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A few weeks ago we wrote about the rapid rise of Cody Bellinger’s baseball cards by tracking the selling price of his 2015 Bowman Chrome Prospect Auto.
We found that if you were to buy his card in the early fall it would have only cost in the low $100 range, and that by February the price was pushing $200 – almost double the cost!
It’s a remarkable run, which shows that investing in prospects has the potential to net collectors a nice return. But the problem is, what happens when the prospect is unable to meet the lofty expectations of becoming the new face of their franchise?
What happens if they even stumble in their development, will it hurt the investment value?
There was a lot of optimism that Bellinger might come into spring training and play well enough to push the Dodgers to re-consider their plans of when the young first baseman prospect would be called up.
Unfortunately, spring training has shown that the 21-year-old is not quite ready for the majors just yet. So far Bellinger has only managed a .189 batting line, and has struck out 14 out of 37 (38%) of his at-bats. He simply has not yet looked comfortable going up against quality major league pitchers.
The disappointing spring training results are already beginning to bring down Bellinger’s sky high card value. We updated our sales history chart to include the month of March to see what the impact was. See below.
What was once a $200 card has now become a card that is valued closer to $170, which could potentially fall even lower.
While this doesn’t mean you should drop what you are doing and sell the Bellinger cards you own, it does point out that caution is needed when investing in prospects. Some will become an all-star or MVP-caliber players, and others will struggle to get there, or even stay in the majors.
When dealing with prospects you need to be disciplined to evaluate objectively the career path of a given player without being caught up by the hype and excitement that seems to surround every prospect this time of year.
For Bellinger it’s way too early to write him off.
The positive sign is that a lot of collectors are buying his cards right now, as shown by the cluster of blue dots in March. This means there is still a lot of optimism that he will turn the corner.
Pay attention to how he does in the minors and if he is able to regain his confidence and put up the numbers we’re expecting for a top prospect.