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What Does Ronald Acuna Jr.’s Injury Mean For His Baseball Cards

ronald acuna injury baseball card values

Ronald Acuna Jr. has had a serious injury. Everyone is now wondering. What does Ronald Acuna Jr.’s injury mean for his cards?

Many collectors treat their cards as investments now. In addition, social media has meant that the hobby is far more connected than it used to be. People operate as a sort of hive mind nowadays.

All of that creates a lot more volatility in the market. That means that when news hits, its reaction can be far sharper than it was in the past. So, injuries can immediately influence the price of players’ cards, sometimes in quite an extreme manner.

As collectors, we’re not just here for the cards. We’re also invested in the players behind them.

So, it’s only natural that we’re all wondering about Ronald Acuna Jr.’s card value now that he’s faced with such a severe injury.

Of course, his health and well-being are our primary concern, but the potential impact on his card value is also a topic of discussion.

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What happened to Ronald Acuna Jr.?

Sadly, the outstanding player experienced a complete tear of his left ACL in the first inning of a game between the Braves and the Pirates on Sunday, May 26th.

At first, he thought it wasn’t so bad, explaining that it “Doesn’t feel that painful, any pop or anything. I don’t think it’s that bad.”

The Severity of the Injury: A Detailed Look at Ronald Acuna Jr.’s ACL Tear

But I do know this. It’s the most severe knee injury that baseball players typically experience. Those who have had it before missed an average of 156.2 days of game time.

So, if the surgery succeeds, there is every reason to believe that Acuna will return in 2025. But this season is shot.

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What will Ronald Acuna Jr.’s injury mean for his baseball future?

Okay, so I didn’t go to med school. But I am smart enough to know that the future value of Acuna’s cards depends on his future performance. So we need to look at a couple of things.

First, what happens to players who experience this kind of injury? Second, how injury-prone and resilient is Ronald?

Despite the challenges of an ACL injury, there is a silver lining. The time players lose is undoubtedly a setback, but the good news is that they don’t lose much effectiveness.

In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that players with front knee injuries can perform better than before after an appropriate recovery time. This promising outlook hints at the potential for these surgeries to work wonders and fully restore hitters, offering a glimmer of hope for Acuna’s future.

Regarding Acuna specifically, he has shown the ability to bounce back nicely from injuries in the past. In 2021, he suffered an ACL injury that ended his 2021 season and kept him out of Opening Day in 2022.

But as we know, he returned with a roaring 2023 after a decent 2022 season. So, Acuna Jr. is resilient.

Of course, the problem is that he is very injury-prone. Every season of his career, Ronald has experienced some form of injury. Twice, they have been severe. In particular, his ACL seems to be weak.

He has now torn it in both his knees. That makes him the only second player ever to experience that in both knees, the other being Wilson Ramos. That is a small club you do NOT want to be a member of.

Another problem is that Ronald is known for his speed and base stealing. That is a significant part of his appeal as a guy who hits many homers and steals many bases. There will be concern that repeated knee injuries will limit that ability.

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What does this mean for the value of Ronald Acuna Jr. cards?

One thing that was pretty amazing about Acuna Jr.’s cards in 2023 was how little movement there was in his prices. That came even though his year was phenomenal.

Perhaps his best-known card is the 2018 Topps Ronald Acuna Jr. (Bat Down) #698. So, let’s look at what has happened to prices for that card over the years.

As you can see, the values peaked in 2021. Since then, they have decreased significantly, from over $4,000 to about $600. There are many reasons, and not all of them have to do with Acuna.

The market has changed, especially for base cards. There is a loss of excitement for proven players as everyone rushes to invest in the next big thing. But some of it is injuries. And this new ACL one will worsen the feeling in that regard.

There will always be a concern that even if he comes back and is incredible, it will be temporary. The hobby was concerned that injuries would follow the 2023 season, and the skeptics were right.

Check out prices of Ronald Acuna rookie cards on eBay.

Most likely scenarios for Ronald Acuna Jr. cards

We have all seen too many promising careers get derailed by repeated injuries. At least two very plausible scenarios would see Acuna Jr. prices never recover.

He might continue to have injury after injury, limiting his effectiveness and keeping him from the Hall of Fame. Or, he may become a version of himself with less speed, contact, and worse fielding.

More of a slugging DH type. Bad knees can do that. Either of those scenarios would seriously limit his hobby value.

Should you buy the dip?

There is no question that Acuna Jr. cards will decrease in price now. I would estimate by as much as 25%. That means some cards that used to cost thousands will cost a few hundred, and those that went for a few hundred could cost nothing.

So it can be tempting to buy at those prices. To decide, you need to determine which scenario is the most likely. Will he never have another productive season?

Will he still be good but not a superstar, and will he always be compared to “before the injuries”? Or will Acuna Jr. fully bounce back?

I would put his chances of returning in full force and staying under 50%. Therefore, I would not buy the dip.

Final word on Ronald Acuna Jr.’s injury means for his cards?

Ronald Acuna Jr. is one of the most talented players in baseball. Without a doubt, it’s a Hall of Fame-level talent. But he is now 26 and will be 27 when he returns.

Most likely, he will only fully rebound at age 28. There has been only one healthy season in his last five years. One of the bad ones wasn’t an injury; it was COVID. But that is still an unfortunate showing.

The fear collectors have is that his next five years will be similar, and after that, we will see a relatively rapid decline from a player with two bad knees.

Is that fair? Probably not. Acuna Jr. has a good chance of having a better five years. But here is the thing. We all remember Ronald as a shiny new prospect where the sky was the limit.

But with each new injury, that ceiling we imagined gets significantly lower, and the values go down.

Check out prices of Ronald Acuna rookie cards on eBay.

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is the emeritus editor of Cardlines. He continues to write for several hobby outlets, including this one and Cardbase. He collects primarily vintage baseball and soccer and has a weird obsession with 1971 Topps.

In his spare time, Shaiel is sobbing into his bourbon when the Mets lose and playing Dungeons and Dragons. In a past life, Dr. Ben-Ephraim was a political science professor, journalist, and diplomat. But cards are more fun.

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