Japan star Shohei Otani sets sights on MLB in 2018 — and 2017 Bowman Mega Boxes are hitting Target again

Fans who watch the global game know the name Shohei Otani and now that he’s firmly set his sights on MLB — as soon as next year — collectors once again have a reason to seek out his cards.

And their shot at some American cardboard of the pitcher-slugger is coming once again.

His only American-made cardboard was mistakenly released in 2017 Bowman Mega Boxes that were only found at Target stores for a brief time early this year. He was originally set to appear on a World Baseball Classic card in 2017 Bowman but when he didn’t play, the card was pulled from the product.

Except when these retail-only boxes arrived, the 23-year-old right-hander was found on cards with Team Japan. That sent some prospectors into a frenzy for his basic cards with the rare parallels found in these boxes even higher. Those who found boxes before they were pulled back to distributors to be held were counting their winnings before rookies named Judge and Bellinger arrived to grab the spotlight this year.

Now that the licensing issues have apparently been settled, collectors have begun to spot Mega Boxes once again at Target stores here and there, giving new life to that hunt and re-fueling interest just as his MLB-posting chatter arrives. They’s arriving and drying up just as quickly

In five seasons with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters he’s hit .286 with 47 homers and 163 RBI in 995 at-bats (22 of those homers came last season but he’s only had seven this year — while hitting .346). As a pitcher, he’s 39-15 with a 2.60 ERA and 601 strikeouts in 522 innings — much more dominating marks that are helping fuel his MLB potential.

Otani appears on five different cards in the Mega Boxes — a Chrome card, a Purple Refractor (/250), a Orange Refractor (/25), a Green Refractor (/99) and a 1/1 Black Refractor. There’s been demand for these cards (and boxes) on eBay all summer but now there will be an influx of new cards to go with much higher demand as American fans ponder what he might do in a Yankees, Dodgers or other MLB uniform.

A limited number of these 2017 Bowman Mega Boxes also can be found in the BlowoutCards.com store — and there’s an added feature in these boxes that we haven’t mentioned.

There are autographs in these boxes (one in 18 packs) and the parallels only found here also apply for those Judge and Bellinger guys along with Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Ronald Acuna as well as other prospects and rookies in what has been a hot year for Bowman.

Oh, and Rhys Hoskins also has rare Refractors in these boxes with some serious asking prices on the cards of the Phillies slugger. Click the image to see what those numbers can look like.

They’re worth considering if you’re into prospects and chasing color, not just international stars.

Follow Buzz on Twitter @BlowoutBuzz or send email to BlowoutBuzz@blowoutcards.com. 

>> Click here to buy MLB cards on BlowoutCards.com

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