Cleat Geeks

The Collector’s Clubhouse – Episode 4

AP_Madison_Bumgarner_bc_141030_4x3_992The baseball playoffs are back! The Wild Card games are in the books and the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs are moving on to the Division Series for their respective leagues. Last year it was one of the Wild Card winners who ended up hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy after the World Series. Along the way a bonafide ace and World Series hero was made.  Madison Bumgarner became a household name, an icon in San Francisco, and a collecting star. A year ago you could’ve bought a Bumgarner autograph for a fraction of the price you would pay today. Today’s prices are also a fraction of the price you would’ve paid last November as Bumgarner was named World Series MVP. It is these types of market fluctuations that make or break after market single card sales. If you can buy low and sell high you’ll be in good shape. In order to do this you have to know what to look for. What are the signs it is time to buy? What about signs for when it is time to sell? This is what today’s episode will be focused on.

I mentioned in a previous episode about how the single card market can be viewed like the stock market. One stock market analyst that I admire greatly has an indicator he uses to gauge a stocks value versus price. He calls it “The Mother Indicator”. Basic premise being that when his mother knows about a stock, thinks that stock is a buy, he knows that stock has reached a point when it is no longer a bargain. He knows his mother doesn’t research stocks, isn’t reading through company financials, isn’t locked into the pulse of the market. So, she is a good barometer of what the outsiders, the general population, knows. The same is true for sports and collecting. We know this inherently already. You know you aren’t going to get sleeper picks for your fantasy football team from your mom. She’s going to tell you “that Aaron Rodgers is pretty good”. We can take that idea and use it when it comes to collecting too.

In collecting there are two main factors that drive price: Talent and Media Coverage. When it comes to talent that’s pretty obvious, most people don’t have any interest in collectibles from players who aren’t any good. No one’s really interested in an autographed rookie card of a guy who got cut in training camp his rookie year. So talent matters, it matters a lot, but it isn’t all that matters. Ultimately unless the general population, the “moms” so to speak, is aware that a player is great prices will stay low. Obviously moms also aren’t buying sports collectibles typically but that’s not the point. Ultimately, only about 25 percent of the American population plays fantasy football. Of that group many are casual players who are huge football fans. In other sports (baseball, basketball, hockey) the percentage of fans who play the fantasy version of that sport is even lower. The point being, there are a lot of sports fans out there who aren’t plugged into who is talented, they are plugged into who they see.

Jacob DeGrom was a 9th round pick out of Stetson University. Only the most hard core of Mets fans new who he was before his breakout 2014 MLB campaign. Fact is, he wasn’t c1458a0631a9691f97382fef47015860a hyped draft pick, wasn’t a top prospect, but is now one of the best pitchers in baseball. Depending on how the Mets fare during the playoffs he could be this year’s Bumgarner. His collectibles’ prices have already increased in value based on his current body of work. The talent was there but it took a breakout in front of a national audience (playing for a New York team takes that profile even higher) for the masses to realize that talent.

The point I hope I have communicated is there is an opportunity to take what many of us already do with fantasy sports and apply it to collectibles. You’re here reading this article right now so I’m pretty sure you are the kind of sports fan who knows those talents, those “next big thing” types. I hope you take that and use it to your advantage. Treat it like your fantasy football/baseball/basketball/hockey team, that young dynasty stash whose blocked by the aging veteran go ahead and buy up some of his cards. Find those market opportunities that present minimum downside with a lot of upside. I want to help you do that and I plan to in this column (like I do with the Thursday Night Football feature).

Next time we will take this idea even deeper as we look at more specifics about what to buy, when to buy and when to sell. Now, let’s go ahead and look at tonight’s TNF game. Tonight we have an AFC South showdown between the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans. The Colts will be without Andrew Luck who was wounded by a cannon explosion that threw him from his horse as he directed his men along the front lines at Chancellorsville. This is not completely true but isn’t that far fetched. Between that and the Texans ability to play the pass I’m not very  bullish on their aerial attack tonight. Who I am bullish about going forward from a collecting standpoint is Donte Moncrief. Andre Johnson looks like a player who is just hanging on. T.Y. Hilton is not the prototypical WR1 body type. Moncrief is. He is already getting as many targets as Hilton and it is only a matter of time before he is Luck’s favorite target. The hype hasn’t reached peak levels yet so Moncrief is very much a buy.

For Houston they have a young WR star in the making as well. DeAndre Hopkins got a whopping 22 targets last week against the Falcons. With Houston’s other options in the passing game being Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts (both of whom are dealing with injuries) Hopkins will continue to get all the targets he can handle. Hopkins should make his first Pro Bowl this season and will be in the conversation regarding the top WRs in the game for the foreseeable future. His collectible prices aren’t as juicy as they were going into last year (when I targeted him heavily) but they are still low enough to warrant buy status,

Another reminder about our Cleat Geek only group break with free stuff! We’ve pulled a box of 2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft out of our store and are offering spots to Cleat Geeks readers only. That’s 5 cards, all autographed, one card per slot. AND each slot will get a bonus grab bag courtesy of Cleat Geeks. We will continue to do these kinds of special Cleat Geeks reader only opportunities as a thank you for being a part of the Cleat Geeks readership. Stay tuned as we have some fun stuff planned to commemorate the start of the MLB playoffs and the upcoming NHL season. If you want in on the 2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft break you must email us at and tell us you read about it on Cleat Geeks.

In addition to this we are commemorating the MLB playoffs AND the start of the NHL season (!!) with two new Cleat Geeks only offers. Stay tuned next week as we reveal more about those opportunities. Until next time have some fun and happy collecting!

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