Friday, May 20, 2011

2011 Bowman baseball blaster (x2)

Remember when I used to do some of these sometimes?  Given that they were a major part of the reason I started a blog, I'm annoyed that I've done so few box/blaster reviews the last few months, but there's just been a dearth of stuff I've been interested in.
Enter 2011 Bowman, a perennial love it/hate it set.  I tend to fall more toward the "love it" side because I like collecting the occasional prospect set, not to sell them--that never works out--but because I genuinely have fun doing so.  I don't get the "I bought a box of these and don't know any of the guys--this set is dumb" faction because you know what you're getting into with Topps (then again, you could argue I'm just as dumb for buying Topps and complaining about their trademark terrible collation and QC).
Anyway, I had hoped to score some rack packs since that's where all the action seemed to be, but the Meijer I went to today only had these two blasters.  How did my 2011 baseball blaster debut go?  Read on to find out.

Purchased from/price:  Meijer, $19.99 (x2)
Packs/cards:  Eight packs of 10 cards (x2)
Set size:  220 Base Cards; 110 Prospects; 110 Chrome Prospects
Key features/cards:  Have you heard of this guy Harper?  Lots of rookies, "rookies" and "First Year" cards, plus the usual smattering of autographs and parallels

Base cards:  

Fronts:  Base, Prospect, Chrome Prospect

Backs (Base, Prospect, Chrome Prospect)
  • Set completion:
    • Base cards:  62/220 (28%)
    • Prospects:  32/110 (29%)
    • Chrome Prospects:  15/110 (14%)
  • Extras:  
    • Base cards:  0/62
    • Prospects:  0/32
    • Chrome Prospects:  14/29 (48%)
I was thrilled as I was sorting these and came out with zero Base and Prospect doubles since I focus on those way more than the Chromes anyway.  Then I went to sort the Chromes, and while it had felt like I pulled a few doubles, I had no idea almost half of them were extra!  As much as that bugs me, it's nice to be almost 30% done with the non-Chrome base stuff after two blasters.

However, a special note, because this happened:  I opened one pack that was shorted one Chrome card, and the one Chrome the pack contained was pretty chewed up, like-a so:
The top circle is a scratch; the second is a pretty major crease that's hard to see here; the third is also a pretty nice crease.  Lying prone, this card looks like a topographical map of a flyover state that isn't Iowa.
Topps made up for shorting that pack by kicking in an extra Chrome in the next one, but first someone let their kid use it as a teething ring:
Luckily (or, not really, given my Chrome collation) both of these were dupes.  Big thumbs down, though.

Inserts:  37
Bowman's Best:  2, Miguel Sano and Ryan Braun (1:6, 2-3 expected)
Bowman's Brightest:  2, Mike Trout and Tyson Auer (1:8, 2 expected)
Finest Futures:  4, Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, Domonic Brown, Buster Posey (1:4, 4 expected)
Gold parallel:  16, including the ones above (Granderson!) (1:pack, 16 expected)
Green parallel:  2, Cole Hamels (#105/450) and Ronald Bermudez (#275/450) (1:13, 1 expected)
International parallel:  2, David DeJesus and Brent Sinkbeil (1:8, 2 expected)
Purple Chrome Prospect Refractor:  1, Eric Thames (#567/700) (1:26, 0 expected)
Topps 100:  6, all above (1:3, 5-6 expected)

Topps of the Class:  2, Lucas Duda, Chris Carter (1:8, 2 expected)
I did pretty well here--I got every insert I was due, plus an extra Green parallel and the Purple Refractor beat the odds for me.  I'm most excited about the Bowman's Best set--people love them or hate them, but I enjoyed putting together the '94 set they're patterned after, so a little nostalgia doesn't hurt.  That total insert number is inflated by the Golds, but still, it's pretty cool averaging more than two per pack.  Note to 1:pack Gold parallels:  GO AWAY!
Hits: 0

It seems like these are being nabbed more often from racks and value packs when it comes to retail.  The easiest pulls are 1:42, which isn't terrible, except of course that means about 1:5 blasters.

Best card:  My favorite was the Thames Purple Refractor, mainly on looks.  Thames was the Jays' 7th round pick in '08 and showed some nice power last year to go with some pretty good stats this year.

Quality control and collation:  15/20  Ten for the Base/Prospects and five for the inserts, zero for the Chromes.  I freakin' got doubles of almost every single Chrome I pulled, and two of them were wrecked!  Big thumbs up for the base collation, though.
Base set: 17/20  Not exactly a big departure from recent Bowman sets, but that's ok.  As usual, I'm more drawn to the design of the Prospects set.  330 seems like a reasonable total as usual for the base plus prospects, and I'm happy to ignore the Chromes as I usually do.  
Inserts:  13/15   While some of the sets (such as International, Topps of the Class, Finest Futures and Bowman's Brightest) don't do anything for me, I really like the Best and non-Gold/non-International parallels, plus the Topps 100 aren't bad.  You sure do get a lot.  Negative points only for the always worthless Golds, the ToppsTown of Bowman.
Hits and extras:  10/15  Points based on potential since I've seen some pretty nice stuff get pulled, including Superfractors, great color parallels, and autographs, including the latest little baby baseball Jesus, Bryce Harper.
Value:  25/30  Out of the two boxes, I averaged 31 base, 16 Prospects, 15 Chrome and 18 inserts.  Plus I got to bust eight packs (twice).  I'm satisfied with that for $20, though a hit wouldn't have hurt. 

Overall:  80/100  As usual, one of my reviews falls in that B-C-minus range, but I was reasonably happy with these.  I think my biggest requests would be for Topps to remove the Chrome from this set, then ditch the tremendously useless Golds (or just not make them 1:pack).  From what I've seen, I think you're going to want to go with rack packs, but I don't see anyone regretting grabbing a blaster of these.

Just about all the inserts are available as usual as parts of larger trades, but I'm not putting together a base wantlist until I figure out if I want more of these.


  1. I thought about picking up a blaster of these, but I'm not feeling the design this year. Although I could pull the Harper auto and get a bajillion dollars for it....

  2. If the Kershaw and Hamels are available, I'd be interested in grabbing them in that trade we're sort of working on haha.

  3. Did you get any Yankees prospect cards? I'd be interested if so and if they are available.

  4. I'd like to lay claim to a bunch:
    Sano Best, Auer Brightest, Hamels and Bermudez green, Thames purple, Belt or Neal 100, Carter Topps of the Class. Email me - I might have some stuff you want!

  5. While I am not a huge Bowman guy, this year looks pretty good, I like the insert sets. I can use the Gee and Duda if they are up for grabs.

  6. Would you set aside the Tulo and CarGo for our next trade please? I am in no rush for them so we can take our time and have a larger trade if you want.

  7. Hey, got your email but didn't hear back after I replied - maybe I'm going to a spam folder?