Underdog is not a person, dog, or financial advisor. This weekly column is offered to help our friends,-- our fellow Underdogs -- navigate the ups and downs of the hobby. We would love to hear from you when you agree, disagree, or feel you have an edge that you would like to share with fellow Underdogs.
BUY – Daniel Jones
The hobby has overvalued New York-based QBs for years, but for some reason, Jones has not received the same love. The soft-spoken Jones was not well regarded out of HS, and had limited scholarship offers. However, his mind, accuracy, and pocket mobility collided with Cutcliffe’s beautiful football mind to yield a first round pick. The NFL requires high speed processing and accurate mid-range throws, both strengths that Jones has in spades. Eli Manning is hanging on, but not for long. The Giants must look ahead, and at some point this year they will need to see what the future could look like. Engram, Barkley, and Shepard are more than adequate weapons, and if paired with a promising QB, expectations could shift from middling to huge in a matter of games. Considering that Jones’ card prices are half of Murray’s cards, and he plays in a football-crazy market, you can’t go wrong with stashing a few signature cards and wait for that first breakout game. The only question is when will he get his chance on the field?
SELL – Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
As I write this, the Blue Jays are 27.5 Games out of first place in the AL East, and at least 19 games out of the AL Wild Card Race. That leaves Vladdy Jr. approximately 60 days to fulfill his hobby hype-train potential before we watch the MLB Playoffs begin and see a playoff-bound rookie like Alex Verdugo flash his potential and steal hobby favor. Not to mention the bevy of tenured, young players that could shine this postseason (see Bellinger, Bregman, Acuna, etc.). I am not saying that he won’t have a productive career, but the only way that you build on Vlad-like expectations over an extended period is by producing and being on a competitive team. Guerrero has been clocked with the 2nd highest exit velocity on the season confirming the swing speed and power we all love, but when you look at average exit velocity, he doesn’t even rank in the top 25, being overshadowed by hitters like Aaron Judge, Lucas Duda and Michael Taylor. It is important to note exit velocity isn’t everything. Cody Bellinger isn’t in the Top Ten either, and is having an amazing year. But for a hitter like Guerrero that doesn’t have great speed, he must produce Home Runs and Doubles. The good news is that he has age (20) in his favor, but the hobby moves fast and there will be other players to buy and collect. Net, our short term forecast projects his cards will remain flat to declining. And when you think longer-term, we are confident there are better investment options in the hobby. Name the last player that was overweight at an early stage of his career and performed well past age 30. Stop...I’ll wait for it.
HOLD – Rookie Running Backs
Is there anything more fun than firing up our interest in the upcoming NFL season in July with some of the early football products? Just last night we were breaking Panini Elements, one of the best looking NFL products released in the last few years. As we do this, it is very tempting to flip a few of the hot NFL rookies who will be popping out of packs. This has become particularly tempting for running backs given that there are so many split-carry and platoon situations. However, as you look at this year’s class, I could see wisdom in resisting the temptation to list or accept that “best offer” in August. If you look at the eBay prices for rookie backs like Darrell Henderson, David Montgomery, and Josh Jacobs, they don’t carry the hype of previous rookie RB classes, and for good reason. When you consider that only two backs, Montgomery and Jacobs, project to fairly clear-cut starting roles, and some of the more accomplished collegiate running backs are facing split-carry or back-up duties, then you might feel like playing roulette with their season-long projections. If that is the case, don’t spin, and give the preseason and first few weeks of the regular season time to play out. It only takes one breakout game for 3rd Round rookie RB’s card prices to double.
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Will you be at the National this week? Look for these 8 guys.