By Tim Edwards
Today's baseball card market is exciting because rookies such as Stephen Strasburg and seasoned veteran such as Derek Jeter are having good seasons that are making collectors take interest in their cards.
Those two--and other players--are overshadowing bad seasons being turned in by players like Zack Greinke and Manny Ramirez.
As a result, today's baseball card market has plenty of great buying opportunities and plenty of upside potential. With these thoughts in mind, here are three players whose cards are worth buying right now.
What more can you say about Strasburg? He's backed up tremendous hype with several great starts that should solidify his star power very soon. The national attention on his pitching and his rookie cards have made his 2010 Bowman base card a very good value for those who don't want to pay thousands of dollars for his 1 of 1 cards.
His cards may well be good long-term values because Strasburg has the tools and the make-up to be a very dominating pitcher for many years to come if he stays healthy. Strasburg is the real deal and while the attention may seem a bit much, he's one of the rare ones who is worth a bit of a risk.
Ichiro's amazingly consistent career and enduring popularity are just the tip of the iceberg. If Ichiro played in Boston or New York, his star power would be through the roof. He's simply one of the finest, most skilled hitters the game has ever seen
Ichiro a lock to be the first Japanese player inducted into the Hall of Fame, but we're not likely to truly realize his greatness until he's done playing. The appetite for Ichiro cards is not confined to North America and that's one solid reason why you should stock up on his rookie cards. And hey, how many other players can go by their first name and get away with it?
Howard is this generation's Frank Thomas. A terrific power hitter who plays in a major market on a successful team. Howard is fan friendly and one of the few players who will make you stop what you're doing and watch. His career is just now taking off but there will be much, much more to come.
On the other hand, there are several players' cards you should avoid buying because either their star power has gone away or their 2010 seasons have gone so badly that their cards should be avoided for now. Here are three players you should stay away from--and maybe dump while there's still a market.
The Braves' rookie outfielder got off to a hot start that lived up to his pre-season hype. But his recent struggles at the plate have caused his stats to drop off to a .251 average with 11 homers and 45 RBIs.
To be fair, Heyward has been hurt. His strained thumb ligament may turn his rookie year into a far less memorable one that first thought after he landed on the disabled list Monday night. He's still very young, but prices are simply too high for a player who shows promise, but does have a few more holes in his game than it first appeared. Sell now--and buy if he gets a clean bill of health in the off-season.
Man-Ram hasn't looked the same since his 50 game suspension for violating MLB's banned substance policy. His paltry 2010 power stats so far (8 homers, 38 RBIs) haven't made thing look better for him. He's public enemy number one in Boston and he's alienated too many fans along the way. He's got Hall of Fame numbers and a lot of baggage. The bet is that interest in his cards will completely evaporate once he calls it a career.
Greinke's messy 2010 won-loss record of 3-8 will cast doubts about his 2009 Cy Young campaign and lower the value of his cards in the short-run. However, this is a pity because his 3.72 ERA and 89 strikeouts should convince collectors of his long-term value. This confusion should force collectors to stay away from his cards until the rest of the 2010 season concludes to see if he can right the ship. Pitchers' careers are a little too volatile to put a lot of stock in anyway...unless your name is Strasburg.