With Spring Training right around the corner, we get the first new signs of spring. After a very cold few days, any sign is welcome. It’s a fairly standard release, but it seems to have a few unwanted surprises this year. It seems the production has greatly increased once again. As a result, the chances at many of the number parallels are much more difficult than recent years.
Another unfortunate surprise is the apparent reconfiguration of the Jumbo box release. Aside from the more difficult odds for parallels, it seems many possible cards are either completely unavailable in Jumbo boxes or are on much steeper odds than the regular hobby release. In particular, the alternative image SPs and legends SSPs seem to be much more available in regular hobby box.
This release comes as the post season is coming to a close. That’s rather fitting because while it is not the last release of the year, it does provide a bit of a wrap up for a lot of collectors. It features players making their debut during the season, as well as veteran all stars and other traded players.
It’s a very familiar set. Boxes contain 10 packs of 50 cards each. Every box advertises three hits, one of which is an autograph. We see the continuation of some insert sets, like the 1983 35th anniversary, but also includes some new insert sets such as international affair. As an added bonus, during the initial hobby shop release, each box also included two bonus packs, containing 4 special 1983 Chrome cards.
The Topps series two release continues on much of the first release of the year. It features base cards 351-700, along with many new and familiar insert sets. It comes at a time when the top rookie from the beginning of the season, Shohei Ohtani, is out with a potentially season ending injury. He’s still heavily featured in this product, and we see his first flagship Topps base rookie card.
As the season has moved on, other top rookies have emerged. This has led to some rookies that may be able to replace Ohtani for hobby prominence. To partially solve this, Topps issued SP variants for a couple of the top guys in Acuna and Torres, rather than include them in the base set. These SPs join alternate photos along with many legends as extensions to the set. This seems like a reasonable compromise to me, to get these players in, without making them part of the set.
This is the normal jumbo box configuration, consisting of 10 packs of 50 cards each, including three hits. On release day, two additional silver packs were included, containing four 1983 Chrome cards each.
The release of 2018 Topps series 1 heralds the first signs of spring and the coming of spring training. After a long cold off season, it’s the first sign of return of baseball. I’m not a big fan of the recent designs, and this year doesn’t do much to change that opinion. Again, the design, with no borders, doesn’t really feel like a flagship Topps set to me, and I can only see a tongue sticking out by the logo now.
It’s not a bad set by any means, it just doesn’t feel right to me. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises to me, is the lack of buybacks in the product. They have become a staple over the last few years, and almost seem to stick out in their absence.
Once again, there are a large number of SP and SSPs mixed in. The odds for a lot of the numbered inserts seems much tougher than normal, pointing to a large increase in production. That’s been a concern as the hobby begins recovering from Judgemania last year.
This is a pretty standard end of the season release. It captures many of the late season acquisitions, but it also misses the many of the post deadline deals. It seemed like this year, there were many significant post waiver deadline deals, so you can’t really blame the set for missing those. They have to draw the line somewhere, or risk being released long after the season is over.
The set features 300 cards, and many of the normal inserts and parallels. A Jumbo box features 10 packs of 50 cards each, with three guaranteed hits.