Since my first issue of the Prospect Hot List two weeks ago, spring training has officially begun, and several prospects are already stepping up and getting noticed. While most will likely start the season in the minors (the first cuts are coming very soon), the names below have been making great impressions, both on their team officials and on their baseball card values.
1) Jackie Bradley Jr. (2012 Bowman Chrome) – a truly gifted centerfielder who is trying to surpass Jacoby Ellsbury in terms of tools, he’s making plenty of early waves so far and his card prices are reflecting this. His base Bowman Chrome autos have gone from $40 to $60 each, and Blue Ref autos have gone up, from $96 to $145.
2) Jedd Gyorko (2011 Bowman Chrome) – he will likely have to play 2B fulltime, what with being blocked at 3B by Chase Headley, but he is definitely showing his bat is nearly Major League ready. His base Chrome autos have risen from the $20 to $30 range, and Blue Ref autos have soared from $50 to $100 each.
>3) Michael Wacha (2012 Bowman Draft) – Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina thinks he’s ready for the Majors already. While that won’t happen, his performance is opening plenty of eyes. His Blue Ref autos have gone from $56 to $105, his Gold Ref autos from $130 to $200, and a Red Ref auto (graded BGS 9.5/10) sold for $1,000 recently.
4) Michael Choice (2010 Bowman Chrome) – arguably the A’s best hitting prospect, he’s clearly bucking for a promotion. In BA’s Prospect Handbook, it was predicted he’d start 2013 back in AA, but he’s making a serious case for AAA. Base autos are creeping up, from $12 to $20 each.
5) Zack Wheeler (2009 Bowman Draft) – a recent homeristic article compared him to Stephen Strasburg after impressing in spring training, prior to a minor injury. This article certainly hasn’t hurt his card values, as his base autos have gone from the $60-65 range to around $80 each.
6) Jorge Soler (2012 Bowman Chrome) – Cubs officials have been even more pleasantly surprised at his skillset than they were last year, as well as his plate discipline. His base autos are routinely fetching in the $60-65 range (up from $50), and one even sold for $87 recently.
7) Julio Teheran (2010 Bowman Chrome) – after a disappointing 2012 season, he showed signs of improvement in the Dominican Winter league and has carried that into spring training, where he’s contending to be the Braves #5 SP. He struck out five Nationals in 3 IP yesterday (including the last three guys he faced). A Ref auto sold for $50 yesterday, up from the $20-$25 range.
8) Carlos Rodon (2012 Panini USA) – he might not be draft eligible until next year, but he’s already getting compared to David Price and showed plenty of dominance in his last start. As many did not bust Panini’s USA boxed sets, singles are few and far between. His base autos (numbered to 399) were selling in the $15 range a few weeks ago, but are now above $20. There is another due to end Monday evening, which is currently at $28.
My Weekly Sleeper - Jake Marisnick (2012 Bowman Chrome). Marlins’ hitting coach Tino Martinez said he could be the best defensive CF in the game right now. While his defensive skills have always been praised, it was his hitting abilities that drew scrutiny but so far he has been killing it at the plate. You can currently find his base Chrome autos under $10 (and a Gold Ref auto sold for just $71), but for how much longer?