Fast Starts Have Ohtani, Acuna Jr. Atop Baseball Card Market
The 2023 MLB regular season is now a few weeks old, and some of the game’s top players are already seeing their card markets explode from high expectations.
While superstars like Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr. are seeing their markets rise due to hot starts, some of the game’s top young talents like Anthony Volpe and Bobby Witt Jr. are seeing their cards trend in the wrong direction with increasing velocity.
Dive into the data from the baseball card market’s top trending cards and players in this week’s MLB Market Movers update.
Cards listed below are PSA 10s with a minimum average of $30 and 10 sales over the last 30 days.
Price Percentage Risers
1. Vaughn Grissom 2023 Topps Base PSA 10 📈 160%
2. Fernando Tatis Jr. 2019 Topps Heritage Base PSA 10 📈 150%
3. Geraldo Perdomo 2019 Bowman Chrome Prospect Auto (1st) PSA 10 📈 132%
4. Wander Franco 2020 Bowman Sapphire Edition Chrome Prospects PSA 10 📈 116%
5. Yordan Alvarez 2020 Bowman Chrome Base PSA 10 📈 107%
GRISSOM RISES: Vaughn Grissom played fine enough in 41 games for the Braves last year, and many expected him to land a starting role full-time with Atlanta after Dansby Swanson departed in the offseason. The Braves went with Orlando Arcia at shortstop to start the season, though, dropping Grissom back down to Triple-A.
A microfracture in Arcia’s wrist has opened things up for Grissom now, however, and the card market has adjusted. Grissom has an extremely low graded population, so there’s likely plenty of noise in his price growth, but collectors are still targeting him. His 2023 Topps Base PSA 10 has been the big winner recently with limited sales volume while some earlier Bowman Prospect Autos have gone up, too.
It’s worth noting that Grissom has been solid so far, but not so overwhelmingly good that Arcia can’t win his job back once healthy. So the battle at shortstop in Atlanta is something to monitor when considering buying Grissom.
Price Percentage Decliners
1. Bobby Witt Jr. 2022 Topps Chrome Update Sapphire Edition Base PSA 10 📉 57%
2. Ronald Acuna Jr. 2018 Topps Archives Base PSA 10 📉 53%
3. Ezequiel Tovar 2021 Bowman Chrome Prospect Auto (1st) PSA 10 📉 49%
4. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 2016 Bowman Paper Prospects (1st) PSA 10 📉 47%
5. Aaron Judge 2017 Topps Chrome Freshman Flash PSA 10 📉 44%
WITT JR. MARKET DROPS: Few baseball players have seen their card markets drop as much as Bobby Witt Jr.’s since the start of the season — and it’s not really because of his play. Witt Jr. is currently slashing .260/.308/.466 with three home runs and seven RBIs, so he’s been good but not great so far. The market hasn’t really cared.
Overall, Witt Jr.’s PSA 10s tracked by Market Movers are down 11% collectively over the last 30 days across over 400 total sales. Unfortunately for those holding Witt Jr., the market may have just temporarily moved on to more popular young stars like Julio Rodriguez. Rodriguez has been so good for Seattle that it’s fair to wonder if he’s actually helped crush markets for a variety of top prospects — this group could range from Witt Jr. and Wander Franco to even Jeremy Pena and Oneil Cruz.
To be fair to Witt Jr., Rodriguez is currently one of the most popular players in the sports card hobby overall, so it’s not time to panic quite yet. A solid run in Year 2 with Kansas City likely gets his market back on track simply based on his popularity to start with.
Dollar Amount Risers
1. Wander Franco 2019 Bowman Chrome Prospects Auto (1st) PSA 10 📈 $767
2. Shohei Ohtani 2017 Bowman Mega Box Chrome Prospects PSA 10 📈 $613
3. Ronald Acuna Jr. 2018 Topps SP Variation (Bat Down) PSA 10 📈 224
4. Shohei Ohtani 2018 Topps Chrome Prism Refractor (Pitching) PSA 10 📈 $155
5. Julio Rodriguez 2018 Bowman Chrome Prospect Auto (1st) PSA 10 📈 $146
OHTANI, ACUNA JR. START FAST: Two of the early favorites for MVP are Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr., and they’ve seen card prices to match their play. Ohtani is coming off a fabulous run in the World Baseball Classic and has mostly picked up where he left off last season — complete domination on the mound and at the plate. Overall, his two-way stardom continues to captivate regular fans and collectors alike, and he consistently has a lineup of cards that are among the most expensive and liquid in the hobby.
Over in the National League, Acuna Jr. appears healthy after an ACL tear back in 2021, and he’s led the Braves to a fantastic 14-5 start coming into Thursday. Acuna Jr. has been crushing the ball to start the season while slashing .367/.451/.544 with three homers and 11 RBI. If he stays healthy and the Braves keep winning, he could run away with his first MVP award later this year.
Diving into Market Movers, Ohtani has seen his PSA 10s tracked jump 20% over the last month while Acuna Jr.’s are up 8% collectively. Along with fantastic price growth, the key thing to monitor for both of these stars is the sales volume — cards that trend over $1,000 don’t sell extremely often, so Ohtani’s 2017 Bowman Mega Box Chrome Prospects PSA 10 selling once per day over the last month is a great indicator that his market likely doesn’t slow down anytime soon.
Dollar Amount Decliners
1. Anthony Volpe 2020 Bowman Chrome Prospect Auto (1st) PSA 10 📉 $398
2. Bobby Witt Jr. 2022 Topps Chrome Update Sapphire Edition Base PSA 10 📉 $247
3. Juan Soto 2018 Topps Update SP Variation (Hands on Hips) PSA 10 📉 $201
4. Aaron Judge 2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Draft Picks PSA 10 📉 $140
5. Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Bowman Base PSA 10 📉 $100
VOLPE HYPE: Few players were more hyped coming into Spring Training than Yankees prospect Anthony Volpe, and he earned even more hype after winning a starting spot on the Opening Day roster. It felt like Volpe had finally broken through the wall of popularity that has been Jasson Dominguez. Dominguez had for so long been the key Yankees target despite Volpe ranking much higher as a prospect, and Volpe finally broke that trend in Spring Training.
As expected, Volpe’s hype peaked after winning a roster spot, and it’s been all downhill since. Volpe’s PSA 10s tracked by Market Movers are down 12% collectively over the last 30 days across nearly 400 sales. His 2020 Bowman Chrome Prospect Auto (1st) PSA 10 has been a major factor in the decline, with a massive drop in price paired with nearly a sale per day.
The typical hype cycle of prospecting made this dip almost a certainty, but Volpe’s mediocre play to start the season hasn’t helped — he’s batting just .204 with one home run and two RBI through 54 at-bats. His market will surely recover with improved play, but it’s also hard to beat call-up prices when it comes to highly-regarded prospects.
Sales Volume Leaders
1. Shohei Ohtani 2018 Topps Chrome Base (Pitching) PSA 10 📈 322 sales
2. Shohei Ohtani 2018 Topps Update Base PSA 10 📈 244 sales
3. Shohei Ohtani 2018 Topps Update Rookie Debut PSA 10 📈 235 sales
4. Shohei Ohtani 2018 Bowman Base PSA 10 📈 215 sales
5. Julio Rodriguez 2022 Topps Update Base PSA 10 📈 210 sales
Popular Sealed Wax (Hobby Boxes)
1. 2022 Topps Gold Label Baseball 📈 12%
2. 2023 Topps Series 1 Baseball 📈 21%
3. 2022 Topps Chrome Sonic Baseball 📈 36%
4. 2022 Stadium Club Chrome Baseball 📈 6%
5. 2022 Topps Chrome Update Baseball 📉 8%
Market Pulse Indexes Over Last 30 Days
Baseball 2018-2020: 📉 2%
- KEY RISER: Shohei Ohtani 2018 Topps Base (Pitching) PSA 10 📈 38%
- KEY DECLINER: Juan Soto 2018 Topps Chrome Update Base PSA 10 📉 43%
Baseball 2010-2017: 📈 5%
- KEY RISER: Shohei Ohtani 2017 Bowman Mega Box Chrome Prospects PSA 10 📈 67%
- KEY DECLINER: Aaron Judge 2013 Bowman Draft Chrome Draft Picks PSA 10 📉 28%
Baseball 2000-2009: 📈 1%
- KEY RISER: Miguel Cabrera 2000 Topps Chrome Traded Base PSA 10 📈 38%
- KEY DECLINER: Albert Pujols 2001 Topps Chrome Traded Base PSA 10 📉 11%
Baseball 1990-1999: 📉 2%
- KEY RISER: Derek Jeter 1993 Pinnacle Base PSA 10 📈 63%
- KEY DECLINER: Derek Jeter 1993 SP Foil PSA 8 📉 18%
Baseball 1980-1989: 📉 5%
- KEY RISER: Wade Boggs 1983 Topps Base PSA 10 📈 10%
- KEY DECLINER: Mark McGwire 1985 Topps Base (’84 USA Baseball) PSA 10 📉 20%
Baseball 1960-1979: 📉 9%
- KEY RISER: Carl Yasatrzemski 1960 Topps Base PSA 8 📈 27%
- KEY DECLINER: Lou Brock 1962 Topps Star Rookies PSA 7 📉 32%
Baseball 1940-1959: 📈📉 0%
- KEY RISER: Hank Aaron 1954 Topps Base PSA 7 📈 16%
- KEY DECLINER: Luis Aparicio 1956 Topps Base PSA 8 📉 9%
Baseball 1909-1939: 📉 1%
- KEY DECLINER: Ty Cobb 1909 T206 Red Portrait PSA 4 📉 20%
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