Sports card collectors and investors are always trying to figure out who the next Mike Trout or Ronald Acuna Jr. is going to be. Obviously, there is no exact way to determine this. But what if there was a combination of stats and features that a player has that could determine a player’s cards worth? These stats/features can determine which players are going to be chased in the coming years or which player’s cards will be filling up the dollar bin. Well, I have come up with a formula that shows what makes a player’s cards more desirable than others.
Above is a graphic that was on Beckett.com after the 2015 season, in an article stating that Paul Goldschmidt cards were undervalued when compared to Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. This was before Mike Trout had won three MVP’s and is being considered as one of the great players of all time. So why were his cards so much more valuable when the stats displayed were so similar to Goldschmidt’s? I decided this would be a good place to test my formula. To see if it proved that Mike Trout’s cards should have been so much more desired in the baseball card world. To my delight it did just that with Trout scoring a 69, Harper scoring a 63, and Goldschmidt scoring a 51.
In today’s game the young fun players are getting the most attention from the media and likewise, in the baseball card world. For the clutch category for the scoring I used baseball reference’s clutch stat and whether the player was negative or positive.
Cocky – 2pts
Haves Fun While Playing – 2pts
Clutch – 2pts
Athletic Look – 2pts
Age of 1st Season
If a player is going to be considered one of the greatest of all time they need to play as many years in their prime as they can and one way to guarantee that is by coming up early. Also, speed and stolen bases decline with age so for a player to have the best shot at a 30/30 or 40/40 year they need to be young.
20 or younger – 10pts
21 – 9pts
22 – 8pts
23 – 7pts
24 – 6pts
25+ – 5pts
Players defense is often just seen as how many great plays they make, especially by someone who doesn’t do deep dives into their defensive statistics, and the positions that offer the most opportunity to make those plays are the outfield and shortstop.
OF – 10pts
SS – 9pts
2B/3B – 8pts
1B/C – 6pts
DH – 4pts
Home Runs (Per 162 games)
Home runs are more popular now than ever and are being hit more than ever so you have to hit home runs to be popular in the sports card market.
Stolen Base (Per 162 game)
Stolen bases show a player’s athleticism and bring the hype of a 40/40 season and are especially important for a young player.
Batting average is one of the most popular stats and is seen very often by fans with it showing up on TV every time a player comes up to bat.
Playing for the New York Yankees will get you much more publicity than playing for the Oakland Athletics and publicity affect card prices. I used a bleacher report ranking team markets to score this category.
NYY, BOS, PHI, NYM, LAA – 10pts
CHC, LAD, TEX, WAS, CHW – 9pts
ATL, DET, TOR, SF, HOU – 8pts
MIA, ARZ, MIN, STL, COL – 7pts
CLE, PIT, SEA, BAL, CIN – 6pts
SD, MIL, TB, OAK, KC – 5pts
Similar to playing for a good market team, playing for a winning team will get you lots of publicity and opportunities to shine on prime TV.
WS Champ 10pts
Playoffs or 95+ 9pts
To make sure that this formula didn’t just work for one situation I tested it again with the 3 most popular cards from the 2018 Topps Update set, Ronald Acuna Jr., Gleyber Torres, and Juan Soto. These players have all played two seasons and their card values have had enough time to find their value, so it is a good test subject.
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Raw – $40
PSA 10 – $200
Raw – $30
PSA 10- $130
Raw – $15
PSA 10 – $105
Once again, the formula proved itself based on the sold eBay prices for both raw and graded. Now let’s look at players who have just broken into the major leagues or are going to do so soon and whose card prices might not be at the point they will be one day. To make things fair I am going to compare players who played at the same level for the majority of last season. For example, Pete Alonso and Wander Franco will not be compared to each other. I also have not included any pitchers because in my opinion they are not good investments and it would be hard to compare them to hitters.
2019 MLB rookies (rookie cards in 2019 except for Alvarez)
Fernando Tatis Jr is easily the highest with Keaton Hiura and Eloy Jimenez following behind him. Vladimir Guerrero is the biggest guy who seems to be overrated from this group but it could be because of a big drop in his power numbers after being called up, and I can see him rebounding in his second year. The table seems to show that Keston Hiura and Eloy Jimenez may be underrated, with their card prices being lower than Alonso and Guerrero but their scores being higher. Ramon Laureano also falls even with Alonso and Alvarez but has much lower prices.
2019 AA/AAA (rookie cards in 2020 series 1 or 2)
note: no style category because of lack of knowledge for minor league players
Robert and Lux seem to be the two favorites for the class so far being well ahead of Bichette and Aquino but it is also good to keep in mind that these stats are based off of the players minor league stats and Bichette had much better numbers in his short time in the majors.
2019 A/AA top prospects
note: age is if they made debut in 2020
The two top players on this list both seem to be very undervalued when compared to the top prospect Wander Franco who is behind them. Dylan Carlson and Drew Water’s raw 1st Bowman chrome autos selling for $110 and $90 respectively and Franco’s is selling for $700. The player that I think this list shows may be overvalued is Julio Rodriguez whose 1st auto is going for $300 while his teammate Kelenic, who has better numbers than J Rod has, has been seeing sales around $150.
Although we can not predict what is going to happen in the future, we can look at trends from the pass and make smart guesses as to what will happen in the coming years. Hopefully this formula will prove itself to be successful in predicting card values with the three groups we have looked at so we can continue to use it. Although this formula has proved itself before it does not mean it will continue to do so and I am not recommending you spend thousands of dollars on these players but if you are looking to find a couple of guys to invest $50 or $100 in this list may