The 18 Names You Need to Know in 2018 Bowman

The baseball card market was set ablaze in 2017 with the emergence of a rookie phenom by the name of Aaron Judge. The hobby continues that trend in 2018 as #Shotime has once again produced a frenzied hype surrounding the first few baseball products of 2018. While all eyes are on Shohei Ohtani to see what the young Japanese two-way phenom can do in The Show, he’s not the only rookie who’s name that you’ll be hearing for years to come.

While Topps products are best known as being the home of the true rookie card, those players are featured sometimes years earlier in Bowman branded products. 2018 Bowman is the first of several Bowman products to be released this year and has generated strong buzz. Not only is there handsome payday on the horizon for the lucky individual who pulls the Shohei Ohtani Superfractor Autograph, but a strong prospect checklist makes this product well worth the price.

If you’re not familiar with this year’s crop of prospects and rookies, we’ve got your back! Presenting the 18 names that you need to know in 2018 Bowman:

The Top 10

  1. Shohei Ohtani | P/DH | Los Angeles Angels

Until one or more of these prospects make it to The Show and their cards catch fire, 2018 Bowman is the Shohei Ohtani set. The Angels two-way player tops our list as the most desirable autograph to hit in the product, with base autographs currently selling for over $1,000. Ohtani also has a paper rookie card and various colored parallels that will hold steady value even after his true rookie is released in 2018 Topps Series 2.

The 1/1 Superfractor autograph was hit just a couple of weeks ago by a lucky collector in California. If it hits the market, it could fetch in excess of $75,000.

 

 

 

  1. Luis Robert | OF | Chicago White So

Robert signed one of the largest contracts ever for an international amateur player last year and is currently the #3 prospect in the Chicago White Sox farm system. The highly touted 20-year-old outfielder’s first chrome autograph and non-autographed cards are featured in 2018 Bowman.

Although injuries have delayed his 2018 debut, he hit .310 with an OPS of 1.027 through 28 games in the Dominican Summer League in 2017 in his first professional level action.

 

 

 

  1. Hunter GreeneP | Cincinnati Reds

Greene was the second overall pick for the Cincinnati Red in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft, joining the team to the tune of a $7.2 million signing bonus. Despite a slow start in Single-A in 2018, the hard-throwing 18-year-old has raw, unrefined potential and is equally potent with a bat. His fastball routinely hits the gun at 100 MPH.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. | OF | Toronto Blue Jays

Son of a Hall-of-Fame big leaguer? Check. Headed to the majors before his 20th birthday? Likely check as well. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the #1 prospect in all of baseball and his impending arrival to the Blue Jay is simply a formality at this point. Guerrero Jr. has been flirting with a .400 batting average in Double-A with over a dozen home runs through 230 at bats in 2018.

Even though this is the third year of Bowman products he’s featured in, as we’ve seen in the past with big league bound prospects, parallels of his 2018 chrome and insert cards should yield strong returns when the kid gets the call up. His Big League Breakthroughs insert is particularly coveted as it should be redeemable for a short printed uncirculated RC.

 

    1. Ronald Acuna Jr. | OF | Atlanta Braves

Similar to Guerrero Jr., Ronald Acuna is not a stranger to the Bowman line, previously having cards in 2017 sets.  Acuna made an early season debut for the surging Atlanta Braves, byut still found his way in 2018 Bowman as a prospect. Parallels of his base and inserts should command good prices.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Royce Lewis | SS | Minnesota Twins

This 19-year-old Minnesota Twins prospect as drafted first overall in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft. The speedy shortstop has produced well in Single-A during his brief professional career, and his well-rounded set of skills should be a welcome addition to the Twins ball club. He has autos in both 2017 Bowman Draft and 2018 Bowman.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Keibert Ruiz | C | Los Angeles Dodgers

Although his impending arrival isn’t likely until late 2019 at best, Ruiz ranks as the #3 best catching prospect in baseball and is the 6th best prospect in the Dodgers organization. His high upside and young age should help his case to take over behind the backstop for the Dodgers when the time is ready.  Both his auto and non-autographed chrome cards are his debut in the Bowman line.

 

 

 

 

  1. Juan Soto | OF | Washington Nationals

This prodigal outfielder arrived a bit early for the Washington Nationals in 2018 and become a household name in Washington D.C. when he became the youngest Nationals player ever to smash a home run at 19 years and 208 days old. The previous record holder? Bryce Harper. That’s pretty good company. Although he has an auto in 2016 Bowman Chrome, and a prospect card in 2017 Bowman Chrome and Draft, his is 2018 cards should also fetch solid prices.

 

 

 

 

9.Cristian Pache | OF | Atlanta Braves

19-year-old Christian Pache swiped 32 bags in Single-A in 2017 and appears to be the next-in-line to join the youth movement in Atlanta.  2018 Bowman features his first prospect autographs and are a solid long term investment, as it’s quite apparent that the Braves organization knows how to nurture young talent given the success of Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna and Sean Newcomb in 2018.

 

 

 

 

  1. Jordan Hicks | P | St. Louis Cardinals

Hicks arrived in the majors in 2018 for the St. Louis Cardinals and loudly made a name for himself with a fastball that has touched 105 MPH this season. He posted an 8-3 record in the minors in 2017 with a 2.74 era and 95 strikeouts in 105 innings as a starter. What his future in the big leagues holds is still undecided, but this flamethrower’s potential cannot be ignored. Despite being drafted in 2015, his first Bowman wasn’t issued until 2018.

 

Best of the Rest

  1. DJ Peters | OF | Los Angeles Dodgers

22-year-old outfielder prospect with above average power that is currently the #6 prospect in the Dodgers system.

  1. Colton Welker | 3B | Colorado Rockies

20-year-old third baseman with a good eye at the plate and can hit for power. The #4 prospect in the Rockies system is expected to arrive in the Bigs in 2020.

  1. Jose Siri | OF | Cincinnati Reds

Hey Siri, tell me about the 22-year-old outfielder who signed with the Reds from the Dominic Republic in 2012. Jose Siri is has great speed, above average power and is exciting player to watch.  His first Bowman autograph can be found in 2018 Bowman.

  1. Andres Gimenez | SS | New York Mets

19-year-old speedy shortstop that is the #1 prospect in the New York Mets farm system. Collectors won’t care about his ugly autograph if he can perform at the major league level. ETA 2020.

  1. MacKenzie Gore | P | San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres 19-year-old pitching prospect put up gaudy numbers in high school, but has had limited exposure to Rookie and Single-A ball so far. He hit the 2018 Top-100 prospect list at #17 and is second in the Padres system behind Fernando Tatis Jr.

  1. Kyle Tucker | OF | Houston Astros

2018 Bowman marks the fourth year of Bowman cards for Tucker, the 21-year-old outfield prospect for the Astros. He should arrive in 2018 for the World Series champs and will have every opportunity to an already stacked batting order.

  1. Brendan McKay | P / 1B | Tampa Bay Rays

This 22-year-old two-way player is the Tampa Bay Rays #3 prospect as a pitcher and a first basemen. He pitches with great command with three above average pitches and has a smooth swing at the plate. His 2017 Bowman Draft autos will command premium over his 2018 Bowman.

  1. JB Bukauskas | P | Houston Astros

21-year-old right handed pitcher with a plus-plus fastball and slider ranks #3 in the Astros organization. He should have a clear path to the majors in 2020, and his 2018 Bowman prospect autograph is currently his best card available.

Honorable Mentions: McKenzie Mills, Shed Long, Eloy Jimenez

Sets Revisited: Grading the 2017 Topps Chrome Rookie Autograph Class

Welcome to Sets Revisited, a series where we take a look at sets of years past. This time around, we’re setting the way back machine to the Summer of 2017 to evaluate one of the hottest baseball sets in the last few years. The perfect storm of Aaron Judge in the East and Cody Bellinger in the West set the hobby ablaze. Long time collectors and new collectors returning the hobby simply could not get enough of these two sluggers. With a strong supporting rookie class, 2017 Topps Chrome was the highly anticipated pinnacle of the 2017 baseball season for Topps. Although Topps continued to release sets well into the off season, nothing quite captured the magic of 2017 Topps Chrome.

Do you have a set that is near and dear to your heart and want to write about it? We’re always looking for guest writers on the COMC Blog to share their passion for cards! Send an email to Staff@COMC.com and we’d be more than happy to chat about your blog ideas!

Please note that any price speculation, player or card evaluations in this blog are the opinions of the writer – James Good  in this case, and do not reflect the same views as COMC as a company.

The A Class – aka The Money Cards

It should really be no surprise to see this group of players leading the pack as the rookie autograph cream of the crop. While Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger went back and forth in the popularity contest while each running away with their respective league’s Rookie of the Year crowns, Alex Bregman and Andrew Benintendi quietly put together campaigns that would have put them in the running for those awards in most seasons. Meanwhile, Yoan Moncada and Ian Happ showed strong promise

Judge and Bellinger autos will set you back quite a few dollars, but both have the early makings of becoming iconic cards in the industry. If they’re anything like their fellow mega stars of the game (Giancarlo Stanton & Bryce Harper come to mind), their value should rise steadily for years to come.  Benintendi, Bregman and Moncada are all more economical investment options, and could yield higher returns overall than the big two, but at a slower rate. Happ remains the wild card of the group, but has all the makings of a star and plays for a big market team, hence deserving a spot in the A Class.

 

The B Class – aka The Investment Group

I’v dubbed the next ten best cards of the 2017 Topps Chrome Rookie Auto class as ‘The Investment Group’ because several of these players have a chance to break out huge over the next several years and join the ranks of standout 2017 rookies above. Trey Mancini came into the season with a buzz and did not disappoint. His stock could rise substantially in Baltimore with the speculative departure of Manny Machado. Mitch Haniger flew under the radar for the Seattle Mariners in 2017, and despite injuries produced a stat line similar to Bregman. It wasn’t until he cranked out 10 home runs in April 2018 that his hobby stock rose significantly and the price of his ’17 Topps Chrome Auto rose from $4 to $15.

Yuli Guerriel‘s age (32) played a factor in his hobby value, but like Bregman, did have a huge spotlight shined on him (both positively and negatively) as the Astros claimed World Series glory. Teoscar Hernandez only played 26 games last year, but did hit 8 homers for Toronto after being traded in a deal that saw Francisco Liriano head to Houston. The price of his rookie auto has steadily risen ever since and his base auto is currently sold out at time of writing.

Matt Olson generated his fair share of hobby buzz by smashing 24 homers in under 60 games, but his value has tapered off in 2018 with a slow start. Josh Hader has increased his stock dramatically as a dynamic reliever who is an absolute strikeout machine. It’s likely that a large amount of Hader autos can still be found in $3 and $5 boxes at your local card shows – scoop them up because the kid is young and can deal! Hype for Alex Reyes is starting to generate as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. He is the Cardinals top-rated prospect. Tyler Austin, David Dahl, and Ryon Healy round out the group with similar long term investment potential as the rest of the B Class, but they’ve yet to put it all together at the big league level for a sustained period of time yet. Of the three, Healy has shown above average defense and pop in his bat playing for the Seattle Mariners as their everyday first basemen. Any of these three players can get hot in an instant and when they do, their chrome starts shining a lot brighter!

The C Class – aka High Risk, High Reward

Rookie Chrome Autos for starting pitchers tend to be somewhat polarizing in the hobby – they’re either very hot or very tepid. Highly touted pitching prospects often dominate Bowman prospecting speculation, yet fail to produce similar hype initially once they reach Topps Chrome. For that reason, I’ve dubbed this class as high risk, high reward.

The C Class is rounded out by two starting pitchers who have each shown that they deserve a spot in their team’s starting rotation, but have yet to show collectors a reason to invest with urgency. Luke Weaver and Carson Fulmer have all the makings of top-of-the-rotation pitchers, but are still developing at the big league level. Jessie Winker, Lewis Brinson, Bradley Zimmer, Hunter Dozier and Franklin Barreto have yet to really make a splash in the majors, but they show all the tools to be solid everyday players. Unfortunately, in an industry that is constantly chasing the next big thing, they’ll each have to step it up to gain recognition in the hobby beyond the local scale.

The D Class – A Couple of These Guys Will Prove Everyone Wrong

*Record scratch* *Freeze Frame*
Dansby Swanson: “Yup, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I ended up here in the D Class….”

I know that this is going to generate some buzz, and a lot of people are going to disagree with my assessment. I hope that I end up being wrong, because I fully expect at least two or more of these guys to put together great big league careers. I expect that a few of these guys certainly won’t stay in the $5 price range either. But for right now, this is where Dansby Swanson belongs. He has all the potential to be a B+ or even an A- player years from now, but he has a long road to redemption. To say that his career up to this point hasn’t gone the way that him and a lot of speculative prospectors would have hoped would be an understatement. With all the young talent that is flowing in Atlanta, Dansby is going to struggle to regain his footing in the hobby as players like Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies pass him by.Although he has shown flashes of brilliance at times this season, he is currently a bottom of the order hitter on a team stacked with younger, and wildly more popular talent.

Of the rest of the players in this group, I’d like to highlight Jorge Alfaro, Chad Pinder, and Hunter Renfroe as the three most likely candidates to break out of this group. Pinder has also shown to be adept with the bat – cranking out 15 home runs in 2017 but striking out around 30% of the time.

The F Class – Available in Bulk on COMC!

I’m not going to say anything bad about this group of players. Every Topps Chrome rookie auto checklist is rounded out by a crop of guys who simply aren’t buzz worthy in the hobby. Some of these guys will have decent careers or fit niche roles very well throughout their career. However, for now they will forever be the ‘hits’ that could have been. For every Aaron Judge auto pulled from a pack of chrome with excitement, there is a Joe Jimenez or Reynaldo Lopez auto hit elsewhere with little fanfare.

The good news is that if one of these players do happen to break out, a feeding frenzy of flipping (say that one three times fast!) will happen because these players are all available in bulk on the COMC Marketplace! For the sake of optimism, I’ll take Rob Gsellman and Pat Valaika as my two candidates who could shift the market with a single performance.

Overall as a whole, I’m going to give the 2017 Topps Chrome Rookie Autograph class a collective grade of B+ This set has some serious potential to go down as one of the best in Topps Chrome history. Featuring two of the games most popular players with bright careers ahead, and several others with the ability to reach that level, this wasn’t a product where collectors were only chasing one big name. I highly enjoyed ripping my case of 2017 Topps Chrome in a hotel room while vacationing in North Carolina. Hitting a purple Judge auto at the height of his popularity will always be one of my favorite hobby moments, and the reason why this set is near and dear to my heart.