Guest Blog: Top 10 New Collections to Start on a Budget.

(Editors Note: This post comes to us thanks to the Call to Arms we put out earlier this month seeking guest writers. Please welcome COMC Member Tycrew to the COMC Blog! Tycrew is a University of Illinois alumni and is currently in graduate school working towards a career in dentistry. His areas of focus in the hobby are football and baseball, but as a lifelong collector, his collection is not just limited to those sports).

The perfect collection is what we all are striving for in this hobby. It is an ever elusive goal along with the oft insatiable drive to find the perfect combination of cards that allows you to take a step back and stare in awe. Most average collectors are not going to ever be able to afford to add the Graded 10 Mike Trout rookie autograph flight to our personal collections. Us mere mortals must abide by budgets and finical restriction. That said, financial restriction does not need to limit us. I put together a list of potential collections that can all be complied while being fiscally responsible. The goal is to to always be adding loads of intrinsic personal value while sending only a little cash. It doesn’t have to have a huge price tag to be the prefect collection.

Bonus) Jersey Cards NBA Starting Five

I’ll be honest, I don’t collect basketball cards and that is why this idea is a bonus. I open packs of them on occasions and then try to trade them away as soon as I get them because they just do not fit in my collection. If I did collect basketball, I would do this: I would find a jersey card for every player on the starting five on my favorite basketball team. It’s a small collection that is highly displayable. Even if you are a Warriors fan, and every player is an all-star, the jersey cards are affordable. You can always expand to the whole bench too with out running out of dough

10) Your fantasy teams

This idea could be a fun one especially if you can get the others in your fantasy league to buy into the concept too. The core set up would involve you drafting your team like normal but, once the season begins, you cannot start the player unless you have their card. There are all sorts of different rules you could add to make this work for you and your friends. To add a degree of difficulty you could make a requirement that all the cards have to be numbered or an insert. It would make the league more fun and add an exciting twist to free agency. Setting up a keep league where you can only keep the player if you have their autograph could also be an intriguing option.

9) The Regional Gems Collection

You would be surprised how many players from your area have a rookie card. Most likely they only ever got a rookie card, but that’s all it takes. This collection usually will stem around your high school. Go back and make a list of the schools from your area. Obviously start the list with your school. Then add the crosstown rivals and then make sure throw the rest of the conference in for fun. Use your favorite web search to find the guys who made it to the big,s and who you need to look out for going forward. Occasionally, you will be searching through a box at a show or opening a pack and find someone from your area to add to the collection too. People in the community will be impressed when you show them, and you will always be able to add to the collection as more guys work their way up the ranks.

8) Home Run Derby Bat Card

Some relic cards can almost seem disappointing when people are only on the hunt for autographs or high price cards. Not in this scenario. The whole goal of the collection is to get a bat card from every player in the most current year (or your personal favorite year’s) home run derby. Even though some of the top players are in the derby, most solo bat cards are reasonably priced, and there are only eight guys with the most recent rules.

7) Starting QB for every NFL Team

To be clear this is not going to be the cheapest collection when you start it. Among all of the ideas on the list this one will have the highest start up cost. This will be a long term investment though. Once you get the starters in the collection, you will only need to replace a few a season which makes it very affordable long term. This might have the best display options of any of the ideas on the list two. A big matted frame with the teams listed with window spaces for the card would look sharp in just about any man cave in the nations.

6) Old Players, New cards

Keep a look out for famous players on new cards. These usually come in the form of inserts or numbers, but can also be autos and relics too. There are many old timers that have tons of new cards that you can pick in in the quarter box at shows or on COMC. Pick a player, pick a team, pick an era – they all will work. Most of these cards are very affordable and look great. The hard part about this collection is it is limitless!

5) Player collection

If you don’t have a favorite bench player or back up or guy who didn’t ever make it quite as big then you need to find one. A player from your childhood who you really liked works too. The only two rules here is it cannot be the hot rookie, or a superstar, and you cannot arbitrarily pick someone for this collection. If you do just casually pick someone you will quickly begin to get buyer’s remorse. I found my player when I was young. Mark Prior was my favorite Cubs pitcher growing up. Not sure why, but he was. Even though he won’t make the Hall of Fame or get his number retired, I still really think of him as one of my favorite players. His autograph is reasonably priced, and I can’t get enough. Find yourself a Mark Prior.

4) In person autographs

I do not need to tell you too much about this kind of collection. This is simply a reminder that not every card has to be DNA carbon dated, graded and personally certified with a COA to be a real autograph. Most teams have opportunities to meet the players with autographs. Taking base cards to those opportunities can really add personal value to a collection without spending money.

3) MLB Team Top 30 Prospect Autographs

This has been my most recent focus as of late. I went and found a website that ranked the 30 best prospects for the Cubs and made a list. I’ve been collecting autographs, but could have chosen base rookie cards just as easily. Spring training has become a blast watching these guys play with the big boys, and having the hope that one day they may become the big names on the roster. It is an evolving list, but without too much turnover, so it gives you the opportunity to keep up without having to build something completely new. Most guys are very inexpensive except the few top guys. You will have a prospect get good and have to dish out some cash but they are most likely to became a valuable card. This collection has the added benefit of giving you a chance at finding gem that turns in to the next MVP and pays for the whole collection.

2) Your college football player

Think about how many players you see in the dollar box at the last show you went to or COMC of college football players who went undrafted. There’s a lot of them and no one seems to what them. Well I want them, or at least some of them. I went to a big ten school with a bad football team. That doesn’t stop me from loving my alma matter and watching every Saturday. To me a lot of the best players on the team give it their best to make the league, but most fall short. That doesn’t stop the printing plates, however. Like with the baseball products, I like to keep a look out for the autographs. This collection is always evolving, and can keep you engaged with the college players you watched and cheered for three to four years. The best part is, unless you are a fan a power house program, most of these players are very affordable. Who cares if they don’t go pro, they were and always will be your guys.

1) The base card set

That’s right. The best collection on a budget is still and always will be a complete base card set. It is accessible and overwhelming satisfying. You can make it easy on your self and buy a box or two of the new stuff and almost ensure you get all the cards (and guarantee yourself a good insert or two), do it the old fashion way one pack at a time, or finish off your set via COMC. If vintage is more your style, you will probably end up spending a bit more, but you do not need to be sucked into grading or only having cards in perfect condition. You can snag lower quality copies via COMC, or go to local show or store and add to your collection. There is probably no better feeling than completing the set yourself. In contrast to many of the other collections, this collection has a defined start and finish which can be a great drive and also a great way to prevent you from over spending. The complete set is the king of affordable collections and I don’t see that changing any time soon!

[Tutorial] How NOT to Ship Your Trading Cards to COMC

The COMC Processing Team opens hundreds upon hundreds of boxes, padded mailers, and envelopes containing incoming trading cards on a weekly basis. We’re happy to report that the majority of those incoming items are adequately packaged by their owners for a safe journey to COMC through the postal system. We’ve seen some truly well packaged consignments that would make even our longest tenured Shipping Team Members proud. But we’ve also seen some unfortunate poorly packaged sports cards and comic book consignments arrive with excessive shipping damage due to poor packaging methods.

Our Processing Team recently sent over some pictures of an incoming consignment that was heavily damaged in transit due to not utilizing some of our best shipping practices. We always recommend a box-in-box approach to prevent contents from being damaged. It is best if items are put in penny sleeves, and then put in an inner box with padding. If noise can be heard while rotating this inner box, it is best to add more padding. The inner box should then be placed in a larger, outer box for mailing, again with sufficient packing material so that the inner boxes and the cards inside are not rattling loosely and are guarded against damage.

Unfortunately for the consignment below, by not utilizing safe packaging methods, the majority of the loose cards within the box arrived to COMC damaged.

Padding material was used, but only on the top of the box, and not evenly distributed to cushion the items in the center of the shipping box.

The contents of the box may have originally been organized, but became heavily jumbled around in transit due to the amount of the free space within the box.

Loose cards were saran wrapped, and thicker cards were secured using rubber bands. We strongly discourage both of these practices.

 

Loose cards without penny sleeves were sandwiched between clear plastic slider boxes. The majority of these items suffered corner, edge and surface damage as a result.

Toploaded items fared slightly better, but still were  jostled around the box during transit, damaging the loose cards around them.

 

Graded cards were also not protected, causing some slight chipping to the cases as they rubbed against one another.

To Recap what went wrong here:

  1. Items were only placed in one shipping box, not using our box-in-box method.
  2. Items were not well secured and jostled around the box throughout travel, damaging those items and the ones around them in transit.
  3. Saran wrap and rubber bands were used instead of penny sleeves and team bags.
  4. Packaging materials such as bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and newspaper was sparsely used, leaving a lot of empty room in the box for items to move around.

We hope that these photos of this incoming consignment that was inadequately packaged is enough to convince you to consider utilizing the methods shown in our best shipping practices video!

The Good Word: Everything is Better with Age

By James Good

As a kid growing up in the 90’s, my sports card collection was amassed primarily thanks to weekend trips to the grocery store with my Grandma that always yielded a couple packs, and thrift store or garage sales finds of junk wax commons that I gladly handed over a  few dollars of my allowance money for. But every once in awhile I would be taken on a much anticipated, highly coveted trip to Toys ‘R Us or K-Mart, where I would be forced to decide between a new video game or a couple $20 boxes of trading cards. Unless an amazing new video game had just come out, I always went with basketball cards, exclusively Collector’s Choice or Fleer, as the local grocery stores strangely only carried baseball and football cards.

The first vintage trading cards that I ever owned were 12 nine-pocket pages filled with of 1970 Topps baseball cards.They were given to me by one of my Grandpa’s friends who caught wind of my obsession with trading cards. The best card of the bunch was a Carl Yastrzemski #10, but the cards never impressed me much. The gray bordered design was dull and the photo quality was grainy when compared to those 1995 Score baseball cards I loved so much.

Flash forward to 2019 and what a difference a couple of decades can make. The trading card industry has radically changed, but there is still no better product being produced today than Topps Heritage Baseball. The great thing about Heritage is that it sets out to do the exact opposite of almost every other product being released today. As the industry continues to innovate, Heritage throws it back to decades ago, celebrating card design, modest insert sets, and a time when trading cards didn’t feature embedded table cloth relics.

Earlier this year as 2019 Topps Heritage’s release date drew near, I was reminded of my disdain towards the 1970 design, which I knew would be featured this year. Initially, I was not even a fan of the mock-ups provided by Topps prior to the release date, but that all changed when I opened my first pack. All of those flaws in the 1970 Topps cards that I owned as a kid were gone. The updated card stock boasted a modern feel and the print quality was immaculate. Perhaps more importantly, these cards were actually well centered! All of these improvements immediately calmed my concerns over the product design, and my four box rip on the Friday after release day was an absolute blast.

Heritage is a product that is 100% built and designed for collectors who appreciate cards for more than just their value, so if you go into ripping hobby boxes and retail packs hoping for big hits, you’ll usually walk away disappointed. But for me, the action image variations, short prints, and all of the callbacks to cards of yesteryear are more than enough to keep coming back year after year. Here are just a few reasons that I love this year’s product.

The Callbacks

Pat Neshek is respected in the hobby for being just as big of a baseball card collector as the rest of us who don’t have hundreds of baseball cards of our own. I can only imagine how thrilled he was when presented with the perfect opportunity to recreate Lowell Palmer‘s 1970 Topps photo and put on the shades. Todd Frazier also plays along in imitating a classic, but he would need to shed about 25 pounds of muscle to create a more accurate imitation of Bud Harrelson.

The Official Farewells

A large portion of my life revolves around sports and sports cards. I am a daily visitor of MLB Trade Rumors and I receive push notifications of breaking news to my phone courtesy of ESPN.  Even though I knew these hometown favorites of mine were no longer Seattle Mariners within minutes of trades and signings going down, and some of the deals were for the better, it only feel real to me once I saw them in their new uniforms on these cards. Heritage is that set that hits me right in the feels before the season gets underway. Their contributions to the team I love most cannot be questioned, but it’s going to take a very long time getting use to seeing ‘The Boomstick’ in a Minnesota Twins uniform or James Paxton donning the pinstripes.

The End of an Era

There were no bigger free agent signings this off season than Manny Machado to the San Diego Padres and Bryce Harper to the Philadelphia Phillies. These should be among their final cards of them depicted in their former teams uniforms for the time being. The Sporting News themed cards are very fitting considering that these two dominated the off season rumors and headlines. I’m very big fan of Harper, who also got a pretty sweet action image variation this time around, a card that I was fortunate enough to pull that will remain in my PC for decades to come.

The In-Game Action Cards! 

In past blog posts my fellow COMC Blogger Rich Klein has talked about how much he enjoys game recap cards, and I cannot agree more. I really enjoyed the clever captions on these cards, which is why they stood out to me this year more than others. Topps knocked it out of the park in paying tribute to their 1970 counterparts:

The Ridiculous Mustaches

Daniel Mengden has had the best ‘stache in the MLB on lock for the last couple of years with his Rollie Fingers-esque facial hair. However, a new challenger has emerged, and Darren O’Day has kicked off 2019 by taking over the crown of Most Magnificent Musache in the Majors (MMMitM). That thing rivals even some of the sharpie jobs we’ve seen over the years from cards submitted to COMC.

The Evolution of our Pastime

It’s always fun to put into context how much the game has evolved over time, and there is no better way to do so than to compare the league leader cards found in Topps Heritage with the cards from the original set they mirror. To wrap up this blog, I’ll leave you with two statistical comparisons that are pretty incredible.

Rod Carew hit .332 over 458 at bats, with 8 home runs, 56 RBI’s and 19 stolen bases, while walking 36 times, and striking out 72 times in 1969. He earned an All-Star nod and finished 10th in MVP voting.

Mookie Betts hit .346 over 520 at bats, with 32 home runs, 80 RBI’s, 30 stolen bases, drawing 81 walks and fanning 91 times in 2018. He was an All-Star, the American League MVP, and won Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards.

Fergie Jenkins went 21-15 with a 2.63 era, 273 strike outs, 71 walks and gave up 27 home runs over 311.1 innings in 1969. He was not selected to the All-Star Team.

Max Scherzer went 18-7 with a 2.53 era, 300 strike outs, 51 walks, and gave up 23 home runs over 220.2 innings in 2018. He was an All-Star, finished second in Cy Young voting, and 10th in league MVP voting. He racked up 27 more strike outs than Jenkins in 90 less innings pitched.

Edmonton Summit Show Dice Game Winners!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth at The Summit Sports Collectibles Show last weekend in Edmonton. We had a fantastic time and were thrilled and overwhelming by the support and amount of COMC Members who we got to meet and visit with throughout the show! It was truly one of our best shows in Canada yet!

Without further adieu, here are the winners of the COMC Dice Game :

Grand Prize:

2015-16 Upper Deck MVP #278 Connor McDavid RC (Roll a 6 or less) – jayer

Secondary Prizes:

2017-18 Compendium C Achievement #C-SP Connor McDavid (Roll a 7)J_kinaschuk
2017 National Convention Prominent Cuts #PC-4 Connor McDavid (Roll an 8)Yeoman22
2016-17 O-Pee-Chee Platinum Royal Cubes #73 Leon Draisaitl #74/99 (Roll a 9)figs2k
2016-17 O-Pee-Chee Platinum Rainbow Color Wheel #1 Connor McDavid (Roll a 10)mrwickson
2013-14 The Cup Endorsements #CE-JA Jacob Trouba #59/60 (Roll an 11)bikerdave17
2016-17 Upper Deck SPx Extreme Black Holo Shield #EB-SM Sean Monahan (Roll a 12)toast
2017-18 Upper Deck #201 Nico Hischier RC (Roll a 13)hondabilly19
2017-18 Upper Deck #247 Brock Boeser RC (Roll a 14)marner1616
2017 Fleer Ultra Spider-Man Manufactured Webbing #WEB1 #37/49 (Roll a 15 or higher) – darrell2999

In order to claim your prize, please contact staff@comc.com with your name and username on or before June 12, 2019.

We will be back on the road in Mississauga, Ontario for the Spring Expo in less than a month.You can catch all of the details about this show and others we’ll be attending in 2019 over on our Upcoming Show Appearances Calendar!

Rich Reminisces: The Front Row Awaits

By Rich Klein
I’m sitting here in my Dallas-Fort Worth office listening to a great tribute for Ed Baer. Don’t know who the “Big Bad Baer” was, well he was a New York area radio personality for nearly six decades.If you are like me and are someone who likes listening to old air checks of these voices you grew up with,  they are part of your memory. One great advantage we have in the card collecting world is that we have tangible items we can look at to keep our memories alive.  Here is a photo of Mr. Baer late in his life:
Image result for ed baer
Sometimes one can just go card by card for a player’s career and each card tells a story. Sometimes the mediocre major league baseball players becomes  legends for other reasons. Such is the case with Bob Uecker, who has been a very good defensive catcher, comedian, television star and baseball announcer for six decades now. Just think about this, Uecker has been in the front row of our existence since his first card in 1962. His very first card is from the very difficult 1962 Topps Rookie Parade high number subset. Because of the difficulty of this card and the price thereof, many collectors need this card as one of their final cards needed for that set.

Note the floating head concept, and yes, these would be among the first cards to use the concept. Several of these players have interesting stories as Doc Edwards would become a manager, and Doug Camilli was the son of Dolph Camilli, who was the 1941 National League Most Valuable Player while a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Camilli’s uncle was a fighter named Frankie Campbell, who lost his life after a battle with future heavyweight champion Max Baer Yes Ed and Max are tangentially related.

Uecker’s 1963 Topps card is the easiest of his cards. The card is a second series card, so if you want an early Uecker card then this is the one for you. In fact, 25 years later the card was reprinted by Blue Cross and is by far the most difficult of any cards using his1963 photo. The only real way you can tell the difference is on the back. It’s oretty easy to tell the difference between the regular 1963 and the 1988 just by looking at the back.

Next up is his 1964 Topps card. The 1964 card is a high number card which is one of the most underrated of the 1960’s high number series. Many collectors know about the difficulties of the high numbers, but 1964 sort of flies under the radar.
The 1964 St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series and while Bob was not a starter, for them his attitude probably helped to keep the clubhouse loose. Interestingly, the starting catcher for those Cardinals was Tim McCarver, who also had a baseball career spanning nearly six decades since his 1959 major league debut.
The 1965 Topps Uecker featured a reversed negative. Was Uecker playing a trick on the photographer, or did Topps get the photo wrong as they did on the 1957 Hank Aaron card? Frankly, with Uecker’s background, playing a trick on a photographer could certainly have been possible. At least those tricks were more harmless than the Billy Ripken bat prank noted on his 1989 Fleer card that we’re choosing not to link to in this particular blog for obvious reasons.
This is also a late series 1965 card which makes this more difficult than the first two series of that year.
In 1966, we get an easier Bob Uecker Topps card but this time, there was a variation twist. The harder variety of this card does not have a trade notation on the back.
We now come to Bob’s final Topps card. Yes I wish there had been a 1968 Braves card featuring him as Phil Niekro won the National League ERA title in no small part to Bob’s use as his designated catcher. It would have been a nice conclusion to his card career, but instead this Phillies card was the final one of his career.

I personally love the 1967 Topps set and think this is the nicest of the Bob Uecker cards as it shows him in full catching gear getting ready to go behind the plate.

It’s hard to imagine, but his six year card career had more interesting twists and turns than most players. His future career (s) would continue to keep him in the public eye even as he approaches his 85th birthday. We hope that he’s in the front row for a long time indeed.

Guest Blog: A Million Cards Later….

(Editors Note: This post comes to us thanks to the Call to Arms we put out earlier this month seeking guest writers. Please welcome COMC Member JoelsHitShow to the COMC Blog! Joel works in user experience and has enjoyed the hobby for more than 30 years. In his spare time he writes for Spinning Platters and participates in a football video game live stream. He’s been consigning with COMC since 2008 and has more than 1 million items for sale.)

By Joel Edelman

I suppose everyone has a unique story when it comes to how they got into the hobby, but I imagine they have some of the same components. Someone probably bought them their first pack, and something the rest of us would consider mundane jumped out at them, and it was all downhill from there.

For me, it worked the same way. My dad bought me a pack of 1987 Topps that summer, and there’s a picture of me in a tent holding up the Dave Kingman I pulled from it. The A’s were one of my favorite teams because they wore my two favorite colors, green and yellow. (How was I to know the color was considered to be “gold”?)

Like so many of us, my collecting days peaked when the industry’s production of cards peaked. We thought Fleer was rare because we couldn’t find it in stores. And when some 1987-88 Fleer basketball appeared at PayLess Drug Stores, we passed because they charged 59 freakin’ cents per pack.

Well, I did eventually buy some because they ran out of baseball cards in the off season, only to sell the whole lot of them to a classmate 4 years later for a whopping $5. I needed pinball money, and FunHouse was 50 cents per game. What else could I do?

I went off to college, and except for some mail order closeouts—I bought a box of 1995 Score in 1997 for “just” $24.95—I largely stayed out of cards for several years.

Then along came eBay.

I used to buy used Jughead comic books for a dollar each on the site, and in 1999, I realized I could buy packs of cards and sell the contents. Yes, I was one of the original rip and flippers. Back then you could sell just about anything. Demand was growing like crazy, and there were flipping opportunities everywhere if you went to shows. In a way, COMC has further flattened the card marketplace, taking the planet’s existing inventory of cards and making them easier to come across.

I’ve used eBay for roughly 20 years. I remember getting a PO Box for people to send checks and money orders, after someone sent a creepy letter to my street address. The Internet has done nothing but get weirder since I first started surfing the web. We’re a fun species.

I’ve been involved in other sites along the way. I used to buy etopps, with mixed results. I still have about 500 cards on there, collecting dust. I was a huge user of ThePit. To this day the Bowman Uncirculated program is one of my favorite product promotions ever. I even dabbled a little bit in Sportlots with my ex. She might still be on there selling hockey cards.

And, then, along came COMC.

I discovered COMC from my days on the Blowout Cards message board. Back then, you could read the whole day’s posts in about 5 minutes, and they were all great. They’ve got a good thing going, more than a decade later, though. And the quality of posts is still there if you know what you’re looking for. I miss it sometimes, but you can’t do everything.

Anyway, I had accumulated monster boxes of leftover cards from ripping and flipping, so I started sending them in. A million cards later, I now spend about 20 minutes a day on COMC, buying and selling cards, plus answering tweets. (I love that people can’t send each other messages on COMC, but at least Twitter provides an option for the craftier users out there.

As the rest of my life has gotten busier (and, gulp, marriage a few short months away), COMC allows me to do what I’ve always wanted: to keep my fingers in the game and help collectors find the cards they need. Even though I don’t collect much anymore, I still get all the action I want with minimal effort on COMC. It keeps my house empty and my heart full!

The Official COMC Fantasy Pack Baseball Team of 2019!

When we’re not processing the millions of trading cards that come through the doors of COMC on a yearly basis, we like to embrace the hobby and have a little fun. Many members of our team have been fantasy sports enthusiasts for decades, and over the last few years we’ve tried to develop innovative and fun ways to incorporate sports card pack and box breaks with fantasy sports. You may remember our Fantasy Baseball Pack Battle League from last year.

This year, we’ve come up with a fun concept to build a fantasy baseball team using packs of the 2019 Topps Opening Day Baseball Card product. Unlike other fantasy games, we’re not trying to score points,but rather trying to build a team that can ‘win’ the most games using a unique scoring system.

If you want to play along at home, it’s really simple! All you’ll need is to two $9.99 blaster boxes of Opening Day and a way to keep track of your team and stats!

How to play: 

  1. Open all of your packs. Separate your batters and pitchers into two piles, then separate your batters into piles sorted by player position.
  2. Build your offense. Your Offense should consist of 9 players (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 3 outfielders, and a Designated Hitter). Choose three reserve players (any position) as well for backups in case of injury. Duplicate players are allowed if a player is an outfielder or listed at multiple positions. (If you did not receive a position player from each position, you may play a player of any position to compensate)
  3. Build your pitching staff. Your pitching will consist of 5 Starting Pitchers, 1 Closer, and 2 reserve pitchers (SP or closer). Duplicate pitchers are allowed. (If you do not receive enough pitchers to field a full staff — each pitcher you received may be played up to two times to compensate.If you didn’t receive a closer, you may play a sixth SP.)
  4. (Optional) Hard Mode: Play with a salary cap and build your team using the league average of $132 million or less by utilizing salary information found on Sportstrac.
  5. (Optional) Ultra Hard Mode: Any player with an real life salary of under $1 million is automatically bumped to $3 million. Players on rookie contracts still provide tremendous value, but not nearly as much as they do under hard mode.

Scoring

The scoring system for this game involves converting your players on-field performance into ‘wins’, with a goal of building a team that can win as many games as possible. You can track your players performance throughout the year using Baseball-Reference.

Hitting Scoring 

Every 40 runs = +1 win
Every 15 Home Runs = +1 win
Every 15 Stolen Bases = +1 win
Every 30 RBI’s = +1 win
Every 50 walks = +1 win

Example: Mike Trout in 2018: 101 runs (2), 39 HR (2), 24 sb (1), 79 RBI (2), 122 walks (2) = 9 wins
A team with an offense comparable to nine 2018 Mike Trout would earn 81 wins.

Pitching Scoring

Every 5 Wins = +3 Wins
Every 5 losses = -1 Win
Every 5 Saves = +1 Win
Every 75 Strikeouts = +1 Win

Examples:
Justin Verlander (sp) in 2018: 16 wins (9), 9 losses (-1), 290 strikeouts(4),= 12 wins
Edwin Diaz (rp) in 2018: 0 wins (0), 4 losses (0), 57 saves (11), 124 strikeouts (1) = 12 wins

A team with a pitching staff comparable to five 2018 Justin Verlander and a 2018 Edwin Diaz would earn 72 wins. Combined with the hitting total, this team would win a total of 153 games.

Exception: Autographed cards pulled from your 2019 Topps Opening Day Blasters are worth 50% less points than their non-autographed counterparts. Why? Because you’re already a winner if you hit an auto out of an Opening Day Blaster, duh! Also, you should be submitting that card to COMC to sell ASAP!

Substitutions: If any of your hitters fail to appear in at least 108 games (2/3rds of the season) during the 2019 season, you may swap them for a reserve player from any position. If any of your starting pitchers fail to make 20 starts throughout the 2019 season, you may swap them for a reserve. If your closer fails to appear in at least 45 games in the 2019 season (save opportunity or not), you may swap them for another relief pitcher.

Our Team:

For this game, we’ll be using the hard mode of staying under the $132 million salary cap.Opening two blasters yielded enough position players and pitchers to field several teams, so you should have no trouble building a team or three to play along. A lot of good players got the snub due to our salary cap restriction. We passed on elite fantasy players like J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve, Nolan Arenado, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber, and Stephen Strasburg simply because we could not make the numbers work. Our strategy was to divide the money in half as close as possible to balance out hitting with pitching.

Hitting:

Designated Hitter: Mark Trumbo ($13.5 Million)
Catcher: J.T. Realmuto ($5.9 Million)
First Base: Anthony Rizzo ($11.28 Million)
Second Base: Gleyber Torres ($605,000)
Short Stop: Francisco Lindor ($10.55 million)
Third Base: Rafael Devers ($614,500)
Outfield: Ronald Acuna ($560,000)
Outfield: Mike Trout ($17.6 million)
Outfield: Mitch Haniger ($590,000)

2019 Hitting Payroll = $61.19 million

We ran into a salary cap problem after our initial team configuration, which meant that J.D. Martinez and his $28 million contract had to be downgraded to Mark Trumbo’s more manageable $13.5 million deal. Our second and third year players provide insane value for their price tag, allowing us to pay for Trout, Rizzo, Lindor , and Trumbo. We went with the hometown favorite Mitch Haniger as a sentimental pick over a certain player riding our bench. More on that later.

Pitching:

SP: Justin Verlander ($28 million)
SP: Gerrit Cole ($13.5 million)
SP: Trevor Bauer ($13.0 million)
SP: Blake Snell ($1.6 million)
SP: Jacob Degrom ($9.0 million)
Closer: Edwin Diaz ($607,000)

2019 Pitching Payroll = $65.7 million

We had way too many good pitchers to choose from, so we had to make some extremely tough decisions. In the end, we decided that the Houston Astros 1-2 combo of Verlander and Cole simply provided too much value to overlook. Trevor Bauer has in insane K/9 ratio, and reigning AL CY Young Winner Blake Snell is the best deal in the Opening Day set. We round out our pitching staff with the NL Cy Young Winner Jacob Degrom and his new teammate Edwin Diaz, who should still be capable of closing 50+ games for what should be a competitive New York Mets team.

Reserves

Hitter: Juan Soto ($578,000)
Hitter: Max Muncy ($575,000)
Hitter: Whit Merrifield ($1.0 Million)
Pitcher: Dereck Rodriguez ($561,000)
Pitcher: German Marquez ($565,000)

Bench Reserves Payroll = $3.279 million

Admittedly, spending $126.89 million of our $132 million before considering a bench probably wasn’t the best idea. Our team finds itself extremely thin in the event of a pitching injury, with us not having the cap room to add a veteran or top backup pitcher. All in all, we spent  $130.1 million of our $132 million, and it was extremely difficult to pass on some of the game’s best. If we had played uncapped, our team would have looked substantially different!

What do you think about our fantasy game and scoring system? Have you come up with any good ways to turn your trading cards into an interactive ‘fantasy sport’? If you decide to play along at home with us, let us know how your draft goes and who’s on your team! We’ll be checking in with an update blogs along the way throughout the season to track our progress!