Recent Royals: 2008 Bowman Chrome Mike Moustakas

I have very few card collections given my limited resources and space, but I did decide some time ago to begin collecting on-card Royals autographs. It’s been a blast so far trying to track these things down and this is the latest addition to my collection. To view the cards currently in the collection, take a look at the Gallery or the other posts in this series. I’m working on getting a legit want list together on my trade page but, in the meantime, if you have any on-card Royals autos that it looks like I don’t have, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

Does it look like his last name has a "t" in it to you?

In my Royals on-card auto travels, I have learned a great deal about this beast called Prospecting. Apparently, people are willing to pay outrageous sums of money for unproven players, even knowing full well that RC autos of current stars sell for less than the price of the prospect RC auto. Take Mike Moustakas here. A more highly touted player in the Royals system there is not. Now let’s compare him to Billy Butler, an established star currently in the majors and hitting pretty well for the Royals as the everyday DH/sometimes-1B. His 2005 Bowman Chrome base auto sells for around $25-$30. Pretty decent considering there were a million of them made.

This 2008 Bowman Chrome base auto of Mike Moustakas cost me $46.02 shipped. I’m not telling you how much I paid to show off how much I’m blowing on this silly collection (because this, like all my other >$5 Royals autos was an accidental win). I’m trying to make a point. In order to live up to this price of this card, this guy here who has never played a game in the majors needs to outplay Billy Butler. Is it possible? Absolutely. Likely? Nope.

Look, Moose may break into the majors an have a .315/30HR rookie season and dominate for 15 years, at which point I’ll eat my words.  But it simply isn’t likely. More likely, he’ll have a good half season (assuming he’s called up this year which lots of people suspect), struggle a bit next year and finally settle in to a respectable .265/20 kind of hitter playing 3B for some NL team. I used absolutely no advanced stats to make that prediction and I’m anything but a stathead, but that’s simply just what happens to ballplayers. Think of the modern established superstars whose RC autos command serious premiums (premia?): Albert Pujols, Roy Halladay, David Wright, Cliff Lee, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, A-Rod… the list is brief.

Now look at the list of everyday 3B starters in the majors who are considered very good: Aramis Ramirez, Chone Figgins, Adrian Beltre… you see what I’m getting at, of course. The chances are simply much higher that he’ll be a solid 3B choice for a long time. But a guy whose RC auto sells for $50? That’s a big roll of the dice.

I know I complain a lot about prospecting and the easy response is, “Fine, it’s not for you, just don’t do it.” Which is absolutely valid. The problem is, my collection gets screwed up by prospectors artificially inflating cards’ values. Do I want the refractor of this card? Hell yes! But I can’t afford it because the cost has been blown out of proportion by “the market.” In short, I believe there’s a wall between “collectors” and “the market” and its bricks are fashioned from Bowman Chrome autos.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I have this card. I just wish it would’ve cost the $15 it should have. Maybe I shouldn’t even put low-ball bids on top prospects anymore… I seem to get “lucky” too often! I guess I’m better off trading prospect for prospect, like I did when I got my first Moose auto from Mojo. That one is a sticker so it got sent to the ‘bay and turned itself into about half of the card you see above. So, thanks again, Mojo!

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