Before taking a single at bat, Jasson Dominguez is dominating the baseball card world.

2020 Bowman Baseball is nowhere to be found in the retail universe. Year over year, Bowman baseball cards are one of the only products in late-stage capitalism that corporations cannot keep in stock.

Stephen Strasburg is to blame for some of this. Back in 2010, I was stopping at Wal-Marts off the highway, tiny town Targets and roadside Casey’s in search of 2010 Bowman blaster boxes. They cost 19.99 in stores and sold for about $40 online. Inside a blaster box were eight packs, two chrome prospect cards per pack. (Today, Topps has shrunk the pack count to six but kept the pricing.) Some of the craze was that a Strasburg base 1st Chrome rookie went for about $50 on eBay. Some of the craze was due to the high-end market. An attorney bought the Strasburg 1/1 Superfractor–not autographed–from 2010 bowman for $10,000 and sold it a short while later for $26,000.

Ten years later, Bowman is the biggest thing in baseball, and Jasson Dominguez is growing the game yet again.

Here’s a table I put together built from the elite group of my top 200 prospects for 2020 fantasy baseball for easy viewing and comparing.

Rank Player 1st Chrome Auto March – June 2020 High $ past 60 days
1 Wander Franco $509 to $1,320 $56,000 5/5 BGS 9.5
2 Luis Robert $670 to $900 $16,100 /25 PSA 10
3 Jo Adell $600 to $1,033 $9,450 /5 BGS 9.5
4 Gavin Lux $109 to $259 $5,900 /25 PSA 10
5 CJ Abrams $73 to $207 $8,427 1/1 PSA 10
6 Julio Rodriguez $285 to $454 $8,220 /25 BGS 9.5
7 Marco Luciano $130 to $279 $5,450 /25
8 Jasson Dominguez $805 to $2,225 $16,100 /99
9 MacKenzie Gore $66 to $108 $580 /75 BGS 9.5
10 Vidal Brujan $54 to $153 $400 /50

It might not jump out right away, but Jasson Dominguez is baseball’s most expensive prospect autograph. Some of this is surely shiny new toy syndrome, but having tracked this stuff closely for a long time, I think he’ll settle in around $1,300-$1,600 when the smoke clears, which would make him about twice as pricey as the next highest minor leaguer.

When discussing this piece with Donkey Teeth, we were thinking it would be good to record an average of the last ten sold listings, but after spending the past few days back in it, I think the market is in such flux at the moment that price ranges tell a more accurate tale than averages, especially when some players only had a few ungraded* autographs sold in the time frame.  

*Note: I’m pulling only ungraded base chrome autographs for the “1st Chrome Auto” column. Grading changes prices, with a BGS 9.5 giving a healthy bump and a BGS 9 a very slight drag. BGS 10’s are rare and pricey. A PSA 10 prices out pretty close to a BGS 9.5.

I wanted to line up the gold refractor pricing for everyone, but those cards just don’t move frequently enough to keep up with eBay’s 60-day data scrub, and they’re almost always graded if the product has been the market a while. I might start grabbing fixed points from gold 9.5 sales for future use. 

If we concentrate the Wander Franco sales to March and April, we’re well under $1,000, but after the release of 2020 Bowman and subsequent Dominguez-mania, Wander prices have gotten a little more volatile. If you’re interested, I think you can still get one at auction for around $550. I’m a little stunned he’s the easiest to buy of the top three. That high-water mark of $1,320 was a card well sold for its asking price–not something bid up at auction, where he’s frequently in that $550 range, while both Adell and Robert tend to sell closer to $650.

I have to fight the urge to drop Gavin Lux in my rankings every time I open them. I’m flat out worried about his topside. Then I remind myself he’s a Dodger and was amazing in 2019. Then I remind myself he’s a Dodger, and they don’t steal many bases in that smart-org way that’s so in fashion these days. I dunno. I’m thinking we’ll do an update once/if anything’s decided about 2020, and Lux might not be long for his spot. 

Fun facts: I was shopping for Lux cards back when I added him in dynasty as he was taking flight in 2018. I meant to buy several but got just the one. Was about $25 then. Did I say fun? I don’t think that’s what I was thinking about these facts.

His red refractor, a BGS 9.5, sold on March 8, but we can’t see the final sale price because it’s a best-offer situation. The ask was $25,000. Doubt the final number was close to that. Maybe around $9,000.

Regarding the Dominguez high-end price, two cards have been sold for more, but they were both best offers. The highest ask was $29,999.99, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it landed somewhat close to that. Maybe around 25.

This range on his 1st chrome autographs is deceptive. That $800 was a Buy it Now. Not a great listing. An auction ended at $1,835 with 27 bids on May 29. 

I’ve seen a lot of things in my decade-plus zoomed in on the card industry, but I’ve never seen anything like the Dominguez effect.

The wildest part on my end is that he’s already carried other products for other companies. He’s in Leaf Metal Draft. He’s in Panini Prizm. And those cards sell for hundreds of dollars–something that almost never happens for these unlicensed (no team photos or info) products. A base Leaf Flash Metal Autograph sold on June 2 for $185 after 35 bids. His Leaf cards, which are historically poor at holding value, sell for more than a Gavin Lux 1st Bowman Chrome autograph, the gold standard in sports card collecting. 

Pitchers don’t sell as well,  but it does seem like people are holding their Gores for now. Makes sense. But the window can be brief. If he gets knocked around his first big league month, the dollars drop even quicker than perceived fantasy value. And he’s got two different first chromes, which is at best disappointing and at worst illegal. 

Vidal Brujan’s 1st Bowman Chrome Autograph Superfractor has hit the market. The 1/1 holy grail of every player’s baseball card career is listed for $10,000. Get your offers in while you can!

Before I bounce, another table:

Ronald Acuna Jr. $1,125 to $1,537 $30,050 /150 BGS 10
Mike Trout N/A $5,858 BGS 9 $125,300 /50 PSA 10
Fernando Tatis Jr. $400 to $703 $17,197 /25 PSA 10
Jasson Dominguez $805 to $2,225 $16,100 /99

You can get about three Tatis Juniors for one Dominguez.

Two Wanders for a Dominguez.

Or you could just buy an Acuna.

I probably shouldn’t have put Trout in here. He kind of breaks the scale and didn’t have any ungraded 1st Chrome Autos sold in the past 60 days. Also he hurts my heart. I sent some Trouts to a consignment seller slash conman who just flat out kept them. Be very, very careful selling on consignment. I also sold my last of several 1st Chromes I’d purchased at about $400 way back in the day, a $6,000 mistake. I’d bought in at $75 and figured hey, might as well get about 5x on my investment. Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot in a decade and have stepped out of the inner circle for the past few years after a distributor (All Sports Marketing) thoroughly screwed me and functionally ended my time in the wholesale game by cancelling my 2014 Bowman order for nine jumbo cases, a product Kris Bryant carried to secondary market glory.

Fun memory lane trip there. Con artists are all over the card game because there’s a lot of money to be had, so be careful with yours.

One takeaway for dynasty baseball: I’d hold a Dominguez close if I had him. This hype train might be the biggest of all time, and without any actual games to serve as a potential brake pad, it’s running on rocket fuel until deep into 2021 no matter how his debut pans out. If he performs well against low minors pitching, his dynasty value could mirror his eBay prices.

 
  1. Phil B. says:
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    This was a fun read, it takes me back to my collecting days in 90s and early 00s.

    Dominguez is vastly overrated for baseball cards. It would be better to get all the J2 guys who signed for less than $100k cards, as a couple might hit, and i assume they are much cheaper.

    If you could have any one baseball card, though could never resell it, which one do you pick?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Phil!.

      That’s an interesting question. Could I pass the card along to my daughter for her to sell someday?

      If so I’ll take the Honus Wagner.

      And Trout Superfractor Auto from 2009 Bowman : )

      If not, like if it never has any monetary value, I’m kinda stumped.

      Maybe the Jerome Walton from 89 upper deck just for memory’s sake.

      Maybe a Clemente rookie. Or a Mantle rookie.

      How would you choose?

      Oh and I agree about diversification, but Bowman has gotten very good at waiting until a player will sell. If they’re just filling out a checklist they tend to pick non-prospects, but it’s rare to have international signings in the product before they pop. Gotta buy those up when you can, like Tatis who could’ve been had for ten bucks for quite some time

    • Bamabterry says:
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      Psa 10 1956 mantle would no doubt be my choice for card to keep forever.

  2. Bamabterry says:
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    Just sold my Robert Puason auto I pulled out of a hobby pack for $635.
    The card game is nuts right now

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Dang! That’s loud! Nice pull! Just the base auto went that high!?

      I’ve seen em go around $300 but hadn’t really dug in there.

      Nuts it certainly is. Some of this has to be elevated box pricing bringing helium to everything, but that doesn’t mean they’re coming down anytime soon.

      • Bterry says:
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        It was an atomic refractor auto #/100. May be my best pull from a pack ever.

    • Worm Burner says:
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      Wow, if that works, it will be an awesome tool. Thanks!

      • Bamabterry says:
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        It does. Check it out. I was just put on to it by a friend who flips cards

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Bamabterry!

      This is excellent!!!!

      I tried it on a John Diaz red that best offered at 4,999.99 last night.

      Went for 2899 according to flippertools

      This. Changes. Everything.

      Any other crazy developments I may have missed?

      You wouldn’t happen to know of any non-subscription services that go back further than 60 days for sold items?

      Thanks again!!!

      • Bterry says:
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        Anytime Itch!!! I do not know of any non subscription services that go back that far unfortunately.

  3. Worm Burner says:
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    Hey Itch!

    Thanks for the card article, its a fun read. Prices seem crazy high for the new release, is there anyone you’re really targeting at a reasonable price? I’ve bought a couple Brujans and kind of intrigued by skubal, but I know to strongly fade pitchers.

    He’s a home team guy, is it ever worth it to take a chance on someone like Jeremy Pena or others who are a little further down the prospect list ?

    I appreciate it!

    • Bamabterry says:
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      Bobby whitt jr feels underpriced to me. Those bowman hobby boxes are fun.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Worm Burner!

      Looks like Pena is about $15-25, and I think he’s worth a twirl or two at that.

      Correa is a free agent after 2021, and while they might slide Bregman over and sign a 3B, I think a spot is earmarked for Pena if he keeps hitting, and I think he will.

      As a bonus he’s been sculpting his body and adding power these past couple years. I’ll bet he’s investing this Rona time wisely.

      I too am interested in Brujan and Skooby from the set but agree the prices in general seem juiced. Tho a Brujan /100 auto sold for $104 last night and was a solid get for whoever won the auction.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        James Beard could be a decent low end gamble. A green auto /99 just sold for 25 shipped. And I’ll bet his base auto gets down around $10.

        Joes Ryan and Cantillo are about $15. Not much ceiling but a decent chance for 2 or 3x in 2021.

  4. Harley Earl says:
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    Itch!!!!

    I’ve been sitting on one Bowman blaster box, three mega packs and three regular packs for a week now. Not sure how much longer I can sit on them either.

    Speaking of sitting on cards, I have been patient before. I’m still sitting on three boxes of 1982 Topps, four boxes of 1983 Topps and one box of 1983 Fleer. I sold one box of 1982 on eBay about 10 years ago for $350. Kinda wish I hadn’t done that now LOL.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      What up, Harley!?

      There’s a small fortune in this, collecting sealed boxes and cases. A friend of mine is very good at it. I’m amazed you still have early 80’s products. Gonna be pretty tough to sit on the Bowman, but if Dominguez hits in his first exposure to pro pitching, the demand for 2020 retail is going to be through the roof.

      I sometimes imagine having a box of 86 Fleer Basketball . . .

      or perhaps a case . . .

      What do those 1982 Topps boxes go for these days?

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Maybe I shouldn’t ask.

        Few things sting me like looking up Trout

        • Harley Earl says:
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          Actually the 1982 don’t go for near as much as you’d think. They’re about $400 to $500 now for a box. They have the Cal Ripken rookie in them.

          The 1983s go for about $350 to $450. They have the Ryne Sandberg and Wade Boggs rookies in them. I had some 1984s and 1985s some 30 years ago but opened them, too. LOL. Wish I hadn’t now!

          I can’t imagine what a box of unopened Fleer 1986 basketball would go for. Insanity!!!

  5. 183414 says:
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    Just noticed among my huge collection of cards mainly ‘some nice’50’s cards, some nice ’60’s cards, everything from ’67-’86, a 2002 Bowman chrome Box with 1 autographed 1st year base card in every box, and an uncirculated Bowman Chrome Card in ever box.
    Also have 6 boxed of ’93 SP unopened (already have about 10 Jeters set aside), and 6 boxes of ’93 Bowman
    Must say the ’67 set is awesome, with a center cut Seaver the highlight. Carew not as center cut. Couple of sweet Bench rookies. A perfect Henderson rookie card could be the prize of my possession, but Carlton, Palmer, Brooks Robinson, Griffey cards pretty much spot on, and so many others, as well as signed baseballs from Mantle to Hoyt Wilhem to Ted Williams and of course a couple of my 1st idol, Willie Mays.
    But my favorite cards may be the ’56 Mantle/Berra and the’60 Mantle.
    Have all the Yankee world series mvp’s on 1 jersey, from Coleman’50 through Jeter, but no Matsui in 2009. Guess I could take it out of the case one day.
    Never collected for making money from it. Have 4 sons and a grandson, so plenty of generations to go.
    Also have 1 of 6 signed New York Football Giant Super Bowl jackets when they defeated the unbeaten Patriots. Spent hours after we got home from Glendale, Az., making sure every Giant signed it. Only Eli’s had no number, as did Coughlan’s. That goes to my oldest son , who went with me to the game.
    We sat in club level seats, and knew the pass to Burress was a touchdown before anyone else did, given where we sitting . We were hugging and jumping up and down before the ball was caught. Greatest sporting event I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot of world series’,nba championships, Secretariat winning the Belmont by 31 lengths, Reggie’s 3 h.r.’s against the Dodgers @ Yankee Stadium.
    The memories and the souvenir’s/collectibles are priceless, and the money dies with you, while the souvenir’s carry on.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      All of that sounds fun to me!!

      That Giants ball is an American Express commercial waiting to happen.

      Talk about priceless. Very cool thing to share w your oldest.

      Tough to imagine that game ever falls out of my Top 5 favorite sporting moments I saw in real time.

      So many thoughts on all this swimming through my head. I really like your take on preferring Hall of Famers. My father in law has been bringing cards around for me to take a look at and help him monetize. He had/has five sons, so lots of base between early 80’s and mid-90’s. I suggested he focus on selling the Jordans. He doesn’t have a ton of them, but every single Jordan card is worth money and always will be. It’s a little stunning sometimes to look up a random junk-wax era Jordan base card.

  6. 183414 says:
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    Just found 3 ‘2003 Bowman Chrome boxes, ….guess that was my last year I bought any.
    Unopened ‘1st year Leaf Boxes…..guess people would rather buy and sell them these days.
    I prefer Hall of Famers as opposed to hyped minor leaguers , though If I had been collecting Trout would have been the the player after Griffey and Jeter who I would have made sure to get a few.

  7. Chris D. says:
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    The /99 was sold twice but was never paid for.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Scourge of the Bay.

      DT suggested they take those listings down after they’re flagged as unpaid.

      I have no idea why this isn’t happening already.

      One unpaid item should be enough for a month suspension.

      Two in one calendar year should be a year-long suspension.

      I mean I dunno what it should really be, but eBay sucks for its rules in this area.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Thanks for the info, Chris.

        Took me back to selling a Lindor Blue Ref 1st Chrome Auto during their 2016 World Series.

        Didn’t even sell that well, nobody paid, I opened a case, no recourse, sell window closes when the Indians lose game 7.

        Sure I could’ve just run the auction again, but that’s typically a losing gambit, especially after that devastating end to Cleveland’s season.

  8. Thomas says:
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    Enjoyed the article. More of these would be welcome.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Thomas!

      It’s very helpful to have this feedback. I’m way into this area but nervous about doing much here and was fully up in the air on whether I’d ever do another before reading this comment.

      I’m pretty sure I’ll do more at this point.

      Thanks again!

      • Harley Earl says:
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        Itch,

        This is good stuff here. As baseball fans, I’m sure most of us at one time or another or even now, have collected baseball cards. I collected from 1981 to 1987 and then got busy with life. I started collecting again in 2016. Now I’m older and have more money and can buy what I want. The hobby never really leaves your blood once it’s in it.

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