Platinum returns after a one-year hiatus. A collector’s box includes 20 cards, with five cards to a pack. The price range should hover between $85 and $95, depending on the retailer. Topps is promising two autographs per hobby box. The cards are also Walmart exclusive, and collectors who shop retail will have a chance to find some nice rookies and up-and-coming prospects.
In addition to the collector’s box (that’s a hobby box in retail-speak, I guess), there is a value box (seven packs per box, four cards per pack and a bonus pack of ice parallels), and a fat pack, which includes 12 cards per pack.
There were 48 base cards and 40 Top Prospects in the collector’s box I opened. I also pulled two purple parallels, numbered to 250. One was a base parallel and the other was a Top Prospects parallel. Other parallels collectors might find are ice foil; green, numbered to 99; orange (25); and 1/1 black and printing plate cards.
In the Top Prospects set, Willson Contreras has two card fronts. One shows him in catcher’s equipment, while the short-printed version shows the Cubs’ prospect batting.
The card design is slightly different for base and prospects. The base cards show the player inside a circle, in sharp relief to a soft focus background. The player’s name is centered at the bottom of the card, and the team logo is in the upper left-hand corner. The player’s position is above and to the right of his name.
The design for the prospect cards places the team logo in the upper right-hand corner, and the player’s name is flush right at the bottom of the card. The type for the player’s name is easier to see than the base cards, owing to the gold-like filling for the letters in the surname.
On the card back, the team logo is in the upper left-hand corner and the player’s name is on the right-hand side at the top. The player’ biographical paragraph is printed in white type on top of a gray background, and this actually is a nicer look than the base card backs.
The first autograph was a sticker signed by Rangers pitching prospect Ariel Jurado, a 20-year-old right-hander who went 12-1 last year in the South Atlantic League and is 8-6 this season, moving from high Class A to Double-A at midseason.
The second signature, also on a sticker, was of Astros first-base prospect A.J. Reed, a 6-foot-4, 275-pounder who was called up to the majors in June. He’s struggling this year in the majors, but last year in the minors he hit 34 homers, knocked in 127 runs and had an OPS of 1.044.
Some collectors might pull die-cut autographs, numbered to 25. There are also orange parallels, numbered to 25; and a 1/1 black parallel.
The final insert is called Platinum Presence, and I found two of those cards.
Topps also has an online promotion for this product. There were two cards inserted into the collector’s box touting “the scouting experience of a lifetime.” Held in conjunction with the Arizona Fall League, the grand prize winner will receive a four-day trip to Arizona. The winner will sit with a major-league scout and soak in their expertise, and will observe batting practice from the scout’s seats.
Sounds like fun. If you’re a baseball nut who loves to analyze prospect, it’s the perfect avenue. Go to Topps.com/promotions; it’s not just a click and register; Topps wants an essay from you, wanting to know why you want to be a scout. So, sharpen your writing skills and keep your answer under 2,000 words; deadline is October 2.
Usually, buying cards at retail outlets is not fruitful, but a collector’s box of Bowman Platinum at Walmart definitely has some value. The two autographs alone could make it worth the investment.