CardShellz Protect What You Collect
- Article continues below - 

Gunnar Henderson Must Own Rookie Cards

Sleeper Picks & After-Thoughts

Published: Feb 27, 2024

Articles & Product Release Checklists on ChasingMajors.com contain affiliate links that when you click on the links, various merchants contribute a commission to our website without any extra expense to the buyer.

The 2023 Baltimore Orioles were one of the biggest surprises in MLB baseball. National "experts" had them projected to win 74 games considering the youth movement of the team and no real understanding of their ability to perform as a unit. 

Of course, we now know they won 101 games and the youth movement shows superstar power. Their best player wasn't former all-star and Silver Slugger Cedric Mullins nor was it 2022 breakout rookie and former first pick in the 2019 MLB draft, Adley Rutschman. Their best player was 22-year-old 3B/SS named Gunnar Henderson.  

Gunnar Henderson is well, really darn good. He hits home runs, plays defense, has arm strength for days, and he runs fast. So fast no base runner in 2023 MLB provided more value than Henderson.   

As a rookie, Gunnar led all AL rookies with 28 home runs and 82 RBI. As for defensive wins above replacement (dWAR), he ranked 7th in the AL with 2.0, which was the top 5% in all of MLB. Putting all of this together, Henderson found himself with an 8th-place finish for AL MVP, the AL Rookie of the Year award, and a Silver Slugger award. I'd say that's really darn good. 

What's funny is this. Despite Henderson's accolades and the Orioles' success, he mostly went unnoticed. A young future superstar going unnoticed is strange, and we think card collectors should consider stockpiling him for collecting purposes, quick speculative flips, and long-term investment. 

Here are a few cards you should consider purchasing.

Sleeper Parallels

Look for low print run non-serial numbered parallels.

2023 Topps Series 1 Gold Foil

2023 Topps Series 1 #206   Gold Foil

Collectors in the know, know that Gold Foils are a sleeping giant related to long term hobby value.  Raw cards of hot rookies typically sell for $20 a few weeks following their release, jumping to $50+ with a successful sophomore year, and drive upwards to $100+ for superstar players.

Approximate Print Run:  ~1,250

2023 Topps Series 1 #206   Rainbow Foil

2023 Topps Series 1 #206   Rainbow Foil

Rainbow Foils are not as popular as Topps Gold parallels, but as Gold card populations become more scarce, rainbow foils become more scarce. 

Approximate Print Run:  ~10,900

2023 Bowman's Best #26   Refractor

2023 Bowman's Best #26   Refractor

More rare than Topps Chrome Refractors, but less rare than Topps Finest Refractors, Bowman's Best Refractors typically sell for less than the others. 

Approximate Print Run:  ~6,525

Top Tip:  Make sure the card states "Refractor" under the number

2023 Topps Stadium Club #19   Black Foil

2023 Topps Stadium Club #19   Black Foil

Almost everything Stadium Club has been undervalued based on print runs, but the Black Foils have run to run when collectors catch onto just how scarce they are. 

Approximate Print Run:  ~1,400


Look for low print run sets that get opened by breakers making them available, but often don't have immediate open market appeal.

2023 Topps Series 1 #206   Royal Blue

2023 Topps Series 1 #206   Royal Blue

Thanks to the 2022 Topps rookie card class, the Royal Blue parallels are starting to catch the eye of collectors.  Yet they remain affordable for the first 3 seasons of a given superstars rise to stardom. 

Approximate Print Run:  ~7,100

2023 Bowman Chrome Sapphire #10

2023 Bowman Chrome Sapphire #10

Sapphire cards have become popular in recent years, leading Topps to capitolize on their popularity.   Bowman Chrome Sapphire has a higher print run than Topps Chrome Sapphire, but the base cards are still fairly limited in production. 

Approximate Print Run:  ~3,150

2023 Topps Chrome Black #44

A popular product for breakers but collectors may still be sleeping on the limited print runs. 

Approximate Print Run:  ~1,500

2023 Topps Museum Collection #34

A high end hobby product with a fairly limited production run. 

Approximate Print Run:  ~3,800

2023 Topps Inception #47

2023 Topps Inception #47

Not every old-school collectors cup of tea, but still a limited print run and pretty affordable. 

Approximate Print Run:  ~3,000


Buying the standards that are popular with collectors who want the most recognizable cards of a given player

2023 Topps Series 1 #206

Approximate Print Run:  ~1,260,000

Topps Series 1 #206   Gold   #/2023

2023 Topps Chrome #2

Approximate Print Run:  ~170,000

2023 Topps Chrome #2   Refractor

Approximate Print Run:  ~14,000

2023 Topps Finest #100   Refractor

Top Tip:  Make sure the card states "Refractor" under the number

Approximate Print Run:  ~2,200

2023 Topps Chrome Sapphire  #206

Approximate Print Run:  ~1,200

We hope you enjoyed this article. If so, check out Modern Baseball Cards Worth Collecting