The Most Coveted MLB Players in Today’s Baseball Card Market
Which players are the most coveted in today’s baseball card market?
It’s a simple question and one we set out to answer by scouring recent eBay sales and bidding history, the Beckett database and simple Twitter buzz. Not surprisingly, the market is dominated by the game’s young superstars who are already playing at an elite level and have a chance to do so for the next decade-plus. However, there is at least one veteran and one retired player sprinkled into our list as well. When it comes to card collecting as a hobby, everyone should collect what they love, but in terms of value, these are the 10 guys who are at the peak of the market right now.
Ronald Acuna Jr.
Despite not playing in an MLB game since suffering a torn ACL on July 10, 2021, Ronald Acuna Jr. remains one of the biggest names in the world of card collecting.
Still only 24 years old and with rare 40/40 potential, it’s not hard to see why fans are drawn to the Atlanta Braves outfielder, and he was a legitimate NL MVP candidate last season before he went down with a .283/.394/.596 line that included 24 home runs, 17 steals and 3.6 WAR in 82 games.
The super-short-printed “bat down” variation of his 2018 Topps rookie has become one of the iconic rookie cards of this generation, while his 2017 Bowman Chrome Prospects and 2018 Topps Chrome autographs are the top early auto options in his database.
Miguel Cabrera is a no-doubt future Hall of Famer, and his recent run at 3,000 hits has given his card market a shot in the arm, particularly his early cards from his time with the Florida Marlins.
The 39-year-old collected hit No. 3,000 on April 23 against Colorado Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela, becoming just the seventh member of the 3,000-hit, 500-HR club along with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez.
He debuted early enough that he doesn’t have hundreds of rookie card options like today’s players do, and his 2000 Topps Traded and 2000 Topps Chrome Traded cards are the only true rookie cards in his database.
Raw copies of the non-Chrome card have been selling for $150 and up in recent days, while his second Topps card in the 2003 Topps Traded set has also seen an upWander Franco
MLB tick in value. This could be a temporary spike, but looking at the market right now, he belongs on this list.
The No. 1 prospect in baseball prior to making his MLB debut, Wander Franco was a key player on the baseball card market before he ever played his first big league game.
He hit .288/.347/.463 with 30 extra-base hits and 3.5 WAR in 70 games as a rookie last season, and the Tampa Bay Rays rewarded him with an 11-year, $182 million extension during the offseason to lock him up as a core piece of the future.
The 21-year-old is hitting .319/.333/.611 through his first 17 games this year with 12 extra-base hits in his first 75 plate appearances, and all signs point to him developing into a perennial MVP candidate in the years to come.
His 2019 Bowman Chrome Prospects auto and its many variations will always be his most identifiable early card, while his true rookies are the chase cards in early 2022 products, including Series 1 of the 2022 Topps flagship release.