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.