Rookie Card Year: 2002
Investment Rating: 6.0
When he's healthy and on, Zack Greinke is one of baseball's best pitchers. However, he's also had a few forgettable seasons and spent much of his career with bad small-market teams. Because of this, Zack Greinke cards haven't generated much attention. Even playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of the biggest markets in sports, he's still in the hobby shadow of Clayton Kershaw and some of his other flashy teammates.
Greinke started his career in Kansas City. The Royals drafted him with the sixth overall pick in the 2002 draft. After making his MLB debut a couple of years later, the right-hander may have been better than his win-loss column might suggest, but still not dominant. That change in 2009 when Greinke won the American League Cy Young Award.
Following the 2010 season, Greinke was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers. When they couldn't get him to sign a long-term deal, Milwaukee sent him to the Angels just before the 2012 trade deadline. Although he played well for
Anaheim Los Angeles, Greinke signed a long-term deal with the Dodgers in the off-season.
Greinke has shown some of his best and most consistent stuff with the blue and white, even out-pitching Kershaw in the first half of 2015.
And yet, here we are. Zack Greinke cards are still virtually ignored. He has just two rookie cards. 2002 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Baseball has both paper and Bowman Chrome versions. 2002 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres Baseball has Greinke's first autograph card. However, because it's a prospect set, many don't consider it to be an official rookie card.
Early in his career, Greinke was a regular autograph in sets. However, he has very little where he's not wearing a Royals jersey. There are a couple where he's with the Brewers, but by mid-way through 2015, there have been no Zack Greinke Los Angeles Dodgers autograph cards.
Given his age and point in his career, it's unlikely that Zack Greinke cards are ever going to be among the hobby's elite. Until they retire, pitchers are risky at the best of times. That said, being dominant on the Dodgers can only help his standing. Should some post-season success follow, expect the pitcher to finally get some attention, even if only a little bit.
Zack Greinke Rookie Cards Checklist
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Both of Greinke's rookie cards come in the same product. 2002 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects mixed both paper Bowman and Bowman Chrome. The paper version is the cheaper of the two. And while it might cost a little more than you'd expect from a basic Bowman rookie card, it's still not expensive. Any sort of bump is more because Greinke has so few rookie cards. The card's only parallel is Gold.
The chromium stock gives this otherwise identical card a more premium feel. It's preferred by most collectors, resulting in noticeably higher values compared to its paper counterpart. It comes with three parallels, all of which are serial numbered: Refractor (#/300), X-Fractor (#/150) and Gold Refractor (#/50).
Most collectors don't consider Upper Deck Prospect Premieres cards to be official rookies because the checklist consists entirely of prospects. Even without the label, this card still has Greinke in a Royals uniform. The big plus is the signature, which makes it more valuable than both of his Bowman rookies. The autograph is done in a sort of cut signature style where it's signed on a label that's embedded into the card.