Posted by: portersprospectreport | July 16, 2008

$100 Well Spent—One Month Check Up

As some of my more seasoned readers may recall, I wrote a post one month ago from today that showed how I would be spending a $100 bill on prospects if given to me.  Well, it’s time to hold my feet to the fire and see how it paid off.

Before we begin, I must admit that I did not, in fact, purchase any of these cards since posting this article.  For your convenience, I will re-create the purchase list below (Prices were determined from the final value plus shipping costs of auctions ending within two days of 6/15) My comments are in italics:



2005 Bowman Chrome Draft John Mayberry Jr. Auto     


Was:    $20.00

Now:   $17.00

Net: -$3.00

  • Uh oh, not a good start for the self-proclaimed “prospecting expert”.  However, I will still buy Mayberry’s stuff knowing that he will get a look in September.  I don’t think he is quite ready for the show, but I do think that he will earn a trip to the Arizona Fall League to prepare for Spring Training ’09 and, perhaps, a roster spot with the vastly improved Rangers.


2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Chris Davis (X5)        


Was:           $20.00

Now:          $27.50

Net Gain: $7.50

  • This gain would have been doubled a couple of weeks ago when Davis was bashing HR’s right after his debut.  Cards were then selling in the $7-8 range for about 4-5 days.  With this being Davis’ only true 1st year card, I am kind of tempted to hold out for it to reach the $10-12 range.  The risk being, of course, that he has a propensity to strike out often which affects his batting average.  If his prices dip down to the $4 range, I would buy a batch again.

2005 Topps Traded Craig Italiano Refractor Auto  

Was:    $13.00

Now:   $12.00 (and dropping)

Net: -$1.00

  • If there was ever someone who fell flat on their face after a promotion it’s Italiano.  After dominating at Low A Kane County, he went to Stockton and has pitched increasingly worse in each of his outings.  The utter lack of control is cause for me to sell and run away screaming from his cards.  The A’s have too much other pitching depth within their organization to feel compelled to pin all of their hopes on Italiano.  Though he has electrifying stuff, I see Italiano’s future to be in the bullpen rather than every 5th day. Yes, I know I have changed my tune….sorry.


2008 Bowman Signs of the Future Chris Tillman Auto     


Was: $12.00  

Now: $9.00

Net: -$3.00

  • This is one of the more headscratching losses to me.  Perhaps it is because he has lost 3 of his last 4 decisions, or perhaps the speculation that he may have a chrome autograph in the Upcoming Bowman Chrome set (he doesn’t) has devalued his only non-minor league autographed card in circulation.  Regardless, I will buy more and more of these as Tillman is one of the best young arms in baseball and this is his only non-XRC…and it’s autographed!  Bowman Signs of the Future has never been a major hit with prospectors as chrome autos reign supreme, but this card will be a nice long term hold for the top pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles’ vastly improved farm system.  I am acutally happy about this price drop.


2003 Team USA Jeff Clement Blue Jersey Auto (#/150)     


Was:    $15.50    

Now:   $9.00

Net: -$6.50

  • Are we noticing a trend here with my picks?  In my defense, there was not sufficient market data to ascertain an accurate value for these cards, and in future similar posts, I think I will stick to cards that have more market exposure.  That being said, it is easy to see why Clement’s cards are decreasing in value as he is, again, failing to consistently hit MLB pitching.  Am I concerned?  Mildly.  However, I have a great deal of faith in his ability to power his way out of this slump.  In waching Clement’s AB’s on a regular basis, it is glaringly apparent that he is trying to pull everything that he swings at.  His HR the other night was on the outside corner of the plate but still found its way into the seats in right field.  He needs to start driving the ball to left and, when he does, watch out!  The USA autos of his are cool, but I think that I will be scouring the net for good deals on his ’05 cards.

2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects Max Ramirez ( X8 )     


Was:    $20.00

Now:   $12.00

Net: -$8.00

  • Ramirez was jettisoned directly from AA Frisco to Texas when Gerald Laird went onto the DL.  Ramirez expectedly struggled early but really began to hit well when Jarrod Saltalamacchia missed a few games with a groin injury.  This guy is all hitter and his brief audition has showed to me that it is, in fact, Salty who is the likely trading chip for the Rangers.  In need of pitching, I would not be shocked to see Texas package Saltalamacchia in a deal to gather a solid arm for their rotation either at the deadline or in the offseason.  I may have overspent early on Ramirez’s cards, but I think I will come out ahead by holding these and gathering more at their current $1.50-1.75 rates.


Tale of the Ticker Tape:

$100 spent amounts to be worth $85.50 after one month.  Subtracting EBay fees, Paypal deductions, and shipping costs and the results are….well…OUCH!  That’s alright, the business of prospecting is a fluctuation-filled process that finds its most successful denizens to be the ones who can regularly determine the best time to buy, sell, and hold.  The pursuit of proficiency in this arena, makes baseball card prospecting the frustratingly exhilerating hobby that it is!

P.S. Upon further review, I noticed that my list had a heavy AL West bias to it.  I assure you it was merely coincidence and not evidence of a subconcious affinity for West Coast prospects.  I will be much more conscientious next time to spread the love to the rest of MLB 🙂

Use the comment thread to share what cards you would purchase with the $100.




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