If you judge Felix Hernandez by nothing more than his baseball cards, well, you might be under the impression that he is on his way to being the next Nolan Ryan (U.D & Topps). Now, there are some similarities, for example, both came up to the majors as 19 year-olds but really that is where they end. The legendary Hall of Famer, Ryan had just 6 wins by the time he was 21. Felix, at 21 years of age already has 30 wins and 279 more strikeouts than the all-time SO leader. Of course, this does not mean he will go on to strike out a career 5,700+ or win 300 games, or even throw a single no-hitter in his lifetime but for a guy all about the long ball, it takes a special type of pitcher to excite me.
Unfortunately, Felix has trouble staying in playing shape and showed up for the 2006 Spring Training overweight, not to mention that he has had several injury scares in his short time as a ball player. At this point it’s a little too early to guess how ‘King Felix’ will turn out so maybe spending $1,500 on his Bowman Chrome Gold Refractor auto is not the best way to go but you can still get his real rookie card, minus the Refractor technology for under $100. If Hernandez turns out to be the next Nolan Ryan, well, you just can’t go wrong with a C-Note, but if he ends up burning out like Kerry Wood, it’s still not that big of a loss in the long run. It’s a much smaller risk than buying a case of ’07 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects for $1,000 and pulling a bunch of high school kids who might never make it past AA ball.