Around mid-March is when investors make their final push to snatch prospects before the MiLB season kicks off. There are many investments out there currently that can explode depending on performance. Today, Bowman Chrome autos and their volatility is looking more like the stock market than the card market in the past.
Even without a large sample size of games, prospect autos can increase by over 100% in ten days. Recently, Nico Hoerner played in a few Spring Training games, got 7 ABs, collected five hits, smashed a home run, and his Base auto jumped up 124.12% in NINE days ($43.95 to $98.50). Before the Spring Training appearance, he played in only 14 games in 2018 after being drafted.
All of that sets up why Kristian Robinson might be the best investment piece out there right now.
Robinson is only 18-years-old, has appeared in 57 games, and isn’t even a top 100 prospect. Currently, his Base autos fluctuate between $85 and $100 (as of March 12), with a peak price of close to $140 last October.
Fangraphs projects the outfielder’s future grades as 50 hit, 60 game power, 70 raw power, 55 speed (60 currently, but as he builds his frame his speed will decline), 50 field, and a 60 arm with a 50 future value. Of course, these are all best-case scenario if he develops, so let’s remember there is a chance he doesn’t hit those grades.
Being only 18 and 6′ 3″, 190 LBs, he has plenty of time to add muscle and achieve his power potential. If he can develop his hit tool along the way, we could be in for a treat.
While Nate and I never will say to grab an investment based on only Rookie or A-Ball stats, it is worth checking them out. Over 57 games, he put up seven home runs, 12 doubles, a 10.5% BB-rate, a 26.2% K-rate, and a .789 OPS. Clearly, there is some work to do with his K-rate and OPS, but there is plenty of time to get polished as he moves up levels.
Purely based off his prospect profile and the uncertainty of his future, $85 seems crazy for a Base auto. There is a big chance he flops (see, Kevin Maitan), but there is also a chance he becomes a total stud.
However, his prospect profile is not the reason he could be the next big thing. It all hinges on that there were ZERO 2018 Bowman Chrome Kristian Robinson Color autos produced; he only has Base autos.
Another similar case, but not the exact same, is Jo Adell from 2017 Bowman Draft. Adell only has autos of Base, Gold, Gold Wave, Orange, Red, Red Wave, and a Superfractor. After 2017 Draft released, people didn’t only catch on there wasn’t any Black, Green, Blue, and other colors available, but there were a lot less Base autos as well.
In a Topps Q&A at the 2018 National, they explained Adell’s other Color autos and Base autos were either damaged in the signing of them or while being returned to them, so they were not packed out.
After Adell autos were found to be short-prints, they jumped from $150 to $325 in the same month of release. Due to Robinson only having Base autos, it has investors wondering if his are short-printed, as well. Of course, Adell was a top 10 pick and top prospect, so I’m not saying Robinson should be on the same level.
Let me preface the rest of the article by saying this. All of this research has to be looked at with assumptions due to us not knowing the true print run of Base autos. Some might think research cannot be taken seriously with assumptions, but this is the best we have to get to the bottom of this.
The total data collected (as of March 12) is all relative to each other, as the sales numbers pulled are for the first seven months after 2017 Bowman Draft and 2018 Bowman Chrome released.
- The total print run is represented by the amount sold or amount listed for sale
- The same number of autos are being held by investors for each player
- The number of autos sold twice is the same for each player
- The number of autos sold, then graded are the same for each player
These assumptions must be used for this data. With that being said, it means there is a high probability this data is not well representative of the print runs, but it is close as we can get.
Kristian Robinson Total Autos vs. Jo Adell Total Autos (including Color and Graded)
The first thing to look at is if the total sold (including color and graded) for Robinson is close to Adell over the first seven months after release.
Clearly, a lot more has sold of Robinson. Diverting off the focus on Robinson for a second, it is incredible Adell had 120 less sell, and that is including all the Color autos, showing how little Base have sold.
That clarifies Robinson Base autos are not as short-printed as Adell total autos. Now, let’s compare Robinson to another player in the 2018 Bowman Chrome release: Estevan Florial.
Kristian Robinson Total Autos vs. Estevan Florial Base Autos (Graded)
206 Florial Base autos have sold since release, which is 83 lower than the amount of Robinson sold. Using the assumptions, it’d say Robinson is not even short-printed against Base autos from the same product. When looking at total Florial autos sold (including color), there have been 274 sold, still less than Robinson Base autos.
Of course, those old assumptions can skew all of this, so let’s toss them out the window and for some new assumptions.
I’m assuming more Florial autos are being held by investors and Yankees fan than an 18-year-old Diamondbacks prospect, leading to less sales for Florial. I also am assuming Robinson autos have turned over much faster than Florial autos (attributed to investors holding).
Because of that, Robinsons total production could be lower than a normal 2018 Bowman Chrome prospect auto, but we have no way of knowing. Anything people make conclusions on are based on assumptions.
So, what does this mean for Kristian Robinson’s investment outlook?
First off, I am in full belief his Base autos will be priced higher even if there are more of them than other prospects because investors only have one choice for a 1st Bowman Chrome Robinson auto.
After that, it all depends on his performance this year. Will Robinson turn people thinking about investing into investors? If he shows he can perform in A-ball, his stuff will explode, and I am guessing it will increase faster than a normally produced prospect auto. However, if he doesn’t show improvements while moving up a level, the “only Base auto” argument is dead and it won’t help them hold value.
In my opinion, it is 100% worth grabbing at least one. He has the potential for a ton of power and to become a young player producing consistently in the Minors. Combine that with there being only one option for a 1st auto, and you could strike gold.
Like Adell, he has non-auto refractors including color. I’d give those a look if you don’t want a Base auto.
I cannot say for sure Kristian Robinson is the best investment out there, but it could be the highest potential investment. It is not an investment for the risk mitigators (something Nate and I always try to do). If he develops some of his game (hit tool, adds muscle), the current prices will look marginal. It will only be a matter of time until these move one way or another, and the $85 to $100 price is low enough to make me want to jump in, even if it’s risky.
In your opinion, how does Kristian Robinson only having Base autos influence his prices?
Previously on SlabStox: Prospect Profile: Chris Paddack
Next on SlabStox: Prospect Profile: Luis Garcia
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