If you missed out on a Vlad Guerrero Jr. rookie card when we told you how bullish we were in spring training, don’t fret. It’s not too late. Even though Vlad has become arguably the best hitter in the entirety of Major League Baseball. In case you haven’t looked lately, the former “can’t miss” prospect is finally living up to the hype and owns a DEVASTATING .329/.435/.1.078 triple slash through the first two months of the season. The latter of those two stats is good for the best in the AL. Oh, and his 18 home runs and absurd 1.078 OPS are good for the best in Majors. Safe to say this author is still reeling from his decision to trade Vlad for Lewis Brinson in his fantasy league 4 years ago. OUCH. Let’s take a look at the road that has finally led Guerrero Jr. to the promised land.
The Road to Vlad’s 2021 Breakout
While Vlad’s first two seasons in the big leagues certainly weren’t a disaster, they fell short of what many fans and collectors were hoping for. However, perhaps everyone should have taken a breath and remembered that he was still only 21 years old and FAR from his prime years. After all, 24 home runs and an averaging hovering around .270 over the course of your first 685 MLB at bat’s isn’t the end of the world. At any rate, the signs of Vlad’s maturity started to show in spring training as Vlad Guerrero Jr.’s epic weight loss began to signal he was taking the game more seriously.
In addition to the more streamlined exterior, Vlad’s play in 2021 spring training is also something that should have raised some eyebrows. While it was a small sample size and only exhibition games, Vlad Jr. harnessed his inner old man by hitting .421 with a .511 OBP and 1.247 OPS. Oh, and he only struck out a total of just 5 times throughout the entire spring. We don’t about y’all but that kind of camp made us hungry for a Vlad Guerrero rookie card investment.
Here’s what we said just before the 2021 regular season:
“At the end of the day, if you combine Vlad’s decent showing in his first two seasons along with another year of age, the shedding of a few pounds, and a blistering-hot spring training there are plenty of reasons to think this could be his breakout season. And if that happens, you’ll notice a resurgence in the Vlad Guerrero Jr. rookie card market. In other words, now could be a great time to get in early on one of the following cards!”
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Best Vlad Guerrero Jr. Rookie Card Options
2016 Bowman Chrome (Buy on eBay)
If you’re a believer in the Vlad breakout (and we certainly are), this is the card you’ll need to be paying attention to. For starters, it’s the most popular of Vlad’s rookie cards. Secondly, it has some pretty valuable variations. If you’re looking to drop a decent amount take a look at a Green Refractor Auto like the card shown above. Sure, it’ll cost ya, but that just means an even bigger reward if an MVP is on the way. And even if it’s not for that matter.
2019 Topps Chrome Sapphire (Buy on eBay)
Unlike the card above, this one is a true rookie card for Vlad’s 2019 debut season. Another great asset if you’re looking to turn in a sizeable investment on your Vlad Guerrero Jr. rookie card. If you want plenty of skin in the game we recommend seeking out that Red or Purple refractor.
2019 Topps Heritage (Buy on eBay)
A more suitable investment for those looking to take a more casual approach. Unlike the last two cards, think hundreds, not thousands of dollars if you want one in your collection. In addition to the affordable price, the Topps Heritage collection has turned out to be one of the most popular sets in recent years. And it’s easy to see why – who doesn’t like being reminded of what baseball cards USED to look like. If you’re not big on patches, holograms, sparkles, etc. this is the card for you.
2016 Bowman’s Best (Buy This Vlad Jr. Rookie Card on eBay)
A great idea if you desire an earlier edition “prospect” Vlad Guerrero Jr. rookie card and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg. This offering from Bowman is a fraction of the price of the Chrome we talked about earlier and includes a pretty swell photo Vlad in batting practice taking a full follow-through. Surely the young man is about to rip the cover off the ball. Something we’ve seen a lot of so far in 2021.
2019 Topps “No Number” (Buy on eBay)
An error card AND a rookie card combined?? Count us in! It’s the exact same as the Sapphire Edition we talked about earlier minus the glitz and glam that comes with a card from the Chrome collection. That and it’s missing the card number! On top of the misprint, another great feature of this card is its price. Even grade 10 PSA cards are still available for around $300. For now anyway! If Vlad continues the insanity with the bat all season long we could easily see the PSA 10’s skyrocket towards $1,000. Enough said?
2017 Bowman Draft (Buy on eBay)
Bowman Draft is without a doubt one the collection’s we look forward to the most each year. For starters, it gives collector’s a sneak preview at all of the best up and coming talent in the league. And since this is a “draft” set it’s all about prospects who have yet to make their big league debut. Therefore, speculation is the name of the game here. Safe to say anyone who made a speculative play on Vlad back in 2017 is sitting pretty in 2022.
The Vlad Guerrero Jr. rookie card shown here is the Orange Refractor in gem mint condition. This one holds a value of around $500 but there are plenty of other great options in a wide variety of price ranges.
Vlad Guerrero Jr. Rookie Card Honorable Mention
2019 Donruss Optic (Buy on eBay)
We have to give the classic Donruss “Rated Rookie” card some love here. Sure it’s not as valuable as the MLB -licensed Bowman and Topps cards above, BUT that Donruss baseball-style never gets old. There are all kinds of options from the 2019 Optics collection so pick one in your price range and grab it.
What is a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Rookie Card Worth?
It goes without saying that it depends on the card. However, some of the high-end cards like the 2016 Chrome we posted above can go for thousands of dollars if they receive a high enough grade from PSA or Beckett. Meanwhile, you can find a standard base card few less than a buck. Quite the difference. Regardless of whether you own a $2,000 Auto Refractor or a $0.55 Topps Update base card, we have a feeling they’ll all be worth more in the near future.
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Vlad Guerrero Jr. Rookie Card Investment Strategy
Short (1 year or less)
What we said before the start of the season:
“Call it a hunch, but we’re firm believers that Vlad will have his best year so far. He’s in shape, has another year of experience under his belt, just finished a torrid spring, and is a flat-out natural hitter. Expect an increase in both the power and average. Sounds like a break-out to us“.
We hate to pat ourselves on the back too hard but c’mon. Even though it may seem the market is at the top, we believe there’s still PLENTY of room to run. Some of the cards on this list are only up 30% since before Vlad began his 2021 onslaught on Major League pitching. Sure that’s a great return but we all know the current sports card market is capable of MUCH MORE.
Medium (1 to 3 years)
Now that Vlad is having his long-awaited breakout campaign, we expect only better things to come. If he can string along a couple of great seasons at the plate you’ll be glad you passed up on the short-term profits. We can’t fault anyone who wants to hold on and see what Vlad can do in his age 23, 24, and 25 seasons.
Long (3 years plus)
For obvious reasons, we always hesitate to even consider a long-term approach on such a young player. But to be only 22 and dominating the league in this fashion? Safe to say we’ll make an exception for Vlad as all signs point to him being here to stay. And if that’s the case, you can feel great about stashing a few Vlad Guerrero Jr. rookie cards away for the long haul.
PS: Here Are a Few More Bats to Target For 2021