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. After the checklist for 2015 Bowman’s Best checklist 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 on Dec. 23.
Bowman’s Best was considered a prospecting-friendly product in its day way back in 1995 when Andruw Jones and Vladimir Guerrero Refractors were all the rage. This was when there was just one un-numbered parallel. Fast-forward to today and the base sets contain not just rookies, but a few veterans and recently drafted prospects, too.
Pros — 2015 Bowman’s Best
1 — Topps has made it known that, with the exception of one of the insert sets, all autographs are signed on-card. Seeing how this product is replacing Bowman Sterling, prospectors must enjoy this news, as the former had its fair share of sticker autos in its lifetime.
2 — Carlos Correa‘s Best of 2015 rookie autograph. I see this card fetching a good amount on the secondary market considering the amazing season he had.
3 — The number of parallels in the Best of 2015 autograph set. I’d consider six to be not too many, not too few. It also includes the popular Atomic Refractor. I would have preferred the Orange Refractor be replaced with Gold, as this is considered to be more eye-appealing — at least to this critic.
4 — The 1995 throwback set. Not only is the design from 20 years ago a refreshing bit of nostalgia, but these are to be autographed as well. Not to mention there is the potential of pulling a Superfractor.
5 — Four autographs per master box. In a product containing more than 80 autographs within the base set, this will give set-builders a challenge.
6 — Since these cards are (presumably) available in only hobby boxes — meaning no Jumbo, Super Jumbo or retail — there may be a limited print run. For this product’s demographic, I would classify this as good news where future values are concerned.
Cons — 2015 Bowman’s Best
1 — I would have liked to have seen more than 25 draftees from this year’s class make it into the Best of 2015 autograph set.
2 — Topps has not advertised this product as having “zero redemptions” as it did with Bowman Draft, meaning it’s almost certain that we’ll see them here. (Hopefully kept to a minimum.)
3 — Kyle Schwarber and Miguel Sano are still classified as prospects here. Both have graduated from prospect to rookie status this year. If Topps could give Correa a rookie auto, why not these guys? Obviously we’ll have to wait until next year.
4 — While the 1995 throwback set was a great idea, why not include more rookies (especially Correa)? It’s also lacking any prospects in its checklist. The sellsheet showed a mock card for Clayton Kershaw, yet he’s missing from the checklist.
5 — Bowman Black returns. Again. I seriously didn’t see the appeal of this set when it first arrived, especially considering how easily the cards chipped. Like a bad penny, they keep coming back. (This wasn’t even advertised on the solicitation.)
Overall, it’s a welcome return for this year’s final prospect product — definitely more so than the unnecessarily expensive Bowman Sterling — and the designs look appealing. The on-card autos are a sigh of relief as well, and this should provide some bang for the buck for those who haven’t spent their last dollars on Bowman Draft.
The Bowman Critic
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