Another year, another Christmas box opened with my pop. This is year 19 of our Christmas tradition and since we are a family of few traditions this is my favorite. This years box: 2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects. DP&P is always a must buy, while I don’t recognize a lot of the names the prospector in me knows how important this product will be down the line if any of these guys turn into Pujols, Trout, or Harper since these are the first cards and autographs for many young players. DP&P is essentially Bowman’s version of Update, so the design is identical to this years Bowman base, which I find appealing with it’s large pictures, team coordinated borders and simple, silver foil text.
The Chrome cards, as is well known, are not my favorite but they are a good investment as they are generally worth 50% more than their non-metallic counterparts. I’ve actually learned to love Chrome recently, as I’ve realized that reselling my Chrome pulls allows me to recoup some of my cost and keep my favorite players around in all their non-Chrome glory.
We can’t forget abou the ever-present parallels, which also help increase the value of the product. No big parallel pulls this time around. (Don’t worry, there were hits…boy were there hits).
There is also a solid insert pairing old and new top draft picks, cleverly enough it is called Top Picks. The cards are nice, featuring consitent black borders with silver and gold accents and blurbs on the back detailing the players as a pair. These fall 1 in 6, so they are not tough pulls by any means but they do feature some bigger names and could get a few dollars on the secondary market.
The hits, you say? The hits:
It took the whole Bowman season, but I finally pulled a Bowman Black Autograph. I’m not familiar with Michael Wacha, but I do know what /25 means, so Merry Christmas to me. The card itself is very thick, about 4x thicker than a normal card and is as clean and simple as what you see above. I really love the silver ink autograph and the simplicity of the card, but there is a pretty big drawback: the condition. The card has quite a bit of chipping on the edges which I would attribute to the black border and extreme thickness of the card. I would say this grades an 8 out of the pack, which is unacceptable. If anyone else had this problem leave a comment, I’d like to know how widespread this issue is.
I would have been satisfied with a single Bowman Black hit, but this was a bonus box, giving me this surprise:
High School All-American autos are a bit of a holy grail for me, there is no auto before these for most of these players and you often get a super cheesy photo out of the deal. This is actually a 2008 Aflac All-American card, so the design is obviously different than the base set. As you can see this was serial numbered out of 225, so they are relatively rare. Zunino had a solid first season, hitting over .300 with 15 homes in 63 games between rookie ball, single A, and double A.
I also pulled a few codes for the Bowman Prospect Challenge. This is basically a fantasy baseball game where you collect codes which gives you the opportunity to select players who will then accumulate stats over the course of next season. All the players are prospects and it appears that bonus points will be given, in addition to normal stats based points, when players are promoted. I’m a fantasy player and a card collector, so this is right up my alley. Prizes are detailed on the game site.
Based on hits alone, I give this a 5/5. Factoring in the design, inserts, and new-fangled Bowman fantasy baseball it is a 4.5/5, a worthy purchase for any prospector or autograph hound.