A burgeoning international baseball superstar at the age of 16, Juan José Soto Pacheco has lived up to his lofty expectations. After signing with the Washington Nationals as an international free agent in July 2015, Juan Soto soared through the club's minor league system.
Soto made his professional baseball debut for the GCL Nationals in June 2016 in the Gulf Coast League and made his last minor league stop for the Harrisburg Senators of the Eastern League in May 2018 before being promoted to the majors on May 20, 2018.
The Washington Nationals' generational talent registered a historic rookie campaign and continues his prominence as one of the league's most talented and polished players.
Soto has recorded 363 runs, 106 home runs, 323 RBIs, and 36 stolen bases while posting a .297/.429/.543 slash line through his first four-plus Major League Baseball seasons across his first 503 career contests, cementing himself as one of the most feared batters in the league.
At just 23 years young, Juan Soto possesses the tools to be the face of baseball for more than a decade, forming enormous demand for the worth of his rookie cards. That said, let's focus our attention on the top 10 best Juan Soto rookie cards.
2018 Topps Triple Threads Juan Soto Rookie Autographs Gold RC #RA-JS #'d/25
Recent sale: $1,610
Released on November 7, 2018, the 2018 Topps Triple Threads baseball set is known for its premium autographed and relic cards, depicted by the significance of the set's rookie autograph checklist. Showcasing 17 of the top rookies from the class of 2018, all serial-numbered to 50 or less, Juan Soto's Gold Rookie Autographs rookie card is serial-numbered to 25 copies, known as one of his most desirable and limited rookie cards in existence. Not only that, but Soto's Gold Rookie Autographs card is also one of his most condition-sensitive cards, as just one of 13 graded cards across PSA and BGS received a PSA or BGS 10. Soto's Gold Rookie Autographs card received an overall BGS 9.5 after warranting a BGS 9.5 for centering, edges, and surface and a BGS 9 for its corners. The quality of Soto's blue-penned autograph was deserving of a BGS 9.
Back in 2015, as a 16-year-old, Soto was known for his offensive talents, from his refined swing to his patience at the plate, though at the time, scouts didn't believe he possessed raw power. Scouts also praised Soto for his defensive prowess, including his arm strength and fielding instincts. In 2015, Major League Baseball ranked Juan Soto, based out of the Dominican Republic, as the 22nd prospect on its Top 30 International Prospects List. The 6'1" prospect ultimately inked a $1.5 million signing bonus with the Washington Nationals in July of 2015.
Front offices were accurate about their scouting report of Juan Soto, other than believing he possessed a lack of raw power. The budding phenom continues to showcase his generational talents, including his raw power, day-in-day-out for the Washington Nationals, and the price of Juan Soto's Gold Rookie Autographs rookie card from 2018 Topps Triple Threads is evidence of that.
2018 Topps Five Star Juan Soto Five Star Autograph RC #FSA-JSO
Recent sale: $1,655
The 2018 Topps Five Star baseball set is one of the most prestigious baseball sets of late, with each card from the set autographed and issued with just two cards in each box. Released on October 17, 2018, just prior to the 2018 World Series, the most coveted Juan Soto rookie card from the 2018 Topps Five Star set is undoubtedly his Five Star Autograph rookie card. Although Soto's Five Star Autograph rookie card isn't serial-numbered, only 24 cards have surfaced, and only seven cards, or 28%, have merited a PSA or BGS 10. Considering only 24 of Soto's Five Star Autograph rookie cards have surfaced, it's the third-least populated card on the list. Also of note, all seven cards that received a PSA or BGS 10 all arose from PSA, with Beckett's highest awarded grade being a BGS 9.5. Soto's Five Star Autograph rookie card earned a BGS 9.5 for condition and a BGS 10 for the quality of Soto's signature.
After signing with the Washington Nationals, Juan Soto's professional baseball career began in 2016 in Rookie Ball with the GCL Nationals in the Gulf Coast League. In Soto's first 45 games for the GCL Nationals, he recorded 61 hits while tallying five home runs, 31 RBIs, and a .361/.410.550 slash line. Soto showed the Nationals more than enough in Rookie Ball to elevate him to the Auburn Doubleday's in the New York-Pennsylvania League, where he recorded nine hits in his first 24 at-bats.
Competing for the GCL Nationals and the Auburn Doubleday's in his 2016 season, Soto finished with a whopping 70 hits in just 51 games, including 14 doubles, three triples, and five home runs. Juan Soto was well on his way to baseball relevancy, and the value of his Five Star Autograph rookie card from the highly coveted 2018 Topps Five Star baseball attributes to that fact.
2018 Topps Heritage Juan Soto Chrome Refractor RC #THC-502 #'d/569
Recent sale: $2,036
Juan Soto's next top rookie card arises from the 2018 Topps Heritage set, the identical set as Ronald Acuna Jr.'s third most valuable rookie card. Ronald Acuna Jr.'s rookie card from 2018 Topps Heritage was dubbed a Chrome Black Refractor rookie card, which was limited to 69 copies, while Juan Soto's rookie card is a Chrome Refractor, featuring a print run of 569. Both players' rookie cards are featured in the set's highly desired High Number Series. Ronald Acuna Jr.'s Chrome Black Refractor rookie card has fetched a higher valuation than Juan Soto's Chrome Refractor rookie card. However, Soto's rookie card is much more condition-sensitive, as only 39% of Soto's Chrome Refractor earned a PSA or BGS 10 compared to 50% of Acuna Jr.'s Chrome Black Refractor.
Juan Soto's 2017 minor league season consisted of Single-A and Rookie Ball. Soto began his 2017 campaign in Single-A with the Hagerstown Suns in the South Atlantic League. Soto compiled three home runs and 14 RBIs while slashing .361/.427/.523 with the Suns before succumbing to an ankle injury, keeping him out of action for the majority of the season. When Soto eventually returned from the injured list, he competed once again with the GCL Nationals. Soto's final stat line in the 2017 season was three home runs, 18 RBIs, and 18 runs scored in 32 contests.
What Soto was able to truly demonstrate to the Washington Nationals organization in his 2017 season was his remarkable patience at the plate, illustrated by his 12:9 walk/strikeout ratio. It's to be noted that Juan Soto's 2018 Topps Heritage Chrome Refractor rookie card has a total PSA population of 190, compared to just a single graded card by Beckett. As of writing, the lone copy of Soto's Chrome Refractor rookie card merited a BGS 9.5, in turn, a BGS 10 for Soto's card can reach unprecedented heights.
2018 Topps Gold Label Juan Soto Framed Autograph RC #FA-JSO
Recent sale: $2,500
2018 Topps Gold Label is a 300-card set that offers baseball card collectors three tiers (class 1, class 2, and class 3), identical to the Gold Label sets from the late 90s and early 2000s. 2018 Topps Gold Label is an exclusive hobby product containing seven packs of five cards in each hobby box. Collectors can anticipate four base parallels and one Framed Autograph card in each 2018 Topps Gold Label hobby box. The Framed Autographed checklist is the most sought-after from the set, featuring 79 players, both past and present. With that said, Juan Soto's most coveted rookie card from 2018 Topps Gold Label is none other than his Framed Autograph rookie card. Soto's Framed Autograph rookie card is one of his most challenging cards to find in a high grade, illustrated by four of 10 cards earning a PSA 10 and just one of 15 cards attaining a BGS 10.
Juan Soto began his 2018 season with the Hagerstown Suns, where he recorded five home runs and 24 RBIs in just 16 games. After dominating in Single-A, the Nationals advanced Soto to the Potomac Nationals in the Carolina League, which is considered High-A. In 15 games with Potomac, Juan Soto tallied seven home runs and 18 RBIs, quickly promoting him to the Harrisburg Senators in the Eastern League, which competes in Double-A. Soto registered two home runs and 10 RBIs through just eight games for the Senators.
Once a highly recruited international prospect, Juan Soto flew through the Washington Nationals farm system and was on the brink of being promoted to The Show. Since his emergence at baseball's highest level, Juan Soto's 2018 Topps Gold Label Framed Autograph rookie card endures as one of his best rookie cards.
2018 Bowman's Best Juan Soto Best of 2018 Autographs RC #B18-JSO
Recent sale: $2,550
The following three most valuable Juan Soto rookie cards all emerge from the distinguished 2018 Bowman's Best set, released to baseball card hobbyists on December 19, 2018. 2018 Bowman's Best consists of 12 packs of five cards in each Master Box split between two mini boxes. The set features a 70-card base set and a 29-card Top Prospects checklist. The 6th most coveted Juan Soto rookie card and the 3rd most valuable from 2018 Bowman's Best is his Best of 2018 Autographs rookie card. Soto's Best of 2018 Autographs rookie card is graded a PSA 10 for both card condition and Soto's blue-penned on-card autograph. With 15 of 16 graded cards from PSA receiving a PSA 10, Soto's Best of 2018 Autographs card is one of his least condition-sensitive rookie cards on the list. Though just two of 12 Beckett graded cards attained a BGS 10, and one was deserving of a BGS 10 Black Label.
On May 20, 2018, the Washington Nationals called up Juan Soto to the majors, where he was the youngest player in baseball at 19 years and 207 days old. The following day, Juan Soto recorded his first major league home run in the bottom of the 2nd inning off Robbie Erlin of the San Diego Padres. Juan Soto recorded 22 home runs and 70 RBIs in his memorable rookie campaign while slashing .292/.406/.517. Soto finished 2nd in the National League Rookie of the Year voting, only behind Ronald Acuna Jr.
All signs indicated that Juan Soto would have success at the next level throughout his minor league career, and he more than proved his talents in his 2018 rookie campaign. Since making his debut, the MLB phenom has evolved into one of the most prominent players in the league, leading to the significance of his Best of 2018 Autographs rookie card from 2018 Bowman's Best.
2018 Bowman's Best Juan Soto Gold RC #29 #'d/50
Recent sale: $3,205
Juan Soto's Gold Refractor rookie card is his 5th most valuable rookie card and ranks as his 2nd most valuable rookie card from 2018 Bowman's Best. Soto's Gold Refractor rookie card is tied for his third most limited rookie card, serial-numbered to 50 copies. According to PSA's population report, collectors have warranted 15 PSA 10's out of the 25 submitted copies of Soto's Gold Refractor rookie card. In contrast, just one card received a BGS 10 out of the seven cards analyzed by Beckett. Overall, Juan Soto's Gold Refractor rookie card has merited a PSA or BGS 10 at a 50% clip.
During the 2018 offseason, Juan Soto was selected to compete for the MLB All-Stars Team at the 12th edition and the latest MLB Japan All-Star Series. The MLB Japan All-Star Series features a six-game series between an appointed Major League Baseball All-Star team and the Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star Team. Juan Soto went 7-20 (.350) through five games, including six runs scored, and drove in five runs.
The Dominican Republic budding superstar impressed on the international stage at the 2018 MLB Japan All-Star Series and continues to turn heads throughout his exceptional baseball career, boosting the intrinsic value of his 2018 Bowman's Best Gold Refractor rookie card.
2018 Bowman's Best Juan Soto 1998 Best Performers Gold RC #98BP-JS #'d/50
Recent sale: $4,500
The 4th most valuable Juan Soto rookie card and most desirable from 2018 Bowman's Best is his 1998 Best Performers Gold Refractor rookie card. A Hobby Case Break of 2018 Bowman's Best holds one Best Performers Autograph and five Atomic Refractor insert parallels, including two Early Indications, one Power Producers, and two Best Performers inserts. Juan Soto's highly sought-after rookie card emerges from the 1998 Best Performers subset and possesses a 40-card checklist highlighting MLB legends and the most prominent rookies. Soto's 1998 Best Performers rookie card is serial-numbered to 50 copies, like his Gold Refractor rookie card from the set. Thirty-five cards or 70% of Soto's 1998 Best Performers rookie card have been graded by PSA and Beckett, with 15 cards, roughly 43% warranting a PSA or BGS 10. However, it should be mentioned that PSA graded all 15 cards that earned a 10.
In the 2019 regular season, Juan Soto set career highs in home runs (34), RBIs (110), stolen bases (12), doubles (32), and triples (5). In doing so, he led the Washington Nationals to a 93-69 record to finish 2nd in the National League East. In the 2019 postseason, Soto compiled five home runs, 14 RBIs, and a .277/.373/.554 slash line, guiding the Nationals past the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Houston Astros to capture the 2019 World Series.
Juan Soto finished 9th in the 2019 National League Most Valuable Player voting, was selected to the 2019 All-MLB Second team, and was the co-winner along with teammate Stephen Strasburg of the 2019 Babe Ruth Award, presented annually to the player who had the most significant impact throughout the postseason. Juan Soto's 1998 Best Performers Gold Refractor rookie card endures as his most valuable rookie card from 2018 Bowman's Best due to being serial-numbered to 50 and maintaining its stance as being more condition-sensitive than his Best of 2018 Autographs rookie card and his Gold Refractor rookie card.
2018 Panini Flawless Juan Soto Rookie Dual Patch Autographs Ruby RC #RDP-JS #'d/20
Recent sale: $5,000
Juan Soto's 3rd most valuable rookie card surfaces from 2018 Panini Flawless, which is also home to Ronald Acuna Jr.'s Chrome Autographs Orange Refractor, Acuna's most coveted rookie card. Soto's most desirable rookie card from 2018 Panini Flawless arises in the Rookie Dual Patch Autographs subset, which offers 23 cards of the top rookies from the class of 2018. Soto's Rookie Dual Patch Autographs rookie card is a Ruby parallel, serial-numbered to 20 copies, illustrating his most limited rookie card on the list. Since the release of 2018 Panini Flawless on September 16, 2018, just two copies of Soto's Rookie Dual Patch Autographs Ruby rookie card have surfaced, one receiving a PSA 9, and this particular copy deserving of a BGS 9.5.
In the pandemic-shortened 2020 MLB season, Soto tallied 13 home runs and 37 RBIs across just 47 games. Juan Soto led the National League in batting average (.351) and all of baseball in OBP (.490), slugging percentage (.695), and OPS (1.185). Soto was also the most feared batter in the league, depicted by an MLB-leading 12 intentional walks.
Soto finished 5th in the National League MVP voting, was nominated to the All-MLB First Team, and captured his first Silver Slugger Award as a left fielder, presented to the best offensive player at each respective position. The value of the baseball phenom's Rookie Dual Patch Autographs Ruby rookie card is firmly entrenched as it remains Juan Soto's only card on the list that has yet to receive a PSA or BGS 10.
2018 Topps Chrome Update Juan Soto RC #HMT55
Recent sale: $6,000
The second most valuable Juan Soto rookie card is his base card from the Target-exclusive 2018 Topps Chrome Update Edition. Juan Soto's rookie card from the 2018 Topps Chrome Update Edition is easily his most graded rookie card, with a PSA population of 12,917 and a BGS population of 1,472. While a PSA and BGS 10 fetch around $200, this particular Juan Soto rookie card from the 2018 Topps Chrome Update Edition fetches four figures as it merited a BGS 10 Black Label, one of only 34 copies, roughly 2%, to obtain Beckett's ultimate grade.
Juan Soto continued to dominate the major leagues in his 2021 season, posting 29 home runs, 95 RBIs, and a .313/.465/.534 slash line. Juan Soto's .465 OBP led the league, as did his 145 walks and 23 intentional walks. Soto finished second in the 2021 National League MVP voting, though he arguably made a better case than Bryce Harper, who ultimately captured the award.
In the 2021 season, Soto earned his second-consecutive Silver Slugger Award and was voted to the All-MLB First Team while receiving his first nod as an MLB All-Star. Considering that Juan Soto's rookie card from the 2018 Topps Chrome Update Edition holds the highly commendable BGS 10 Black Label, it will continue to be one of his most coveted rookie cards in existence.
2018 Topps Update Juan Soto Super Short Print Variation Postgame RC #US-300C
Recent sale: $8,500
The most distinguished Juan Soto rookie card is his Super Short Print Variation Postgame rookie card from the 2018 Topps Update set showcasing Soto getting drenched in a Gatorade bath. Soto's SSP Variation Postgame Gatorade bath rookie card is one of 17 cards featured in the 2018 Topps Update's Super Short Print Variation subset and easily the most desirable. With 61 PSA 10's and 3 BGS 10's out of 197 graded cards, collectors have earned a PSA or BGS 10 at a 32% rate for Soto's SSP rookie card.
Now in his 5th Major League Baseball season, Juan Soto persists in being one of the faces of baseball. Through 38 games in the 2022 season, Soto has racked up eight home runs, 11 RBIs, and a .254/.387/.478 slash line. With 35 hits in 38 games, 18 of those have gone for extra bases (seven doubles, eight home runs.) One of the most respected aspects of Soto's game is his patience at the plate, which remains apparent in the 2022 season, where he leads the majors in walks with 29.
In his past three MLB seasons, Juan Soto has finished 9th, 5th, and 2nd, respectively, for the National League Most Valuable Player Award. Juan Soto will eventually grasp the National League's highest honor, boosting the intrinsic significance of his 2018 Topps Update Super Short Print Variation Postgame rookie card.
The Pure Dominance of Juan Soto
Since being promoted to The Show, Juan Soto has produced an unprecedented 19.2 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and achieved countless accolades, including the All-MLB Second Team (2019), All-MLB First Team (2020, 2021), Silver Slugger Award (2020, 2021), National League Batting Champion (2020), MLB All-Star (2021), and captured the 2019 World Series title with the Washington Nationals.
While Soto arguably should have captured the 2021 National League Most Valuable Player Award, he's on a mission to prove to voters that he's the most prominent player in the National League, if not all of baseball.
As of writing, Juan Soto has the third-best odds (+750) to capture the 2022 National League Most Valuable Player Award. Should Soto break through and capture the National League's highest individual honor, the worth of his rookie cards will reach astronomical figures.