In a move that surprised many, the Washington Nationals announced upon drafting Bryce Harper with the 1st overall pick of this year's MLB draft that he would be playing outfield for the organization. While some have speculated that a move like this would be made at some point in the future to expedite bringing his talented bat to the majors, few would have even thought that they would convert him immediately. Up until now, Harper has primarily spent his time behind the plate, which quite frankly was part of his appeal to fans and scouts alike. He was to be a catcher like no other. Although he remains one of the most talented prospects ever drafted, as a collector, part of me is disappointed that we won't be collecting a catching super-prospect anymore.
How does this change things for collectors? In the short term, collectors can once again feel free to collect Derek Norris cards again. His status as the Nationals' top ranked catcher in the farm system has been saved, although he will have to cede his position as the top raked position player to Harper. As for the market on Harper's cards, his position change should have a negligible effect on his present card values. In the long-term however, he should in theory, be able to play a longer career without the strain of playing the catcher position. This should be good news for collectors who want to hold on to his cards.
An interesting article was brought to my attention through the Beckett blog. It appears that there is really strong evidence that Pete Rose cheated in the 1985 season when he broke the all-time hits record. According to Deadspin, a sports memorabilia collector in possession of a Pete Rose game-used bat was able to verify through photographic evidence that the corked bat in his possession was in fact used by Pete Rose in that season.
How does this effect collectors? Well, those collectors who hold baseball to some moral standards have already discounted Pete Rose cards. Those who pay less attention to the politics of baseball and worship the stats and records still held Pete Rose cards in high regard. This revelation, if it has enough steam to become general knowledge, will cause some of those Rose fans to give second thought. We have already seen the big hit in the market value of those players who are connected to PEDs such as Bonds. Corking a bat is not quite the same as taking drugs, but it does sully a player's reputation nonetheless. My guess is that most of the people who wanted out of the Rose market have already done so and as long as the record stands, there will always be a good number of collectors willing to pay good money for a Pete Rose card.