Out of all of the Dragons I've been blogging about on here, one of the few I talked about in the past was Shinnosuke Ogasawara. Which of course means that he was the only Dragons autograph I was unable to acquire.
Ogasawara is one of the Dragons' top pitching prospects (although his prospect status is pretty much gone) and one of the few players the team could call exciting.
As such, finding an autograph of his for a decent price was tough, at least in the winter of 2016-17. I remember Ryan (of This Card is Cool) telling me that his autographs on Yahoo Auction (which are generally much cheaper than via stores) go for 30,000 yen. That's approximately/over $300 in USD. So yeah no, I'm not paying an amount that could get me a Bryce Harper autograph.
P-Town Tom (of Eamus Catuli!) once asked me if the autograph market in Japan is cheaper than it is in the US. The answer is yes and no. The key (according to some shop employees) is that rookie autographs during a player's rookie year are expensive. After that they tend to plummet due to the hype dying down and also the supply going up as the player signs more as his career progresses.
So an Ogasawara autograph may have been $300+ last year, but by the next time I go to Japan chances are they've crashed down to Earth and I can acquire one for a fraction of the price. Of course it's a gamble but better to gamble on a cheaper price down the line than spending a lot of money on something and watch the value tank. The only exceptions to this have been players who almost never sign (like Masahiro Tanaka) or Shohei Ohtani. Or if you're basically at God status like Sadaharu Oh.
Even though I don't have an Ogasawara autograph, I do still want to see him succeed. The Dragons don't have a lot going for them and they suck at developing players, it'd be nice to see them actually deliver on a pitcher with a lot of promise. As opposed to watch players flush their potential down the toilet.
Ogasawara's currently recovering from having surgery done on his left elbow so his season debut won't be until mid-to-late May at the earliest. The Dragons stink so it's not like they're gonna be in a rush to bring him back anyway.
Anyway right now I have a list of names on my "Dragons autographs to acquire" list for when I return to Japan in the future. Ogasawara is right near the top. After that are other top prospects I missed like Yu Saito, Toshiki Abe, Yuya Yanagi, Yoda Kyoda, Yusuke Kinoshita and Masami Ishigaki. Sure, that shouldn't be a strain on my wallet at all (it will most likely).
As always thanks for stopping by and take care :).