A hobby box of the 2016 Bowman baseball product will include one autograph. That box will have 24 packs, with 10 cards to a pack. The price is in the $85 to $95 range, depending on the retailer. Now in some instances, I’ve even seen them as low as $59.95 for a 24-pack box. But that was a special sale and I am sure is not typical for the market.
In the interest of transparency, I should note that Topps provides me a hobby box to review. By the way, that does not affect how I review cards — or the books I review on this site.
Anyway, from the hobby box I opened, there were 102 base cards, 72 prospects and 48 chrome prospects. The design is vertical and straightforward; the player is shown in an action pose, while the background is displayed in soft focus.
The Bowman logo is placed in the upper right-hand of the card front, with the team logo in the bottom left-hand corner. Position of the player is at bottom right of the card, inside an unevenly shaped, eight-sided figure. For base cards, the player’s name is placed in the left-hand margin of the card, turned sideways. I’d prefer his name was placed at the bottom, right-side up; it would not have detracted from the design and would be a natural for a collector, whose eyes would be drawn to the photo and then to the bottom to read his name.
In addition to the base cards, there was one blue base parallel of Reds second baseman Jose Peraza, numbered to 150. Among prospects, there was a purple paper parallel of the Giants’ Phil Bickford, numbered to 250; and a silver paper parallel of Rangers pitcher Ariel Jurado. Plus, there were two chrome prospect parallels. One was numbered to 499 and was a refractor featured Cubs minor-league third baseman Jeimer Candelario; the other was an orange parallel of Athletics shortstop prospect Mikey White, which was numbered to 25.
Other paper parallels that collectors might find in addition to silver and purple are gold (numbered to 50), orange (25), red (5) and metallic (1/1). For the chrome prospects there are parallels in purple, blue, gold, red (numbered to 5), hobby exclusive SuperFractors (1/1) and printing plates (1/1). New twists this year in hobby boxes are green, orange and red Shimmer variation refractors.
Collectors looking for inserts have a few options. The Bowman Scouts Top 100 ranks the game’s top future talent. It’s a 100-card set, and I pulled three of these cards from the hobby box I opened — including Rays pitcher Brent Honeywell. International Ink is a nine-card set that highlights prospects signed from around the world; I found two of these inserts.
Sophomore standouts is a 15-card subset that looks back at some of the top rookies from the 2015 class. I pulled two of these cards. Family Tree is a four-card set that features, as you might expect, father-and-son pro baseball combinations. The card I pulled was of former major-leaguer Charlie Hayes and his son, Ke’Bryan Hayes.
The most unusual-looking insert is the Turn Two card, which showcases two different players. One player is features on each side of this thicker card, and there are 30 cards in this hobby exclusive insert set.
Once again, Topps scratches the itch of rookie and prospect collectors with 2016 Bowman baseball. The format has been fairly consistent for several years, so collectors know what to expect.