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Game 5: Wembanyama 1st Auto, Ohtani Rookie Auto, Julio's Struggles, Elly "Electric" De La Cruz
Weekly Roundup 5/15/23-5/21/23
Well, last week we took a minor step and expanded into other collectibles. We’ll take another small step this week. As I’m sure many of you know, the San Antonio Spurs’ dreams came true, earning the first pick in this year’s NBA draft. There is no doubt first pick will be Victor Wembanyama. Former NBA player Richard Jefferson said if Wembanyama and LeBron were drafted in the same year, Wembanyama would be the first pick. I include this information in the roundup because Wembanyama’s first autographed card is set to be released on June 6th, in the 2022/23 Bowman University Basketball release. Blowout Cards lists a hobby box (which includes two autographs) for $224.95.
Panini National Treasures are typically the most sought after NBA cards, which is why the Bowman cards are comparatively cheap. Despite the fact that this Bowman release includes Wembanyama’s 1st auto, the set cost remains relatively inexpensive compared to National Treasures. A 1st Off The Line 2018 Panini National Treasure Hobby Box, which could contain a Luka Jokic rookie card, is currently listed for $29,999.95.
In baseball news, Mike Trout passed Ken Griffey Jr. in Wins Above Replacement (WAR). And he’s only 32. According to Card Ladder, his cards are down 9.49% over the last six months. Pretty significant considering he’s a surefire (unanimous?) first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Trivia Question of the Week
What is Cal Ripkin Jr’s brother most famous for?
Sales: Shohei Ohtani Rookie Auto PSA 10
Let’s highlight the man known as “Shotime” and “The Unicorn.” A PSA 10 2018 Bowman Chrome Shohei Ohtani Rookie Base Auto sold for an all-time high of $11,009! Ohtani continues to do incredible things, recently surpassing “The Babe” with the most strikeouts thrown by a two-way player. And he is just 28 years old.
Last Monday, Ohtani reached base five times. Oh, and he was the starting pitcher. Oh, and he hit a 456-foot home run. In 2023, he’s 5-1 as a pitcher with a 3.23 ERA and 71 strikeouts. He’s hitting .292/.362/.532 with 10 home runs... Lol!
We are within the 10 days of the 2023 Bowman Baseball Mega Box release on May 29th and is available already for pre-order on Target.com.
Trending Up, Trending Down
The top (and bottom) spots held steady this week, with Jarren Duran cards up 33.75% over the last 30 days and Jordan Walker dipping 27.42%.
Duran continued his hot start, batting .364 over his past seven games, including a home run. Walker, on the other hand, hit .182 in May, which he’s spent in Triple-A with the Memphis Redbirds. Despite his recent struggles, Walker remains ranked as MLB.com’s #1 prospect.
Because the poll positions remained unchanged for Trending Up & Trending Down this week, a bonus…
Trending Up: Spencer Strider [+13.74%]
Strider – who is rocking more of a Bill Buckner look with a soul patch than a Rick Sweet or a Goose Gossage – is 4-1 is his last five games with a 2.96 ERA. But what has people excited about Strider, who’s in his 3rd season, is his league-leading 86 strikeouts, with an astounding 1.68 strikeouts per inning. The next closest on the strikeout leaderboard is Kevin Gausman with 77.
Strider’s cards are up 15.56% in the past 30 days.
Trending down: Julio Rodriguez [-25.25%]
This one hurts – and is a good reminder that baseball is pretty, pretty, pretty hard. The 2022 Rookie of the Year (and by all accounts great guy) is having a rough start to 2023. Now, Julio did struggle at the start of 2022 as well, but that was his rookie campaign. Maybe he’ll find his stride soon.
It seems that the resolve of the Julio faithful is starting to break after 41 games – his cards are down 25.25% over the last 30 days.
Trend data sourced from https://www.alt.xyz/company.
Prospect of the Week: Elly De La Cruz
Cincinnati Reds, SS/3B
The prospect of the week can only be described as electric! And deservedly so. De La Cruz has a seemingly endless list of eye-popping stats and stories in his young career:
Last year, De La Cruz hit a 512-foot home run with Double-A Chattanooga.
512 feet is longer than any homer recorded in the Statcast era (since 2015)... No major league player has hit a ball as far as this 21 year-old!
In a game last week, De La Cruz hit two home runs and a double, which had an exit velocity of 118.8 mph – the hardest hit ball at any level of baseball this season. His two homers came off the bat at 116 mph and 117 mph, respectively. Only four hits have clocked an exit velocity at or above 117 this year. Oh, and two belong to De La Cruz.
De La Cruz rounded the bases from home to third in 11.19 seconds on a triple – the third fastest time recorded in Triple-A or MLB. Only Corbin Carrol and Jake McCarthy edged De La Cruz’s time, with McCarthy beating out De La Cruz by 0.01 second. It is no surprise to see Elly’s 70 run grade.
And did we mention that De La Cruz is 6’6’’ playing shortstop!
After signing for just $65,000 in July 2018, De La Cruz made it to the Arizona Complex League in 2021 where he began catching the eyes of scouts and has now climbed to be the #4 prospect according to MLB.com. In 2022, he made his way to Double-A and closed out the year with a slash line of .304/.359/.586 on top of 28 homers and 47 steals. His 2023 campaign is off to a strong start as well, though slightly behind his 2022 campaign, slashing .280/.379/.570.
Hit: 55 | Power: 60 | Run: 70 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 60
You can pick up De La Cruz’s 1st Bowman Base Auto for around $750.
Thank you & an ask from the Stealing Home team!
First off, thank you all so much for your support during a very eventful 1st month of Stealing Home. Your emails and ideas have been so encouraging. To pair with our weekly updates, we are working on some really exciting deep-dive content – much of which has come from direct inquiries from readers.
As we continue to grow we have two asks, humbly:
Continue sending us your ideas and questions. It helps us shape the blog to be as valuable as possible. What would you like to read about?
Please share! We have seen such an exciting amount of subscriber support as we’ve ramped up, which wouldn’t be possible without your help. Please make sure to share Stealing Home with others in the hobby!
Until next week…
Trivia Answer of the Week
See if you can find it…
Hint: Check the bat…