It's not very often now that a player's first baseball cards coincide with their major league debuts. And while he has a couple from 2013, that's the case with Mookie Betts cards. After a stellar start to the 2014 season, the 2011 fifth round pick fast-tracked his way to Fenway.
Betts adds a strong batting average and lots of speed to the Red Sox lineup. Between 2013 and 2014, he made it on base in 66 consecutive minor league games (71 if you count the 2013 postseason). Betts started 2014 at Double-A Portland and hit .355 in 54 games. He didn't let up when he was brought up to Triple-A Pawtucket, notching a .322 average in 23 games.
Boston called up Betts on June 28, 2014 and made his MLB debut the next day.
Most prospects today seem to get their first cards within a year of being drafted and signing their first pro contracts. With the expansion of national team sets, this is often even earlier for top prospects. This wasn't the case with Mookie Betts cards. Despite being drafted in 2011, he didn't get his first cards until late in 2013.
His first cards in a Red Sox uniform can be found in 2014. These are prospect inserts so Betts doesn't have any rookie cards yet. Collectors will likely find them in late-2014 products.
While collectors wait for Mookie Betts rookie cards, we've highlighted some of his top prospect cards that are out already. Once his rookies start arriving, we'll be sure to add them.
Key Mookie Betts Prospect Cards
Click on the links or images to shop for specific cards on eBay.
2013 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks is the first major set to have Mookie Betts cards. The prospect-focused set has plenty of colorful parallels that make for a nice chase. Because it's not licensed by MLB, Betts is pictured in a somewhat generic uniform, although the angle obscures it fairly well. The card is very affordable.
One of the draws of 2013 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks is that it has a larger autograph checklist compared to the competing 2013 Bowman Draft. This is evidenced by Panini landing Betts and his signature months before Topps. Featuring an on-card signature, the base version is not serial numbered. However, there are several Refractor-like parallels that are numbered. Despite being out first, the lack of MLB license and brand recognition make it cheaper than the 2014 Bowman Chrome Mookie Betts autograph.
Mookie Betts' 2014 Bowman Chrome Prospects card is an insert so it's not a rookie card in a traditional sense. However, it's still widely traded. It's also a much cheaper version than the autographed version. Included in 2014 Bowman Baseball, it has a bunch of Refractor parallels. There's also a basic Bowman version of the card but the Chrome card is still cheap enough that it's a more popular choice. 2014 Bowman Baseball also has a mini Mookie Betts card.
If you're going to collect Mookie Betts cards, this will be considered by most to be a cornerstone. It's his first certified autograph in a Red Sox uniform and carries with it the Bowman Chrome clout. Like the unsigned version, the card also has several Refractor parallels.