After leaving the hobby in 1994, because of stupid investors and speculators and greedy sellers, I moved on to book collecting as my main hobby. I wanted a nice library of all the books I read over the years. But for a period of 2 years (2006-2007), I happened to become better acquainted with my nephew who was 13 at the time and we decided it would be a fun hobby we could do together (that is collect baseball cards). He fell out of it after about a year and I continued on for awhile but then returned back to the continuation of my book library.
But during that time you might remember a player who was a shoe-in for greatness. His cards were crazy hot. He came up with Atlanta and promptly hit .300 and popped 14 HRs in 250 AB. The man was a press and hobby darling. His next two years re-enforced the idea that he was going to be a superstar, (.260 29 103 and .293 19 103). Only Felix Hernandez was giving Jeff Francoeur any run for a monopoly of hobby love during this period of time. But then the excrement hit the electric wind maker and Jeff’s production tanked. He didn’t reach 20 HRs again until 2011 while with Kansas City and he never drove in 100 runs again. Seven teams and 10 years later the man is still around (playing in Philadelphia) and he is only 31 years of age.
Francoeur is the perfect example of how sometimes when a player is brought up to the majors at a very young age (19-21) they slump, become prone to injuries and generally suffer over the length of their career. Some young players rise to the challenge stay mostly injury-free and play long enough to enter the Hall, but many like Francoeur, have negative effects after a few years.
Avoid the hype of young players and be patient before you start dishing out 20 dollar bills for rookie and limited insert cards. Let those young phenoms prove their worth and your wallet will thank you later on.