Posted by: portersprospectreport | July 3, 2008

2004 Bowman Chrome Draft—A Closer Look

As promised, I bring you a closer look at the prospects within the 2004 Bowman Draft and Chrome set.  As I alluded to in my earlier post, 2004’s set is a victim of circumstance.  With a lackluster prospect list and autographs of almost every decent prospect available in other sets (Elite Extra, Fleer Hot Prospects, SP Prospects), the cards within this set are overshadowed.

But, as economists say, there is always money to be made in a down market and the ’04 Chrome Draft set is no exception.  Here are 8 base cards and 1 auto, in no particular order, from the set that are worth a further look.

1.) Angel Salome-Milwaukee Brewers (C)  B/T: R/R  H/W: 5-7 195lb DOB: 6/8/86

2008 Stats: (AA Huntsville)  .336   7 HR   54 RBI   .507 SLG

  • Salome began the season ranked as the Brewers’ 8th ranked prospect by Baseball America.  Last season, Salome was suspended 50 games for using PED’s and missed time early in the season while recovering from ankle surgery.  The Brewers promoted him to AA and he has improved his numbers across the board.  Salome is a little raw defensively but he is athletic and has a very strong arm which leaves me optimistic about his ability to stay behind the plate at the major league level.  Salome is probably a year away from making his debut and a trip to the Arizona Fall League could accelerate his journey.  The best part about Salome’s cards is that his only 1st year cards are in the draft set.  Currently, they sell for $1.50-2.00 each which is a solid buy right now.


2.) Brandon Allen-Chicago White Sox (OF)  B/T: L/R  H/W:  6-2  235lb.  DOB: 2/12/86

2008 Stats:  (High-A Winston-Salem)  .273    13 HR    40 RBI    12 SB    .522 SLG.

  • I gave the following scouting report on Allen in my June 18th entry…“Brandon Allen is a prospect that I was very excited about when he came out in the 2004 Bowman Draft and Chrome set.  With a 6-2 235lb. frame and linebacker-like speed, Allen seemed to be a masher in the making.  Subsequently, he struggled mightily over his first 3 seasons with terrible plate discipline and so-so power numbers.  Last season at Kannapolis, he seemed to begin to turn things around, hitting .283 with 18 HR and 93 RBI.  This season, at High A Winston-Salem, Allen has improved his numbers across the board hitting .289 12 HR 37 RBI and 9 SB.  He still strikes out quite a bit (60K/65 games), but the walks are also increasing (36 at the midway point, compared to 39 all of last year).  That being said, Allen, despite his athleticism, is not a good fielder and will likely be relagated to 1B or DH in the major leagues.  Allen has first year autographed cards in the 2004 SP Prospects, and regular cards in the Bowman Chrome and Draft sets.  His autos are numbered to 500 and can be had for around $10 each.  His chrome cards are not sold in bulk very often, but can be had for 50 cents each.  I like the fact that Allen has improved steadily.  He is still a long way from Chicago, but I think he will make it.  Expect 25-30 HR from him this year, which should open the eyes of many collectors.”   I think that next year at AA will be largely indicative of what kind of player Allen will be at the major league level.  Regardless, his cards at 50-75 cents are solid buys.


3.) Joe Koshansky-Colorado Rockies (1B)  H/W: 6-2  225  B/T: L/L  DOB: 5/26/82

2008 Stats: (AAA Colorado Springs)  .284   18 HR   78 RBI   36BB/107K   .936 OPS

  • Koshansky is another player that I profiled in one of my other blog entries.  The biggest impediment to the promotion of Koshansky to the Rockies is the mega contract of Todd Helton.  Helton is signed through 2012 for an ungodly sum of money ($23 million per in 2012).  With this lead laiden contract, it is well apparent that the best chance Koshansky has at a major league career is with another organization where he can play 1st or DH on a regular basis.  Koshansky is an insanely productive power hitter who is aging at AAA where he has nothing left to prove.  His chromes sell for .75-$1 which are considerably less than the $6 Beckett price he is listed at now.  Given an opportunity with another organization, or the Rockies pulling off a miracle in trading Helton to a team with deep pockets and unintelligent leadership (my beloved Mariners?), Koshansky will be productive and worth the investment.


4.) Seth Smith-Colorado Rockies (OF)   H/W: 6-3  215lb.  B/T: L/L  DOB: 9/30/82

2008 Stats: (AAA Colorado Springs) .328   10 HR   53 RBI   11 SB   .967 OPS 

  • Smith, a 2004 2nd round pick out of Mississippi, has hit very well at every stop during his minor league career.  Last season Smith made his major league debut with the Rockies and went 5-8 with a triple and 4 runs.  This season Smith got a little longer look, popping his first major league HR in a 42 AB stint.  Smith is a solid athlete and polished hitter who can play all 3 outfield spots, though he profiles as a corner outfielder.  However, much like Koshansky, he is blocked positionally by the likes of Matt Holliday and Brad Hawpe and he continues to be stuck in AAA.  Holliday is a free agent after this season and he has drawn serious attention as a valued trading chip by the struggling Rockies.  If Holliday gets dealt, it seems that Smith will be first in line to inherit the left field position.  Currently, his chromes sell for about 50-75 cents online right now.  The July 31st trade deadline and/or the offseason will tell us more about the short-term future of Smith.

5.) Jake McGee-Tampa Bay Rays (LHP)   H/W: 6-3 190lb.  B/T: L/L  DOB: 8/6/86

2008 Stats: (AA Montgomery)   6-4   3.79 ERA   65K/78IP   .230 BAA

  • McGee entered this season as one of baseball’s best young left-handed pitching prospects.  Davis has had a solid season at AA, but it is not garnering the same attention that his spectacular two-level ,175 K performance from last year did.  That fact coupled with the meteoric ascent of David Price has left McGee to be one of the more overlooked elite prospects.  Currently, his chromes sell for $1.50-2.00 each which is less than half of their Beckett value.  One thing I find curious is how McGee will fit into the Rays’ grand plan.  Their rotation with fellow southpaws Scott Kazmir and David Price virtual rotation locks for next season, and the Rays’ newfound position of being buyers at the trade deadline, McGee could be issued as a high value trading chip for the likes of a C.C. Sabathia or Erik Bedard.  A change in location would certainly quicken McGee’s ascent to a major league roster.


6.) Matt Tuiasosopo-Seattle Mariners (3B)   H/W: 6-2  225  B/T: R/R  DOB: 5/10/86

2008 Season: (AAA Tacoma)  .254   5 HR   37 RBI   25BB/54K   .799 OPS

  • Tuiasosopo entered the baseball card scene in 2004 with much fanfare and excitement amongst collectors.  With strong blood lines (His father Manu was an NFL linebacker, and his brother Marques is a QB with the Oakland Raiders) and a power hitter’s body, Matt seemed destined for hobby superstardom.  However, his road has been bumpy and Matt’s raw skills have been exploited at every level that he has played.  Regardless, youth, athleticism, and a tireless work ethic are on Tui’s side, and I believe that he can still be a viable major league 3rd baseman.  The presence of Adrian Beltre at Seattle’s hot corner has afforded the M’s to be patient with Tuiasosopo’s development (though they have still rushed him to AAA).  Currently, Matt’s Bowman Chrome Draft cards can be purchased for 50 cents to $1.00 each.   I would like to see Tui have one more season at AAA to figure out how to channel his immense body strength into a compact power-hitting swing.  If this is done, Tui may just be a breakout candidate in 2009. 

7.)  Collin Balester-Washington Nationals (RHP) H/W:6-5 195 B/T:R/R DOB: 6/6/86

2008 Stats: (AAA Columbus)  9-3   4.00 ERA   64K/79 IP   .263 BAA

  • Balester made a sterling MLB debut hurling 5 one-hit innings allowing 1 ER while walking 3 and striking out 3.  Balester is one of the brightest young prospects in the Nationals’ improving farm system.  He features a 93-95 MPH fastball with a plus curve, his strikeout pitch, and an improving changeup.  One criticism of Balester is that he pitches too much to contact and does not fully utilize his ability to put away hitters.   With a refinement in this approach, Balester could become a high strikeout pitcher who is a #2 guy in a rotation.  Balester’s chromes have gotten a little recent attention due to his fine debut ($2-3 each) so if you have any, sell them and wait for him to struggle and possibly get sent back down.  Then buy a batch of them for a buck or less and wait for next season.


9.) Greg Golson-Philidelphia Phillies (OF)   H/W: 6-0 190lb.  B/T: R/R  DOB: 9/17/85

2008 Stats: (AA Reading)   .299   7 HR   36 RBI   17 SB   14BB/77K   .785 OPS

  • Golson is a super athlete who was ranked by Baseball America as the 7th best prospect in the Philidelphia Phillies system.  He is a Gold Glove calibur defender in CF and has plus raw power.  The knock on Golson is his proneness to strike out at an alarming clip.  Last season, Golson punched out 173 times in 136 games and this season he is on pace to do close to do the same (77 K’s in 62 games).  Golson’s Bowman Chrome Draft card is an autographed version that sells for about $6-8 on Ebay right now.  Even more alluring is the $12-15 price for refractors #’ed to 500 and the $20-25 price for X-Fractors numbered to 250.  Golson is a 5-tool talent in the making who will put up huge numbers in Philidelphia once he is able to supplant the Jayson Werth/Shane Victorino combo.


There’s my list, it’s not sexy by any means, but there is some value that can be found in it nonetheless.  Let me know what you think, and as always, feel free to contribute guys from your list.




  1. […] 2004 Bowman Chrome Draft—A Closer Look Angel Salome-Milwaukee Brewers (C) B/T: R/R H/W: 5-7 195lb DOB: 6/8/86. 2008 Stats: (AA Huntsville) .336 7 HR 54 RBI .507 SLG. Salome began the season ranked as the Brewers’ 8th ranked prospect by Baseball America. … […]

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