Using eBay to project future fantasy baseball studs
MAR 19, 2014 5:55p ET
Over the last six months, I’ve researched and reported on the rapid evolution of the trading card industry. That included a pack of premium basketball cards that rose to over $2,000 per pack and a five-figure Yasiel Puig autographed baseball card.
As fantasy baseball draft season heats up over the next two weeks, owners in keeper and dynasty leagues will be looking for any edge when scouting and selecting minor league prospects. If you are an owner who thinks outside the box when it comes to draft strategy and draft strategy analysis, I think I have a unique source of information: eBay.
The online auction site is a treasure trove of data pointing to which minor league prospects card collectors (see: investors / prospectors) are buying. Do these financial trends translate directly to future fantasy baseball success? Well, perhaps not solely on dollar signs attached to a player’s name after an auction ends. However, if you combine information from one of my favorite websites, MLB Pipeline, with completed prospect sales on eBay, it can give you a different perspective when planning your dynasty and keeper league strategies.
Using MLB Pipeline’s 2014 prospects watch by position, a quick spin around the horn generate these eBay returns:
Analysis: The Mets’ catcher has had to overcome a series of injuries the past few years, but should get 130-140 games in this season if all goes well. The dings and dents to his body impacted his eBay sales over the last 12 months and, in turn, you don’t see too many owners going out of their way to take a flier on him.
Top First Baseman
Analysis: The Astros’ prospect was suspended 50 games last season for testing positive for marijuana. He later entered rehab to address his addiction. Singleton has all the makings of a solid power hitter in the Astros’ lineup, but his batting average and OBP could use some work.
Top Second Baseman
Analysis: As previously stated in my top fantasy prospects feature, Wong shouldn’t be criticized for his big league numbers at the tail-end of the 2013 season. Inconsistent playing days did not help his acclimation to the big league game. Wong could swipe 20 bases with 10 homers this season for those owner looking for a middle infielder.
Analysis: Darwin Barney is not in the Chicago Cubs’ future. Baez slid over to second base this spring to hopefully expedite his promotion to the show and have a place to play. Starlin Castro has locked up shortstop, Baez’s natural position, for the immediate future.
If you need more proof how high this prospect’s ceiling is, check out Baez’s eBay Sold Listings (sorted by most recent).
Top Third Baseman
Analysis: The Cubs’ World Series drought could be a thing of the past after their rich farm system reaches the big leagues. Bryant’s a few seasons away, but collectors and eBay investors are banking on his future success. Check out Kris Bryant’s eBay Sold Listings (sorted by most recent).
Analysis: Like the Cubs, the Twins are rebuilding for the future and the foundation of that future is Buxton. The 20-year-old is still a work in progress, but has been compared to Mike Trout at this juncture of his minor league career.
Oh yeah, and Buxton’s eBay Sold Listings are on the rise for a second time.
Top Starting Pitcher
Analysis: With Patrick Corbin’s (UCL) 2014 season up in the air, Bradley is the first option to earn a nod as the Diamondbacks’ No. 5 starter. His baseball cards have been floating around eBay for a few years now and their value is about to see a nice boost – as if they needed it. Check our Archie Bradley eBay Sold Listings (sorted by most recent).