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3 Things to Prepare You for Collecting this 2024 MLB Season

Updated: Apr 17

The 2024 MLB season has officially begun! Thirty teams are now hunting for one of the biggest and oldest championships in sports (other than the Olympics). One of the many things that makes the MLB unique is its 162-game schedule, which includes games for each team almost daily. 

Another thing that makes the MLB season unique is that it's the only active sport (amongst the primary four) to coincide with the National. In the next three months, many things can happen to players, from injuries to breakout seasons starting and even a crazy sandal or two. Baseball is an ever-changing sport in the hobby, but here are a few things I will be observing for the MLB, its players, and the Baseball Card Hobby. 

Big Players + Big Contracts = ?

This MLB offseason was unlike any others. Shohei Ohtani, the most significant baseball player of the last decade, was set to become a free agent. This caused substantial waves in the hobby last summer. 

Many were on the Ohtani hype train during the summer of 2022, leading up to the National. One of his most popular cards is his 2018 Topps Update Rookie Debut Card #US285. Based on Card Ladder Data, this card in a PSA 10 averaged $150 in early July and hit an all-time high of $200 right after the National. That summer, he was on pace to win his 3rd MVP despite having an injury to his throwing arm later that season. But what happened after the season?

Everyone in baseball, the media, and the hobby knew he would change the landscape of any team he signed to. Many teams waited to sign other players if they could sign Ohtani. In early December of 2023, when Ohtani signed his contract with the Dodgers, that same Topps Update Rookie Debut Card in a PSA 10 had sales for around $75 and bumped up to about $100 in January. For the start of the 2024 season, that same card is selling for around $70, partly because of the media attention that Ohtani is facing.  

What does this mean for us as collectors? The Ohtani hype was real leading up to the National, but his card prices didn’t sustain up to his official signing. Many collectors speculated on his signing, year, and future, which led to the spike in his card prices for the National. There is a chance we can see that again leading up to the National for other players that hit the free agency market in 2025. 

After this season, some significant players will hit the free agent market for the 2025 season. As of April 2024, those players include Cody Bellinger, Pete Alonso, Corbin Burnes, Max Fried, and Juan Soto. You take the risk every day on any players due to injury, whether they sign with their current team, and many other factors. So, do your research, invest in what you feel comfortable with, and know the risks you take with your investments.

Breakout Players Becoming Breakout Stars

Baseball Analysts and Baseball Card Collectors speculate on the next breakout stars each year. For the 2024 season, all eyes have been on Wyatt Langford, Jackson Churio, and Jackson Holiday as this year's breakout rookies. Let’s look back at another recent rookie class with three hyped players.

Leading up to the 2022 season, Julio Rodriguez, Bobby Witt Jr., and Spencer Torkleson were the talk of Baseball and the Hobby. Looking at Card Ladder data, let’s compare their Bowman Chrome 1st PSA 10 card prices leading up to Spring Training 2022, their peak price, and where the card cost is now. 

Julio Rodriguez: $160 in April 2022 - $200 in July 2022 - $60 Now

Bobby Witt Jr.: $200 in April 2022 (Also the peak) - $50 Now

Spencer Torkleson: $189 in April 2022 (Also the peak) - $25 Now

Each player of these players had high expectations going into their rookie season, which explains the peak in price after their rookie debut. The only one to see a price peak after their debut was Julio, who became a first-time all-star in July of 2022, also right before the National. 

So, what does that mean for the 2024 rookie class? I expect the same trend of prices staying high this month for Wyatt Langford and Jackson Churio's card prices. However, with Jackson Holiday not making the opening-day roster, his prices will rise leading up to his debut. If any of these players make the All-Star Roster, we could also see a peak leading up to the National.

I will be watching teams for players making their debuts, determining which rookies make the All-Star Team, and keeping an eye on those 2022 rookies who can significantly impact their teams this season! 

Cherished Memories for Our Collection

One hundred sixty-two games is a long season. You can speculate who the season's best players will be, who will get the most significant contracts and more. In the end, you just never know what will happen. 

Take Elly De La Cruz for an example. When he was called to the Big Leagues, his base Bowman 1st cards were selling for around $40 a piece easily! But weeks later, it dropped back down. Wander Franco was one of, if not the most popular rookie of the 2021 class. One significant lawsuit later, you can now find people cutting up his cards on reels and shorts. You just never know what will happen!

Everyone always says, “Collect What You Love,” it sounds corny, but it’s true! In the end, you will always have something to cherish and remember from your collection. Here’s a personal example of this.

In February of this year, we picked up a Topps Now card from Game 6 of the 2022 NLCS. It’s a photo of Bryce Harper's go-ahead game-winning home run. When we were at the game, we knew we needed a card to remember the day. In 5 years, that card might be worth nothing value-wise, but it will always be priceless because of the memories we cherish from that day. Make sure to attend or watch games this season, then collect cards with a meaningful backstory or a memory from your past. It’s something you can love and cherish no matter what its value is. 

Now, Let’s Get Collecting!

This MLB season will be unique and special to fans, collectors, and everyone for many reasons, many of which we don’t know yet. Take the time to review the data, be smart about your decision, and most of all, have fun as a baseball and baseball-collecting fan. 

“When you have fun, it changes all the pressure into pleasure” - Ken Griffey Jr. 

1 Comment

Do not get discouraged if a player you are collecting gets injured. If you had faith in that player and you love that player, hold onto them and keep the faith. 🫶

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