The baseball card market is thriving at the moment with interest in the hobby at an all-time high. Whether you’re a casual collector looking to build your first set or a serious investor scouting for the next big score, there are plenty of enticing options available across various price points. In this in-depth guide, we’ll break down some of the best baseball cards to purchase right now based on player performance, career milestones, rookie card status and overall collectibility.

Shohei Ohtani (2021 Topps Chrome Refractor RC #156) – Ohtani has quickly become one of the most exciting players in baseball thanks to his two-way talents as both a pitcher and hitter. His rookie cards from 2021 Topps products are some of the hottest investments on the market right now. The Topps Chrome Refractor parallel is the creme de la creme and fetches prices well over $1000 raw. Ohtani is still early in his career but already cementing himself as a once-in-a-generation superstar. His cards hold tremendous long-term upside.

Fernando Tatis Jr. (2019 Topps Chrome RC #US300) – Like Ohtani, Tatis is that rare breed of player who energizes fans with his do-it-all abilities and flair for the dramatic. Still just 23, he’s well on his way to a Hall of Fame career if he stays healthy. His flagship rookie from 2019 Topps Chrome is a must-have for collectors. Prices have cooled slightly after a torrid rise but this card remains a cornerstone for any investment-minded collection under $500.

Wander Franco (2021 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor RC #GMA-WF) – Widely considered the top prospect in baseball, Franco burst onto the scene in 2021 by hitting .288 with 7 home runs in 70 games as a 20-year-old. He’s the new face of the Tampa Bay Rays franchise. His rookie cards, especially the ultra-short printed Topps Chrome Gold Refractor, command astronomical prices already north of $2000. Franco may be a risk given his limited MLB experience but possesses all the tools to be a perennial all-star.


Mike Trout (2009 Topps Chrome RC #231) – As the best all-around player of his generation and current standard bearer for the Angels, Trout is as safe a bet as they come when it comes to future Hall of Famers. Despite being in the league over a decade, his flagship rookie from 2009 Topps Chrome still trades actively in the $500-1000 range. Even a low-grade copy would make a great long-term hold. Trout’s career achievements to date are already Cooperstown-worthy.

Jacob deGrom (2011 Topps Chrome RC #165) – When healthy, the Mets ace is arguably the most dominant pitcher in baseball. He’s a shoo-in for the Hall once retired based on his two Cy Young awards and career ERA under 3. While not as marketable as some other stars, deGrom’s rookie card from his first Topps Chrome issue in 2011 is highly collectible in the $200-500 range. Any serious baseball card investor would be wise to have this one in their portfolio.

Juan Soto (2018 Topps Chrome RC #US300) – Still just 23, Soto has already established himself as one of the game’s most feared hitters, owning a career .281 batting average and OPS north of .950. He plays for the Nationals in his hometown of Washington D.C., giving him tremendous crossover appeal. Prices have dipped from last year’s highs but his 2018 Topps Chrome rookie can be found in the $150-300 range, making it a solid long-term bet.


Ronald Acuña Jr. (2018 Topps Chrome RC #US300) – When fully healthy, few players are as electrifying to watch as Acuña. Unfortunately injuries have slowed his progress the last two seasons after a breakout 2018 ROY campaign. Still just 24, he has star potential if able to stay on the field. His rookie card from 2018 Topps Chrome remains one of the more affordable options for a future superstar at $100-200. Plenty of upside left in his career.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (2019 Topps Chrome RC #US300) – While he may not possess his Hall of Famer father’s defensive skills, Vlad Jr. can certainly mash. He’s developed into an all-star caliber player at just 23 and will be a cornerstone for the Blue Jays moving forward. His flagship rookie from 2019 Topps Chrome is an easy pick up under $100 with room for growth as he enters his prime years.

Julio Rodriguez (2022 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor RC #150) – As the 21-year-old centerpiece of the up-and-coming Mariners, Rodriguez made a huge splash in his rookie campaign by hitting 28 home runs and stealing 25 bases. He’s already among the most exciting young stars in baseball. His ultra-short printed gold refractor rookie fetched over $1000 on release but can now be found in the $300-500 range, still a bargain investment given his all-star potential.

Luis Robert (2020 Topps Chrome RC #153) – When fully healthy, the White Sox centerfielder is a five-tool threat who hits for power and plays Gold Glove defense. Injuries have slowed his progress but at just 25, he’s still reaching his prime years. His rookie card from 2020 Topps Chrome remains affordable at under $100 and holds promise if Robert can stay on the field in 2023 and beyond.


Spencer Strider (2022 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor RC #150) – As a late-blooming rookie who broke out with 202 strikeouts in 131 innings in 2022, Strider announced himself as a future ace in Atlanta. The Braves have a history of developing pitching talent and the righty has all the tools to be a frontline starter for years. His ultra-short printed gold refractor rookie around $150 is a high-upside flier.

Bobby Witt Jr. (2022 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor RC #150) – The number two overall pick from 2019 had a strong debut campaign for the Royals, showing off plus power and defense at shortstop. At just 22, he’s a franchise cornerstone for the rebuilding KC squad. His gold refractor rookie around $150 makes for an affordable gamble on continued improvement.

The current baseball card market presents many opportunities for collectors across all budget levels. Rookies of young stars like Ohtani, Tatis and Franco carry the most risk but also highest long-term upside. Established veterans like Trout and deGrom offer a safer investment profile. Meanwhile, prospects like Strider and Witt Jr. offer intriguing high-risk, high-reward propositions. Doing your research on players, parallels and general market trends will help you identify the best baseball cards to purchase right now for both enjoyment and potential future appreciation.

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