Cleat Geeks

Collector’s Clubhouse – Episode 5

If you are a new reader to this column I want to say “thank you.” Whether you are a seasoned collector or someone who’s just trying to figure out what it is I hope ths and all my articles are helpful. Second I want to encourage you to go back and read our first four installments (located hereherehere, and here) and read through them. Not just because I wrote them but because each one has built on the next. Today’s very much so builds on the last couple I wrote. So I hope you take the time to take a look at those before diving into this one.

Last week we talked about the trading card market from a singles standpoint. We talked about how cards can be thought of like the stock market with different players equating to different companies. Players’ performance as well as other factors cause their card values to rise or fall and if we can project this we can use it to our advantage when determining who to buy and who to sell. We are currently seeing a very good example of how this works in real time.

The MLB playoffs have already created some large swings in player pricing. Roberto Osuna (who most casual baseball fans outside of Toronto had never heard of) has become one of the hottest young names and prices for his collectibles have skyrocketed. The young Chicago Cubs’ studs Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant were already incredibly hot in the collecting community but their NLDS showing has taken them higher still. I guarantee you that when the dust settles on the championship series there will be at least one hero born and collecting prices will soar.

Last week we looked at the two main factors that drive collecting prices: talent and hype. These together combine to create public perception of a player which is really what drives prices. Talent is obvious, when a player is one of the best in the game and winning awards public perception is going to be favorable. Hype however, is almost as important as talent when it comes to public perception. Like in the MLB Playoff example above sometimes the talent takes a back seat to the publicity. David Freese has proven to be a marginal major league talent but if you had sold his collectibles back in November of 2011 you would’ve sold them for way more than his talent warrants. So we have to keep both of these things in mind not only regarding who to buy but also when to sell.

2014-Leaf-Trinity-Insciptions-Kyle-Schwarber-214x300With that as a basis it becomes a judgement call regarding when to buy and when to sell. Let’s look at Kyle Schwarber as an example. In Game 4 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals this week Schwarber hit a home run that will live in Cubs lore forever. At this point he is one of the hottest names in collecting. The question someone holding his collectibles has to ask is whether this is “the top”. What happens the rest of the playoffs? Schwarber is a rookie, what does his career hold? Will he one day be in the Hall of Fame? Will he suffer a career ending injury? These are all factors in determining whether this is the time to sell or hold. It’s a judgement call that each collector has to make for themselves.

I hope this gives a good picture of the factors that determine a player’s collectibles value. We probably all understand this intrinsically but in order to apply it in a way that is beneficial it has to be clearly stated. Ultimately, if we were to put together a process through which to go about this process it would be something like this. Start with talent, trying to predict the “hero” (David Freese type) that gains notoriety very quickly is very improbably. It is much more consistently possible to predict breakout players based on talent. Once you have identified talents players with breakout potential pay attention to the chances they will take advantage of the hype machine. Players in big markets (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago) will gain much more hype than small market players with the same talent and production. Finally, deciding when to sell becomes a judgement call. There are a number of factors that determine when is the best time. Use how much exposure to risk you are willing to take as a barometer for when to pull the trigger on selling.

I’m breaking out what to buy and writing a whole article next week on that. So stay tuned as we continue to explore this idea. Another reminder about our Cleat Geek only group break with free 15pnsignatureserHKstuff! 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. Also, Hockey is back!!!! So we’re doing a special Cleak Geeks only break of 2015-16 Leaf Signature Hobby Box. 8 autographs and only for Cleat Geeks readers. Plus, we will do this DRAFT style whichh is so much fun! Don’t miss it. 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 MLB playoffs. If you want in on the 2015 Leaf Ultimate Draft break or the 2015-16 Leaf Signature break you must email us at and tell us you read about it on Cleat Geeks.

Finally, we have the NFL Week 6 Thursday Night Football collector picks. This week, Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints. One of the most interesting developments of the young season was the injury to Tevin Coleman and the breakout of Devonta Freeman. There’s no doubt despite the tear Freeman is on that Coleman is the better prospect. Long term I like Tevin Coleman as a buy and I would  see this Freeman resurgence as a chance to get a better deal on Coleman. For the Saints there’s a lack of real young exciting talent. Mark Ingram is probably valued properly currently and I don’t see a lot of upside. Ultimately, I still like Brandin Cooks despite his struggles early this year. The talent is there but part of the problem is his current utilization. Regardless I still think he’s a buy going forward.

That’s all I’ve got this week. Happy Collecting!

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