A hot start by a rookie often gets collectors salivating over their baseball cards and Houston Astros freshman Yordan Alvarez is no exception to this trend.
A native of Las Tunas, Cuba, Alvarez was originally signed as an international free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers in June, 2016 and was traded to the Astros within two months of inking a deal. By 2018, he was regarded as one of the game’s brightest prospects and started this season with the Round Rock Express before getting the call to the big leagues.
His impressive start has the hobby buzzing about his early cards and it all began when he earned a hit and knocked in two runs thanks to a home run during his debut with the Astros. In his second outing, he repeated the feat and was dominant during a mid-June series with the Toronto Blue Jays. In the first two outings of a three-game affair, he notched three hits and belted yet another home run in each of those contests.
He was out to proved that the earliest games of his career were hardly a fluke and in a four-game clash with the New York Mets, went yard on three occasions – bringing his season total up to seven out-of-the-park blasts in 12 games. After 17 appearances with the Astros, he had racked up 20 hits, five doubles, 21 runs batted in and was hitting an impressive .313.
Late Debut Means Rookie Cards in 2020
Due to his Major League debut coming on June 9, 2019 as Houston hosted the Baltimore Orioles, Alvarez will not be eligible for an official rookie card until licensed products for the 2020 season start to hit store shelves. If he can continue to produce at a consistent level for the remainder of the regular schedule, there is little doubt that his true rookie cards will be among the hottest for next year’s earliest releases.
However, that does not mean that there is not plenty to collect in the meantime. In fact, he has already been part of a few of the current season’s products and several from 2018. The majority of this year’s Alvarez cards issued to date are found in packs of 2019 Bowman Chrome, but none of them are autographed. For those wanting an early certified autograph of Yordan Alvarez, one of the best bets at this point is to crack open boxes and cases of 2019 Topps Pro Debut. The regular autograph in that set is quite desirable, but there are several numbered parallel versions that are limited to as low as just a single copy. There are also signed versions of the Leaps and Bounds insert (/50 or one-of-one). Most of the Pro Debut autographs can be found on eBay for a relatively small investment.
Panini America also slid a few autographed memorabilia cards of Yordan Alvarez into packs of 2019 Donruss Baseball. In fact, there are four different versions of the Rated Prospects Materials cards where there is both cloth and ink. Each one is limited to 99 copies or less.
Early Topps Issues
The 2018 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autograph for Alvarez is undoubtedly a hot property right now and will be for as long as he can keep up some great numbers. This card has a wide array of colorful Refractor parallels and the granddaddy of them all is the one-of-one Superfractor, which sold for $8,500 in February. There have already been 13 sales of Bowman Chrome Alvarez autographs that reached $5,000 or more, topped by a BGS 10 Orange Refractor numbered to 25 which netted $14,000. Those are on the extreme end, of course, as most unnumbered or higher numbered versions can, at this moment at least, be obtained for under $1,000. As usual prices are determined primarily by grade and serial number, if any.
In addition to Bowman Chrome, Alvarez also had a handful of cards in 2018 Bowman’s Best. Outside of the some of the Early Indications inserts, all of them are autographed. Some are limited to as little as a single copy, but these will prove to be an affordable option when compared to a traditionally more popular brand like Bowman Chrome.
For those that want something which may be a bit more affordable, Yordan Alvarez also appeared in the 2018 Topps Heritage Minors collection. The basic card has Blue (/99), Red (one-of-one) and Black (/50) parallels in addition to Glossy Front, Team Color Change, and Magenta parallels. The Real One autographs are what most collectors are chasing of him from this release and those cards have a few tough variations as well. For those wanting a memorabilia card from his days in the minors, they can look no further than the Clubhouse Collection Relics.
2018 Releases from Panini America
Yordan Alvarez also was able to squeeze into a pair of products that were issued by Panini America in 2018. In 2018 Elite Extra Edition, there is a regular card numbered to 999 and it has a rainbow of Aspirations parallels which come in Red (/150), Orange (/100), Blue (/75), Tie-Dye (/25), and Gold (one-of-one). Even more desirable than that are the Autograph versions of the card. The basic Autograph is not serial-numbered, but its five parallels (Purple, Blue, Emerald, Tie-Dye, and Gold) are.
On top of that, there were signed printing plates. It gets even wilder with a rainbow of Status Die-Cut Autographs and those wanting a piece of memorabilia connected to him have several options to discover among the Dual Silhouettes and Triple Materials cards (and yes, some of them are also autographed). You can see Elite Extra Alvarez cards for sale and auction here.
By contrast, there were fewer Alvarez cards in packs of 2018 Panini Contenders Draft Picks. The basic Prospect Ticket autograph card from this release is in the highest demand among his cards issued by the company. It has some tougher parallel versions like Draft (/99), Cracked Ice (/23), and Playoff (/15), but there are also printing plates and a one-of-one Championship edition.
You can check out a live list of the 25 most watched Yordan Alvarez cards on eBay via the live list below.