The 2023 MLB season is underway and while we’ve only seen most teams play one game, it’s never too early to project MVP and how it will impact the baseball card market. Generally, when a player wins MVP, their card stock rises. We saw that last year with New York Yankees OF Aaron Judge winning his first AL MVP award. Paul Goldschmidt won his first in the NL. There’s also more of an emphasis on collecting the potential MVP because of the Topps Chrome MVP buyback program.
Below we’re going to go over the MVP market on DraftKings Sportsbook and project some players to invest in.
2023 MLB MVP odds: Baseball cards to invest in
Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners
MVP odds: +700
Rookie card year: 2022
The cat is out of the bag so to speak with J-Rod after his breakout last year to win AL Rookie of the Year. The Mariners OFer made the AL All-Star team and hit 28 HRs with 75 RBI and 25 stolen bases while hitting .284. If Rodriguez can improve on those numbers and become a legit five-tool player, winning AL MVP should happen, whether it be this year or in the future.
Rodriguez cards are still going to be pricey given his upside and winning ROTY. There’s still room for that market to go up, though. Getting in now is a bit late but collecting rookies is still attainable given the price of some of the boxes that house his rookie card. You may not be able to get the high-priced stuff but getting some good variations of his rookie card aren’t too difficult to pull off before he wins an MVP.
Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles
MVP odds: +1400
Rookie card year: 2019-2023
Rutschman rookie cards you’ll be able to find as far back as 2019 with his prospect card. The market is hot for the Orioles catcher after his 5-hit performance in the opener vs. the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. Rutschman will be in the heart of Baltimore’s order, a lineup that could surprise this season. Long-term this plays well for his card market to increase and his AL MVP odds are very high right now.
It may be more of an overreaction, but worst-case scenario is Rutschman is the next big catcher in the Majors and a perennial All-Star. He has a bit of an upperhand given his position. It’s been a while but catchers do get the benefit of the doubt a lot of times given the wear and tear of playing the position. We’ve seen Joe Mauer and Ivan Rodriguez win MVPs in the past. Similar to J-Rod, it’s a bit late on Rutschman but his rookie cards are spread out a bit. You can also chase some potential cards this year since this figures to be his breakout season.
Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays
MVP odds: +2500
Rookie card year: 2021, 2022
There are prospect cards for Franco before 2022 but his rookie card was a hot commodity last season. The funny thing is, he didn’t exactly turn heads in his rookie year in 2021 and followed that up with six HRs and 33 RBI over 83 games while hitting .277 last season. So really we haven’t seen the Wander breakout season yet. Which means there’s still plenty of value in investing in his card market.
The Rays SS started off 2023 with a HR in the opener and is still a good darkhorse bet to win AL MVP at this number. Tampa Bay always has the potential to surprise and compete for first place in the AL East. Coming out of nowhere to beat the Yankees and Blue Jays for first would go a long way for Franco cards if he can put together an MVP-caliber season.
Trea Turner, Philadelphia Phillies
MVP odds: +800
Rookie card year: 2014-16
Going back and investing in Turner rookie cards probably is going to be too pricey. While there’s plenty of hype around Turner to win NL MVP this season, it’s going to take a lot and we could see his odds start to fall. Turner’s best season was in 2021, when he led the League in hits with 195, steals with 32, and batting average with .328. He finished with 28 HRs and 77 RBI as well. While those numbers are attainable, he’d need to duplicate that season, in which he finished fifth in NL MVP voting. So even in a ceiling season for Turner, it would need to be a perfect storm.
We get the hype. The Phillies’ lineup is formidable and Turner should score a ton of runs. If he hits career highs in HRs and RBI and wins a batting title, he’d have a strong case for MVP. It still feels like somewhat of a stretch. At this point, investing heavily in Turner’s card market seems like getting ahead of ourselves.
Manny Machado, San Diego Padres
MVP odds: +1500
Rookie card year: 2010-13
Similar to Turner, Machado rookie cards aren’t as viable a target given how long he’s been in the League. Last season, Machado appeared to be running away with MVP before Paul Goldschmidt emerged and won. The Padres have perhaps the most top-heavy lineup with Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Juan Soto and soon-to-be Fernando Tatis Jr. That’s a lot of mouths to feed but Machado is also in the best position to produce big numbers batting third behind Soto and likely Tatis once he’s back.
Machado is in a loaded group of NL players who have won MVP or come close; this includes Freddie Freeman, Nolan Arenado, Mookie Betts, Ronald Acuna Jr. It’s just tough out here in the NL. Machado feels like a good bet at this number considering how close he was to MVP last season. It makes sense to invest in some rare parallels for Machado rather than going all the way back for rookie stuff.
Oneil Cruz, Pittsburgh Pirates
MVP odds: +5000
Rookie card year: 2022
Cruz is the most polarizing player in the baseball card market in my eyes. If you didn’t see the HR he hit on opening day, please go watch it. Cruz has the type of power Aaron Judge used to hit 62 HRs last season and win AL MVP. The Pirates’ SS is just a walking highlight reel, which will help him on a bad team. The crazy part is his rookie cards still feel SUPER affordable. While he likely isn’t going to win NL MVP this season, his long-term scope/outlook is very positive. It won’t be long before Cruz is one of the leading HR hitters in the MLB (it may even be this season). This is more of a long-term investment but it should pay off.