When I took a quick trip to my LCS yesterday, I wasn't just looking for new cards to add to my player collections. In fact, my primary goal was to acquire a small sampling of the newly-released 2019 Bowman product.
Not only did I choose some select cards for my player collections, but I grabbed 2 hobby packs of Bowman while I was there. Considering the fact that 3 packs of this set would've equaled what I spent on PC cards, I was hoping that I'd get somewhat lucky with my pulls.
Before I go any further, no, I didn't pull any 1st Bowman cards of Rays prospect Wander Franco nor did I land the 1 guaranteed autograph of the entire box. Moreover, I didn't even end up with a single serial numbered card.
I wasn't thrilled at this outcome, but Bowman is one of the most unpredictable releases year after year. That's why I haven't bought as much as a blaster box of this product before in my life. It's hard for me to justify spending money on cards when 2/3 of the guys in the product might be decent 4 years from now.
Regardless, I watched numerous breaks of 2019 Bowman on YouTube and was intrigued by the set. I don't feel like I went overboard by purchasing only 2 hobby packs. I merely wanted to test my luck with this release like I do for most Baseball card product throughout the year.
In a sense, the 2019 Bowman base design is reminiscent of the 2019 Topps Flagship set in terms of how half the card includes a border while the other side does not. Like past releases, this is done to differentiate the veterans and rookies from the prospects.
All current MLB rookies and veterans' cards feature a border on the right side of the card just like Miguel Cabrera's card above. On the other hand, all of the prospects' cards include that same border, but on the left side of their respective cards instead of the right.
Also, the prospect cards have the player's name slanted in the bottom right-hand corner while the veterans have their names on the left side. The cards are somewhat symmetrical apart from the different positioning of the player's nameplate.
Truth be told, I didn't have high expectations for the Bowman base set design, for it hasn't been all that exciting over the last few years. We've grown to expect a modern design with minimal to no borders, but that's about it.
After all, when you have a set like Bowman where hobby box prices rise to exorbitant prices every single year, there's no real need for an extremely creative or outside the box set design.
Some of the names, like Nick Madrigal, are guys that I recognize from 2018 Bowman's Best or breaks of Bowman Chrome/Draft. However, a decent portion of the prospect checklist features lesser known players or 1st Bowman prospects.
Out of the 20 cards that I pulled from these 2 packs, I ended up with a single 1st Bowman prospect card, a Rays catcher named Ronaldo Hernandez. Other than Wander Franco, I don't recognize a single one of the 1st Bowman prospects in the checklist.
Then again, this guy could become a superstar in a few seasons, or he may never make it big. It's all part of the well-known risk associated with purchasing packs of Bowman.
After all, I had no clue back in 2017, when I opened a Bowman mega box, who Ronald Acuña Jr was. Now, thanks to that $15 purchase, I have his 1st Bowman paper and chrome card.
Whether you're a rookie card fanatic or not, we can all agree that the 2017 and 2018 rookie classes were loaded with promising future stars. Alas, all good things must come to an end, for the 2019 rookie class is shaping up to be rather lackluster.
I'm not sure quite yet if this means that Topps will include fewer rookie cards in their products. All I know is that I ended up with 1 rookie card in my 2 pack break of 2019 Bowman, a catcher for the Giants named Aramis Garcia.
Falling at 2 cards per pack, the Bowman chrome cards typically hold more value than the paper cards, especially when they feature a top tier prospect or a 1st Bowman player. That's why there's an entire product released towards the end of the summer called Bowman Chrome where collectors can get even more of these shiny cards.
Although my knowledge of prospects is somewhat limited, I recognized a couple of players whose chrome cards I pulled from my 2 Bowman packs. Taylor Trammell is a top prospect for the Cincinnati Reds, and I recall pulling a serial numbered insert of his from 2017 Bowman's Best.
Estevan Florial, another highly-regarded prospect, was one of the most sought after prospects in 2018 Bowman Chrome, for that product featured his 1st Bowman Chrome card. According to MLB.com, Florial is a top 60 prospect, meaning that this card has the potential to be somewhat valuable.
Although it's not his 1st Bowman card, I'd go as far as to say that this chrome card is my 2nd favorite pull from the 2 packs. In a way, it's helping me understand why people shell out so much money for boxes of Bowman year after year.
The pack odds mentioned that the Talent Pipeline inserts run at 1:12 packs, meaning you only get 2 of these cards per ~$130 hobby box. Although the Chicago Cubs may not have the greatest farm system, I've always been fond of the Talent Pipeline cards.
I'm not sure about this year's insert, but in 2018, the Red Sox's Talent Pipeline card featured Michael Chavis who was finally called up to the majors today. With Nunez, Holt, and Pedroia all injured at the exact same time, he and Tzu-Wei Lin will have to hold things down at 2nd base.
A reoccurring insert set in every single Bowman set, the top 100 prospect cards are slightly more common than the Talent Pipeline cards (1:4 packs) and feature the top prospects in all of Baseball. Unlike a lot of the base prospect cards, I recognize a lot of the players on this list, including Bryan Hayes.
Last year's insert set featured eventual rookie phenoms like Ronald Acuña Jr, Gleyber Torres, and even Shohei Ohtani if I remember correctly. In 2019, future stars like Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Fernando Tatis Jr are included. Only time will tell if they live up to their hype.
As I mentioned earlier, I didn't end up with any top tier prospects or numbered cards during this break, but, if nothing else, opening a couple packs of Bowman enlightened me as to why this product is so highly desired.
With that being said, it would take a lot for me to justify spending $130 for a hobby box of this product, especially with only 1 guaranteed auto. I'll just as well stick to my veteran base and occasional rookies.