Monday, May 8, 2017

When prospecting goes right

I am not a prospector in hopes of striking it rich when a guy makes it. I just enjoy picking up cards of Yankee prospects and watching them develop. I send TTM requests, and ultimately get a head start on a small player collection in the event they become a Major League regular with my team.

There are plenty of instances where it does not work out. I have a ton of cards of guys like Mason Williams and Eric Jagielo and Manny Banuelos. But when it does work out, it's pretty awesome to see. I felt that way all last summer with Gary Sanchez.

I had read somewhere that Aaron Judge Topps RCs from the 2017 flagship set were selling north of $5, so I got curious about the market value for some of my other Judge cards. I was floored when I did an eBay search for completed listings.
For example, his 2013 Bowman Chrome Refractor is selling for at least $50. This is the regular version, not autographed. I have at least two of them, as I won a 12-card Bowman lot of Judge for $2.99 in late 2013 that included a few Refractors, a few Chrome, and a few paper base. Even the Chrome are selling well, going in the $20 range.

And you bet I'm kicking myself for never picking up the Bowman auto, although I did use one of the cards in the lot above and got this:
In 2014, this Bowman Sterling auto was an eBay win for me at $2.25. The last three on eBay that I just view sold for $89.99, $107.50, and $111.50. Cripes.
The prices will come down as the season goes on, as this is a lightning-in-a-bottle type of moment. Still, I can certainly say I got in on the ground for, and in turn, am in possession of some extremely high demand cards right now.

Prospects will break your heart. But once in awhile, they'll also make you really glad you got in on the ground floor.


  1. The good thing is if you are always getting in cheap you have no risk. Prospects that spend a good bit of time in the system are always the best to collect. A lull will always occur in the development phase that allows for cheap pickups.

  2. I couldn't agree with you any more. I picked up a few Judge cards before the explosion that include those paper, chrome and refractor versions you talk about. I'm kicking myself that I didn't pick up a certified auto on the cheap. I did have him sign a copy of the refractor last season when I saw him play here in Durham. For me, that's almost better than a certified auto because I got to meet and chat with him for a few moments. He was a really nice kid and I'll always remember that whenever I look at that auto.

  3. Great post. We saw this with Sanchez last year too. The great thing about both is that they serious down years at one point or another in the minors, whoever bought low back then is laughing all the way to the bank now.

  4. I dove through my random hits box last weekend and found a National Treasures patch card of Judge. I thought I had an autograph too, but there's a chance I gave it away at some point. I've got a bunch of 2013 Bowman/Bowman Chrome. I'll need to dig through them to see if I have any of his draft cards.