The problem is this. Take a guy like Oscar Taveras. He's listed as one of the top two or three position player prospects in all of baseball. He's going to hit something in the big leagues and likely be a very good Major League player. His autographed rookie cards are selling for over $100 currently on Ebay. Yes, I do own one. No, I did not pay $100. So, let's go high performance and say that Taveras is what people say he is and turns out to be similar to Vladimir Guerrero. Have you seen the prices of his cards? There are not $100. Obviously, if you aim for a lower quality player you are probably going to get a lesser valued piece of cardboard.
So, what can collectors do to try to add valuable rookies to their collection without paying an arm and leg? I look for players flying under the radar. They might not play for a great team, or they might not hit for much power. There are plenty of reasons why it happens, just know there are bargains to be had. My biggest low radar player of 2013 is Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna. Snazzy autographed rookie card pictured:
2012 Bowman Chrome Marcell Ozuna Autograph
The cost of this card on Ebay is around $20-$25. If you find someone who is willing to trade it you have the, "Sure it sells for $20, but he's on the Marlins and has no power" Final price, $15 in trade. Now, Marcell does play for the Marlins, but I swear they will be better really soon. Help is on the way and this guy is a big part of it. He does not hit for power, but neither does Manny Machado. Machado is leading the universe is doubles. Ozuna has 13 doubles in 48 MLB games. If he played a full 162 that would be more than 50.
More importantly, check his OPS+ which is 119. Not bad, but not too impressive. Take into account that he's only 22 and in his first full season and that 119 number is a little bit better. Last year Bryce Harper's OPS+ was 120 and Manny Machado is at 124. Not bad company considering he hits for a good average and is likely to develop a little bit more pop in his bat as he ages.
Honestly, for $15 what do you have to lose? It's a pretty safe bet that this card will retain a pretty nice value for the next year or two as Ozuna gains some popularity around the game and his cards become more collectable.