Not only are Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects hot commodities for Major League Baseball teams, the special-edition trading cards produced by Topps’ Bowman Next have proven just as popular.
In a collaborative effort, the Topps-owned Bowman Next brand has produced 60 player cards based off Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects, releasing the cards in 15-card sets over four weeks. The first week sold out in less than two days and the second wave of cards, released late Monday, Feb. 10, saw heavy interest immediately.
“People are clamoring for prospects in this hobby,” says Zach Beehler, digital marketing manager at Topps.com. “There is some very high enthusiasm.”
Each week includes the opportunity for fans to get an autograph card included in the purchase and with licensing limitations on the number of autograph cards Topps can produce, Topps had to cap a maximum quantity of cards each week. The sets include 15 player cards and one unnumbered sticker autograph card.
The prospects packs dovetail nicely with the Topps brand’s effort to bring baseball cards into the 21st Century and allow people to experience old-world items in real time, Beehler says. Instead of fans only having the opportunity to purchase packs of cards showing last season’s stats and photos, the Topps Now effort reacts to moments in the game and lets fans follow along throughout the baseball season, as it is happening, with new cards produced throughout the year.
The prospects effort fits as a part of that. “Any time we can partner with an organization to highlight what’s coming down the line for Major League Baseball,” Beehler says, “it is going to be a good opportunity. We wanted to build a product that was responsive to the work Baseball America does.”
The Bowman Next set was limited to 60 of the 100 players on the list for rights issues, ensuring Topps was able to acquire the appropriate licensing for players. The packs are released on Mondays exclusively on Topps.com. The final two releases will be Feb. 17 and Feb. 24 and the current second wave includes players such as Gavin Lux and Adley Rutschman, with 10 different prospects as the potential autograph card.
“We launched the first (wave) last week, being as timely as we could,” Beehler says. “For a lot of these guys it will certainly be some of the first major league cards and a first look at 2020 guys. We have received a lot of early positive feedback, so we are very excited.”
Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Baseball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.