The Baseball Card Weekly Hot Sheet

 Week Ending Feb 27, 2012

The weekly hot sheet differs from op-ed pieces on the blog, in that this is just a guide to who is moving up the most on Ebay week to week.  Blog entries such as the Top 10 cards to Buy Now (Pinsanity) are editorial articles in which we give the reader suggestions on what to buy.  The hot sheet differs in that it looks exclusively at the hottest cards in the market.  The greatest percent gainers usually come from young prospects, with veterans moving up much slower, since they have already seen that huge spike in price that makes them valuable already (ie- Ryan Howard rookies).  This week though, probably because the season has not begun, sees some veteran cards making huge leaps (look at #5 and #9), but you can usually expect the list to be dominated by prospects as the season gets on…..So without further ado…

1. Michael Pineda 2011 Topps Chrome Sepia Tone Autograph /99

Mike Pineda, traded to the NY Yankees for catcher Jesus Montero, has seen a surge in his cards across the board, but we will use this beauty to illustrate how high Pineda cards are rising.  Back in December, (the 31st to be exact), this card sold for a paltry $24.50.  In early February, as Yankee fans started realizing how cheap Pineda cards were, (remember: he was an all star as a rookie last year for the pathetic Mariners, and his fastball nears 100 mph on the gun), bought them up to $50, where they sat in early February.  Fast forward to today, and the card is selling for $95-$100 with no exceptions, as Yankee fans realize that Phil Hughes auto rookie was a $400 card before he ever took the mound (04 SP Prospects /600), and he fizzled, and now they can have a proven young stud for under $100 for a low #d parallel.  Who knows how high these could go?

2. 2009 Elite Extra Edition Tyler Skaggs Aspirations Auto /100

Skaggs, a lefty in the D’Backs system, jumped in everyone’s top prospect lists for 2012, as he moved from about #80 last year into the top 20 this year.   This card sold in the low $20s and now commands at least $30 if not more, as this is his lone auto rookie.  In 2010, the Angels gave Skaggs up (clearly a mistake looking back) along with Joe Saunders, Patrick Corbin (a stud), and Rafael Rodriguez all for Danny Haren. All Skaggs did last year was pitch 158 innings, across 2 levels including the hitter friendly California League, and maintained a 2.96 ERA, and struck out 198 while giving up just 49 walks. In 5 games in August of last year, Skaggs was unbeaten with a 1.41 ERA, 39 Ks to just 5 BB, and hitters hit a monstrous .131 against him.   At just 20 years old, to do that in AA shows that Skaggs is one of the elite arms in all of the minor leagues.

3. 2011 Bowman Sterling Bryce Harper Auto Refractor /109

In early February, these were going off pretty much on a daily basis and bringing $230-$240 consistently.  Fast forward to today, and they’re $400 if you can find them: some sellers have the card with BINs in the $750 area.  With refractors within Sterling going from 199 copies to just 109 this year, collectors took awhile to realize this card was harder to find than originally thought.  Although the card did sell near $400 upon release, it fell to the mid $200s for a few weeks.  Anyone who was scooping them up then is already being rewarded, with the sky being the limit for the natural Harper.

4. 2010 Elite Extra Edition Drew Smyly Autograph

The Tigers, who already are favorites to win the WS with the Fielder acquisition, have let everyone know the 5th starter will go to a young arm.  Milb.com breaks it down:

Jacob Turner/Drew Smyly: The fifth spot in the Tigers’ rotation is open to more than just these two — Andy Oliver, Duane Below, Casey Crosby and Adam Wilk are also candidates — but as the team’s top two pitching prospects, they have to be considered the favorites. Though Turner struggled to the tune of a 8.53 ERA in a brief Major League stint last year, he’s coming off a season in which he put up a 3.44 ERA over 131 Minor League innings. Smyly posted more impressive numbers last year, compiling a 2.07 ERA, but he also played at lower levels than Turner. With such a wide-open competition and the team trying to win right now, expect to see some high-pressure starts in the normally relaxed Spring Training atmosphere.

Because of this, Smyly’s lone auto moves from $10 to $26, with just 799 available, and no other cards to date.

5. 2011 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols 2001 Rookie Throwback card

I have to say, I think Bowman’s inserts from 2011 were pretty darn good across the board (see #9).  Although this card doesn’t routinely sell for $20, it did a few times last week, a giant contrast from sales just a few weeks back at .99 cents.  Although it’s having a hard time staying at $20, its still a far cry more than when it could be had under a dollar.  It looks and feels just like the real thing and when the real thing is THE card of our generation, the first and only reprint of it deserves some respect.

6. 2011 Bowman Chrome Jacob Turner SSP Auto EXCH

Copies have surged from $60 or lower to $85 currently, and even at that price it would be tough to land a copy.  Blue refractor autos, which we know are always in demand, with 150 copies out there and a beautiful refraction of blue, sold for less than the plain base auto is doing now throughout most of 2012.  With Turner in contention for a starting job (see above), this card is heating up fast.

7. 2009 Elite Extra Edition Nolan Arenado Auto Rookie

The AFL MVP cards keep surging, and his only 2009 issue, the EEE auto /844, is the one to move this week.  No more copies in the $15 range….sales at $24 and $26 this week show that the massively talented hitter Arenado may be a force to be reckoned with upon arrival in Colorado.

8. 2010 Elite Extra Edition Nick Castellanos Auto

Castellanos’ lone rookie, the EEE auto /699, has jumped up to $30 a copy, the same amount that a Status /100 auto commanded just a few weeks ago.  This card struggled to stay around $15 all offseason.  The kid can hit, and this card has emerged as a must-have for any serious prospector.

9. 2011 Bowman Chrome Atomic Refractors

These cards have moved up across the board recently.  Whether it’s the above card which got no bids a few weeks ago and this week got $15, or even Delino DeShields moving up from $5 to $15, and Bryce Harper moving higher, these atomic refractors are starting to dry up, and even commons are getting many bids.

10. 2010 Bowman Sterling Ryan Lavarnway Refractor Auto /199

This card has surged from $11 to $26 in the last few weeks.  Why?  From Milb.com:

Ryan Lavarnway: Though Jarrod Saltalamacchia is lined up as the starting catcher and Kelly Shoppach as the backup for the Red Sox, one has to think Ryan Lavarnway will get a long look in Spring Training for a spot on the team. The Yale product hit .290 with 32 long balls and 93 RBIs between Double-A and Triple-A last year, putting up the best offensive season of his impressive Minor League career. Lavarnway won’t win any Gold Gloves behind the plate, but neither will Saltalamacchia or Shoppach. If Lavarnway gets an honest look, he could prove to be the best of the bunch.

Make sure you check every Tuesday for the Atlanta Sports Cards Weekly Hot Sheet.  When the season begins, don’t forget to check out TopProspectAlert.com nightly for lines on every prospect on the radar.  Thanks, and happy collecting!

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