The MLB regular season is coming to a close, and the playoffs are on the horizon. We’ve had the opportunity to see some of the brightest stars on the diamond make a case for themselves and solidify their belonging in the Big Leagues. Therefore leading us as baseball card fans to speculate and predict which players will be the valuable cards of this rookie class.
In Loupe fashion, we’ve compiled a top 5 of the best baseball rookies that will not only be a hit on the baseball card market, but also belong in sports card collectors’ personal collections. As always, this is strictly opinionated, so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
5. Joe Ryan, RHP, Minnesota Twins
We start our list with the Minnesota Twins right-hander Joe Ryan. The Tampa Bay Rays drafted Ryan in the 7th round of the 2018 Major League Baseball draft. And after spending some time in the Minor League with a record of 15-8, 2.63 ERA, and a total of 330 strikeouts, it was only a matter of time before Joe got his chance to prove himself on the big stage.
But he sits at 5 on our list because of his historic start, which many believe is NOT a fluke. Finishing his first full season, he now is the record holder for most strikeouts for a rookie in Twins history. If he can come back next season and elevate his play, that Joe Ryan rookie card – whether it’s a base card or autograph card – will be worth a lot more than where it sits now.
Joe Ryan Rookie Card: Joe Ryan 2022 Topps Chrome Rookie Base Card
4. Brendan Donovan, OF/IF, St. Louis Cardinals
Next up on our list is the versatile Brendan Donovan. He was drafted out of high school in the 2018 MLB Draft and spent a few years in the minor league. Donovan has made an immediate impact on the St. Louis Cardinals, hitting .280/.394/.378 with 5 home runs and 44 RBIs in 124 games played. He also ranks in the top 10 in on base percentage in the entire league. The future looks bright for the young outfielder.
And with that bright future comes rookie cards that can potentially be gems on the baseball card market. Donovan’s rookie cards are expected to be highly sought after, and many sports card collectors see this as a potential investment.
Brendan Donovan Rookie Card: Brendan Donovan 2022 Bowman Paper Prospect Autograph
3. Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Kansas City Royals
As the number 2 overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Bobby Witt Jr. has the expectations of becoming a star in the Major Leagues being the number 1 rated prospect by MLB Pipeline and in his debut season, those expectations were warranted. Bobby Witt Jr has a batting average of .254 with 147 hits, 20 homers, 80 RBIs, and 81 runs in 147 games this season.
Baseball card collectors consider a Bobby Witt Jr rookie card a big hit because people see the writing on the wall that this guy is a future star for years to come. The price on his cards have gradually increased and if he’s able to follow up next season with another good to great year, his rookie cards could be considered a must-have for any serious collector.
Favorite Bobby Witt Jr. Rookie Card: 2020 Bowman Chrome Prospects Bobby Witt Jr.
2. SS Jeremy Peña, Houston Astros
Houston Astros Jeremy Peña is one of baseball’s most exciting young shortstops and a future star and already an impact player for the playoff bound Astros. In 135 games, Jeremy Peña has a .251 batting average with 130 hits, 21 home runs, 61 RBIs, and 71 runs scored.
Despite having somewhat of a down middle part of the year, Jeremy Peña’s rookie season was strong, and his rookie card will only go up and up in value. With his strong performance so far, we expect him to have a long career ahead of him. So if you’re looking to get your hands on a great piece of baseball memorabilia, look no further than the Jeremy Peña rookie card.
Favorite Jeremy Peña Rookie Card: Jeremy Pena 2020 Bowman Chrome Prospect Auto – Refractor
1. Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners
I believe everyone knew that this list would be incomplete if I left off Julio Rodriguez. In his Major League debut, in 129 games, Julio Rodriguez scored a batting average of .280 with 140 hits, 27 home runs, 73 RBIs, and 81 runs. With these numbers he’s sitting comfortably in the top 20 of all American League hitters in batting average and home runs.
While he is is heralded as one of the future faces of Major League Baseball, many believe is the front runner for rookie of the year. Julio Rodriguez’s explosion on the diamond has been and will continue to be met with an explosion in the baseball card market. His rookie card is already a hot commodity among collectors and could quickly become a valuable addition to any baseball card collector’s personal collection.
Favorite Julio Rodriguez Rookie Card: 2019 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs Julio Rodriguez
So there you have it! These are the best baseball rookie cards to collect in 2022. What do you think? Did we leave off anyone? Which ones should be higher on the list? Let us know in the comments below.
And don’t forget, if you’re looking for a space to chat and expand your collection, hop on the Loupe app today! Our trusted sellers will have baseball cards with superstars of today and even past and present superstars from the likes of Hall of Fame greats like Honus Wagner to potential Hall of Fame players like Mike Trout. Be sure to sign up too so you can get free Loupe credits to use on your first purchase!