed Noah Syndergaard for added depth and a hopeful bounce-back after a couple of injury-plagued seasons.
A 2022 Angels run, along with Ohtani’s international appeal, could lead to an all-time high for this card.
Players to Bet on
Eloy Jimenez & Luis Robert
The Chicago White Sox are a terrifying team for anyone to face and that’s mainly because of the two-headed beast of Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert. The White Sox still made the playoffs despite both missing a lot of time during the season.
Jimenez’s 2019 Topps Chrome PSA 10 dropped to below $50 last offseason and got to a high of $82 when he returned from injury. Robert’s 2018 Bowman Chrome Prospects PSA 10 was at $160 last year and reached a high of $260 during the season. If they manage to stay healthy, the White Sox could be a dark horse to win the AL pennant next season. Currently you can get Jimenez for around $50, and Robert for $125.
It took a minute, but Olson finally made an All-Star appearance this season and is looking to be one of the premier rising stars in the bigs. Olson’s rookie is the 2017 Topps Chrome. Last offseason, an investor could have purchased this card in PSA 10 gem mint condition for $35; his 2021 in-season peak was $140. You can currently get this card for around $75 and it’ll certainly dip even more this offseason.
Olson boasts two Gold Gloves and there are rumors that the Oakland A’s could be moving toward a sell-off team once again. If Olson lands on a World Series contender and brings his stellar bat and fielding skills with him, expect his card market to respond accordingly
Fernando Tatis Jr.
Tatis has a swagger that can make him the face of baseball for the next decade. His 2019 Topps Chrome Rookie PSA 10 has a current value of $174 but has a high of $500. The low during last year’s offseason was around $160. It’s safe to say that this card is already at its floor for this offseason.
Even though the Padres didn’t make the 2021 Postseason, they recently signed former A’s skipper, Bob Melvin as their manager. Expect this team to compete not only for the Wild Card but for the NL West title., which could lead to huge gains for investors.
This kid is electric and is the No. 4 prospect in baseball coming into the 2022 MLB season. There’s a lot of hype around Torkelson, especially, after he hit 30 homers in the minors last season. His 2020 Bowman Draft Chrome PSA 10 is a bit on the high side at $235, but it saw a peak of $500 last season. This is another high-risk, high-reward play, but it could be worth it if he wins Rookie of the Year next season.
Bobby Witt Jr.
The No. 3 ranked MLB prospect is looking to make a splash for the Royals next season. During a minor league season in which he hit 33 home runs and stole 29 bases, Witt Jr’s 2020 Bowman Chrome Prospects PSA 10 skyrocketed to $375. During the offseason, it was under $100. Currently, you can pick this up for $140 and will probably go cheaper as hobby focus shifts more to NFL and NBA.
It’s hard not to be attracted to the in-season hype of the NFL and NBA, but if you’re looking to buy low on up-and-coming players or searching for potential ROI with established names, now is the time to buy MLB trading cards — Especially in the first season after the Fanatics announcement of taking over the MLB license from Topps.