Finally, Opening Day is right around the corner! If you haven’t already joined our Facebook group, we will be running an MLB Daily Pick’em giving away weekly, monthly, and a full season prize, so be sure to join before tomorrow to increase your chances of winning.
With the season starting, I thought I’d publish my two MLB players poised for a breakout season. I have no stake in either of these two players, but I wish I did.
You’re probably going to think, “Breakout? They already have broken out.” Well yes, they have enjoyed a great year (if not multiples) already; however, I’m talking about their card prices breaking out.
In this blog, you will see something new—a “SlabScore.” The SlabScore is a number derived from a formula I have been building that assesses different aspects of a player that makes them a good investment (or bad). The formula also takes into account the value of each player’s 1st Bowman Chrome auto, giving a number that ranks players who are good investments relative to their card value.
In the near future, I plan on releasing a paid subscription portion of the website that will incorporate SlabScores, statistics, and market knowledge to make a cohesive Top 25 list for Bowman Chrome Investments that will be updated weekly based on performance and value. For those wondering, all the excellent SlabStox content you already receive will still be free. The paid subscription will take the investing side of the business one step further.
Since this blog does not include a list of players, I will provide two players for comparison. Trevor Story’s SlabScore is 13.03. Javier Baez’s is 5.14.
For future reference, prospect SlabScores will be much different than the ones in this blog post, so don’t compare whatever Nick Senzel’s SlabScore is (once released) to Trevor Story’s. The prospect SlabScores incorporate more variables than MLB players, which increases the total score.
Here we go.
Matt Chapman – Oakland Athletics
In Chapman’s first full season in the majors, he impressed in many ways proving to be more than just a defensive wizard. At the end of the season, he sat at the top of the list for defensive runs saved, but also added 24 home runs, 42 doubles, 100 runs, almost a 10% walk rate, and a .864 OPS.
Those are insane numbers to pair with a player that will win a gold glove just about every year for the rest of his prime. The debate is real for best defensive third baseman between Chapman and Arenado.
Onto the best part, Chapman is still only $50 or lower for a base auto. A week or two ago he was around $35, but he slugged a homer in Tokyo and possibly caught some people’s attention.
When talking about someone who has room to grow, Matt Chapman has to be looked at. He will be turning 26 in his third season, and I see no reason to think he won’t continue to build his offensive game year after year. He already has one of the best, if not the best, defensive ability at third base. While I don’t think he will ever win an MVP playing in the same league as Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Alex Bregman, and Aaron Judge, he still needs to be viewed as a top player in the AL.
I totally understand he is on the A’s, and that doesn’t pull in the big bucks, but it is only a matter of time before people catch onto his performance trends. But, the SlabScore is valuing Chapman higher than someone like Story who plays in Colorado and gets to have his home splits boost his slash line.
The only worry with Chapman is his K-rate (23.7%), but with the number of other facets he excels at, it doesn’t change my outlook on him.
I can see his base autos touch $75 by midseason, and if he’s in the top five to seven conversation for AL MVP, they’ll be $100+.
Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals
Rendon has been all over the place in his career. After playing well at Double-A in 2013, his cards reached over $50 at his MLB debut. After that, the trends are all over the map, due to inconsistency and an injury.
Currently, his base autos sit around $30, but ungraded don’t pop up very often. A 9.5/10 sold for $87.
Last season, Rendon doubled down on his 2017 breakout season by repeating his output of 20+ home runs and over a .300 average. What’s even better is his K-rate and BB-rate. He struck out at a 13.65% rate over the past two years, while walking at an 11.5% rate. Rendon has everything going that makes him an MVP candidate, especially in the NL where each year candidates pop up out of nowhere.
Personally, I can’t believe his autos are at $30. I know he is 28 and the prospectors aren’t in on him, but his numbers are insane. In the past, I feel like people were hesitant because he was inconsistent. After producing back-to-back years with similar numbers, a third year should be on the horizon. With Bryce Harper gone, he can finally move his way into the spotlight. Even with Juan Soto there, Rendon should get more looks from the public than he did the last two years.
Rendon’s SlabScore is 8 points more than Chapman’s, even with the three-year age difference. Offense sells, and Rendon provides more offensive upside than Chapman with his polished bat and approach at the plate.
Unlike fine wine, age doesn’t help a player’s market value that hasn’t consistently performed since their rookie season.
If he produces this year at the same level as the two prior, I’d expect these to hit $75, with only age holding back his prices. If he starts to get into the top five MVP conversation, these should be around $100.