The Book Value of Birth Date: Max Kepler’s 2010 Bowman Chrome Error
When it comes to Bowman Chrome Prospect Cards and Autographs, the age of a prospect is a big deal. After recently ripping a box of 2010 Bowman Chrome, I pulled a refractor auto featuring Twins Outfield prospect Max Kepler. As a prospect junky, I like to read the back of every Bowman Chrome Prospect card I pull. This process led me to the discovery that Kepler's listed age is off by a full decade.
Several years back, the Twins made a concerted effort to scout European baseball prospects in hopes of finding a hidden gem. This led the Twins to the doorstep of Maximilian Kepler-Rozycki, a 16-year old German outfielder with a world of potential. The Twins ended up giving Kepler an $800,000 signing bonus, which stands as the largest ever given to a European prospect. Suffice it to say, many scouts around the league believe that the Twins may have found a diamond in the rough in the 5-tooler from Stuttgart, Germany.
When sifting through Bowman Chrome, it's common place for collectors to use birth date as a means of determining the potential value of a prospect's cards. In 2010 Bowman Chrome, Max Kepler's birth date is listed as 2/10/83 rather than his actual birth date of 2/10/93.
A 27-year old prospect with 140 career minor league at-bats in the Gulf Coast League would make for one of the worst autographs in 2010 Bowman Chrome. On the other hand a 17-year old prospect with 140 career minor league at-bats with an intriguing back story and 5-tool skill set makes for an infinitely more intriguing and valuable card.
Although annoying, the error could lead to some great eBay deals on Kepler cards, collectors unfamiliar with the Twins' 5-tool European import are likely to dump his cards believing he is a 27-year old prospect who is at least 3-5 years away the majors.