Posted by: portersprospectreport | September 13, 2008

$100 Well Spent #4

As promised, this next $100 segment focuses on the N.L. teams that are in the playoff hunt as of September 12th.  One note, just hours after my post on the A.L. teams, Paul Konerko sprained his knee and Ervin Santana had one of his worst outings of his season.  So much for my Midas Touch.

I was parusing the box scores and standings in the N.L. and have come to the realization that this will be much more difficult than the A.L. post.  There are 8 teams (as opposed to 5 A.L. teams) with a realistic shot at the playoffs.  For the sake of convenience, I have omitted the Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals from the equation as they seem to be the most unlikely temas of the bunch to stay in the pennant race.  My apologies to those of you who disagree.  Now, I bring you my $100 well spent for N.L. playoff contenders.

New York Mets—82-63 1st Place N.L. East


2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Mike Pelfrey (x5)—$7.50

  • Pelfrey has been pitching like the frontline starter Mets GM Omar Minaya projected him to be when he selected him with the Mets’ 1st round selection in 2005.  Pelfrey has pitched at least 7 innings in 4 of his last 5 starts including back to back complete games.  With injuries to John Maine and the struggles of Pedro Martinez, Pelfrey has stepped up big time and may find himself as the number two option behind ace southpaw Johan Santana in the playoffs.  At $1.50 each, Pelfrey’s Bowman Chrome Draft cards are well under their $8.00 Beckett values and a great economical value buy right now. 


Carlos Beltran 1995 Topps Traded (x2)—$7.00

  • Remember when this card was selling in the $15-20 range?  Beltran is having another solid season in which he has collected 100 RBI and scored more than 100 runs in the middle of the Mets lineup.  He is getting hot at just the right time and is one of the catalysts in the Mets lineup.  Gotta think this card will get some more attention if the Mets can continue their run and fend off the Phillies.


Philadelphia Phillies—80-67 2nd Place NL East, 2nd Place WC


Jason Werth 1997 Bowman Chrome (x6)—$12.00

  • Werth is enjoying his best season as a pro with the Phillies hitting .276  with 22 HR 59 RBI and 17 SB in his first full season.  Werth has a powerful and athletic 6-5 225 lb. frame that, due to numerous injuries, has taken some time to blossom to its potential.  Werth can adeptly play any OF position and his #2 spot in the lineup between Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley leads to many scoring opportunities.  These cards are solid values at their prices for an underrated player in a lineup of superstars.

Brett Myers Topps Finest—$9.00

  • This card is a limited edition of Myers’ RC.  Brett Myers has been shuttled from rotation to pen to rotation again.  He has been villified by some and diefied by others.  He is a talented but caustic enigma who is currently at the apex of his game and carrying the Phillie’s rotation through September.  Myers has won 5 of his last 6 starts pitching at least 78 innings in each while allowing only 6 ER and striking out 49 in 46 innings.  Myers is a fiery competitor who will not back down from the challenge that the post season brings.  Hopefully, he will not melt down either.

Chicago Cubs—88-58 1st Place NL Central (Best Record in NL)



Rich Harden 2002 Topps (x3)—$7.50

  • Harden has rivaled C.C. Sabathia as the best mid-season acquisition this season.   Since his trade to the Cubbies, Harden has gone 5-1 with a 1. 65 ERA and has struck out 78 in just 60 innings and has held National League hitters to a stingy .169 BA.   Harden, with apologies to Carlos Zambrano, is the true ace of the Cubs and his continued dominance will be integral to the postseason success of the Cubs.  If the Cubs go to the World Series, which is very probable, Harden’s cards could enjoy the market bump that Josh Beckett enjoyed last year.


Aramis Ramirez 1997 Bowman Chrome—$6.00

  • What an underrated rookie card this is!  Ramirez season after season is the glue that holds the middle of the Cubs’ lineup together.  This season is no exception.  Ramirez is hitting .280 with 24 HR 103 RBI and 87 runs scored.  Additionally, Ramirez has walked a career high 69 times and has a career best .373 OBP.  Ramirez has always been an underrated hitter, but since August 1st, he is batting .300 with 6 HR and 30 RBI.  A sterling postseason campaign can make Ramirez’s ’97 Bowman Chrome card reach the plateaus of $15-20 that other former ’97 Bowman Chrome RC’s of Adrian Beltre, Lance Berkman, and Eric Chavez have at one time enjoyed.

Milwaukee Brewers—(83-64) 2nd Place NL Central, 1st Place NL WC


J.J. Hardy 2003 Topps Blue Chips Auto—$10.00

  • On a team glistening with young superstar hitters like Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Corey Hart, Hardy’s contributions often go somewhat overlooked.  However, his .283 BA with 24 HR and 70 RBI plus his solid play at SS has become a stalwhart fixture for an organization that has rapidly evolved into one of baseball’s best.  This is Hardy’s sole 1st year auto and it is certainly undervalued and, perhaps like Hardy himself, underappreciated.


C.C. Sabathia 1999 Topps Finest—$5.00

  • Sabathia has been nothing short of dominant since his move to the Brewers.  A perfect 9-0 record with a 1.59 ERA, Sabathia is the ace that the Brewers have been seeking over the last two years.  Sabathia has numerous 1999 RC’s, but the Finest is a high quality and visually appealing card that seems to be in shorter supply than the others.  The Brewers have a daunting task of fending off other hot teams like Houston and St. Louis for the Wild Card spot, but their potent lineup and big horse at the top of the rotation should provide them enough firepower to earn their first postseason berth in 26 years.


Houston Astros—80-67 3rd Place NL Central, 3rd Place WC

Hunter Pence 2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects (x2)—$7.00

  • We were all introduced to Pence last season when he and fellow NL Central phenom Ryan Braun took the collecting world by storm with their sterling debuts.  This season, the rage for Pence’s cards have cooled somewhat as he has had a decent but understated sophomore season hitting .273 with 22 HR and 75 RBI.  Pence is an integral part to the surging Astros’ lineup as fellow OF Carlos Lee is on the shelf through thre rest of the regular season with a fractured finger.  Pence has done his part in September hitting .390 with 2 HR 6 RBI and 5 doubles.  While his 2004 cards are all too expensive for this list, his ’06 Bowman Chrome Prospect cards could well be nice values if the Astros can continue their torrid pace and track down the Brewers.

Los Angeles Dodgers—75-71 1st Place NL West

Chad Billingsley 2003 Bowman Heritage Auto—$13.00

  • Billingsley has taken huge strides forward to become the ace that the Dodgers projected him to be when they selected him in the first round of  the ’03 draft.  Billingsley has won 6 of his last 7 decisions and has lowered his overall ERA to 3.02 after begining the season with an 0-4 record.  The playoffs are a time where the frontline players step forward and turn themselves into household names.  Surging since the Manny Ramirez trade, the Dodgers have several key youngsters that can make the transistion from sleepers to superstars.  Billingsley is at the top of that list.

Andre Ethier 2003 Prospect Premieres (x5)—$7.50

  • This guy has been sizzling in September, hitting a robust .595 with 2 HR 12 RBI and 14 runs scored.  Additionally, he has walked 9 times while only punching out 5 times.  Ethier is the perfect compliment to Man-Ram and he has been very comfortble hitting in the 2 spot ahead of him.  The Prospect Premieres card is an XRC set which also features an autograph from Ethier.  His ’03 and ’05 autos are sold in the $20-30 range, but his ’06 autos can be had for under $10.  As a first year card, the ’03 Prospect Premieres has solid value for its price and could be a hot commodity if Ethier can transform inoto a postseason superstar.

Matt Kemp 2005 Topps Chrome Update (x5)—$8.00

  • This guy is soooo close to being a big time superstar.  He has had a very nice 2008 campaign hitting .286 with 16 HR 71 RBI and 33 SB.  This is his first full season and not even the sky can limit his potential as an all-around mega talent.  He must learn to cut down his K’s and keep focused.  Kemp has many offereings in 2005 to choose from, including a Bowman Chrome auto that would also be a good investment (though too expensive for the $100 Well Spent article).  I chose his chromes as I felt $1.50 was a steal for a player of his talent.  The Dodgers have all the ingredients in place for a long and productive postseason run.

Phew!  There it is $100 worth of National League Playoff Contenders!  As always your thoughts and contributions are solicited and appreciated by me.  Hopefully, I won’t jinx this batch!  Stay tuned as I will be posting later about David Price’s promotion to the big club in Tampa Bay and we’ll also examine Razor’s newest signees. 

For now, though, it is time to go enjoy the sunshine!



  1. […] outing ironically comes on the heels of my last $100 Well Spent article in which I lauded Rich Harden as being the true ace of the Chicago Cubs.  While I […]

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