Well, let the speculation end, the first round of the NFL draft came and went tonight and this is a good thing in many of our minds. We now have to see less of Mel Kiper Jr. for the next 9 months as he heads back into his analysis cave to begin work on the next class. Ok, ok, he’s not that bad and in fact, I think I dislike Gruden’s performance on the draft day stage even more, I can’t recall a pick where his opening remarks didn’t start with “I really like this kid.” John, break out the thesaurus and put on your thinking cap for once here and come up with something else to say AND you need not like every pick, because after all, there were lots of disappointed fans out there when Bruce Irvin was picked 14th. Outside of the on-stage analysis two things struck me tonight, first, Dontari Poe sporting what is one of the worst hair-dos I have ever seen and secondly, for an event that can be as boring as a draft, this one wasn’t.
Luck and Griffin were no surprises and that was about where most correct predictions ended – we had trades, moves up, moves down, reaches, guys falling and all the rest. This makes it so that in most cases, fans of teams likely have distinct opinions on how their teams did in the first round because in many cases – they made a move, perhaps even a bold move of some kind. The draft usually produces Hot List fodder because guys are reached for (like A.J. Jenkins who I just sold a card of) or go to the right teams (like Nick Perry going to the Packers) and that causes their cards to rise. Much of this is happening overnight on Thursday and early Friday morning and will be reflected in next week’s list.
In the mean time we had oh, a perfect game, a great debut (Parker), an unreal start (Kemp), the hockey playoffs and a whole bunch of other things happening, which means we have a lot of ground to cover this week so lets get started.
1. Phillip Humber 2005 Bowman Chrome Draft Auto
Comments: I heard a commentator on sports radio describe Phillip Humber as a guy who was “picked up off the scrap heap”, and honestly, I think that would be a fairly kind way to describe it. Humber has moved around a great deal from an organizational perspective and found a home with the White Sox this Spring. I don’t think when the White Sox or Humber agreed on a deal they envisioned a perfect game in the future but in a Dallas Braden out of nowhere moment that’s just what happened. Humber’s 2005 Chrome Autos were selling for $1 and went to $15 very quickly and if I had to bet, at some point they will be back at $1.
2. Jarrod Parker 2008 Bowman Chrome Autos
Comments: At one point most guys either had a Chrome Auto or a Chrome base card, the concept of having both was foreign. Jay Bruce has no Bowman Chrome Auto as an example and neither does Andrew McCutchen. In 2008 Topps figured out that they were missing the boat and could be getting a lot more bang out of each prospect and so came the 2008 Bowman set with autographs of many of the top prospects in 2007 Bowman Chrome Draft. Jarrod was one of those guys – now that’s been an injury and quite a few years ago for Jarrod but none the less he made his ML debut this week and it went rather well. This brought new life to the 2008 Bowman Chrome Autos moving them from $5 to closer to $20.
3. Nick Tropeano 2011 Playoff Contenders Auto
Comments: Sets with massive autograph checklists have a love/hate relationship with many on the boards. Those who hate, hate because they buy Playoff Contenders hoping to pull a Dylan Bundy and come up with someone whom they do not know, like Nick Tropeano. Many singles buyers love the products because it gives them an opportunity to stock up very cheaply on a guy who they believe has a great deal of potential. Tropeano was a guy who sold for peanuts (literally they have these small Planters bags that are 2 for $.99 at most gas stations) and now is selling for somewhat more. After a hot start that has included 32 K’s in 21 innings Nick is getting noticed and that must be unusual for baseball players from Stony Brook. Some of his autos sold for $13 this week up for $5 last week.
4. Ross Detwiler 2007 Bowman Chrome Draft Auto
Comments: It seems like we are consistently reaching back to older sets this week. Earlier I mentioned the 2007 Bowman Chrome Draft set which had a lot of big prospects in it, however, they weren’t in the auto checklist which totally played second fiddle to the base checklist. Ross was even the second fiddle, he was somewhere down the aisle playing the harmonica and trying to stay in tune. Interpretation: he too sold for peanuts. However, here we are a ways into the season and the Nationals are actually doing good? No, cannot be. Young guns like Ross and oh, some guy named Strasburg are making this a reality for the Nationals and Ross’ 2007 Draft Autos have renewed life moving from $5 to $13 this week.
5. Will Middlebrooks 2007 Elite Autos
Comments: And the hottest start in the MiLB belongs to? That’s right, Will Middlebrooks. Those of you who screamed at your computer screens “DYLAN BUNDY!!!! OMG HE’S UNREAL!” will have to pout for another week until he starts pitching more innings. Middlebrooks has been hitting bomb after bomb and with guys like he and Wieters hot the 2007 Elite set is getting more views than in some time. This is also a good time for me to mention that if you don’t check out the MiLB Performances thread posted daily here on FCB you are simply missing out. Lots of good information related to who is hot, or who is going to get hot is included in this thread, read it if you want to increase your prospect knowledge. The last Middlebrooks Elite auto sold for $61 up from the $30 they were selling for previously.
6. Braden Holtby 2009-10 UD Young Guns RC
Comments: The Capitals have done the stunning, knock off the former Stanley Cup Champions. If you recall those Champions had several Hot List appearances last year, including goalie Tim Thomas. So it is only nature that we feature the goalie of the Capitals who happens to be a Young Guns subject – Braden Holtby. His Young Guns have likely only started to rise moving from $5 to $13 this week because as the surprising Capitals go further in the playoffs Mr. Holtby will get all that much more attention.
7. Alex Liddi 2010 Bowman Chrome Autos
Comments: Alex is in the big leagues now and has been making noise – 6 hits and 2 HRs in his past 3 games, which also moved his average up to .357. The Mariners aren’t expected to win the World Series this year but fans must be encouraged with the potential on their team – guys like Liddi and Montero. Cases like Liddi, a guy who no one is really paying much attention to coming up to the bigs and hitting a couple home runs are fairly common here on the Hot List. Alex’s Autos went from $7 to $18 because of his power surge.
8. Robbie Ross 2008 Razor Autos
Comments: Say it 5 times fast, that’s right, you like the alliteration of Robbie Ross Razor Autos. I busted a ton of Razor Signature Series cases in 2008 and at the time, pulling Robbie Ross was roughly equivalent to pulling one of those thick white spacer cards – a no named #’d /1499, wonderful. Early this year though Ross as a relief pitcher has managed to get in on 4 wins for the Rangers who are already looking good. Ross’ autos have doubled from $4 to $8 as a result of his early season victory total.
9. Matt Kemp 2005 Topps Chrome Rookies
Comments: There is always a great deal of debate over who to draft first in any fantasy league, Kemp was one of those names up for grab in this year’s baseball drafts and I have to think that those who went with him over a Miguel Cabrera or otherwise must be rather pleased. Kemp’s likely going to be the NL Triple Crown winner through April and it’s not really even close. Kemp’s cards have went from hot, to hotter, to scorching and now even base chromes are selling for $20, up from $12 last week.
10. Lance Lynn 2009 Bowman Chrome Autos
Comments: Guys like Matt Kemp have certainly impressed people in the early going but they haven’t been the downright surprise that a guy like Lance Lynn has. Lance is leading the majors in wins and although I’m sure the Cardinals hoped for a productive season out of Lance, 4 wins in April is more than anyone ever dreamed of. Lance was on this list last week due to his Refractor Autos moving up to $19 and here he is again because they are now at $31.
11. Matt Barnes 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft Autos
Comments: Another repeat from last week comes in at #11. Matt made the list last week because low-A batters aren’t even coming close to touching him. It was more of the same this week combined with rave scouting reviews of his velocity and stuff in games that lands him here again. Last week a Refractor Auto 9.5 sold for $35 and this week a Base Chrome 9.5 sold for nearly $40.
12. Dylan Bundy 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft Blue Refractor Autos
Comments: Matt and Dylan have the same story early in the season, they’ve been nearly un-hittable. The primary difference is, Matt is a college pitcher who is expected to dominate the league of hitters who he is facing. Dylan is a high school pitcher who is not pitching like a high school pitcher at all. With every start the hype builds and in the early going the Orioles must be in love with their pick at #4. Dylan’s Blue Refractor Autos hit $250 this week, up from $200 last week.
13. Javier Baez 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft Autos
Comments: As a rule, the 2011 draft class has come out of the gates very strong in the early stages of the season. Javier is still in extended spring training but it appears that collectors and prospectors alike are hoping he follows suit with strong play, when he starts playing. Bowman Chrome Draft Autos moved from $17 to $25 this week.
14. 2011 Prime Cuts Patches
Comments: Be it Jackie Robinson patches going for $800, Curt Floods for $300 or Lou Gehrigs for $2,000 Prime Cuts has introduced a flood of rare old GU into the market and collectors are paying up.