I was looking to find a guy in baseball that I could write about making the leap to the next level.  My target today was Alex Avila of the Tigers.  Not only is he a good hitter, he’s going to get some nice fat pitches to hit this year with Detroit’s revamped lineup.  Catcher is one of those positions where it is very rare to find a very good hitter, but the Tigers found their guy in Avila, who at just 25 years old is hitting his prime.  With only two minor league seasons under his belt he had been the backup catcher for a year and a half before permanently taking over duties in 2010.  Since then all he has done is impress.

Seems like a great time to pick up some of his autographs.  There is just one small problem . . . there aren’t any.  In fact the only jersey or autographed card I could find was this one:

One measly relic card from the 2012 Topps set.  That’s it.  He was a fifth round draft pick from Alabama and rocketed though the Tigers farm system (like most of their prospects) in two full seasons.  He can hit for average, power, drove in 82 runs last year and even scored over 60 himself.  I fully expect to see him go up in every category, especially with Cabrera and Fielder in that lineup.  I can see him hit 0.300/28/95 this season easily.

Looking at his month to month stats, he basically flirted with 0.300 all season long and never really had a bad month of hitting.  Mr. Consistent for a team that needed consistency.  This season he enters with the catchers job his to lose and I just don’t see that happening.  At some point this season Topps has to get some autographs of his out there right?  I mean I thought every major league player had an autograph card.  Guess I was wrong.

I expect his autographed cards to start out mid level ($10) but if he starts tearing it up, I could easily see it going up to $20-$30 (assuming he gets an autographed card that is).  Be on the lookout and take a flyer on this one.  I think we have this year’s player ready to make that big leap.

What do you think of Avila?


6 responses »

  1. Crazy Carl says:

    You missed a ton of upside here, he is ALREADY an All-Star, he is the son of Al Avila, the Assistant General Manager for the Tigers, and thus it is no surprise that his baseball IQ is extraordinaire. He was my favorite Tiger last year because he was a smart lefty hitting catcher.

    As soon as Auto cards start coming out I’ll be one of the first to buy them up to go along with my game-used bat I picked up from Tiger Stadium last year.

  2. grandcards says:

    Avila is fast becoming a fan-favorite in Detroit, so I expect any future Autos to sell really well. In addition to the 2012 relic you show, he has an ASG relic card in 2011 Topps Update.

    In Avila’s case, the lack of autographs is mostly a function of the fact that he was a relatively unheralded prospect (he was discounted by some as being a nepotism pick–his dad is the Tigers’ Asst. GM) who moved up too quickly to get prospect hype. He had an unremarkable platoon season his rookie year (2010) before breaking out in 2011.

    Add in the other stars (Cabrera, Verlander, V. Martinez) and more heralded prospects/rookies from the same class (A. Jackson, Boesch) on the Tigers and he is just the type of player to be overlooked when it comes to creating an autograph checklist

  3. Dhoff says:

    I’ve been hunting for Avila autos, too. Can’t believe they don’t have any. Detroit fans have Avila fever.

  4. Nick says:

    Thats weird. Shouldn’t he have All Star Stitches relics if he played in last years All Star Game?

  5. Jason says:

    That stud put up 5.5 WAR last season!

  6. Gern Blansden says:

    Avila helped me win my fantasy league. Drafted him late, nobody seemed to think he was any good. it’s these guys that win leagues, not the stars everyone knows.

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