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Game 8: Elly De La Cruz (again), Julius Erving, Kelenic, Luis Matos
Weekly Roundup 6/5/23-6/11/23
Trivia Question of the Week
Who is the only player in history to hit a walk-off-inside-the-park grand slam home run?
We recently profiled top prospect Elly De La Cruz. Our timing turned out to be pretty good as the Cincinnati Reds called him up to the big leagues on June 6th. In his second MLB game, Elly went yard with a 458 foot dinger with an exit velocity of 114.8 mph (one of the fastest by a Reds player since the statcast era – CBS says second fastest and Yahoo says fourth… I don’t know who to believe). Later in that game, De La Cruz hit a triple, running from home to third in 10.83 seconds. The fastest of any MLB player this year and 2nd fastest in 4 seasons.
In basketball news, the 2023 Bowman U boxes were released. As you may remember, that set “includes” Victor Wembanyama’s 1st Bowman. I use quotations because, from what we’ve seen thus far, only redemption cards have been pulled. For those of you who are unfamiliar with redemptions: when a player is not able to sign his cards in time for the release, the card company (in this case, Bowman) inserts a redemption card which is basically an IOU for his auto card. You send it in to Topps and wait (sometimes, nay, often too long) to receive the actual card. I mention the redemptions for an important reason. For those of you investing in the boxes, the redemption cards expire after 4/30/2025. Meaning if you hold a box, open it on 5/1/2025, and pull a Victor redemption, you’re out of luck (and probably breaking a few windows).
One redditor had a similar experience, pulling a rookie Shohei Ohtani 2018 Bowman Chrome Auto out of 25 redemption card a mere three months after the expiration date. That card sold for $76,800.00 on Goldin last year. Rough… to say the least.
Sales: 1976 Topps Julius Erving PSA 10
A PSA 10 1976 Topps Julius Erving (one of only three PSA 10s in existence) sold last week on PWCC’s weekly auction for $52,800.00. This card previously sold in September of 2015 for $3,250.00. In other words, the seller made a whopping 1,524.62% return ($49,550.00).
Panini is releasing its 2023 Panini Three and Two 1st Off the Line hobby box on the 16th. The Hobby Boxes average one slabbed autograph card and one slabbed relic card. Each 1st Off the Line box contains four exclusive cards. Since Panini doesn’t have a license with the MLB or MLBPA, the set only showcases prospects and retired players.
The box is on presale from Blowout Cards for $200.00.
Trending Up, Trending Down
Trending Up: Elly De La Cruz [+68.30]
As we mentioned in the opening, Elly De La Cruz was called up on June 6th and has been off to a hot start through five games. In 19 at bats, De La Cruz is batting .316/.409/.632 and already has a double, a triple, and a home run. While the slash line is strong, Elly has been swinging freely early in his MLB career with a strikeout rate of 45% – something to keep an eye on.
Meanwhile, as we mentioned in the opening, De La Cruz’s eye popping numbers have not slowed down since joining the majors.
Equally eye popping – De La Cruz’s cards have jumped 68.30% in the last 30 days.
Trending down: Jarred Kelenic [-23.18%]
Another week, another Mariner making us sad. Jarred Kelenic has followed up on his stellar April/March hitting .308/.336/.615 with a May hitting .250/.304/.423. The numbers in June have fallen off a cliff through 7 games to .200/.310/.400. Kelenic’s strikeout rate in April/March was just fine at 27.7%, but Jarred and his teammates certainly would trade that number for the 36.2% strikeout rate since then.
Kelenic’s cards have fallen off a cliff after being our top riser in Game 2, dropping 23.18% in the last 30 days.
Prospect of the Week: Luis Matos
Luis Matos, 21, San Francisco Giants, OF
In 2022, Luis Matos was struggling to compete in High-A Eugene. He was dealing with a quad injury and precipitously dropped down the top-prospect list. In 91 games, he hit .211/.275/.344. It was also a good time to be buying his 1st Bowman Auto Cards. This year has been a little different.
He started in Double-A and, in 31 games, slashed .304/.398.443. That earned Matos a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento where he continues to shine. In 21 games so far, Matos’ numbers are .379/.422/.470. Through 314 games in the minors, Matos is hitting .299/.360/.470.
He has a knack for making contact on almost any pitch and putting the ball into play. While playing a six-game series against the Tacoma Rainiers earlier this year, he went 16 for 30…
At the moment, the Giants don’t seem to have an open spot for Matos. If Matos keeps performing at this absurd level, I have to imagine one may open up for him soon.
His 2020 1st Bowman Chrome Base Auto PSA 10 sells for around $215.00.
Luis Matos’s Scouting Grades:
Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50
Trivia Answer of the Week
Clemente’s grand slam was hit on July 25, 1956, off Cubs pitcher Jim Brosnan.
Bonus fun fact: Clemente’s first big league homer on April 18, 1955, was also an inside-the-park homer.