Most won’t sign a contract for at least a day or two but baseball cards of the 2014 MLB draft picks—some of them at least—are already in the marketplace.
It may seem odd to talk about baseball cards of high school and college kids, but if and when some prove themselves at the big league level, that early investment can pay off. Those who aren’t in it to make a buck just enjoy the process of watching a prospect develop.
The number one overall pick Thursday night was San Diego Cathedral Catholic High School pitcher Brady Aiken, taken by the hapless Houston Astros. Aiken appears in several different cards issued by Bowman, Leaf and Panini. His autographed cards have been selling for $50-150 in recent weeks.
Tyler Kolek is a hard-throwing pitcher from Texas who has been on the radar of big league scouts for quite a while. Kolek was taken second by the Miami Marlins and has cards in the 2013 Bowman AFLAC subset and in Leaf’s 2013 Perfect Game series.
Chicago’s big league teams had the third and fourth picks. The White Sox chose Carlos Rodon, the North Carolina State pitcher who most considered the top collegiate hurler in this year’s draft. Rodon played for Team USA and has numerous regular issue, relic and autograph cards in 2012 and 2013 issues.
The Cubs grabbed the first position player by tabbing Indiana University catcher Kyle Schwarber with pick number five. Schwarber is regarded as an excellent hitter. You can find a few cards of Schwarber in the Panini USA Baseball and Pastime issues.
Fifth overall pick Nick Gordon has big league genes. His dad is Tom ‘Flash’ Gordon and his brother is Dodgers speedster Dee Gordon. Nick is a Florida high school shortstop who appeared in the 2013 Bowman All-American subset.
Taken sixth was Alex Jackson, a high school catcher from California who the Seattle Mariners are hoping develops into the long term answer behind the plate despite his very youthful appearance. Johnson’s first cards are in the 2013 Leaf and Bowman All-American sets.
The Philadelphia Phillies have a soft spot for good pitchers and their choice could be major league ready soon. Aaron Nola, a righty from LSU, was the pick at number seven.
The University of Evansville’s ace, Kyle Freeland, was barely touched by opposing hitters this season. The Colorado native will get his chance with the home state team as the Rockies’ first round pick. Freeland was taken eighth overall.
Ninth was Jeff Hoffman, a pitcher for East Carolina who would likely have gone much higher, but lost most of the season to Tommy John surgery.
Rounding out the top ten was the two-time PAC 12 Player of the Year, Michael Conforto of Oregon State, who was taken by the New York Mets. Dozens of Conforti’s Panini USA Baseball cards, including jersey cards and autos can be found on eBay.