2018 Bowman demonstrates the power of “The Sho”

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 17: Shohei Ohtani
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 17: Shohei Ohtani /

The checklist for 2018’s Bowman MLB trading card set and the promise of one Shohei Ohtani card has collectors salivating.

Topps dropped the checklist for 2018 Bowman, a baseball card set favored by collectors who prefer MLB’s top prospects, and “The Sho” goes on for Topps profiting off of the collector fervor over Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim designated hitter/pitcher Shohei Ohtani.

There’s really not much new to 2018 Bowman in comparison to previous years’ renditions. That actually works to Topps’ and collectors’ benefit, however, as there’s little reason to go messing with a popular and successful product. Bowman excels because of its content, which includes MLB prospects’ “First Bowman” cards and parallel cards of differing colors and rarities.

It’s the lure of those rare Ohtani parallels, called refractors, that has Bowman prices at eye-popping levels.

Ohtani autographed cards will be part of the set’s Chrome Rookie Autographs, which will feature a base and refractors of varying levels of rarity. The crown jewel of refractors of any autograph card is the “superfractor,” which is a 1/1. For those unfamiliar with that term, it means no other copies of the card were manufactured. Out of some box of 2018 Bowman, which releases in hobby shops and online on April 25, someone will pull that Ohtani autograph superfractor.

Exactly how much that card will be worth is subjective, as any trading card is only really worth what the current owner can get a buyer to pay for it. However, the hype has already created a high demand for 2018 Bowman boxes which is reflected in the prices.

A presell at Steel City Collectibles for a hobby box of 2018 Bowman, which guarantees the buyer one autographed card, is currently set at $174.95. At Dave & Adam’s Card World, a hobby jumbo box (which guarantees three autographs) is currently going for $349.99. Though the odds of pulling that Ohtani superfractor are slim, the precedent set by Ohtani prices on the secondary market has collectors buying regardless.

One of Ohtani’s autographed cards from 2018 Topps Heritage sold for $2,500 while a 2018 Gypsy Queen auto went for $1,300. Considering that precedent, the Ohtani autograph superfractor could go for upwards of $5,000 or more. That’s not a bad return on $175 or $350, but again, only one individual is going to have an opportunity to make that profit. Thousands more collectors will be disappointed if the Ohtani auto superfractor was their sole motivation in buying Bowman.

Next: Best MLB player from each state

On April 25 millions of packs of Bowman will be ripped open. One lucky buyer will have immense reason to celebrate, but the rest of the set offers great content and value as well.