Three weeks into his major league career, Rafael Devers has risen from Red Sox savior to rookie phenom. National attention has made his early baseball cards must haves for rookie card collectors.
In desperate need for a power hitting third baseman, the Red Sox turned to Devers instead of acquiring a veteran slugger. The 20-year-old Dominican Republic native responded by slugging eight home runs and 16 RBI while batting .364 in his first 20 games. His major league debut came too late in the season to be included in any 2017 baseball card sets, so Devers cards bearing the official “RC” logo will be issued in 2018 base sets. In the meantime, prospect collectors can choose from over 700 Devers insert, subset, and parallel cards.
The 2014 Bowman Chrome Draft series is the first to include Devers. As part of the “Top Prospects” subset, he is featured in full MLB gear — three years before his debut. The shiney chrome versions are among the hobby’s most popular cards, selling for $8 with more limited Refractor versions getting $18. Also featuring early cards of Mookie Betts, Kris Bryant, Aaron Judge, Jose Abreu, and Jacob deGrom among others, 2014 Bowman Chrome is a must for prospect collectors.
Devers’ national spotlight grew brighter in mid August when the rising star slugged a game-tying ninth inning home run off Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman before a national television audience. Devers followed his Yankee Stadium heroics by becoming just the 35th player since 1913 to record a two-homer game before turning 21, joining the likes of Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Mel Ott, Mike Trout, and Carlos Correa. The light shined even brighter the following night when Devers triggered an around-the-horn triple play before the Fenway crowd, the 31st triple play in Red Sox history.
Increased national attention means increased interest in Devers certified autographed cards. Although the Devers 2015 Bowman Chrome “Prospects Autograph” isn’t his first autographed card, it is the most coveted. Complete with MLB markings and logos, the on-card autograph is selling for $200 with Refractor versions commanding as much as $400. Known as “Home of the Rookie Card”, the Bowman name enhances early autographed cards of baseball’s rising stars.
Devers initially caught the eye of Red Sox scouts at the age of 14. Considered the top left-handed hitter among international free agents two years later, Devers signed a $1.5 million contract with the Red Sox. After dominating the Dominican Summer League and making the Gulf Coast League All-Star team, Devers sports his Greenville Drive Red Sox uniform in the 2015 Topps Heritage series. For minor league and oddball card collectors, this is a great buy for $3. His 2015 Choice minor league card takes the traditional approach of local distribution. The card is rather simple in design, but a limited print run makes it highly coveted for $15. Because of the minimal gloss on the card fronts, minor league cards are ideal for in-person autographs.
Devers has already made a significant impact in Red Sox history. Earlier in the month major league baseball’s youngest player joined Babe Ruth, Williams, Dalton Jones, and Tony Conigliaro as the only Red Sox in the last 100 years with four or more hits in a single game by age 20. Linked to Red Sox greats from the last 100 years, Devers has become a favorite of memorabilia collectors. The 2015 Elite Extra Edition “Future Threads” Silhouette Signatures is a rare memorabilia card issued by Panini. The unique “Future Threads” card is serial numbered to just 125 and has a jersey swatch layered underneath the player image. The lower portion of the card displays Devers’ signature. The card value has doubled in the past month, currently selling for $100.
If the Red Sox continue winning and advance to the postseason with Devers still slugging his way through the league, his cards will heat up the postseason and offseason.