It was the worst of times for the best of players.
Most of the baseball card world’s biggest stars struggled mightily in August, as five of the seven position players on the Pit Baseball 25 recorded their worst monthly OPS (On-base-Plus-Slugging-percentage, a widely followed measure of performance) of the season.
Mike Trout, who had blasted 12 home runs in July, hit just one dinger in August and posted a slash line (Batting Average / On Base Percentage / Slugging Percentage) of .218 / .352 / .337 — easily his poorest month of the year. His teammate Albert Pujols was almost equally anemic, batting .231 and slugging .365 as the Angels went 10-19 and tumbled in the chase for the playoffs.
Elsewhere, the formerly resurgent Alex Rodriguez hit .153 for the month, leading NL MVP candidate Bryce Harper managed just two home runs, and rookie standout Carlos Correa performed at a good-but-not-great .250 / .359 / .477 pace — though his card values continued to climb.
The bright spots in August included Miguel Cabrera, who returned on 8/14 from a calf strain injury and hit .393 in 61 at-bats. This solid performance helped Cabrera’s 2000 Topps Traded Chrome PSA 9 to slip back onto the list at #25, pushing Pujols’ 2001 Bowman Autographs BGS 9.5 off the index. Kris Bryant re-established himself as the leading candidate for NL Rookie of the Year honors with a .330 / .422 / .620 slash line and seven homers, and Clayton Kershaw went 3-0 (as he did also in July) with 51 strikeouts and a 1.40 ERA.
Overall, ThePit Baseball 25 closed the month of August at $5.12 million, down 1.4% from $5.19 million on 8/11. Collectors and speculators hoping to see playoff heroics lift values are focused on A-Rod, Correa, Bryant and Kershaw, as the others were unlikely to see postseason action barring a final-week surge by the Angels. With only Kershaw playing for a likely division winner, the two probable Rookies of the Year and the ancient Yankee must survive the vagaries of the wild-card system to guarantee their teams more than a moment in the October spotlight.
About ThePit Baseball 25
ThePit Baseball 25 ranks the 25 most valuable cards of active baseball players, based on their value in individual grades. Each card’s Total Value is calculated by card price (as represented by ThePit’s guaranteed bid posted online) multiplied by the card’s population in that particular grade (as provided by the current PSA or Beckett population reports, also available online). Cards are then ranked from one to 25 by total market value, and the overall value of the index is determined by adding together the values of all 25 cards.
ThePit Baseball 25 will be regularly updated to reflect current market prices, and a more comprehensive list showing an additional 15 cards is available at the “Breaking News” link at www.thePit.com. Because ThePit wants the index to be accurate and comprehensive, it is offering a $25 site credit to anyone who can identify a missing card which should be on the list (see details online).