Three Up, Three Down: Bowman Prospects

Bowman Prospects

Contributor: John Dudley

2023 Bowman is a hit and Bowman Sapphire recently ushered in a new era of Dutch auctions for Topps. With Bowman on the brain, I decided it’d be a good time to check in on the minors to see how former (and current) Bowman darlings are doing. The season is far from over, but the players have enough at-bats to evaluate them. Note that I said at-bats as I’m not looking at pitchers here. At all. It’s just gotten too hard to predict pitching performances to bother.  

When looking at guys in the minors, I tend to focus on players 23 and younger. It is just too much of an uphill battle for guys who are older to make noise in the hobby. It doesn’t mean the occasional 24 or 25-year-old never gets hot in the hobby. It is just more likely to happen for the youngsters. I’m also trying to stay away from likely call-up guys in this article, but will mention that Colton Cowser, Elly De La Cruz, Matt McClain, and Mark Vientos look ready now and are biding their time terrorizing poor pitchers in the minors. The guys I’m looking at should finish the year still in the minors, but I could see a couple of them getting a cup of coffee in the majors. 

Three Up 

1. Jackson Holiday- At only 19, Holiday leads the Minors in OPS. That’s regardless of age. The Orioles have rewarded this with a move up to AA which didn’t slow Holiday down one bit. He’s making a good case to be the number-one-rated prospect in baseball, or at least in the discussion. If he keeps this up, he’ll claim that title with little debate.

Holiday’s prices have gone up based on his success. His 1st Bowman Chrome Auto has jumped from the $250 range to regularly selling over $400. The various refractor versions have become serious high-dollar cards. His cards still have likely increases with each level he advances though so there is still time to hop on the Holiday train.

2. Junior Caminero- I thought collectors might’ve been sleeping on Caminero, but they’ve all noticed the sizzling production too. Outside of Holiday, Caminero might be the top performer in the minors currently. With 11 home runs in high-A ball and an OPS of 1.111, collectors were not going to overlook the recent Rays super prospect. 

Caminero’s Bowman Chrome Auto hasn’t really dipped since it came out which is a good sign that people have noticed his production. Normally, the more hyped guys see drops after the first couple of weeks, but Caminero has held steady around the $200 range. His production isn’t that far off from Holiday’s but he is half the price. That means there is still plenty of room for prices to increase. 

3. Jonatan Clase- The 21-year-old has advanced to AA and is hitting the ball well. He’s also second amongst players I looked at in terms of his speed rating and has 28 steals already. He’s well set to be a fantasy baseball darling which often translates to hobby success. He’s got an OPS of over 1.000 and his power has developed nicely. He’s got almost as many home runs already as he did in 2022. That speed and power combo is hobby catnip. The main concern is strikeouts. If he can cut those down, he is a potential superstar. 

Clase had a solid, but unspectacular 2022, lowering demand for his cards. Bowman Chrome Autos can be had for under $75 which seems like a decent deal given his potential and age. However, this is a big increase from this offseason when these could be had for far less. A Purple sold for only $20 and a base BCA 1st sold for just over $10 before the season started. He’s a good reminder that there are deals to be had on hyped guys who don’t initially hit well in the minors. 

Two Bonus Guys

4. Marcelo Mayer- Mayer was THE guy to get in 2021 Bowman Draft. He still is in my opinion. Mayer had a strong 2022 and picked up right where he left off. Actually, he’s doing even better with an average over .300 and an OPS over .900 in High A ball. He also has cut down on his strikeouts. It does seem like it is time for him to jump to AA though. The lack of advancement could be keeping his card prices deflated a bit. 

Mayer’s cards have cooled down from their release. They still sell well at close to $250 for a Bowman Chrome Auto. That price looks especially great in comparison to the three guys on the down list. If he gets the promotion to AA and avoids the pitfalls that are common there, expect big gains for his cards. 

5. Carlos Jorge- The 19-year-old is hitting well and showing off his speed in early action this year. He’s only in A-Ball, but is doing everything you would want a young hitter to do including stealing ten bases so far. I wanted to highlight at least one less heralded player. I chose Jorge as he’s a guy that could shoot up the prospect lists if he keeps doing this well given his age. 

His Bowman Chrome Autos sell for around $40 to $45 so he’s not a complete sleeper, but he’s priced well below everyone else on this list so I think he qualifies as somewhat of a sleeper.

Three Down 

1. Jasson Dominguez- The Martian seems like he’s been around forever, but he’s still only 20. He has prodigious power, but is still working on developing an all-around game. The move to AA depressed his production at the end of last year and he still hasn’t adjusted fully. A sub-.200 average isn’t the kiss of death it used to be, but when in comes with an Ops of .753, it is hard to get excited.

Dominguez’s cards are way down from their peak. There are still plenty of believers though with his Bowman Chrome Auto 1st last trading at $495. This is extravagant given that a Holiday can be had for around $400. His prices are bolstered by the fact that many/most that invested heavily in him are not willing to let his cards go for substantial losses. At some point soon, if he doesn’t start producing expect a race to dump these and get some value back. On the bright side, his cards spike quickly with just the slightest amount of good news.

2. Jackson Chourio- Chourio was one of the biggest prospect names last year and crushed A-ball pitching. AA has been more of a challenge. He hasn’t been awful but isn’t doing anything to get accolades either. He’s young enough that he could bounce back quickly.

His Bowman Chrome Autos are down to under $300. That’s a hefty price tag for a player trending the wrong way. Eventually, the price might drop enough for him to be a sneaky pick up, but there is a long way for the price to drop for that to happen.

3. Jordan Lawlar- Like the other two on this list, Lawlar is having trouble with the jump to AA. A sub .700 OPS and sub .200 average are not what one wants from a top-20 Baseball America prospect. Hopefully, he’ll turn it around soon or we’ll see if he can even stay on the Top 100 list next year.

Lawlar’s Bowman Chrome Autos have dropped to under $200. He’s definitely a tantalizing prospect to buy low on, but I’m not sure how many collectors have the stomach to invest $200 in a player that’s struggling. I still like Lawlar but am waiting for prices to dip a bit more. It might not be a bad time to send out some lower offers on Lawlar cards to see if anyone bites.

Wrap Up

The prospecting game is a fast-moving one fraught with perils, but that also means it is also full of hidden treasure. What guys have you been keeping an eye on this year? Who is meeting your expectations and who is the big disappointment? Let me know in the comments. 

Also, if you haven’t checked out the insanely useful Card Shop Live app, what are you waiting for? It’s great for breaks, personal rips, singles, and hobby info. The breakers are all heavily vetted so no shenanigans here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>