I have been mulling over collecting a Baseball Prospect in the Minor Leagues and tracking their journey (ideally) to the Big Show! Early in my search I found some astronomical prices for Bowman Prospect cards that made my head spin! After reviewing a bunch of recently drafted prospects I came across a player that I decided to begin collecting (more on that player in a future article!) but even better I met a very friendly prospect enthusiast, Tom Bucci Jr, who was kind enough to help me get my collection started as well as parse out some advice I would like to share.
1. When did you first start collecting baseball cards?
I first started collecting when I was about 13 or 14. The first set my dad ever bought me was a Hoops set with the David Robinson rookie card. I still own it too.
2. What got you into collecting “Prospects”?
Collecting prospects is all I have ever really done. I never got into the inserts and parallels that came out. I always like having the first card of a player. I think because when I was younger and would read a Beckett I would see that the RC was normally worth the most and I thought it would always be the best one to own.
3. Who are your favorites or players you collect today?
My favorite players to collect are Chase Utley and Stephen Curry
I have a couple real nice Utley’s I have his 2002 Bowman Auto BGS 9.5/10. It’s the only one graded a BGS 9.5 and a Stephen Curry National Treasures AUTO/Patch PSA 10. Its the only PSA 10 as well.
4. Holy Grail Pieces you would like to own?
A Jordan RC Fleer PSA 10 or BGS Pristine…Maybe even a Durant Exquisite BGS 9.5 or PSA 10
5. Why do you think prices are so high for prospects that may never make it professionally? What is the Appeal to you?
I think prices are so high because everyone hopes to hit the lottery with one of them. We all think we know who the next Mike Trout is going to be or the next player that we can get in on really cheap and make it big when he goes off. I think that is the appeal for a lot of people. I just like being able to root for someone and know that you might be able to make a few bucks on them as well. I mean we have all owned a Jerome Walton
1989 Upper Deck and either made some cash on it or never sold it because we thought he was going to bring us more then we thought. Therefore, those are still sitting in our closets somewhere..LOL!!
6. What are the thoughts around paying for grading on modern cards? Worth the investment?
I really like graded cards. I like knowing the condition of it and the protection of a nice holder so you can display it. I do think it is worth the investment. I also think it’s a little shady sometimes when it comes to grading companies and receiving grades that aren’t deserved but if I spend enough money with you I will get a pass on something so I can make some cash.
7. Any tips to new collectors of prospects about identifying players to collect? I assume a lot of research is done before hand?
I really don’t have any tips..LOL!!! Pray that they don’t get hurt…HAHA!! I do not like collecting pitchers personally because I got burned during the Mark Prior era. I made some money, but not what I spent on him. I think pitchers are too expensive for the overall profit that you make on them. I really don’t do much research. I have liked guys and got lucky by them doing well. Yet at the same time, I have lost money on guys that I thought would do something and they never did a thing.
8. How do you feel about all the Rainbow parallels many Prospectors seem to chase?
I like the rainbow parallels, but they are just insane to own if you want a top prospect or even a middle of the road guy. Their reds, oranges, superfractors and now purples even are just way too expensive way too quickly. Bowman Chrome rules the market for rookies though. I mean platinum and other products are nice, but it doesn’t mean anything until the player has a chrome. Jose Abreu’s comes out soon and it will be an absolute joke at what his prices will be, especially given the fact that he is playing so well. Again people are thinking he is the next trout or might be and we never really know.
Big shout out & Thanks to Tom Bucci Jr….this is what I love about our hobby…start out seeking a collectible and come back with a friend of shared interest. That my friends is prospecting you can’t put a price on!
Let me know if you have an interesting prospect story or perspective you would like to share. Until next time…..May your next PC prospect blow-up like Mike Trout!