The 2010s brought us the Baseball rookie cards of many future Hall of Famers. And because it was the decade preceding the big sports card boom of 2020, the printing numbers were lower, and wax was saved less often and is, therefore, more valuable. Therefore, baseball cards have a lot of potential from this period.
But if you want to maximize the potential of 2010 cards, you sometimes need to go off the beaten path. Everyone has or wants to get their hands on a 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout #US175 or a 2018 Bowman Chrome Shohei Ohtani #1. But there are so many other great cards. There are far less expensive cards offering a significantly greater return.
Meanwhile, the 2010s also has a disproportionate share of the most beautiful baseball cards ever. Action photography was at its peak, with improved camera technology. Stadium Club, in particular, took great advantage of that. The decade also saw some early and stunning RPAs take center stage.
But where are the best opportunities? What are the coolest lesser-known cards of the 2010s? Stick with us. We have all the answers.
2012 Topps Triple Threads Bryce Harper Rookie Card Auto Triple Mem #129 /99
A PSA 9 sold for $405.
We are so used to Bryce Harper being first-rate that we don’t even talk about the guy much anymore. But we are talking about a player with 7 All-Stars, 2 MVPs, and over 300 home runs. Oh, and he is only 30 years old. Even if he retired today, he would probably make it into Cooperstown. So, it’s an excellent time to stock up on Bryce Harper cards before people realize how criminally undervalued many of his cards are. The 2012 Topps Triple Threads Bryce Harper Rookie Card Auto Triple Mem #129 /99 is an excellent place to start. It may be the most remarkable rookie card in his roster. We are talking about an RPA from before people even called them that. Incorporating the game-worn relic here is aesthetically perfect, and Harper’s signature is very classy. This thing is gorgeous, and there are also 7 graded copies. Therefore, the value is very likely to skyrocket.
2016 Topps Stadium Club Martin Pardo #271
A PSA 10 sold for 19$.
For my money (and in this case, it won’t be too much money), this is one of the best baseball card shots ever. We often see pictures of athletes soaked in water or Gatorade. But
2016 Topps Stadium Club Martin Pardo #271 is particularly evocative. It gives us that disaster about to happen feeling. There is a reason there are several Stadium Club cards in this list. And it is a reminder of the great Marlins team of that time, which was an absolute delight to watch. Meanwhile, Martin was an excellent and underrated hitter.
2016 Bowman Chrome Draft Pete Alonso Autograph #CDA-PA
A PSA 10 sold for $450.
Maybe it's because I’m a hardcore Mets fan, but I have never understood how Pete gets overlooked the way he does. He has 192 home runs and almost 500 runs batted in at age 28. The slugger hit 53 homers in his rookie season. His power is simply phenomenal, and the baseman has barely entered the prime of his career.
There are two pieces of good news here. We already know the [2016 Bowman Chrome Draft Pete Alonso Autograph #CDA-PA](eady know the 2016 Bowman Chrome Draft Pete Alonso Autograph #CDA-PA is the top Pete Alonso card. And the pric) is the top Pete Alonso card. And the prices are also surprisingly reasonable. So, pick one up now. It will only go up.
2018 Bowman Platinum Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card (Bag on Shoulder) #34
A PSA 10 sold for $50.
This card is ridiculously undervalued. It's a beautiful rookie card featuring the phenom’s million-dollar smile. The 2018 Bowman Platinum Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card (Bag on Shoulder) #34 also features the most important thing you could ever look for in a card. Yes, a bag on the player's shoulder. But what is really great about this card is its low population number. There are only 40 graded copies, 6 of which are PSA 10s. At current prices, the chances of a tremendous increase in value are highly significant. Keep in mind that it will likely cost you a good deal more than the $50 listed here since the last sale was in 2020. But you can probably get one for less than $300.
2018 Topps Kevin Kiermaier #297
A PSA 10 sold for $15.
Yes, this baseball card is not worth a whole lot of money. Ok, it's basically worthless. But it was an amazing step forward in action shots. It represents one of the most spectacular and fully realized action shots in the history of baseball cards. I don’t know about you, but I always wonder if the catch was made when I see a shot like this. Well, diligent internet researchers have looked into that question, and I am glad to report that they have. And while Kevin is no superstar, he has always been a terrific fielder and makes plays like this often. He didn’t win three Golden Gloves for nothing.
2015 Topps Finest - Autographs Green Refractor #FA-KB Kris Bryant /99
A BGS 9.5 sells for $900.
Every Kris Bryant card is undervalued. The man has had an incredible Hall of Fame-worthy career. The third baseman is a 4-time All-Star, MVP, and World Champion. You can’t argue with that. But like many players of his generation, we have forgotten him a bit because of all the fresh young talent in the league. But that is good news for investors. His card prices are lower than they should be. But Bryant’s achievements mean the value should rebound when he gets into Cooperstown.
Why the 2015 Topps Finest - Autographs Green Refractor #FA-KB Kris Bryant /99? Part of it is the winning smile on Bryant’s face. But I also love the futuristic, vaguely Japanese design. The green works best aesthetically, but any of the parallels here are great.
2014 Topps Five Star Mookie Betts RC #FSA-MBE Autograph #/499
A PSA 10 sold for $800.
Like so many of the big stars in this list, people are sleeping on Mookie Betts cards right now. It's amazing how easily distracted baseball card collectors are. Kind of like children with a shiny new toy, who has a beloved but sturdy old Tonka truck unattended. Sorry, I lost my train of thought. Either way, Betts cards are underrated now. That is why it's time to go in for the kill and scoop these babies up. I don’t need to remind you that he is a 7-time All-Star, 2-time MVP, 2-time World champion, and all-around badass.
The 2014 Topps Five Star Mookie Betts RC #FSA-MBE Autograph #/499 is his best-looking rookie card by a mile. The background, perfect shot, and crisp signature all sing. And for a numbered Betts rookie auto, the price is a steal.
2010 Topps Triple Threads Stephen Strasburg #171
A raw card goes for $200.
Stephen Strasburg was remarkably effective over a long period of time, racking up a 113–62 record over a 13-year career. Now that he is about to retire, we can expect more attention to be given to his achievements. Luckily, we have a wonderful selection of rookie cards available for the Washington Nationals legend.The 2010 Topps Triple Threads Stephen Strasburg #171 is a great place to start. It is an RPA, but also has the characteristics of a refractor. The design is stellar, and most importantly, the price is affordable. For now.
2016 Topps Chrome Jose Bautista #191
A PSA 10 sold for 71$.
The Topps Chrome brand has often overused the 3-D properties for its cards. However, in this card it used it absolutely perfectly. The batflip has become a touchpoint for controversy in the game. However you feel about it (and I freaking love it), it creates wonderful imagery. You can’t quite see it in most pictures, but in person, the bat on the 2016 Topps Chrome Jose Bautista #191 seems to be coming at you. It is one of the best visual accomplishments in the history of Topps Chrome. It will also remind all hardcore fans how much joy Jose Bautista, the six-time All-Star brought to the game.
2017 Topps Heritage Ronald Acuna Auto #RA
A PSA 10 sold for $460.
Yes, that is a minor-league card. But hear me out. First of all, minor league cards have a ton of character and are an underrated market. Especially when they feature oddball team names like the Florida Fire Hoggs. I mean, how cool is that? And the bad camouflage markings just add to its appeal. And let's get real. How cool does Acuna look in the 2017 Topps Heritage Ronald Acuna Auto #RA picture? It looks like he is about to drop a smash hit single.
Ronald Acuna is starting to look like he will realize his generational talent. Therefore, the market for his cards will be very strong. And first rate Hall of Famers (like Ronald is shaping into) tend to have highly valuable minor league cards. Especially if they are autos. So, I think this card combines the tacky charm of minor league cards with legit value.
2011 Topps Finest Mike Trout Auto #84
A PSA 10 sold for $2,400.
We all know which Mike Trout card won the sweepstakes as the preferred card for Trout. The 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout #US175 takes that title by a landslide. But that creates opportunities downstream with his other cards. Now, a lot of his best are the Bowman 1sts from 2009. However, they do not qualify for this list. But there is good news for my fish-inclined friends. Several solid Trout rookies sell for significantly less than they should. The 2012 Topps Finest Mike Trout Auto #84 is among the best. I love the design, which makes it seem like young Mike has a halo surrounding his head. The picture has absolute power. Meanwhile, you have a beautiful and clean auto.
The price for a high-end auto rookie card for a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer is incredibly reasonable. Baseball card collectors are so focused on the younger talent that they have almost forgotten Trout. But baseball history won’t because Mike is one the most devastatingly efficient hitters everywhere.
2017 Bowman Platinum Aaron Judge Rookie Card #91
A PSA 10 of the Black /10 sold for $275.
Unlike some of the other big rookies from the 2010s, collectors haven’t fully coalesced around a single Arron Judge rookie. So, which is the best? It's hard to judge (ha!). But there is little question that the 2017 Bowman Platinum Aaron Judge Rookie Card #91 is undervalued. The card was only available in Walmart boxes, making it less common than most. It comes in several parallels, all of which are very attractive. There is the unnumbered Ice, Purple (/250), Green (/99), Orange (/25), Black (/10), and Gold (1/1). They are all undervalued. Judge is going to almost certainly be a Hall of Famer, so his cards are always a good buy. I’m not always a fan of the Platinum design, but this one is outstanding. And the expression on Aaron’s face makes it clear that he hit the bejesus out of that poor ball.
Final Word On The Most Underrated Baseball Cards from the 2010s:
I think you will agree the 2010s was an excellent decade for baseball cards. The level of rookies that arrived at this time was phenomenal, from Mike Trout to Ronald Acuna. And honestly, some of the RPA’s are far more attractive than the ones they are making today. There was definitely more of a spirit of creativity when that format was in its early stages.
Perhaps the best opportunity baseball cards from the 2010s present are the rookies of the older rookies, like Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant. Guys we have kind of forgotten in the hobby, but we have had incredible achievements and still have strong years to give before retiring.