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What’s In My Shopping Cart? Here are 4 MLB investment strategies heading into 2020 | Players & Sealed Wax!

Everyone is trying to find the next Mike Trout. But have you ever considered that there’s no one else like him. Every investing realm has this specific investor who wants to gamble their money to reach a specific return on investment. Rather than focusing on buying blue-chip stocks, the investor tries to put his or her money in diverse high risk stocks which can be both highly rewarding but ultimately extremely high risk. There’s nothing wrong with this type of investment strategy if you do have the proper information and research. However, is it the most efficient way to use your capital? In my opinion a good investment strategy or business strategy one that should actually lessen the risk. When I look at the possibilities for high upside with low risk, I usually have a pretty narrow short-list. Here are a few prime names that are filling my shopping card and are my top picks for the next MLB season.


First, let’s talk about one of the most hyped players we’ve seen in years – 2018 Shohei Ohtani. His rookie year provided an exceptional run…and the craziness surrounding his pre-injury rookie cards was incredibly fun. But as is often the case with sports cards, Ohtani slipped into the ‘forgottens’ during his Sophmore recovery year. But yes, his current batting average sits at .286 with 18 home runs and 62 runs batted in. For some quick comparison, Ronald Acuña’s line sits at .280 batting average with 41 home runs and 101 runs batted in. On the other hand, Juan Soto’s current stats are at .282 batting average with 34 home runs and 110 runs batted in. Then why are we going to buy Shohei Ohtani’s card if he has an underwhelming second year? Well, because he put up these #’s on limited playing time DURING tommy-john recovery. But now, he’s had the time to recover and by all accounts is ready to go 100% in 2020. Moreover, the Angels have a new manager – Joe Maddon –  who was able to get Anthony Rendon. This hopefully means they actually have a good chance in having a reliable team throughout the season and potentially land a spot in the postseason. Also, don’t ever forget that he has a pedigree of being Japan’s MVP. That international pedigree should not be underrated… (hint hint…look at Luka Doncic!)

(Yes, I did say Ohtani could be Doncic of MLB) 🙂

So, what are the key rookie cards of Shohei Ohtani that are worth getting? Currently, PSA pop report indicates that there are two types of Topps Chrome Update of Ohtani which is the HMT1 and HMT32. Both of these types can either be an autograph or a non-autograph card. As of this moment, to minimize the risk of loss, the best card to buy should have a low population and needs to be a non-autograph card. Current sold prices of HMT1 and HMT32 are around $15-$25. The main difference of these cards are the images of him pitching and batting. HMT1 is the pitching variation. On the other hand, HMT32 is the batting variation which I tend to like more. The main reason why I prefer HMT32 is that it has a combined population, according to PSA, 503. While, HMT1 has a combined population of 765. Current PSA grade submission in my local area is $15 per card which means buying the graded cards on eBay for $15 are actually little to no investment at all. You are basically just buying a card that has little downside but a lot of upside. Refractors are not the most valuable as of the today, mainly due to the price delay but I believe it can still yield a huge amount. A good gauge of upside is to look at Juan Soto and Ronald Acuña’s Topps Chrome Update cards which are respectively valued at $50 and $35. This means that Ohtani has a lot of room for growth in terms of his value. These players have the same amount of printed variations but Ohtani is still at a lower population. This to me is a stellar opportunity!

Here are some of his GEM MINT RC’s available now:


Second, let’s talk about the surprising sophomore performance from Gleyber Torres. During 2019, he made a lasting impression by showing he is a clutch postseason performer. But let’s not forget about his stats during the season with a batting average of .278 with 38 home runs and 90 runs batted in. Amazingly, he improved in his sophomore season. Further, take in consideration that in New York he’s likely going to be playing in October every year. This is valuable and likely is already priced into his cards, but the October price bump is a real phenomena and should make you excited about Gleyber’s upside.

Now, what rookie card should we buy for the up and coming superstar of the Yankees? Surprisingly there are three variations in Topps Chrome Update set for him which are HMT9 that has a total population of 960, HMT26 that has a total population of 416, and HMT80 which only has a total population of 173. Again, we should look at the same principle in getting a low risk investment with a low entry point for a player. This means we will only buy the lowest population and buy a non-autograph card to get a higher possible yield in reference to our goal. That means the best card to pick and honestly a scarce card in the market which has recently listed price for $40 is the HMT80. Last sold price was at $17 for the base PSA 10. With a huge price gap from the listed price and previous sale, there might be a possibility that an uptrend can occur. Not only that, there are only limited quantities in the market for sale. Further, if a huge demand occurs, eventually the price will follow. Hence, a good signal and evidence that it is a good card to buy now and sell during the season.

We also like his 2018 Topps Update Rookie #US200. A PSA 10 / BGS 9.5 is commanding around $30…and has steadily risen the past 6 months.

Here are some available now. 


My third strategy, buying sealed products from 2019 Topps Chrome Update…which are consistently being sold at reasonable prices (Mega Box around the $20 SRP!). In preparation for another wave of hot sophomore performances…. The best thing to do is hoard and flip sealed products. As long as your products are not tampered with, you can almost always recoup your cost, even with a downtrend. But the upside is usually incredibly lucrative because of the stability and desire for past years’ sealed products. This is basically an ultra low risk – high discipline type of investing. Just don’t open your packs!

Here are some 2019 Topps Chrome Update Box Lots available now:


So, what’s the fourth buy in your list? Mike Trout. Who? What do you mean Mike Trout? Isn’t he a really expensive card to buy? Definitely! But, we want to look at his autograph and non-rookie cards which are definitely good buys to consider. As long as I’ve been in the hobby, I’ve noticed that his cards are consistently one of the more liquid cards in the hobby. Why should one care about a card’s liquidity? Well, when the time comes that you need emergency funds you may sell them easily. With high liquidity, the buyer is the one trying to find the card. Remember, the value of one’s card is only determined by the buyer. Buying his autograph at a high grade is a low risk…. but possibly a high yield in a long term investment. There was a beautiful Mike Trout card from the set of 2019 Topps Museum numbered to 15 that sold for $470. Is it a huge flip? Not as of the moment. But definitely, a highly liquid card with good potential.

Moreover, Mike Trout’s 1 of 1 cards during the off season sold for $750-$1500. Again, these are highly priced cards with so little odds to get out of a sealed product. However, it is a long term holding investment that has a huge possible gain. His collectors will always be there and currently he is being considered as potentially the best to ever play the game. These cards can be easily sold at the same entry price you bought it but the premium of getting positions on his cards will always be high.

The more popular Mike Trout 1/1 cards are available here:

Overall, it’s a crazy volatile market. But with proper knowledge and sound planning, you can see why these are my top picks for the next season. Specially, we are currently in the middle the offseason where all of the baseball investors are occupied with the NBA and NFL. Ohtani’s return will definitely be something to look forward to. Also, Gleyber Torres’ continued growth as a player will be exciting for Yankees fans. Moreover, if the 2019 rookie class continues to explode with the likes of Tatis Jr. and Alonso, sealed products will be rise and explode with them. And who will forget about MVP Mike Trout?

Let me know your thoughts – thanks for the read!

You can find me hanging around and the Discord Chat Group (RIGHT HERE)


“Paolo is a philosophy major, veteran and a sports cards enthusiast. His dreams are that, one day, he’ll be a published writer and to have better reasons in making excuses to his wife when buying a card.”

Join Paolo in his Facebook Group buy considering a box of 2019-20 Prizm Choice NBA and check out Paolo’s eBay 99 CENT Auctions RIGHT HERE



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Robert Demare
Robert Demare
4 years ago

Nice work. You put in a lot of thought into this…I can tell. Good luck!

4 years ago

Great information and I will keep my eyes on these. How about 2020 Bowman Chrome Mega Boxes due out in Spring via Target. This should be the 4th year, right? They were $15 per box and last year went up to $20. They have bowman pack and 2 Mega Mojo Refractor packs. This product brought be back into the hobby 4 years ago chasing Othani. Do you have a release date? Any prospects to chase?