Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have no doubt heard about Wander Franco. The Rays stud shortstop was called up recently to make his major league debut. He went 2-4, with 1 HR, a double, and 3 RBI. What’s really interesting about Wander is how his cards have moved leading up to his call-up. Wander has long been the top-ranked prospect across the league and it really was a matter of when, not if, he was called up. Even though he is viewed as a can’t-miss prospect, his Bowman Chrome 1st PSA 10 still saw a 50 percent increase from $200 to around $300 when he got promoted to the big leagues.
Let’s take a look at a few players that could be on their way to cracking the MLB squad soon, and the prices of their Bowman Chrome 1st PSA 10.
Adley Rutschman — C, Baltimore Orioles
The first overall pick in the 2019 draft has a crazy amount of hype around him. Adley Rutschman can mash the ball and is phenomenal behind the plate. Rutschman’s Bowman Chrome 1st PSA 10 is currently selling between $80-$100. It actually saw a spike when Wander was called up, so the market may be attempting to get ahead of the curve with the Orioles’ top prospect.
Baseball is different than most sports in that teams have financial incentive not to promote players too early because it gives them greater control over the player’s future contracts. Regardless, there will be a lot of hype around his call-up, whether it’s in late 2021 or early 2022. We should see a spike in his prices when the Orioles decide he’s ready.
CJ Abrams — SS, San Diego Padres
The six pick in the 2019 draft, CJ Abrams has been killing it in the minors this year. Abrams’ Bowman Chrome 1st PSA 10 is currently selling in the $90-$120 range. His card has a lot of upside as the Padres are one of the best teams in the league and have World Series hopes. The problem is the Padres currently have a guy named Fernando Tatis, Jr. (ever heard of him?) playing shortstop right now.
That means Abrams would have to move to the other middle infield spot to make the Padres’ squad. However, their second baseman, Jake Cronenworth, is in the middle of a very solid campaign. Cronenworth is hitting third in a stacked Padres lineup, and he’s third in WAR among everyday second basemen. There’s a logjam ahead of Abrams, but his card could definitely move if injuries lead to him contributing to a deep San Diego postseason run.
Jarred Kelenic — OF, Seattle Mariners; Jo Adell — OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Let’s group these two together because they’ve had nearly identical trajectories thus far. Both had a ton of hype around them, and both had brief stints in the majors that went horribly. Kelenic’s Bowman Chrome 1st PSA 10 was regularly going for $200-$300 for most of this year, and then it spiked when he was called up. His first extended stay in the big leagues resulted in a .096 batting average after going 8 for 83 at the plate. That card is now available for $100-$120. This seems like an overcorrection.
Jo Adell’s card had similar declines after a poor showing the majors. In 38 games last year, Adell never got a good feel for in the batter’s box. He hit .161 in 124 at-bats, and only managed to drive in 7 runs. MLB clubs definitely need more production out of their highly-touted outfielders.
The good news is that these guys are back to mashing the ball in AAA. Their long-term outlook is bright, and they were both kind of thrown into the fire while only 21-years-old (which is very young for a baseball player). It’d be a savvy play to take advantage of the market dipping on these two.
A trio of big names
Bobby Witt Jr., Spencer Torkelson, Jasson Dominguez. Any prospect article isn’t complete without a mention of these three guys. The hype around them is similar to Wander Franco, but we likely won’t see any of these players in the majors until 2022 at the earliest. You might be able to get them a bit cheaper if you buy their cards during the offseason before next year.