If I Had to Pick a New Player to Collect
By Guy Mitchell aka sweetg1
I’m not one that collects current or active players because there are too many intangibles to today’s players. We often seek out current players as role models, often to see them fall from the graces (i.e. Barry Bonds). Or we pick an athlete because we see them hit a monster home run and we are so enticed by such displays, that we often forgive their shortcomings of poor defense (i.e. Manny Ramirez). It’s also easy to pick someone who is often on TV, thus making his cards difficult to collect because of costs (i.e. Derek Jeter). If I had to pick a new player to collect, I would pick Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies because of many reasons.
Carlos Gonzalez has often been recognized as more than a five-tool player. For those not familiar with the term, a five-tool player is one that possesses five different tools. He can:
- Hit for Average
- Hit for Power
- Run the Bases
- Can Field His Position
- Can Throw
Carlos Gonzalez has often been called by Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy a six-tool player because he characterized Gonzalez as possessing the normal five tools, but included a six tool that Gonzalez had undeniable great character, was unselfish towards his teammates, and was just an overall nice person. All this considering that he’s 25 years old and such a leader in the clubhouse.
We often look at our favorite athletes and give them free passes for their shortcomings. This isn’t to suggest that Gonzalez is perfect, as I personally don’t know him. However, how many of us looked at our favorite players like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Roger Clemens and forgave them for their alleged steroid use or choose to look past the indiscretions of guys like Tiger Woods with his off-the- golf course problems? We tend to be forgiving when a player lets us down for one reason or another. With Carlos Gonzalez, all we could say about him is that he didn’t play to his potential as a youngster. However, we could also look at that as he overcame the stigma of not playing to his potential early in his career to the point where he became one of the cornerstones of the Rockies to the point they gave him a 7 year, $80.5 million contract.
Looking at his contributions on the field as a pro, he won a batting title and was in serious contention for a Triple Crown, where he ultimately lost the HR title and the RBI title. What many didn’t see is that he spent approximately a quarter of the season not in the number 3 hole where he finished the season, but he spent a quarter of the season leading off because of the team need. This cost him a significant amount of RBIs early in the season. As an outfielder, the guy committed only one error and collected eight outfield assists (three shy of the leader) in 2010. This is what I would call great value given that his 2011 salary is $1.4 million! His contributions on the field have made people forget about losing Matt Holliday.
What also makes Carlos Gonzalez possibly attractive with collectors is that he plays in the small market of Colorado. While Colorado has had it’s share of stars such as Larry Walker (another five-tool player) and Todd Helton (who will draw Hall of Fame consideration), the card collecting market has never been especially favorable (meaning, their cards aren’t super expensive) for these players (for many reasons). Some will say that they played at altitude during the pre-humidor era and some say that Larry Walker wasn’t always especially nice (he was a guy who really kind of kept to himself, I believe), so their cards have been favorably priced. If any of these guys played in a big market, their cards would have been through the roof. There is no doubt in my mind that a young player such as Gonzalez and his cards would be off the charts if he played in New York or Los Angeles.
As I previously mentioned, I don’t collect current players because I feel like doing so will only lead to disappointment. However, I do look at some players, such as Carlos Gonzalez and think, “if I did collect current players, he would be one that I would definitely consider”.
Happy Trading Everyone!
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