Crisis Averted. All Systems GO!


A lot has happened since my last post.  Desmond Jennings has come up and played like a man on fire and the trade deadline has come and gone, drastically changing the landscapes of several organizations.

I offer my apologies for being away for the past week and a half.  For some reason, I was locked away from my site after posting a dead link to an eBay ad.   After much rigamarole, writhing, and cursing, I have been able to get back on and clicking on the keyboard.

I’ll be working on getting out as much trade deadline analysis as I can over the next 48 hours, so keep checking in with me and enjoy the content!


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Jason Kipnis Set to Debut Today


**See The Jason Kipnis Gold Refractor Auto Here**


We have another alumnist from the Coming Soon list.  2B Jason Kipnis is set to make his debut for the Cleveland Indians tonight against the Chicago White Sox.  The 23 year old infielder had been putting a fine season together at AAA Columbus, hitting .279 with 12 HR 55 RBI 12 SB and 64 runs scored despite being in the midst of a 3-31 post-All Star game slump.

Kipnis is set to fulfill a similar role that former Clipper teammate Cord Phelps did earlier in the year.  He’s set to split time with Orlando Cabrera at 2B, likely taking many of the AB’s against RHP’s.  Kipnis actually has better platoon splits against lefties (.313/.388.536) than he does against righties (.262/.348/.454).  Unlike Cord Phelps, I think Kipnis will have much more offensive success from the get go and should be able to hit well enough to stick with the Indians through the duration of this season.

Kipnis’ 2010 Bowman Chrome autos ($12-15 each) have increased about 50% in price since I last checked them at the beginning of June.  Similarly, his non-autographed chrome cards have also increased in value and have been sold in “Buy it Now” auctions for $1.00-1.50 each.  I think that there is more room for prices to rise, especially in the autos.  If Kipnis can get off to a hot start, these cards could double in price.  If he comes up and struggles, they could descend to their early-June levels or lower.

My gut tells me that there’s a better chance of an increase than decrease.  Kipnis is an exciting offensive player who is coming at a time where the contending Indians desperately need some impact from the left hand side.

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7/20 Rookie of the Day: Vance Worley

This article was actually set to publish last night, but somehow didn’t get posted after I hit “publish”.  Nevertheless, here it is now.

8 innings 4 hits 1 ER and 7 K's

The Phillies rookie right-hander Vance Worley has pitched well enough lately to earn this award every fifth day.  Over his last six starts (38.1 IP), Worley has gone 4-0 and has allowed just four earned runs and has a 16 BB/31 K ratio.   Tonight’s sterling outing improved the Long Beach State alum’s record to 6-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.02 for the season. 

The Phillies drafted Vance Worley in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft and have moved him quickly through their farm system.  Aside from a poor showing at AA in 2009 (7-12 5.34 ERA in 153 IP), he’s performed quite well at each stop.  At 6-2 230 lb., Worley is powerfully built and has demonstrated the ability to be a durable, high inning workhorse.  With a fastball that sits at 91-93 MPH, Vance is not overpowering, but he has shown the ability to command three other pitches that each profile to be at least MLB-average pitches.

The market for his cards has picked up significantly over the past couple of weeks.  Playing for the Philadelphia Phillies doesn’t hurt, especially when it’s been noted that he’s often outpitched the other four aces in the rotation.  The most popular cards on the market right now, in terms of volume, is the 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft cards.  These are flying off of eBay right now in bulk and single quantities for $1.50-2.50 each right now.  That’s about a 1000% increase over what they were going for about a month ago.  The autographed cards from 2008 have experienced less market helium but are still doing quite well.  His 2008 Donruss Elite (#/219) and Playoff Contenders autos are selling for $25-30 each.  The demand for his various 2008 Razor autos are all over the board as there is so many variations out there.  The Letterman autos can be had for $15-25 each and his metal autos command about the same return as the Letterman autos.

This is a classic seller’s market for Worley’s cards.   A closer look at his performance to date shows that, with the exception of a fine outing at home against Boston, he’s fattened up on weaker offenses (Seattle, Florida, NY Mets, Oakland).  His success has been due in large part to his ability to get hitters out when he needs to, but he hasn’t shown the same excellent command with the Phillies that he did in AAA.  Worley doesn’t have frontline pitcher stuff, and it seems to be just a matter of time before he gets touched up again like he did May 29th against the Mets (8 runs, 12 hits in 3 innings).  A couple of consecutive outings like that would spell the end of Vance Worley’s bull market run a la Zach Britton.

There’s also been some rumors that he could be a feature piece in a deadline deal, much like J.A. Happ was last year in the Roy Oswalt trade (how’s that working for you Houston?).  The Phillies have reputatively been searching for another top-tier outfielder and names like Hunter Pence and Carlos Beltran have been bandied about.  Any location that Worley goes to will diminish his market appeal simply because he’d be leaving a contender to go to a bad or mediocre team, but a move to the pitching friendly confines of Citi Field and playing in another big market city like New York wouldn’t be as bad as joining former his former Phillies teammate in Minute Maid Park.

Worley’s upside is as a #3 or 4 inning-eating starter much like his predecessor, Joe Blanton.  While any club would like to have that kind of guy in their rotation, the market isn’t as kind.  If you have Worley’s cards, especially his autos, sell now and smile later.

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7/17 Rookie of the Day: Alex Presley


Would you pay $225 for this card?

Something special is going on in Pittsburgh.

Last night’s 11th inning heroics by rookie LF Alex Presley lifted the Pirates to five games over .500 for the season and a half game back from the first place Milwaukee Brewers.  Presley collected three hits in the game and drove in three runs, including a go ahead run in the 11th inning that put the Bucs ahead of the Mets for good. 

Presley has filled in quite admirably for injured star Jose Tabata atop the Pirates’ lineup, hitting .343 and scoring 12 runs and collecting nine RBI in his 16 game stint.  Prior to his callup, Presley was enjoying a breakout season in his second go around at AAA Indianapolis, hitting ..336 with 8 HR 36 RBI 18 SB and 53 runs scored in 75 games.  At 5-9 190 lb., the 25 year old remind some people of Rays bottle rocket Sam Fuld.  At first glance, the comparisons would have some merit. Fuld and Presley, both left-handed, have top of the order speed, make big plays on defense, and both provided instant spark to their respective lineups in clutch situations.  However, Presley has much better XBH power and is four years younger than his A.L. counterpart.

Will that give him more staying power?  Jose Tabata is set to start his rehab assignment within the next couple of days, and his return could mean a drastic reduction in Presley’s playing time.  Another scenerio could find Presley becoming the part of a trade deadline package to bring in a more established veteran bat.  The Pirates have actively been pursuing Houston Astros all-star OF Hunter Pence and have also been linked in rumors involving Oakland A’s OF’s Josh Willingham and Conor Jackson.  Either way, Presley fits the classic profile of a fourth outfielder, and that never bodes well for market demand.

Alex Presley’s first year cards can be found in the 2006 Bowman Draft and Chrome set.  Aside from 2011′s Bowman Heritage cards, these are the only major market cards featuring the Pirates rookie to date.  Prior to the start of this season, the Chromes could be had for less than a quarter a piece.  These same cards have increased by five to ten fold now.  Refractors, once dollar bin items, now trade for $5-6 each.

This is the beauty of the prospecting hobby!  Who knows what the future holds for Alex Presley?  My guess is that his cards are at or near peak values right now.  If you have his cards, sell them now and pat yourself on the back for being patient and timing the market right.  If you’re planning to buy, get it cheap (less than 50 cents each) and flip it fast. 



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7/15 Rookie of the Day: Juan Nicasio

The Colorado Rockies seem to have cornered the market for high upside Latin American arms.  24 year old rookie Juan Nicasio tossed seven shutout innings, limiting the high octane Milwaukee Brewers offense to just four hits.  Nicasio struck out four and did not surrender a walk in the game, earning his fourth win in six decisions. 

Nicasio made the jump from AA Tulsa in late May after left-hander Jorge de la Rosa went down with a season ending shoulder injury.  In that time, the 6-3 200 lb. righty has had flashes of brilliance (8 scoreless innings against KC on July 1st), amidst poor outings (5 ER 7 hits 3 BB over 2.1 IP against ATL on July 7th). 

There is no question about Nicasio’s stuff.  His fastball generally sits in the mid-90′s but has been clocked as high as 100 MPH in Tulsa this season.  His secondary pitch is an above average slider, and he has a curveball and changeup that he will throw on occasion.  Nicasio’s command has been historically very good at each minor league stop he has made.  Last year in the California League, Nicasio had a 31 BB/171 K ratio in 177 innings of work, and this year at AA Tulsa, Nicasio walked just 10 in 56 innings while striking out 63. 

The main source of Juan Nicasio’s struggles, both current and historically, has been his splits against left-handed hitters.  Since being called up by the Rockies, Nicasio has allowed lefty hitters to bat .319 off of him with a 10 BB/19 K ratio, while righties are hitting and even .200 with a much more demure 3 BB/20 K’s.  Curiously, lefty hitters have a higher GO/FO ratio against Nicasio (1.95 vs. 1.37 for righties).  Perhaps this is due to the tendency to see more changeups from him. 

On to the cards.

Nicasio’s first year cards are in the 2011 Bowman set.  There are no autos of his yet, but I would imagine that they could be coming soon.   The demand for his Bowman Chrome cards is still very quiet, as Nicasio has yet to have a string of quality starts or dominant outings to make him stand out.  Also, the Colorado Rockies at 45-48 are rapidly slipping away from the Giants and Diamondbacks in the N.L. West pennant race.

Nicasio’s chrome cards can be had in the $.50-1.00 range, which are nice to grab in bulk.  The real gems, however, can be found in his serial numbered refractor cards.  I’ve seen some blue refractors (#/250) selling for under $5 recently and some refractors (#/999) have ended in the $2.50-3.00 range.

I like Nicasio’s outlook long term as a solid #3 or 4 starter who can repeatedly toss 200 innings per year. If he can sharpen up his changeup or curveball to the level of his excellent fastball and slider, he could very well even out his lefty/righty splits and become a dominant frontline pitcher in the mold of fellow teammate Jhoulys Chacin.  That being said, even a pitcher as good as Chacin doesn’t get near the amount of love he deserves in collecting circles.  It could well be that Nicasio, for all his potential, suffers the same fate.

If you plan on investing, do so in the short term with some bargain basement buys on his refractors and hope that he can put together a string of quality outings before Bowman, or some other Topps product comes out with his first autos.

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7/5 Rookie of the Day: Dustin Ackley

It’s good to be back with you!  I’ve been fully fledged in the moving process over the past week and have not had a stitch of time to spend online or even to recouperate from lugging boxes and furniture all over the house.  I’m far from done, and there is a “honey do” list longer than my leg that awaits my attention.  For now, let’s try to get back into the swing of things.

Dustin Ackley went 2-3 yesterday hitting his third major league HR off of All-Star Oakland A’s pitcher Trevor Cahill.  Ackley also singled and stole his second base, putting him in position to score the first run of the game for the Mariners as well.  Ackley’s contributions proved to be paramount as the rest of the lineup was unable to generate any offense off of Cahill.

Ackley is now hitting an even .300 with his 3 HR 8 RBI and 9 runs scored in his first 15 games.  The homerun that he hit last night was a bolt to dead center in the cavernous Oakland-Alameda Coliseum over the 400 ft. marker.  There has been much conjecture made about Ackley’s power, or lack thereof, but from what I’ve seen of him has me believing that he could hit 20-25 HR per season at the big league level, rather than the 12-15 that had originally been projected from him. 

The market for Dustin Ackley’s cards hasn’t changed much from last glance.  Autographs from the 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft set are ranging from $42-48 each  and his base chrome cards from that set, as well as his 2011 Bowman’s Best cards can be had in the $2-3 range. 

Ackley is barrelling up on just about everything that he swings at now and the M’s are just a couple of weeks away from an east coast swing through Toronto, Boston and New York (July 19-27) that will expose his considerable talent to a much larger media market.  An increase in national exposure as well as an opportunity to hit in their hitter-friendly venues could spark another jump in the already fervent demand for Ackley’s cards.  I think there’s more growth to be had and that the road trip will prove that.

We’ll find out in a few weeks.

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The Blog’s Still Here, but I’ve Been Moving!

Home sweet home

Life happens.
I’ve been moving over the past few days and have not had a chance (or the energy) to do any work on the blog, or even much online anything.  That will all change very soon and I will be back in the saddle again.  Thank you for your patience, enjoy a safe and fulfilling 4th of July holiday!
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Lonnie Chisenhall Gets the Call

Chalk another one up to the list of Coming Soon alums. 

Lonnie Chisenhall made his debut with the Cleveland Indians last night and did quite well for himself going 2-4 with an RBI.  Chisenhall’s call-up comes on the heels of a blistering return to the Columbus Clippers lineup (9-21 2 HR 14 RBI) after missing a week and a half with a concussion injury. 

Chisenhall is far from being a finished product and is significantly less polished than fellow farmhand Jason Kipnis.  However, the 6-1 205 lb. fills a need for offensive firepower that the Indians desperately need right now as they struggled to stay in contention in the American League Central. 

2008 Bowman Sterling and Bowman Chrome are the best autographed rookie cards for Chisenhall and last night’s fine debut did not go unnoticed by collectors.  Prices for his Sterling autos sat in the $10-12 range before last night’s contest and jumped to $17-20 by the end of the evening.  The Bowman Chrome autos experienced a similar jump in price, from $15-18 prior to the game, to $25-30 after.

I could see a short term boom for Chisenhall’s cards in the next week or so following his debut.  He has a knack for putting up numbers in bunches, but has also shown a proneness for dry spells at the plate as well.  My advice is to ride out the hot streak, sell if you have some of his autographed material, and then look for buying opportunities if, and when, his ’08 autos drop back down into the single digit range.

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6/28 Rookie of the Day: Freddie Freeman & Brandon Beachy


Recipe for a Rookie of the Day award:

  • Start by beating one slumping offense, whiffing them occasionally for added flavor
  • Add a spacious pitcher’s ballpark
  • Toss in two excellent off-speed pitches and a healthy dose of low-90′s heat
  • Top off the effort with a two run dinger and, voila,  Your masterpiece is complete!

That was pretty much the story last night as Brandon Beachy befuddled the Seattle Mariners in Safeco Field.  The 24 year old southpaw struck out nine over six quality innings, allowing just an Adam Kennedy homerun amongst the three hits and one walk.  Beachy lowered his ERA to 3.04 for the season and won his third game on the season.  As good as Beachy was, he was on the hook for a no-decision until 1B Freddie Freeman ended the 1-1 deadlock with a two-run blast into the right field seats.  The homerun for the 21 year old phenom was his ninth on the season and fourth in the month of June. 

Freeman’s been a much more aggressive hitter since his slow start in April, especially in June.  This month Freeman has managed to hit a respectible .278 with his four HR and 15 RBI, but his 4 BB/29 K rate is a departure from his more respectible April numbers (12 BB/17K).  I don’t anticipate this being a long term trend as Freeman has always demonstrated decent plate discipline through his fastracked minor league stops.

**Awesome Freddie Freeman 1st HR Commemorative Autographed Ball 1 of 5**

The market for Freeman’s cards has to be his 2009 Bowman Chrome autographs which are currently in high demand in the $47-55 range.  2010 Bowman Platinum came out with Freeman autos as well and are priced in the $25-30 range.   Deals still can be had in his first Bowman cards from the 2007 Bowman Draft and Chrome set.  The chrome cards were selling like hotcakes at $4-6 each in February and March as the talks of him winning the N.L. Rookie of the Year award were widespread.  After his slow April, these cards dipped down to $1.50-2.00 each and could once again be found in bulk quantities.  Despite last night’s heroics, the ’07 cards have not moved too much from these prices.  There is currently a 20 card lot of chromes on eBay right now that could be had at a nice price and would be an ideal item to put in an eBay store.

**See the 20 count lot of Freddie Freeman 2007 Bowman Chrome Draft here**

Nine homeruns and 32 RBI before the midpoint of the season puts Freddie Freeman smack dab in the middle of the Rookie of the Year chase.  I’d pay close attention to his BB/K numbers in respect to his power numbers.  If he can sharpen up the former without compromising the latter, Freeman could be headed for a huge rookie season with post season accolades, which will make the Feb/March prices of his rookie cards a baseline for better prices to come.

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