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In the baseball world, 2016 will ultimately be remembered as the year the Chicago Cubs finally shook off their losing ways and ended the longest active championship drought in North American sports.
It was an incredible story with so much suspense in the World Series, including their rally from down 3-2 in the series and one of the most exciting game seven’s you will ever watch. Out of all the exciting subplots, my favorite was the incredible comeback of Kyle Schwarber.
When Schwarber tore his ACL at the beginning of the season, many thought it would seriously jeopardize the Cubs chances at making the World Series. Fortunately, behind the perfect blend of hitting, pitching and defense, the Cubs instead finished with the best record in baseball.
Then things got fun!
The Cubs make the call out to Arizona where Schwarber is rehabbing and getting reps in at the fall league. Without a proper minor league rehab stint, Schwarber arrives in Cleveland and proceeds to wreck havoc on the Indians.
While Schwarber had to be benched in the games played in Chicago because of the absence of a DH spot, he made good on the opportunities he did have to the tune of a triple slash line of 412/500/471 over the entirety of the World Series, putting to rest any concerns about how effective he would be at the plate after his injury.
As fun as Schwarber’s return was for baseball fans, it has been really fun for his baseball card owners too. Before the World Series began, Schwarber’s 2014 Bowman Chrome base auto prospect card (graded 9.5) was selling at an average price of $115. Since game one, however, the average price has shot up to $175. That’s a 52% increase in card value! But buyers and sellers should be careful because the details reveal a lot of uncertainty.
Below is a plot of all the transactions of Schwarber’s 2014 base auto prospect card (graded 9.5).
While the average price is trending up, the range of prices the card has sold at has been very large. While some cards have sold for as much as $230, others have sold for as little $124.
This wide range of selling prices likely has to do with the general uncertainty surrounding Schwarber going forward. While he bounced back effectively in the World Series, will he hold up in the long term? What position will he play going forward?
Ideally, you could play him at DH, but the Cubs play in the NL, which may make him a possible trade candidate at some point in the future. But at the same time Schwarber is a great hitter who has star potential, and he just showed that he can come through under the brightest lights.
Only once spring training gets started and the season rolls around will some of these questions get answered, and we can have a better feel for Schwarber’s career trajectory.
This doesn’t mean that now is a bad time to buy or sell. If you are selling though, you’ll be taking the position that this is the peak of Schwarber’s comeback.
But for those of you buying, you’re gambling that the World Series was just the beginning. And if you are careful and play your cards right, you can take advantage of the uncertain market and score a great deal.