One rookie to collect on each MLB team: NL West

It’s officially the end of an era. Over the past six weeks, I’ve discussed each and every MLB team with the readers on the Loupe blog, telling you one rookie on each team you should be collecting. This week marks the end of that journey (and the beginning of me needing to come up with new ideas for blogs every week). Without any further ado, let’s wrap this up with a bang and dive into the NL West.

Arizona Diamondbacks: OF/1B Pavin Smith

Somebody please tell me how this makes sense: Smith is a former top 10 pick who just turned 25, is in line for a bunch of playing time due to injuries in Arizona’s outfield, and he has autos selling for less than $10 on eBay!? I know the Diamondbacks are hardly the Yankees when it comes to player popularity, but Smith’s potential is significantly higher than the value of his cards suggest.

Arizona clearly sees something in Smith, as they’ve been batting him leadoff and giving him playing time in center field. Realistically, the converted 1B is more likely to stick in a corner outfield spot, but the reps in CF show that the team has confidence in the young lefty slugger. Is it possible Smith stumbles out of the gate and doesn’t get as much playing time as it appears he might? Sure, but how much lower can the value of his cards go?

Colorado Rockies: C Dom Nunez

Apparently the NL West is just loaded with value, because Dom Nunez is another guy whose ceiling seems like it should translate to a higher card price. A power-hitting starting catcher who plays at Coors Field should not have autographs going for under $5!

Nunez took over the full time catcher job early this season and hasn’t looked back since. While the batting average and strikeout numbers don’t look great, the .846 OPS and 4 home runs in 16 games are much better. As the division continues improving as a whole, now is the time to load up on this promising young catcher.

Los Angeles Dodgers: UTIL Zach McKinstry

Hey look — it’s our weekly player who just got added to the IL before publishing! I’m still collecting McKinstry just as much as before, however, because this guy is electric.

You could argue that McKnistry’s value is too high for a glorified utility player, which very well may be true. But when I see a late round pick earning playing time and putting up numbers in LA, I take notice. If he continues producing the way he did to start the season, his stint on the IL could be the lowest those card prices get.

San Diego Padres: LHP Ryan Weathers

His value is a bit more than I like to pay for pitchers, but Ryan Weathers is legit. The 21-year-old former 1st round pick has been LIGHTS OUT to open the season, and if his performance keeps up the Padres will have no choice but to keep him in the rotation.

Shutting down the Dodgers last week put Weathers on the map around the baseball world, but Padres fans know his upside goes well beyond that. The only concern right now was that he left his last start with arm soreness, but hopefully that was a precautionary move and he doesn’t miss significant time.

San Francisco Giants: OF Heliot Ramos

I can picture it now: The Giants keep up their fast start into the summer, are in a heated Wild Card chase, and call up this TANK late in the season to put them over the top. You have to be great to make headlines from your team’s alternate facility, but that’s exactly what Heliot Ramos has been doing.

Ramos has been a consensus top prospect in baseball for years, and it’s only a matter of time before he’s wreaking havoc on the NL West for years to come. Once he gets called up his card prices will likely never be as low as they are now, so grab them while they’re hot!

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