One of the fun parts about Spring Training are the annual predictions on which young player(s) will take a leap forward to join the elites of the game.
Last year we saw Corey Seager and Mookie Betts make that leap in their development and turn in runner-up MVP seasons. And a host of other young guns either made their first star appearance, or produced an all-star worthy stat line by the end of the season.
This year, one of the players that fans, insiders, and card collectors are expecting big things from is Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman.
As the hype was building up over the offseason, so too did the price of Bregman’s rookie cards. At Five Card Guys we tracked the selling price of Bregman’s 2016 Bowman Chrome 1st Prospect Auto (Base, BGS 9.5) over the offseason which you can see below.
Throughout the fall and early winter it wasn’t too difficult to purchase the card for around $140. As the numbers show us though, once we got into January and February the selling price rose to just under $200, a 43% increase.
So what is there to like about Alex Bregman? Is the former second overall pick ready to be an all-star, or even an MVP-caliber player?
Well, in his first taste of the majors, Bregman put together a 264/313/478 batting line with 8 HRs and a 1.0 WAR in just 49 games. Those numbers would look a lot better if you remove the mini slump he had when he was first called up. Not bad for a 22-year-old.
As good as the numbers are, what’s more important is that Bregman has the talent to do more and the work ethic to make sure his talent won’t get buried by a lack of effort. Often compared to Dustin Pedroia (but bigger) Bregman has a quick swing, a rare combination of aggressiveness at the plate with natural instincts, and the potential for decent power at the majors.
However, investors should be cautious when expecting Bregman’s card value to jump from its current $200 valuation. For Bregman’s card valuation to rise he must improve upon his 2016 numbers. I would say the at a minimum he needs to put together something like a 275/350/480 line with 25 HRs and a 4+ WAR. It isn’t impossible, but beware ,you are expecting more than what most projection sites are expecting.
Buying at the beginning of Spring Training is always tough because player values become inflated over the offseason. But at $200, Bregman is a little cheaper than some of the other options out there. Just be willing to hold on in case we don’t see his breakout happen right away.