One rookie to collect on each MLB team: NL East

Your favorite weekly series is back on the Loupe blog, as we continue to look at the best rookie/prospect cards to collect across baseball. This week we’re discussing the NL East — this division might be the toughest so far, but there’s still plenty of value and future stars, so let’s get into it!

Atlanta Braves: CF Christian Pache

The timing of this post going live kinda sucks since Pache was literally JUST placed on the injured list yesterday with a groin strain, but now may be as good a time as any to pick up his cards. After getting a taste of the MLB during the NLCS last year, Pache has been Atlanta’s everyday CF and that likely won’t change after his stint on the IL.

Pache used to be known solely for his Gold Glove-caliber defense in CF, but he’s shown flashes of having a plus bat as well. Despite the injury and his early struggles in 2021, Pache has superstar potential, and I believe stocking up on his rookie and prospect cards (including 2021 Series One!) will prove to be a great idea.

Miami Marlins: IF Jazz Chisholm

If somebody told you the newest young face of the league was a second baseman for the Miami Marlins, in almost any case that would sound ridiculous. When Jazz Chisholm won the job out of Spring Training, however, it became reality.

Chisholm has the look and personality of a superstar, but more than anything he has the talent to be one for a very long time. If the league hadn’t already taken notice that this guy can absolutely rake, they sure did after he took a 100 MPH fastball from Jacob deGrom to the upper deck at Citi Field. As for which cards to collect, Chisholm is yet to have a Topps base rookie, but his Bowman 1st came out back in 2017 and he has a 70 Years of Baseball auto in 2021 Topps Series One.

New York Mets: SS Ronny Mauricio

The Mets don’t really have a ton of rookies set to make a difference in 2021, so instead I’m writing about their prospect that I’m most excited about. Ronny Mauricio is an athletic, switch-hitting shortstop with a plus bat, similar to the Mets current shortstop Francisco Lindor. Lindor’s recent extension raised questions about Mauricio’s future: Will he shift over to 3B to play alongside Lindor for years to come, or stick at SS and get traded elsewhere?

Regardless which route Mauricio and the Mets organization go, this guy is sure to be a stud when he reaches the bigs. The consensus top prospect has a decent variety of cards out there to collect, especially considering his Bowman 1st was as recent as 2019.

Philadelphia Phillies: CF Mickey Moniak

I could write a long-winded blog post about why Mickey Moniak is bound to be a successful big leaguer, or you could just look at where he was drafted in 2016 (number 1 overall for the record), or you could just look at the picture above. This guy looks like a ballplayer, plain and simple.

You wouldn’t know it by his prospect ranking or current card prices on eBay, but after a recent promotion to the Phillies, Moniak is set to get the majority of starts in CF for a very solid Phillies team. If he plays well as a dominant half of a platoon and becomes the everyday CF, the sky’s the limit for the former top pick and his Bowman card prices.

Washington Nationals: IF Yasel Antuna

Similar to the Mets, the Nationals don’t have any notable rookies set to debut in 2021. The prospect I’m writing about instead has a limited variety of cards currently on the market, but the ones that are out there have #ToTheMoon potential when Yasel Antuna gets his shot.

Antuna is a switch-hitting shortstop with a plus hit tool from both sides of the plate. At only 21 years of age, he likely won’t see the big leagues until 2022, but his ability to play anywhere in the infield will get him plenty of playing time when he does. It’ll be very interesting to see where Antuna is at with Minor League Baseball returning this season, as he could easily reach top prospect status if his power has improved since we last saw him in A-ball.

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