Monday, May 18, 2015

Wait...Do I Like Bowman?

Last week when I was in Target picking up some household items I decided to grab a single 22-card jumbo pack of 2015 Bowman...

I'd seen the cards featured on a few of the blogs I read, and they looked interesting enough from afar that I wanted to evaluate them myself with the cards in hand.  This jumbo packed seemed like the way to go, after all it clearly states that I will get MORE VALUE!  Sounds exciting.  I actually think I did fairly well, in fact I pulled one card that, while not exactly groundbreaking, would cover the cost of the pack a couple times over.  Let's take a look at the 22 cards I pulled...

Appropriately enough, we start things off with a player I've never heard of (Mike Foltynewicz in case you can't read it due to the foil).  Made his MLB debut last year with the 'Stros, and is now hurling for Atlanta.  Since I don't know anything about Mike, I'll talk quickly about the design.  I have to say that I really like the look of these cards.  Since I've gotten back into the hobby (2007) it just seemed like Bowman looked way too similar year after year.  Any time I'd receive a Bowman card in a trade package it was like a 10-minute exercise trying to figure out what I was even holding in my hand.  These are clean, recognizable, cards and I'm a fan of the design.

Clayton Kershaw is card #1 on the checklist.  For some odd reason, even when I have no plans to chase the set, I just enjoy pulling card #1 from a pack.

This guy just hit his first career home run last night for the Phillies.  At least there will be something for Phillies fans to watch this year.

One thing I don't like about the set is the lightening up of the background on just the right-most 2/3 of the card.  I'm sure it was a design decision intended to make the player "pop", but on certain cards it just looks out of place.

This is maybe the best example of what I mean out of what I pulled.  Just looks wrong.

I don't get to watch too much West Coast baseball, since I have a job that requires me to wake up before 6am EST, so I have to confess I had no clue there was a guy named Matt Shoemaker playing in the Majors.

As I mentioned above, it always kind of bugged me that there were so many variations and so much general confusion within one year's Bowman set.  In jumbo pack form like this though, I kind of like the variety.  Everything you've seen up until this point is from the standard base set...

...but at this point we start getting some variety, like this Bowman Chrome Prospects card.  The prospects come in regular format (card numbers start with BP) as well as chrome (card numbers start with BCP).

Another Chrome Prospect.  This guy's coming off of an entire missed season as a result of Tommy John surgery.  He's a third baseman though, not a pitcher, and that surgery seems rock solid these days anyway.  From what I read he seems to be one of the top prospects in the Twins organization.  This card will be headed in a future PWE to Brian of Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary.

Now we switch over to the standard, non-chrome Bowman Prospects portion of the pack.  Here's Archie Bradley, who at this point in the season is in the running for worst ball-to-the-face incident of 2015.

I'd imagine that the Phillies team is so bad this season, that if you listen to sports talk radio in the Philadelphia area there's probably a lot of discussion about the farm system?

Colin Moran is currently playing AA ball for the Astros.

Getting a streak of players who've never cracked an MLB roster can get a little dull I admit, but maybe I'll stumble across these again going through a box in a couple of years and some of them will have made it.  At the very least they'll come in handy when trading with other team collectors.

After starting off strong with Archie Bradley, that's 4 straight Bowman Prospects cards with 0 total MLB games played among the subjects.

Make it 5, Taylor Williams has yet to advance past A ball in the Brewers organization.

Now we flip back to a couple of Chrome Prospects.  Heading into 2015 this guy was the #11-ranked prospect in the Blue Jays farm system.  Maybe I'm a pessimist but I think his chances of making the show are slim at best.  Either way, it helps to fill out my next PWE for Douglas at Sportscards from the Dollar Store.

I literally have nothing to say about Jeremy Rhodes.  Not one thing.

Bryan Mitchell has made the roster, but has yet to pitch any innings for New York so far in 2015.  This is a regular base card, which is a little odd given that he has less MLB experience (3 games, 11 total innings pitched at time of this post) than Archie Bradley, who's featured in the Prospects set.  It's Bowman, what can I say.

With just 150 cards in the base set, I don't think it would be too bad to put together.  It's probably blasphemous of me to say this, but I think I might like the design better than flagship Topps.  I guess for me personally the "sonar" design of the flagship set just got old kind of fast.

Final card in the pack.

I'm sure you haven't been counting along, but if you had been you would be asking yourself why I've only shown 21 cards when the wrapper says 22 are included.  Well, I saved the best for last.  Right around the middle of the pack, in the midst of that dreadful run of non-chrome prospect cards I was pleasantly surprised to find this:

A nice, shiny, purple refractor of the big name prospect/rookie in the game right now!  Kris Bryant sure seems like the real deal from all the highlights I've seen, and has knocked in an impressive 24 runs in his first 29 career games.  I don't think I could have asked for a better card from this $5.99 pack!

The purple refractors are serial numbered to 250 copies, and as you can see I got the very last one in the print run, which is kind of cool.  These seem to be regularly selling for north of $10 on eBay, but I'm going to hold onto my copy for now.

So yeah, I think I actually do like Bowman this year.  I'm not sure I'll buy much more, I could see another rack pack or two in my future if I happen to find myself in the card aisle at Target.  If I can get past my OCD issues with card identification and having multiple flavors of set in the same pack and just enjoy the cards for what they are, they're not so bad.  At least it's not another set with black borders...


Mark Kaz said...

Good write up! And a fantastic pull with that purple Bryant. You could just walk away from '15 Bowman at this point and be satisfied. But, I think I agree with you -- I like Bowman's base design as much, if not better, than Topps. The temptation is there to try to build the base set, but don't know if I want to funnel any funds away from Heritage or Archives.

Oh, and let me fill you in regarding Philly sports radio: 95% Chip Kelly and the Eagles and 5% about how wretched the city's other teams are!

Tony L. said...

That Bryant is a great pull from retail. I agree with you and Mark -- the design this year is top notch on Bowman.

The downside is half of the players you get are ones you have to perform two or three Google searches for to figure out who they are -- and those are the guys in the organization that is your favorite team. That Brewers guy, Williams -- he may not be in the top 10 prospects in Milwaukee's system and projects almost certainly as a reliever in the big leagues. But I only know that now after reading two other articles after yours!

night owl said...

Nice Bryant pull! Reminds me of pulling a purple Strasburg during my only Bowman blaster purchase, bought during Strasburg mania! May you sell it for as much as I did!

Frankie.M said...

Awesome Bryant! He's been stunning everyone!

capewood said...

I really like the design on this set as well. The only real problem I have is the soft focus of the background. Bowman has been doing this for years and usually I don't mind but when the background extends to the edge of the card, the soft focus doesn't look right.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember hearing good things about Aaron Nola, the Phillies prospect you pulled. I want to say he's a top prospect, not just a top Phillies prospect. Hey, it's better than pulling some guy who's already topped out at short-season.

Adam Kaningher said...

I'm pretty pleased with this set. It has to be the most distinctive Bowman set in at least a decade.

GCA said...

Well, it appears that Topps is finally making Bowman a little more straightforward. I still get weirded out that they put Chromes, and a whole different Prospects set (and the hybrid of both) in the same packs. Do the backs of all the Chromes and the Prospects look the same? (They haven't before). And what about the "1st Bowman" ones? Are they different than the regular Prospects or whatever?
Guess it really doesn't matter. I won't buy any anyway....

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