2009 Opening Day Baseball Cards to Watch
The long awaited start to the regular season has come and gone and the performances of some talented youngsters have the hobby abuzz:
Jordan Schafer, Atlanta Braves, CF
The Braves and Phillies opened their seasons on Sunday and the baseball world witnessed first hand the uber-talented centerfielder for the Braves, Jordan Schafer. The 22 year old rookie took Brett Myers deep to centerfield for a homerun in his first major league at bat and later added a single and a walk to his brief MLB resume. Schafer's cards had been experiencing a gradual warming trend over the week prior to opening day, as his strong spring numbers earned him a spot on the Braves' 25 man roster, but Sunday's performance has turned up the heat for his cards to a full broil.
His 2005 Bowman Chrome Draft cards that regularly sold for $3.50-5.00 as late as April 4th now reside in the $8-10 range. His first certified autograph in Bowman Chrome has experienced a jump from $20 to $45 during the same time frame.
Schafer has a broad skill set that makes him a well suited candidate for N.L. Rookie of the Year. He may not make the same hobby splash that Jay Bruce did in late May of last season, but he will assuredly be a name on the lips of baseball enthusiasts throughout the entire season.
A .421 batting average in spring training is a testament to the potency of Travis Snider's power drunk bat. On Monday, the robust 21 year old outfielder continued to amaze with a deep bolt off of Detroit's Justin Verlander. Though he is already a household name in the baseball card world, Travis Snider's cards are still gaining momentum. Prior to Monday's game, Snider's 2006 Bowman Chrome Draft cards were selling in the $4-5 range and his first certified autographs in the 2007 Bowman Sterling set garnered $30-35 each. Fast forward to Monday night and we find that his Bowman Chrome Draft cards are selling at $6-7 each and his Bowman Sterling autos have jumped up to $45-50 apiece.
Snider has a good chance of being this year's Evan Longoria in the card industry. His power is off the charts and anything that touches his bat is hit hard. Snider is a high strikeout guy which makes him a risk for slumps, but he is also an intelligent hitter with quick hands, a good work ethic, and enormous strength. Factor all of those things together and you have a viable A.L. Rookie of the Year candidate and rapidly emerging hobby favorite.
Emilio Bonifacio, Florida Marlins, 3B
Zero homeruns in 169 at bats last season. Fast forward to 2009 and Florida Marlins third baseman Emilio Bonifacio already has one, albeit an inside-the-park, homerun. The former Washington National scorched the basepaths with a four hit day, scoring four times and stealing three bags. The bases weren't the only thing Bonifacio heated up. The market for his various 2008 autographs have gone from tepid to caustic within the past 24 hours. Prior to his big day, Bonifacio's autographed cards sold for $3-5 each and now command prices of $12-15 each.
Bonifacio will not rack up four hit days on a regular basis, but he has amply shown that his speed and bat are for real and are well suited for the top of Florida's young and talented lineup.
The next couple of days should usher forth the major league debuts of Oakland A's hurlers Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson as well as the first major league at bat of St. Louis Cardinals top prospect Colby Rasmus. A little further down the road, Balitmore Orioles outfielder Matt Wieters, Cleveland Indians slugger Matt LaPorta, and Tampa Bay Rays future ace David Price will nestle into their MLB roles.
How will the eBay market respond? Much of that is yet to be determined, but one thing is for sure.
It will be a summer long roller coaster of fun!