In the baseball card world, Bowman is king, especially when it comes to prospects. Bowman Chrome hit the market the first week of September. We got to see who #thehobby values as prospects, and sometimes it differed from our Prospects1500 staff’s rankings. For example, Noelvi Marte was far down on some prospects lists, but he quickly became the cream of the crop for the Bowman Chrome product. The purpose of this article is to give context to how prospects are valued in Bowman Chrome and to illustrate how things have kicked off with Bowman Draft this month. Bowman does a great job spacing out their products to keep us constantly trying to catch up, with Bowman coming out in April, Bowman Chrome September, and Bowman Draft to wrap up the year in December. With the constant turnover, I want to help you know who is in what product and who is pricing well. I will utilize the data provided by the Patreon group at www.BreakerCulture.com to illustrate player values.
Bowman Chrome hit the market with a flurry back in September. I thought it would be a bit slower with the Wander Franco craziness back in the Spring, and nobody in Chrome was the caliber of Wander or Adley Rutschman. Chrome held its own to my surprise. Four prospects landed in the overall top 20 average sales between the three products, which is also with Draft currently being a bit inflated due to the recency factor. It also provided high valued rookie cards (RC) of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr. and Pete Alonso. In terms of top overall teams, the Blue Jays and Mariners held the best value. Mariners had the top coveted prospect, and Blue Jays with Orelvis Martinez and Vlad Jr RC were a nice value as well. For this article, I am going to focus on the top 5 selling prospects in each product.
#1 – Noelvi Marte, SS, SEA
Marte was the top-selling prospect in Bowman Chrome. At nearly $120 per base autograph, he was 9th overall across all 3 products in 2019. The Mariners have been highly touting the two international prospects of Marte and Julio Rodriguez as their much-anticipated future for the team. Marte showed some nice tools in his short time in Rookie ball this year. He was able to hit for avg, show some power, and steal bases with a .309, 9 HR, 17 SB line. It is also of note that he did most of this while he was 17-years-old. He has the frame to progress into a multi-tool hitter, which has the hobby of setting his value at a high level.
#2 – Orelvis Martinez, SS, TOR
Martinez paired with Vlad Jr’s RC card made the Blue Jays a strong team to get in Bowman Chrome breaks. Martinez has a similar allure to what Marte has with his skill set and also being a month younger than Marte. Martinez had a nice initial showing in Rookie ball. Not as strong as Marte in terms of numbers but was good enough to establish himself as one of the top Bowman Chrome prospects. Martinez hit .275 AVG, 7 HR, and 2 SB in 40 games of rookie ball. The one cloudy part about Martinez is his future, with Bichette and Biggio holding down the middle infield it will be likely Martinez will hope to play 3rd, but still has Jordan Groshans in the mix as well. Martinez is one of my favorite prospects in the Bowman Chrome product, I feel he has a good chance to increase in value as he progresses through levels. Martinez is currently selling for an average of $81 per base autograph.
#3 – Alexander Canario, OF, SF
The Giants have had strong options for all 3 Bowman products this year. They had Joey Bart and Luciano in Bowman, they have Canario in Bowman Chrome, and Hunter Bishop in Bowman Draft. Giants seem to have a good future ahead according to what the hobby is telling us. Canario has been with the Giants for 2 years already and is 19 now. He has gained a lot of experience already at his young age, and has flashed speed, avg, and shown some power in spurts. He hasn’t put all 3 together yet but again his age and ability to do all 3 is appealing here. Canario is currently selling for an average of $70 per base autograph.
#4 – Freudis Nova, SS, HOU
The Astros have had a strong farm system that has built them into the strong contender they are. Nova is very similar to our top 2 prospects on this list with a bit less power. He may have more speed however which is still attractive to his development. He hits for a decent average and has an arm in the field. Overall his ceiling seems more limited compared to the others, but is still only 19 and has a good system to move up in. Nova is currently selling on average of $48 per base autograph.
#5 – Deivi Garcia, SP, NYY
Garcia is our first and only pitcher to make the list. The right-handed hurler progressed quickly in 2019 moving up two levels. He moved from A+ to AA to AAA. He posted an impressive 16% K rate in A+ but watch that number neutralize to 10 K/9 in AAA. Overall he struggled in his first AAA stint but has the tools to be a top-end starter. He’s also a Yankee so he will get value hike because of the market as well. Garcia is selling for an average of $36 per base autograph.
Bowman Draft hit the market in December. It seemed to be much more active than Chrome, and rightfully so. The product has 7 of the top 13 valued 2019 bowman product autographs by average sales. This may come down a bit but that is an amazing stat that shows the strength of this product. Adley Rutschman’s SuperFractor (1/1) auto was already pulled and sold for $26,000. Seeing a number like for a baseball card is fascinating, it goes to show how far the hobby has come. Josh Jung of the Rangers and JJ Bleday won’t make my Top 5 list here, but still are very strong hits in the product that shouldn’t be ignored.
#1 – Adley Rutschman, C, BAL
The number 1 overall draft pick in 2019 has established himself as one of the top prospects in all of the 2019 products, trailing only Wander Franco in ranks for highest base autograph average. Rutschman came in currently at $316 per base autograph. We haven’t seen much from him so far, but the ceiling of a switch-hitting potential future MVP is why the hobby has established his value to such a high level. Catchers are overall tough to invest in, you always worry about longevity but Adley may be the exception.
#2 – Andrew Vaughn, 1B, CWS
Vaughn was another top hitter in the draft that the White Sox were happy to add. He is an older prospect as well like Rutschman, but that only means they should progress faster. Vaughn has a very impressive hit tool, the only concern is if he can hit enough to make us not care too much about his speed. He is in a good system in which he can move up quickly and join the young rising White Sox in a good position to produce. Currently, his base autograph is selling for an average of $165.
#3 – CJ Abrams, SS, SD
Abrams was the 6th overall draft pick in the draft and unlike the top 2, is the preferred younger age of 19. Abrams has the multi-tool package you look for. He started Rookie ball with padres on a high note. He batted .400, stole 14 bases and hit a couple of home runs. The power can still develop but either way he has the hit and speed tool to be a top player. He is a good value right now in Bowman Draft with most chasing Vaughn and Rutschman. I think Abrams can have the biggest growth in the value of this group as he progresses through the minors. Abrams is currently selling for $148 average per base autograph.
#4- Riley Greene, OF, DET
Greene is also 19-years-old like Abrams but much bigger. Greene definitely will have the opportunity to establish a power tool that will produce with his big frame at 6’3″, 200 lbs. He struggled in his early time after being drafted 5th overall in a small sample. He is also a strong positional player which may help him reach the big leagues faster. Greene is currently selling for an average of $135 per base auto. Very strong start for him in terms of value.
#5- Hunter Bishop, OF, SF
Yet another Giant on the list, Bishop checks in at number 5. Bishop has an average base auto of $97. Bishop was drafted 10th overall and has plus speed and power. You can see the trend here. Bishop is a bit different at 6’5″, 215 he is a unique size and speed combo. He is an older prospect at 21 but has the upside to look past it. Watch him closely next year in the minors. His price is already rather affordable compared to others. He has a rather high K rate, but I would like to see a bigger sample next year to see what Bishop can due with his tools.
It has been a very strong year with prospects being all over the 3 products for Bowman. You can see how strong Draft is this year with Bishop’s current average auto price would qualify number 2 on the Bowman Chrome list. In terms of depth, Bowman Chrome would be the worst of the three series, but you have the RC cards to fall back on. Draft seems to have the most depth across the board but Bowman has the biggest bang at the top. Now the big question in to be answered in four months…..will Jasson Dominguez be in Bowman 2020? If so, watch out! And if you can’t wait, pick up some Panini Elite Extra Edition or Prizm Draft and you just might get lucky with some Dominguez cards now.