We all know that Yasiel Puig is the biggest hobby story so far this year. However, Chris Davis of the Orioles is a close second with a similarly impressive start to the year. He is leading the league in Home Runs and near the top in many of the major offensive categories. Davis is one of those stories we love, as his lack of success up until this point makes his enormous production that much more unlikely.
Because Davis has not been a guy with any sort of name recognition before this year, his available pool of rookie cards is little to none. In a sport that is almost 100% dependent on the Bowman cards for the high dollar RCs, it definitely hurts potential that he has no licensed autographed rookie cards.
The cards are still insane though:
In fact this was a very similar situation to another player, so similar that I am wondering if this is some sort of hobby deja vu. If you remember back a few years ago, Jose Bautista threw up a 53 and 40+ home run season despite no previous seasons even close. His cards went absolutely crazy, and he was the hottest thing in the league for two years. He had been dropped by a few teams along the way before finally catching on in Toronto. Since the explosion, he hasnt exactly been terrible, but due to injury, he hasnt reached the potential he could have. The cards have cooled off considerably now that he isnt on the same level. Considering Bautista is already 32, that means there may not be many more elite seasons he can play as he gets older.
That is the thing with Baseball. One season does not a career make. Continued sustained production is a fleeting dragon to chase at the top levels of the system, and many players struggle to achieve it. So, is it worth investing thousands in a guy who has managed to only put together a half a season, or in Puig's case, a month?
These types of relative value situations are what I find so interesting in Baseball. People spend tons of money on potential value they could achieve in the future, but dont consider relative value for players that have already reached those levels. For the price of a Puig auto right now, you could relatively have a nice example of almost any player who has ever played the game – even Mickey Mantle. Sure doesnt stop people from spending a rent check on a card of his.
Davis is a different example because the age of the player is always a factor. Like Batista who was closer to 30 than to 20, there wont be as long of a time to generate the level of stats that will put a player on an elite level when all is said and done. Davis is already 27 years old, which means he has lost 4 or 5 years of elite stats already. Not a good thing.
Chris Davis may eventually be a perennial all star, but all I am saying is that there are more examples of people not making it than people who do.