The Bowman Critic is one who spends countless hours examining checklists and box scores to see who should be emerging on collectors’ want lists soon. On days like today where the checklist for 2015 Bowman Draft arrived — click here to view it — there’s even more to say.
Keep reading for The Bowman Critic’s pros and cons about this release, which is set to arrive redemption-free on Dec. 9.
Pros — 2015 Bowman Draft
1 — Of the 35 players drafted in the first round, a record 31 made it into the autograph checklist. Even considering this year’s crop wasn’t considered to be as great as previous years, Topps was wise to insert this many names.
2 — The Yankees have four representatives in this autograph checklist, which translates to high secondary-market prices, considering their market. This equals more value for breakers.
3 — The Under Armour autograph set includes some promising names, a few of which weren’t included in the Chrome auto set, which could translate to higher demand. Plus, this set will include gold-framed 1/1 parallels for the first time.
4 — Of the 32 supplemental first-rounders and second-rounders who signed, 20 of them made the autograph checklist. This includes some extremely promising high-ceiling names, one of which is Austin Riley (Braves), who was impressive in his pro debut.
Cons — 2015 Bowman Draft
1 — No rookies … especially rookie autos. Yes I know, the product is called Bowman Draft, but in past years Topps had no problem inserting rookies into the base set as well as the occasional autograph. This year’s crop was unparalleled in terms of promising rookies, and considering this product is considered the flagship in the prospecting community, a Carlos Correa rookie auto would have had an unbelievable impact in this product.
2 — No Blue Jays autos. One of these days, Topps will surprise us and provide autos for all 30 teams within a product, but this year the Jays drew the short straw, including first-rounder Jon Harris, who projects as a frontline starter.
3 — Mixing prospects/draft picks in the base set. In past years, Topps separated the categories into different sets. This year, they consolidated them into one set, which adds confusion for newcomers to this product.
4 — More filler material, including oversized box toppers. This might be good for wax-rippers, but in the end, it’s just filler and won’t command much on the market. This includes Fantasy Scouts autos, Prime Pairings autos, Draft Dividends autos and the set that just won’t go away, Bowman Black. You know … the set with easily chipped edges and corners?
5 — Legacies in the auto checklist. This includes Tate Matheny (son of Mike), Conor Biggio (son of Craig), Cam Gibson (son of Kirk) and Mariano Rivera (son of Mariano Sr.). Yes, you could consider this a positive, but I see it as a gimmick. It didn’t work on the secondary market last year with Ryan Ripken. It won’t this year, either.
6 — Autograph checklist shrinks from 71 to 60. Again, good for wax-rippers, but bad for singles buyers like myself. Topps focused so heavily on the first few rounds that it left off some very-popular names in the third to fifth rounds.
7 — According to the initial sellsheet, there are no Blue Refractor autographs to be found unless they happen to be inserted into retail. If not, this would be a rather large blow to the product as these are widely considered to be among the most-popular and most-attractive parallels in Bowman products.
That said, I’d give this a B+ overall.
The Bowman Critic
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