I just saw this posted on FCB, and I believe this price on the Dustin Ackley Superfractor auto 1/1 is totally and utterly insane. Even if this guy turns out to be a perennial all star, maybe winning a few MVPs, there is no way this price has anywhere to go but down. Look at what Ryan Braun sold for, and then consider the price on this guy. I mean think of all you could have instead of dropping this kind of coin on a guy who may OR may not pan out. I can understand spending 100 bucks, maybe 200 if you are a huge Mariners fan who wants to get some cards of the highly touted prospect. But that kind of money? Cmon.
If you remember back to the beginning of last year, I wrote a post about the ridiculous prices that people were paying for a Selvin Young SPA RC auto. I mean, the cards were going for close to 150 bucks.
I thought now was as good a time as any to go over this, mainly because I have a feeling that many of you are wondering. For each draft class we all pick our people. We go over the rounds and decide on a guy based on team, college, style whatever. I also know that many of you want to see an auto before you decide. Or, as I put it, whether or not the guy passes or fails your version of the Wonderlic Autograph Test (The Autolic Test). For those of you who are not familiar, the Wonderlic is a test given to all prospects at the combine to test a number of different things about their intelligence, football intelligence, etc. The Autolic test is one performed by many collectors to determine if the autograph has merit or is subject to the Morency quotient.
This year, I think we are ridiculously lucky as long as none of the players decide to pull a press pass and sign better when there are few cards to sign, and give up when there are many. Top QB autos have been very good the last few years, and Stafford is no exception. The guy is great, he should be hailed for his detail and penmanship. Nice job. Same goes for Beanie Wells, who has a great auto for his cards. Sanchez has a loopy swoopy graph, that I don’t mind, and Moreno’s isnt bad either. Harvin and Crabtree have a nice visual appeal to theirs, as well, as both should do pretty amazing when you see them on better cards.
On the other hand, Josh Freeman is a jumbled mess. If I gave you this pic and told you to pick his out, you would really have to go through a few deductions in your head before pointing the finger in his direction. Heyward-bey isnt horrible, but it is boring to me for some reason, mainly because you could practically draw a line through his sig and hit every stroke of every letter. Like I said, not horrible, just boring.
You may think that I put too much thought into this, but I will give this fact as the reason for my use of the Autolic test. I hate give up autos, and I hate weird looking autos. If the player puts no effort into it, I will not keep any of their cards. I did not buy a single Chris Johnson card last year, mainly for that exact reason.
Im sure as the card season progresses, we will see numbers added and all sorts of changes as the cards transfer from on card to sticker and back on card. However, as of now, this class’ graphs pass the test with flying colors.
As we enter into the football-less wasteland of summer, the draft is what will have to sustain us until the pre-season starts in august. Overall, I think the draft was pretty fun to watch this whole time, and the first round had me glued to the TV now that teams were forced to pick a little quicker and because ESPN (no NFL Network access at my house) didnt miss any picks this year.
From my experience, prospectors are the only people I have seen make money in this industry. It requires a lot of work and a ton of patience to REALLY make it worthwhile, but when you hit it big, it can be nuts. In order to accomplish the big buys, you have to monitor the MILB stat lines, scour the BA prospect reports, and make sound decisions on what cards to invest in. Its not easy in the slightest. I know that the term “invest” makes no sense in cards, because no one ever makes any money, but this is a little different. These people buy cards for the sole purpose of holding on to them until the MLB debut, and they always have money in mind. I don’t necessarily find that much wrong with the concept, only because its like stock investing in a long term scope.
Lately, things have gotten a little extreme with a few “prospects” that havent even reached pro level ball. They have not been drafted, and one is still a sophomore in high school, 2-4 years away from actual MLB service. Steven Strasburg, a pitcher, has been widely considered as the person who will be the top pick in the draft in the first year he is eligible. He recently played on Team USA and showed amazing potential as a future ace for any number of MLB teams. Bryce Harper is in a similar situation as a catcher for a Las Vegas high school. He also played on Team USA, and again, showed major potential just like Strasburg. His videos have become a sensation on YouTube, especially the HR derby one where he hit a few MLB sized bombs.
As a result of this hype and the buzz from the prospecting community, the auto cards that have been inserted into Sweet Spot and the Team USA box sets have been fetching hundreds of dollars on eBay. It seems as though people think that these guys will be the next superstars to really make a hobby impact a la Pujols, Wright, and Longoria. Although I agree that these are some incredibly talented players, I wont be investing THIS early. I think its pretty crazy that Harper’s cards have eclipsed both Pujols and Jeter, two of the hobby’s biggest names, and he has yet to even be drafted.
A lot of collectors think prospectors are idiots, and I am NOT one of those collectors. They cant understand why someone would pay for cards of players who havent even played a single pro game in the top levels of the league. Personally, I think that mentality is quite closed minded. See, I have seen quite a few people get rich off of a collection that cost them only a few hundred dollars, and they have used that money to build some of the most incredible collections of players you do know. Of course, there are flip sides to everything, but the smart ones don’t usually fail. However, I think paying $250 for either of these players takes that paradigm of collecting to an absolutely crazy level.