One rookie to collect on each MLB team: AL East

It’s Thursday, and you know what that means! Another blog post about the best rookies in baseball to be collecting. The MLB season is underway, which makes my job a little bit easier since a couple of these guys have already seen some playing time this year (even if they’ve gone a combined 2-21 in the first week of the season). Let’s get into it.

Baltimore Orioles: C Adley Rutschman

Regardless of when he gets called up to the MLB this season, a consensus top 5 prospect in all of baseball for consecutive years is worth collecting no matter what. Ever since he was taken number 1 overall in the 2019 MLB Draft, there has been a tremendous amount of hype around Rutschman and he’s shown no signs of slowing down. Add in that he’s a switch hitter at a premium position and you want to stock up on Adley Rutschman cards.

The Orioles have said Rutschman likely won’t be called up until late in the season, but that makes the case to collect his cards now even stronger. As soon as Rutschman is on the big league roster you’d imagine he’ll be the starting catcher for years to come, so his value will take off that day and never look back.

Boston Red Sox: 1B Bobby Dalbec

Remember when I said the rookies in this blog post who have played this year have gone a combined 2-21? Well, you’re looking at the guy responsible for those two hits. Bobby Dalbec will likely get the majority of starts at 1B for Boston this year, and the 25-year-old former 4th round pick has the skill set to hold down that job for a while.

Dalbec played for about the last month of the 2020 season, and hit a ridiculous 8 home runs in just 23 games. For those of you who are curious, that pace spread across a 162 game season would result in 56 dingers. I’m not saying Dalbec will lead the MLB in home runs and run away with the Rookie of the Year award, but a power hitter on a team with as much fanfare as Boston has the potential to be an absolute star. Plus his official Topps rookie card came out in 2021 Series 1, which has been rare so far when compiling this list.

New York Yankees: RHP Deivi Garcia

You may recall me pointing out in one of my previous posts that I would mostly stick to position players in these blog posts, but the Yankees are an exception to that rule. Most of their rookies poised to break out in 2021 are pitchers, arguably the most dominant of which is Deivi Garcia.

A poor end to Spring Training cost Garcia a chance to begin the 2021 season in New York’s rotation, but there’s approximately a 0% chance that all 5 of their starters will remain healthy for the entire season. Despite only being 21, Garcia is the type of arm that could be the difference between an ALDS exit and a deep playoff run for the Yankees. We all know how hyped Yankees players are in general, so now may be the perfect time to grab Garcia’s 2019 Bowman and 2021 Topps cards.

Tampa Bay Rays: SS Wander Franco

The Rays pose one of the toughest dilemmas I’ll have to face doing these blog posts: Do I go with last year’s postseason hero and Rookie of the Year favorite Randy Arozarena, or the consensus number 1 prospect in all of baseball Wander Franco? If you clicked on this article you probably already noticed Franco is the featured image, so I think you already know which way I elected to go.

Arozarena is fantastic in his own right and may see his value rise again the way it did last October, but Franco is a different beast altogether. He’ll likely make his MLB debut some time this season, and when he does there’s no looking back. Prospects don’t always turn out as expected, but Franco has the tools to become one of the best players in the world. His cards may be on the pricier side now, but when he makes his debut expect those to skyrocket even more.

Toronto Blue Jays: C Alejandro Kirk

Alejandro Kirk is the other player in this week’s post who has played in the bigs in 2021, and if Bobby Dalbec is responsible for the two hits, that means Kirk is batting a solid .000 to start the season. But worry not! Kirk has been switching off every other game with Toronto’s other catcher Danny Jansen, so his sample size is only a whopping eight plate appearances. Kirk’s bat will heat up eventually, and when it does I expect it to earn him a majority of the starts behind the plate.

Toronto’s young core is full of players loved by sports card collectors, and adding a promising young catcher to the mix only adds to the appeal of Kirk. His Bowman 1st came out in 2019 so he doesn’t have too many cards out there yet, but load up on those before the rest of the league (and eBay snipers) take notice.

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