For the second year in a row, Fernando Tatis Jr. is the top shortstop in baseball. This is despite missing 32 games in 2021, mostly due to a shoulder injury, but also because of time off after testing positive for Covid-19 in May.
It probably ended his chances of being named NL MVP, as he finished third overall.
Regardless, Tatis Jr. hit an impressive 42 home runs, which is the second highest single-season total in franchise history.
A player that is clearly deserving of the hype surrounding him right now, the same goes for his very best rookie cards.
The Best Fernando Tatis Jr. Rookie Cards
There are three current standout options when looking at the most popular Tatis Jr. cards on the market.
3. 2019 Topps Chrome Refractor Fernando Tatis Jr. RC #203 (eBay)
2019 Topps Chrome Baseball has a Tatis Jr. RC included in the base set which comes with a massive selection of Refractor parallels.
Many of the rarer options are solely found in hobby/jumbo boxes, making it especially popular on the resale market.
It’s a simple horizontal release that features the player mid-throw in an action shot, with the Padres logo on display.
Parallels: Base Refractor, X-Fractor (Mega Box), Prism, Sepia (Blaster), Pink (Value Pack), Negative, Purple #/299, Blue #/150, Green #/99, Green Wave #/99 (Hobby/Jumbo), Blue Wave #/75 (Hobby/Jumbo), Gold #/50, Gold Wave #/50 (Hobby/Jumbo), Orange #/25 (Hobby), Orange Wave #/25 (Hobby/Jumbo), Red #/5, Red Wave #/5 (Hobby/Jumbo), SuperFractor 1/1, Printing Plates 1/1
2. 2018 Panini Kaboom! Fernando Tatis Jr. RC #K-FT (eBay)
Tatis Jr. is one such inclusion, with the image showing the player after a successful swing.
The cards were originally only available via Panini Rewards, but the comic-book style images make them a definite head-turner.
The Tatis Jr. card is also one of only five of the athletes shown in a horizontal layout.
Parallels: Gold #/10, Green 1/1
1. 2016 Bowman Chrome Fernando Tatis Jr. RC #FT (eBay)
The top spot has to be reserved for the 2016 Bowman Chrome Prospect auto. BCP cards tend to be the most coveted releases for most modern players, and Tatis Jr. is no exception.
As well as a ‘1st Bowman’ logo and an auto, El Niño is shown in his old Chicago White Sox uniform.
(They signed him as an international free agent from the Dominican Prospect League in 2015, before trading the player to the Padres in a deal involving James Shields a year later.)
Parallels: Refractor #/499, Purple Refractor #/250, Blue Refractor #/150, Green Refractor #/99, Gold Refractor #/50 (Vending), Orange Refractor #/25 (Hobby), Orange Shimmer #/10, Red Shimmer #/10, Red Refractor #/5, SuperFractor 1/1, Printing Plates 1/1
Fernando Tatis Jr. Cards: Values
It’s clear that Tatis Jr. is one of the best young players in the league, and prices reflect the overall interest in his cards, as well as the player’s massive potential.
Take PSA 10 copies of the base 2016 Bowman Chrome Prospects Autograph. A flawless version sold for $1,025 in May 2020, and currently sells for almost five times as much on average.
Fernando Tatis Jr. Cards: Cheaper Options
There are many cheaper options if you’re looking for a solid Tatis Jr. RC. Graded base versions of the 2019 Topps Chrome Baseball card are pretty affordable, and should suit collectors at the lower end.
Otherwise, options like the 2019 Topps Chrome Update (#54) are popular if they’ve earned a 10 grade.
The Best Fernando Tatis Jr. Cards to Collect: Summary
Tatis Jr. might have come up short in the NL MVP vote this year, but he has time on his side.
His $340 million, 14-year contract was finalised by the San Diego Padres in February 2021, which is the longest deal in baseball history. (Don’t forget the $10,000,000 signing bonus.)
They’re also banking on El Nino carrying the team to success over the next decade, while he clearly has the tools needed to perform against the best in the world.
We’d keep tabs on his RC prices in the meantime, as they could begin to rise rapidly again if and when he’s named as the Most Valuable Player.