Thursday, March 13, 2014

Who to collect in the 2014 MLB season Part 2 - National League

We featured Part 1 with the American League on Tuesday. Today we dive into the Senior Circuit. 2014 should be a good one for those in the NL. Collectors also should have a have time stocking up on youth and superstar talent.

Finishing this 2 Part series is the National League;

Atlanta Braves:
Don't hesitate: Chipper Jones
- Yes he's retired and yes he'll be in the HOF someday soon. So why not pick up some nice graded RC's before they jump in price. Chipper's Autographs aren't cheap but you can grab a couple decent relic cards for your collection while hunting down his RC's.
Watch for the breakout: Andrelton Simmons
- I know there is a theme with Shortstops in our reviews but this is yet another one to grab and hold. He had a really good season last year and will continue to build on this in 2014. With already one Gold Glove on his resume, look for bigger things in the field and at the plate.
Be Cautious: Evan Gattis
- If he had a fixed home on the field he would be one to collect. The Braves don't seem to have a plan for him currently which will be the reason his values won't be higher right now. Best thing for Gattis would be a trade. If that happens buy, buy, buy.

Miami Marlins
Don't hesitate: Jose Fernandez
- Love the way he plays the game. As a pitcher being cocky is a good thing. Gets you in trouble sometimes but more so his pitching will backup his words. He'll be good for years to come. When and where he is traded to will only increase his value.
Watch for the breakout: Adeiny Hechavarria
- Who you might say. He very well could be the modern day Omar Vizquel.  He is great in the field and has been building up his hitting the last year. One of my own PC players even after being traded from Toronto in the Jose Reyes deal. Has a lot of potential, if his bat picks up he'll be a good one for years. Just leave some cards for me ok.
Be Cautious:  Garrett Jones
- Not a well known collected guy unless you lived in Pittsburgh the last few years. Recently signed a two year contract to play for the worst team in the Majors. The park is too big and won't work for Jones throughout the two years. He might have a good month or two but don't jump on his cards anytime soon.

New York Mets
Don't hesitate: Noah Syndergaard
- There are about 3 other players that could be here but Syndergaard might be the best under rated player in the system. This kid has lightening stuff as a pitcher and will be apart of an amazing pitching staff in the near future. They might not be able to hold him back too long and bring him up this year. Watch out once he's on the 40-man roster, he'll be sticking around for a while.
Watch for the breakout: Travis D'Arnaud
- I don't get too excited about catchers but D'Arnaud might just be the one of the best of his era. Another Toronto prospect that came over in a deal, this guy is going to be a solid player and should see some good pitches to hit in the Mets decent lineup.
Be Cautious:  Matt Harvey
- This was a tough one. Harvey is one of the best young arms in the league but when he needed to have surgery this year he made everyone question if this would be a trend. I personally hope not as he can win multiple Cy Young awards if healthy on this team. Lets see after the surgery how he does.

Philadelphia Phillies
Don't hesitate: Cole Hamels
- The best player on this team is one that will be traded at some point to a contender. Once he leaves Philly his value will increase. Currently you can grab some decent cards of Hamels on the cheap.
Watch for the breakout: Domonic Brown
- Too much pressure on Brown when he first came up and his value dropped. He might just be in line to have a really good season and rise his value. He cards are at a lower price now but could start creeping up as he does better. Be on the watch.
Be Cautious:  Rollins, Utley, Howard
- At one time these were the three top players in the league. Now they are on a do not buy list. There older now and should have been traded away a couple of years ago. They aren't going to help the Phillies back to any playoff caliber team and they aren't looking at HOF careers anymore. Even if they have a good season they won't bring the value back afterwards.

Washington Nationals
Don't hesitate: Bryce Harper 
- Just like Trout, you can't avoid this superstar. He's he real deal and continue to get better each year. If he stays off the injury path he'll be around for a long time. If you find an RC, autograph or relic at a decent price buy it and ask if they have anymore.
Watch for the breakout: Tyler Moore
- Not too well known but will be soon. This guy is just waiting his time until he becomes a starter on this team. He can flat out hit and will be a force with Harper for years to come. Might see a struggle once up full time but just watch for him to come alive.
Be Cautious: Anthony Rendon
- With one surgery under his belt he'll try to make a come back this year. Rendon has a lot of potential but again with the injury last year this could set him back for a while. Hopefully he'll still produce as his projections but time will tell.

Chicago Cubs
Don't hesitate: Kris Bryant / Javier Baez 
- The best farm system currently and will be a force once they are up in the majors. They are both two years out from making the club but are already a big presence in the hobby. Both of these guys will be future all-stars and might help the Cubs reach the World Series in about five-seven years. Big things for both of these players.
Watch for the breakout: Mike Olt
- Changing from the Rangers over to the Cubs was a good thing for Olt. He now just needs to become comfortable. If he plays the full season he will be putting balls over that short porch in Wrigley for years to come. Another one of the young guys that will help the Cubs go far.
Be Cautious: Anthony Rizzo
- His cards are so temping to buy with the cheap prices for this talented player. However the amount of pressure he has on him is not going to help him. Don't think he will just turn things around and expect what he's been putting out. If collectors keep expectations low you'll be happier and save some money for other players worth their value.

Cincinnati Reds
Don't hesitate: Joey Votto 
- The best Canadian baseball player since Larry Walker will continue to put up MVP numbers each year. His cards aren't too expensive and can only increase as he'll be reaching some history marks in his career.
Watch for the breakout: Jay Bruce 
- Can he get any better? He sure can, Bruce is raking up some big numbers each year and this might be his best year yet. His values are very affordable and you should buy now before his values increase to superstar highs.
Be Cautious: Billy Hamilton
- The fastest man on the field just might only have that tool to use. He will be exciting to watch and should have a good season playing in front of Votto, Phillips and Bruce but if he can't hit he won't be a factor. His cards are pretty high right now and could see a drop if his average is around the low 200's so be careful.

Milwaukee Brewers
Don't hesitate: Jean Segura 
- Proved last year what a good player he was, this will continue. Segura is a good find and keeper for the Brewers. His prices are really good value currently and might not see much movement but well worth the investment.
Watch for the breakout: Ryan Braun
- PED's or not Braun will come out this year to prove he can be the same if not better than what he was when using them. If he does watch out National League, maybe even win his first fair NL MVP award.
Be Cautious: Prospects
- There isn't anyone in their system currently worth talking about. That's not to say someone comes up this year and makes a splash but it's unlikely. Hold off buying any of their prospects until they are proven, remember it is Milwaukee.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Don't hesitate: Andrew McCutchen 
- With his first MVP award last year watch for more from McCutchen. He will have a few new players coming up in the next coupe of years that will improve the club and continue the winning. If he continues what he did last year he'll be headed to super stardom until he hits the Hall.
Watch for the breakout: Gregory Polanco
- Just one of the best prospects coming up. He'll be in the outfield before the end of the year hopefully. If he does watch for him to help this team make the playoffs again and bring the future to Pittsburgh a little sooner that thought.
Be Cautious:  Jose Tabata
- When Polanco comes up Tabata will be the one to leave. High hopes for him as a rookie and even the turn around last year but he won't last long. His cards are cheap and collectors have just been waiting for him to do something like Rizzo in Chicago. Stay away from him and invest in Polanco instead.

St. Louis Cardinals
Don't hesitate: Oscar Taveras
- He is that good, buy while you can. Taveras will be one of the best players in the game in the not too distant future. He has all the skills and just needs to join the MLB club to show it off. When that happens is maybe the middle or end of this year, but when it happens watch out.
Watch for the breakout: Shelby Miller
- This kid will be the next Carpenter for the Cards. It's only a matter of time until he wins the Cy Young and is a dominant pitcher in the league. His cards are at decent prices for autographs so buy now and watch your values increase.
Be Cautious:  Jon Jay
- He might be the odd man out when Taveras joins the club so don't invest too much into him. His cards are cheap as well which is temping but try and hold out and put into Taveras.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Don't hesitate: Paul Goldschmidt 
- You thought he was good last year? Watch what happens with Trumbo in the lineup with him this year. The sky's the limit for him and he's a young player that will be around for a while. His prices are cheap compared to his peers on bigger market teams so buy now, if he ever is traded or becomes a FA his value will rise.
Watch for the breakout: Didi Gregorious
- Gregorious came p a little sooner than thought in Arizona last year. He's a really good fielder and could be a good average guy down the road. Talks of him being trade bait could increase his value if he goes to the Yankees to replace Jeter in 2015. His cards are really cheap now and you should stock up while you can.
Be Cautious: Gerardo Parra
- Had a really good season last year if your in a fantasy league, but this is collecting. His cards are really cheap and the reason is he's a base card player at best. Don't invest in something that won't increase your future value. If traded to a contender or big market team lets have a different discussion then.

Colorado Rockies
Don't hesitate: Carlos Gonzalez
- The most under-rated player in the game. His cards are very affordable and you should be stocking up sooner than later. He'll be increasing his value over time and if he is ever traded out of Colorado the values will sky-rocket.
Watch for the breakout: Troy Tulowitzki
- With injuries hopefully behind him watch for Tulo to have an MVP season. The best Shortstop in the game, has very reasonable prices like Cargo since playing in Colorado. Continuing to put up the numbers he does and staying off the IR will only bring good value to your collection.
Be Cautious: All Pitchers
- Coors Field is the worst park for pitchers. No matter how good they are don't buy into them. Colorado hitters are where your money should be going. With Tulo and Cargo at under valued prices invest in them.

Los Angeles  Dodgers
Don't hesitate: Yasiel Puig 
- Even if you don't like him, buy him up. He will be with the likes of Harper and Trout for years to come. He's on the right team and will only continue to get better as he learns more about the game. Remember he is young and has not even hit his prime yet, that's scary.
Watch for the breakout: Matt Kemp
- We haven't seen him play in a long time and this will be his time. He might not play at the start of the season but he's got to have that MVP season in him somewhere. Values for his cards are really low with the injuries so buy now instead of after the season with a possible MVP Award.
Be Cautious: Dee Gordon
- He could make the team and impress enough people to stay at Second Base, but with Guerrero in this could be it for Gordon. That's not to say he could end up on another team and become the player he should be. Be careful if he makes the team and does well. Don't buy high on him if he has a good season just yet.

San Diego Padres
Don't hesitate: Rymer Liriano 
- The best prospect in the Padres system is a couple of years away. He could have really good potential on cardboard if not with the Padres. Watch and see if he is traded down the road and ensure you don't miss the boat.
Watch for the breakout: Josh Johnson
- Going to the very pitcher friendly ballpark, Johnson should have an amazing year. He didn't live up to his potential with the Jays last year and this could be his redemption year. He's been a fan favorite among collectors and could see some increase in value when he does well this year. Being 30 he has a few years left that could help his value stay consistent, if he stays with the Padres it would be the best for him as a player and those collecting his cards..
Be Cautious: Chase Headley
- Ever since that amazing year, Headley has had injuries and more injuries. His value won't increase even if traded like he's been rumored for the last two years. Stay far away from buying on him.

San Francisco Giants
Don't hesitate: Buster Posey
- One of the best in the game. Pick up anything you can of him and hold on. After his injury everyone thought he was done, but he has come back and been an amazing player to watch and collect. Playing some First Base will only help his career last longer. You can find some of his cards in decent price ranges being that he's on the west coast playing for the Giants.
Watch for the breakout: Tim Lincecum 
- He won't hit his high values when he won his CY Young awards but watch for this season to become one to bounce back with. Being the fourth Starter will only help him pitch better. He could be the biggest breakout in the majors this year and if o his values will start to rise so buy now and watch.
Be Cautious: Michael Morse
- His cards are not expensive but I find him to be an over-rated player with collectors. Being on a one year deal could give him more reason to have a great season but don't buy in as he'll be on yet another team in 2015.

Thanks for reading our 2 Part Series on Who to collect in the 2014 MLB season. Enjoy watching your favorite teams and players this year. Hopefully you can score some good investments this year in cardboard.

Thank you for your support towards The Pack Gambler
Make sure to visit our storefront at, or our COMC account ThePackGambler 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Who to collect in the 2014 MLB season Part 1 - American League

The 2014 MLB season is fast approaching. If your a collector of baseball cards and memorabilia you know that you need to be on top of your game to snag those prospects and superstars at the start of their great season ahead.
Being a baseball collector myself for the last 20+ years, I've put together a listing of players to collect in 2014. Some are looking to have bounce back seasons while others are looking to breakout or expand their resume in the baseball world.

Let's start Part 1 with covering the American League;

Baltimore Orioles:
Don't hesitate: Manny Machado
- Even with his season ending injury last year, Machado is one of the brightest young stars in the game. He will only continue to get better and become possibly (dare I say it) next Jeter. He's on the perfect team and his cards will continue to rise, if you see a deal snag it up.
Watch for the breakout: Matt Weiters
- He's been on everyone's radar since he was a prospect. He really hasn't had the chance to work with a great lineup from 1-9 before and this year will give him his best opportunity to increase his value. His game calling continues to improve and his 2014 season should show his true hitting potential.
Be Cautious:  J.J. Hardy
- Hardy's on the last year of his deal and is looking to be the top SS in FA for the 2015 season. He'll have a great year and his value will rise, but the following season his cards will drop down to what they are currently. Buy low and sell high late in the year and you'll be fine. Don't hold too long.

Boston Red Sox
Don't hesitate: Xander Bogaerts 
- I love Shortstop prospects and this guy is a good one. He'll be around for a while in the sport and should be a cornerstone to Boston's next championship. Prices are high right now and will be throughout the year. If you see them starting to rise get on the train fast.
Watch for the breakout: Will Middlebrooks
- He's been in the collectible world for a while but has had sub-par results giving him lower prices in his cards. This year given a full year he will prove himself worthy of high stock. Even if he doesn't stay with the Sox, his a valuable young player for the future.
Be Cautious:  Jackie Bradley Jr.
- There's a lot of pressure on him being the next Ellsbury and he isn't the same player. Sure he has the speed and defensive play but he won't hit a lot of homers or be a big RBI guy. Don't be fooled about his prices, remember what happened to Carl Crawford?

New York Yankees
Don't hesitate: Derek Jeter 
- He'll be missed on the field and in regular cardboard releases. Of course Topps will have multiple of ways to include him in most products, but his stats will end after 2014. 1st Ballot HOF player and the top icon in collecting for the last decade of collecting. His Rookie Cards will be the ones to hit hard at. High Graded are even better for your future collection.
Watch for the breakout: Brian McCann
- This will become his team to captain after 2014. This year he will just go out and rake in Yankee Stadium. McCann will have an MVP type season and will for the next few years in this park. He's pretty cheap right now so stock up before the middle of this season.
Be Cautious:  Yankee Prospects
- Who's the next Jeter, Cano, or Rivera? Exactly, the Yanks don't have the greatest system right now and they will continue to feed their team with FA's for the next while. if any prospect comes up this year be cautious on jumping on his cards right away. Not to say they won't do well, but might be a while for the next Yankee grown within to appear.

Tampa Bay Rays
Don't hesitate: Wil Myers 
- Do you have any of his RC's? If not get them, all! He will be one to watch. The barehanded batter will continue to grow and thrive in Tampa until they can't pay him the contract he deserves. When he leaves Tampa he'll become an even bigger star in collecting.
Watch for the breakout: Chris Archer
- Pitchers are hard to judge but when it comes to Tampa pitching prospects you know they will be good ones. Archer is one of those that will follow into the David Price mold. He might not win a CY Young award but he will become a front line starter on any team.
Be Cautious:  Tim Backham
- This is one Shortstop prospects I liked until he had problems off the field. This will continue to hurt him in the long run as well in the Majors. The kid has great talent and should be on a "Don't hesitate" list but unfortunately he has a history that can't be avoided.

Toronto Blue Jays
Don't hesitate: Marcus Stroman 
- This former Team USA star will become the next Chapman in the MLB. He's a small hard throwing pitcher that will be closing games for the Jays by the end of the 2014 season. He has potential to become a starter but might find a safe spot in the bullpen as the everyday elite closer. His cards are starting to creep up so watch when they spike up soon. Hopefully you'll have a few before then.
Watch for the breakout: Brett Lawrie
- A lot of people don't like him but he has great potential. He'll bounce back from the horrible 2013 campaign and become the solid hard playing third baseman that he is. His cards are affordable on Autographs and relic pieces, for now  
Be Cautious:  Kevin Pillar
- He has a lot of great tools but he's on the wrong team. Unless Bautista is traded or an injury happens he won't see playing time. If he ad enough at bats he will show you power and decent hitting that can develop further. He could be involved in a trade down the road which at that point could change him into one to watch for.

Chicago White Sox
Don't hesitate: Jose Abreu 
- The hottest Cuban player in MLB. Power, Power and more Power. His potential is the same as Cespedes and will continue to grow. He'll have a great year in Chicago and will become the AL ROY. His cards are already high and will continue to rise once his first Topps cards hit the market.
Watch for the breakout: Avisail Garcia
- He'll finally have all the playing time in the world to become hi touted "Next Miggy" title. With this lineup he'll shine and provide the building block for Chicago's future. His Autograph RC's are pretty cheap so pick some up.  
Be Cautious:  Tyler Flowers
- Flowers will do well this year and might even have a breakout season. However he won't continue to thrive in this role. He's a good catcher and should be a decent hitter for the next few years but he won't be the star on this team. You'll see a spike this year but don't go crazy.

Cleveland Indians
Don't hesitate: Francisco Lindor 
- The top prospect in their system will be a good one. His cards are high but they are worth it. He'll be the future of this franchise and will be a contentious All-Star participate.
Watch for the breakout: Micheal Brantley 
- He's under the breakout title only because he continues to increase his value. Playing in Cleveland the rest of the league might not have a chance to see him play. He's a top defender and can rake. His cards are pretty cheap all around so now will be the time to check in rather than paying more once he is a well known name.  
Be Cautious:  Lonnie Chisenhall
- He might be on your fantasy team but don't put much value in cardboard on him. he had high potential when he first arrived but now he would be better off in a trade to another team. Don't think you'll see him hit higher than base card value, he's more of a home team collector player.

Detroit Tigers
Don't hesitate: Nick Castellanos 
- Just like Wil Myers this guy can hit. Having a full time spot on the team will increase his value 100%. He doesn't see the same prices as Myers autographs or RC's so now is the time to grab him. Will be the cornerstone for the Tigers with Miggy.
Watch for the breakout: Jose Iglesias
- Jose never had a chance in Boston to show his potential. This guy has great defensive skills and will continue to improve his hitting in this lineup. His cards a very low and his split playing time last year, but this year he'll show the collecting world he will be a star in this league.  
Be Cautious:  Ian Kinsler
- Always have like Kinsler, a cheaper cardboard infielder that is a really good player. Moving to the Tigers should bring good things to his game but going from the extreme heat to a colder city could impact his play either way which is a toss up for his numbers. His RC's and autographs are pretty cheap to begin with so that should hurt too badly, just don't go nuts with high expectations.

Kansas City Royals
Don't hesitate: Salvador Perez 
- Why his cards aren't higher is beyond me. This guy is the real deal and will be the best catcher in the game for years to come. Playing in KC has it's bonuses of not being in the spotlight and working on your game but also has a draw back of not being well known. He is the future of the Royals and you should have his cards in your collection.
Watch for the breakout: Mike Moustakas
- He's never had his moment yet. A great prospect coming up had his troubles playing but has great potential. This could be the year he makes a name for him self in the collecting world. He's part of this great young team, it's just a matter of getting his cardboard to rise.  
Be Cautious:  James Shields
- The whole contract talk before Spring Training is a sign he might not be back. Shields is a good pitcher and if on the right team could see his card prices influx but as he gets older it might not be the long run some thought. Might be the time to sell and fast.

Minnesota Twins
Don't hesitate: Miguel Sano
-  Just a matter of time until he's called up. He'll be one of those young and talented infielders that the American League will have. A core piece of the Twins future. Look for his 2010 cards to sky rocket once he's up full time.
Watch for the breakout: Joe Mauer
- not that he needs to breakout but moving from Catcher to First base will do wonders for Mauer. His hitting is already one of the best in the league but we should see a spike with the move. His cards are pretty decent to pickup a RC or autograph. He should be considered as HOF member once he retires so get on the Mauer buying spree before prices increase.  
Be Cautious:  Starting Outfielders
- If he didn't have the surgery this year Byron Buxton would be with Sano on this list. He's a couple of years away but has tremendous potential. The Starting outfielders for the Twins are just filling in until he's up. Don't become attached to any of them this year or next. They might do a decent job but Buxton is coming.

Houston Astros
Don't hesitate: Mark Appel 
- Will be the number one starter for this team once he's up. He has the right agent also when the Astros won't be able to sign him later in his career. They are taking their time bringing him up but he will come with a couple other pitchers that will make him better than what people are thinking.
Watch for the breakout: George Springer
- Full time in 2014? We'll see, but if he is he'll make this a pretty fun team to watch. Already full of youth this guy looks like he's been in the majors for years. Lots of upside with him and he could be a standout in the league.
Be Cautious:  Young Prospects making a splash
- Houston is a young team that could surprise a few people this year. Along with Appel and Springer, Carlos Correa should be on this list. However there is a ton of talent coming up from the farm and just need to watch on those other young players. More so the hitters on the team will be figured out by veteran pitchers in the league and could make for a long summer. They are three to four years out from competing yearly in the AL West so have patience with them, don't jump on any collecting wagons just yet.

Anaheim Angles
Don't hesitate: Mike Trout
- There just isn't anyone on the team like him or could come close. Most of us missed the boat on him when he arrived, but that's not to say you can't get in on some deals at card shows or expos. If you do see a decent autograph or relic card pick it up.
Watch for the breakout: Albert Pujols
- The former top player in the majors can't continue down this path can he? I don't think so, he might not get back to the MVP seasons but he has a chance to have a few great seasons with Trout in the lineup. His RC's have dropped a little and would be a good investment for your collection.
Be Cautious:  Josh Hamilton
- Same as Pujols he should be back to form this year but we can't count on it. Since the trade he's been injury prone and not done very well. If he stays healthy he could become the former MVP he was but again be cautious, one bad cold or injury and he'll be out for a period of time or for the year.

Oakland Athletics
Don't hesitate: Yoenis Cespedes 
- If not for Trout this would be the guy everyone would be collecting. His cards are decent prices and you can find a nice relic or autograph for your collection. He will continue to do well and already has proven he can hit in the big Oakland stadium. If ever traded watch out!
Watch for the breakout: Jarrod Parker
- This is his best chance at a break out. He has a lot of potential and can provide that number one starter for the A's. His cards are super cheap and if he does live up to the billing they will rise.
Be Cautious:  Jim Johnson
- He should do well in that huge park however a move like this can work both ways. He's not on anyone's collecting radar really as a closer but those that do jump on his cardboard don't go overboard.

Seattle Mariners
Don't hesitate: Brad Miller 
- Not well known and has very affordable cards, this guy is going to be a good one. Miller has been under the radar for being with the Mariners but can really breakout with Cano coming on board. Grab his cards now, he might be a few years out from being an All-Star but will be worth your money.
Watch for the breakout: Kyle Seager
- like Miller this is another of the young talent that the Mariners have. Seager is a really good player and should be about to reach his breakout soon. His cards are similar to Miller so try and stock up.
Be Cautious: Buying all the young prospects
- Like Houston the Mariners are full of young talent. The talent they have is very MLB ready and will be the core group for years to come. The reason to be cautious is that you could spend an awful lot of money buying up all these players cardboard. They have very high potential at every position and should be a treat for collectors buying into the Mariners. Just watch the wallet and pick one or two players to collect, you won't be able to afford them all.

Texas Rangers
Don't hesitate: Jurickson Profar
- Again I'm high on middle infielders and Profar will be an exciting player to watch. He will get his shot at the full-time gig with Kinsler leaving and will live up to his billing. His cards are high already but you might be able to find a steal somewhere, if you do hand over your money.
Watch for the breakout: Elvis Andrus
- Andrus has been on my radar since he was with Atlanta, He's been up there in the past but this could be his all out year. He's cards are affordable and some of his relics are nice pieces to own. He will be one to hold onto for years to come.
Be Cautious: Prince Fielder
- Prince should do very well in Texas with the stadium. He's on the cautious listing as his cards tend to fluctuate the most in the hobby. When he's killing the ball his cards are the highest, then maybe an 0-4 and they come down to life. try and buy a nice on-card autograph of his and you'll be happy, but don't buy into a lot of cards to flip or trade. Catch him on his lows and then wait for the highs if you go that route.

Part 2 featuring the National League Teams will be out later this week.

Thank you for your support towards The Pack Gambler
Make sure to visit our storefront at, or our COMC account ThePackGambler