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Ranking And Grading The Top Baseball Rookie Card Years From 2011-2024

rookie cohort

Over the last few years, investing in wax products has become pretty standard. There was a time when closed products were pretty much only there to be opened.

However, once the price of sealed products reached hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars, that began to change. You can make a lot of money by putting the right product in storage for a few years and selling it to the highest bidder.

As we know, a few factors determine a box’s value. The brand is one of the main concerns. For example, a box of Topps Chrome will almost always sell better than a box of Heritage.

But that isn’t all there is to it. Print runs can play a role in this. However, it can sometimes be hard to tell. However, the most essential element is the box’s rookie cohort.

There can be massive differences in value based on which rookies you can expect to find in a box. We give you our complete guide to baseball cohorts to help you determine which years to invest in.

How ranking of baseball rookie cohorts is determined

Baseball is a little trickier than other sports when it comes to this. You have the MLB rookies that appear in the Topps flagship. But you also have the Bowman 1st prospects.

And you can’t neglect either because both are crucial for baseball collectors. Therefore, for each year, we will bring you both cohorts. To help you out, we will give each year a grade and provide you with the values of the relevant boxes.

The year will be graded according to the quality of the rookies, the chances of increasing or decreasing the value of their cards, and the current value of the boxes.

Yes, we take everything into account. Cardlines is ridiculously scientific. Let’s get going.

The 2011 Baseball rookie cohort

Notable rookie cards:

Series 1:

  • Mark Trumbo – 57  (card number)
  • Chris Sale – 65 
  • Aroldis Chapman – 110 
  • Freddie Freeman – 145 

Series 2:

  • Michael Pineda – 595 
  • Brandon Belt – 605 

Update:

  • Paul Goldschmidt – US47 
  • Anthony Rizzo – US55 
  • Jose Altuve – US132 
  • Eric Hosmer – US155 
  • Mike Trout – US175 
  • J.D. Martinez – US186 
  • D.J. LeMahieu – US205 
  • Charlie Blackmon – US231 
  • Brandon Crawford – US234 
  • Kyle Seager – US308 

There is no doubt about it. 2011 was a fantastic year for baseball rookies. That is one of the reasons we are starting this year.

We all have the same thing in mind: the Mike Trout rookie card, which is the key to this year. In some ways, it marks the beginning of our current era of collecting baseball cards.

But there is so much more to 2011 than Mike Trout. Freddie Freeman is an almost surefire Hall of Famer with a staggering offensive record. Paul Goldschmidt has an extreme case as well. Jose Altuve looks like a lock to me. Finally, Antony Rizzo might make it but probably won’t.

Of course, the value of these boxes is also inflated by the fact that hardly anyone in 2011 thought of stashing away hobby boxes. Therefore, the combination of factors means that wax from this year is worth a ton.

2011 is a bit different from other years because Topps Update is the most valuable product due to the presence of the Mike Trout rookie. Let’s take a look at the wax values.

Topps Series 1 Hobby Box$145
Topps Series 2 Hobby Box$190
Topps Update Hobby Box$5,199

The differences are almost comical. That is mainly because of Trout, but not only. Most of the big names were in Update, including Goldschmidt, Altuve, and Rizzo. Freeman was in Series 1, which makes it somewhat undervalued. Overall, they are a significant cohort.

Grade: A

Bowman 1sts

Notable Bowman 1sts

Bowman:

  • Alex Castellanos – BCP13
  • Marcelo Ozuna – BCP36
  • Matt Carpenter – BCP66

Bowman Chrome:

  • Aaron Hicks  – BCP172
  • Starling Marte – BCP178

Bowman Draft:

  • Javier Baez – BDPP6
  • Trevor Bauer- BDPP9
  • Dante Bichette Jr. – BDPP12
  • Sonny GrayBDPP35
  • Blake Snell – BDPP52
  • Francisco Lindor – BDPP53 
  • Trevor Story – BDPP84

Bowman 1sts were less of a thing in 2011. But the cards had been featuring that designation on and off since 1996.

Some notable Bowman 1sts in 2011 included Alex Castellanos, Marcelo Ozuna, and Matt Carpenter. It also had a Bowman 1st for Paul Goldschmidt, in the flagship product. His excellent auto was in Bowman Chrome that year, which is undervalued.

The Bowman Draft includes Francisco Lindor, Blake Snell, and Dante Bichette Jr. I am wondering about the Chrome box, which seems ridiculously overpriced.

Bowman Hobby Box$605
Bowman Chrome Hobby Box$2,529
Bowman Draft Hobby Box$2,399

These boxes seem overvalued in terms of the players in them. But scarcity probably plays an important role here because Bowman was a limited print product back then.

Grade: B

The 2012 Baseball rookie cohort

Series 1:

This series is a literal desert wasteland of rookies.

Series 2:

  • Yoenis Cespedes – 396 
  • Yu Darvish – 660 
  • Bryce Harper – 661 (short print) 

Update:

  • Patrick Corbin – US-16 
  • Matt Harvey – US-23 
  • Yasmani Grandal – US-104 
  • Starling Marte – US-109 
  • Bryce Harper – US-183 (true RC) 
  • Dallas Keuchel – US-188 

There was one big rookie in 2012: Bryce Harper. We are sure he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, a two-time MVP, and probably have over 500 home runs by the time he is done. But the rest of the class isn’t that great. You have Yu Darvish and Matt Harvey. It doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.

Topps Series 1 Hobby Box$99
Topps Series 2 Hobby Box$399.95
Topps Update Hobby Box$329.99

Bryce is raising the price of Series 2 and Update. He had a short print rookie in Series 2 and a true rookie in Update. Meanwhile, the Harper-less Series 1 languished in the dust.

Grade: C

Notable Bowman 1sts

Bowman:

  • Nick Castellanos – BCP78
  • Gerrit Cole- BCP86
  • Anthony Rendon – BCP88
  • Xander Bogaerts – BCP105

Bowman Chrome:

Not much of anything

Bowman Draft:

  • Kevin Gausman – BDPP2
  • Matt Olson – BDPP20
  • Marcus Stroman – BDPP35

Gerrit Cole looks increasingly like a Hall of Fame ace pitcher, so having his Bowman 1st this year bumps the class. Xander Bogaerts has some work to do to get there, but we like his chances.

What about the Bowman Draft players? Matt Olson may end up having a spectacular career. But aside from him, there is not a lot of depth here.

Bowman Hobby Box$253
Bowman Chrome Hobby Box$319
Bowman Draft Hobby Box$153

The market is not super enthusiastic about this cohort. The Chrome box is overvalued, and the Draft box is about right.

Grade: B-

The 2013 Baseball rookie cohort

Series 1:

  • Manny Machado – 270 

Series 2:

  • Jose Fernandez – 589 

Update:

  • Anthony Rendon – US-8 
  • Gerritt Cole – US-150 
  • Yasiel Puig – US-250 
  • Nolan Arenado – US-259 
  • Marcell Ozuna – US-270 
  • Christian Yelich – US-290 

Though not the flashiest year, 2013 has two rookies likely to be Hall of Famers. Manny Machado and Gerrit Cole. Manny has been underrated his whole career but might end up hitting close to (or even over) 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. He is well past halfway there.

Cole finally won his first Cy Young award in 202, and you can’t argue with his effectiveness and innings pitched. He will probably win another by the time he is done and make Cooperstown.

It is too early to ask Christian Yelich if he can return to what he was in 2018 and 2019. But he is showing some significant signs lately.

Topps Series 1 Hobby Box$184.99
Topps Series 2 Hobby Box$140
Topps Update Hobby Box$274.95

The boxes are pretty priced. However, the Update may be worth a bit more than that.

Grade: B

Notable Bowman 1sts

Sadly, the Bowman product had no Bowman 1sts in 2013, which ruined the whole cohort. But there is an Aaron Judge here that should have been a 1st.

Grade: F

The 2014 Baseball rookie cohort

Series 1:

  • Xander Bogaerts – 133 
  • Nick Castellanos – 195 

Series 2:

  • Jose Ramirez – 424 
  • Marcus Semien – 429 
  • Jose Abreu – 496 
  • Masahiro Tanaka – 661 

Update:

  • George Springer – US-10 
  • Mookie Betts – US-26 
  • Jacob deGrom – US-50 
  • Eugenio Suarez – US-96 
  • Marcus Stroman – US-197 
  • Kevin Kiermaier – US-253 
  • Robbie Ray – US-284 

The big name here is Mookie Betts, who has sometimes been the best player in baseball and should end up as a Hall of Famer.

Then we have the strange legacy of DeGrom, who had some of the best seasons in pitching history but hasn’t been able to put up real numbers. Perhaps he is coming short of 100 wins if he can’t get more quality seasons together.

Topps Series 1 Hobby Box$200
Topps Series 2 Hobby Box$159
Topps Update Hobby Box$589.95

Of course, Update gets that Mookie Betts and Jacob DeGrom bounce. Series 1 may be undervalued, especially if Xander has the career I think he will.

Grade: B

Notable Bowman 1sts

Bowman:

  • Julio Urias – BCP6
  • Jose Abreu – BCP17
  • Kris Bryant – BCP25

Chrome:

  • Jeff McNeil – BCP56
  • Luis Severino – BCP78
  • Aaron Judge – BDPP19
  • Mookie Betts – BCP109

Draft:

  • Kyle Schwarber – CDP2
  • Trea Turner- CDP10
  • Matt Chapman- CDP21
  • J.D.Davis – CDP81
  • Rhys Hoskins – CDP122

Mookie Betts is the standout here and his cards go for a ton. Much of this depends on whether you still think of Kris Bryant as a future Hall of Famer.

It seems he has fallen off too much and isn’t on track anymore. But the Draft crop has Trea Turner to save it.

Bowman Hobby Box$495.90
Bowman Chrome Hobby Box$249.99
Bowman Draft Hobby Box$99

The Bowman Draft boxes are criminally undervalued. Get a couple!

Grade: A-

The 2015 Baseball Rookie Cohort

Series 1:

  • Jorge Soler – 108 
  • Joc Pederson – 192
  • Javier Baez – 315 

Series 2:

  • Kris Bryant – 616 

Update:

  • Carlos Correa – US174 
  • Noah Syndergaard – US157 
  • Byron Buxton – US25 
  • Francisco Lindor – US82 
  • J.T Realmuto – US398 
  • Carlos Rodon – US324 
  • Joey Gallo – US103 

I think Carlos has the hitting, defense, and clutch hitting to go to Cooperstown. As we said, Bryant is starting to look like he won’t make it, but he still has a chance. We can imagine Lindor and Realmuto making it, too. So, even without any flashy names, this is a sneaky good cohort.

Topps Series 1 Hobby Box$205
Topps Series 2 Hobby Box$149.99
Topps Update Hobby Box$159.95

The Series 1 box is overpriced for no apparent reason. The strong buy here is Update, which is a steal at this price.

Grade: B

Notable Bowman 1sts

Bowman:

  • Ozhaino (Ozzie) Albies – BCP71
  • Carlos Rodon – BCP150

Chrome:

Nothing much.

Draft:

  • Dansby Swanson – 1
  • Walker Buehler – 46
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes – 137
  • Andrew Benintendi – 182
  • Jake Cronenworth- 197

This is a very mediocre cohort. No doubt about it.

Bowman Hobby Box$139.95
Bowman Chrome Hobby Box$149.95
Bowman Draft Hobby Box$109

The market has correctly evaluated the Bowman 2015 1sts as not worth an investment.

Grade: D

The 2016 Baseball rookie cohort

Series 1:

  • Miguel Sano – 78 
  • Corey Seager – 85 
  • Kyle Schwarber – 66 
  • Michael Conforto – 232 
  • Trea Turner – 103 
  • Ketel Marte – 73 

Series 2:

  • Gary Sanchez – 675 

Update:

  • Blake Snell – US67 
  • Tim Anderson – US287 
  • Mike Clevinger – US69 
  • Edwin Diaz – US214 
  • Trevor Story – US226 
  • Jose Berrios – US176 
  • Lucas Giolito – US229 

That Series 1 lineup is pretty darn strong. Seager seems like a sure-fire Hall of Famer to me, especially in terms of his overall quality and incredible clutch performances.

And because he played a significant role in two titles (and maybe more to come), people will always want to collect him. Treat Turner is early in his career and has a good chance of becoming a legend.

The rest of this cohort is relatively weak. Snell has two Cy Young awards but a pretty mediocre career otherwise. There are a lot of other great players, but there is no real value there.

Topps Series 1 Hobby Box$159.95
Topps Series 2 Hobby Box$179.95
Topps Update Hobby Box$89.95

There is no question that the Series 1 box is underrated and undervalued. Snatch up a couple! Avoid the others like the plague.

Grade: B-

Notable Bowman 1sts

Bowman:

  • Victor Robles – BCP10
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. – BCP17
  • Trey Mancini – BCP38
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – BCP55

Chrome:

No one really

Draft:

  • Gavin Lux – BDC-67
  • Bryan Reynolds – BDC-77
  • Cavan Biggio – BDC-81
  • Pete Alonso – BDC-92

What a great Bowman lineup! Tatis, Guerrero, and Alonso are among the most excellent bats of their generation.

Bowman Hobby Box$337.95
Bowman Chrome Hobby Box$1,514.95
Bowman Draft Hobby Box$550

Everyone seems to be investing in the Chrome box, but when should they go after the Draft and regular Bowman? Strange. Take advantage of that!

Grade: A

The 2017 Baseball rookie cohort

Series 1:

  • Dansby Swanson – 87 
  • Yoan Moncada – 210 
  • Aaron Judge – 287 
  • Alex Bregman – 341 
  • Tyler Glasnow – 349 

Series 2:

  • Trey Mancini – 536 
  • Matt Olson – 476 

Update:

  • Matt Chapman – US4 
  • Cody Bellinger – US50 

Aaron Judge, of course, stands out here as the most prominent name. But others could end up as legends. We are already coming to players who are a bit younger, so you need to project.

But Bregman, Bellinger, and Olson could all be absolute legends by the time they are through. Bregman, in particular, has the consistent high-achievement resume you need to get to Cooperstown.

Of course, Bellinger has much to work on to get back to what he was. But some signs are happening.

Topps Series 1 Hobby Box$379
Topps Series 2 Hobby Box$124.95
Topps Update Hobby Box$221.95

Series 1 is the one you want, but it is priced accordingly. All the boxes here are pretty good and have something to offer.

Grade: A

Notable Bowman 1sts

Bowman:

  • Lourdes Gurriel Jr. – BCP18
  • Sandy Alcantara – BCP43
  • Freddy Peralta – BCP22
  • Ronald Acuna – BCP127

Chrome:

  • Jazz Chisholm – BCP207

Draft:

No one.

Having Ronald Acuna here in the Draft Bowman 1sts ups the game of the entire class. He looks like an almost certain all-time legend. Alcantra has what it takes to become a generational ace. But, of course, pitching talent can be tricky and elusive.

Bowman Hobby Box$629.95
Bowman Chrome Hobby Box$399.95
Bowman Draft Hobby Box$566

The Bowman Hobby seems reasonably priced, considering Acuna and Alcantra are in there. The others seem very overpriced unless you believe in Jazz Chisholm, which I do not.

Grade: B+

The 2018 Baseball Rookie Cohort

Series 1:

  • Rafael Devers – 18 
  • Victor Robles – 166 
  • Walker Buehler – 177 
  • Rhys Hoskins – 259 
  • Ozzie Albies – 276 
  • Alex Verdugo – 281 

Series 2:

  • Sandy Alcantara – 594 
  • Ronald Acuna Jr. – 698 – Bat Down SP 
  • Gleyber Torres – 699 SP 
  • Shohei Ohtani – 700 

Update:

  • Austin Meadows – US34 
  • Shane Bieber – US198 
  • Gleyber Torres – US200 (true RC) 
  • Ronald Acuna Jr. – US250 (true RC) 
  • Juan Soto – US300

This is what it’s all about—the golden standard of rookie cohorts. I am talking, of course, about Shane Bieber. No, but seriously. We still believe in Shohei Ohtani. He is innocent! We have too much money invested in his cards to believe otherwise—just too much to handle. Did I mention Shane Bieber?

Topps Series 1 Hobby Box$184
Topps Series 2 Hobby Box$599
Topps Update Hobby Box$1,725

Surprisingly, the Update box is worth much more than Series 2, which has Shohei. Perhaps the picture of the Japanese superstar on the cover threw people off. Either way, it’s an excellent opportunity to get Series 2 for (a relatively) cheap price.

Grade: A+

Notable Bowman 1sts

Bowman:

  • Luis Robert – BCP21

Chrome:

No one, really.

Draft:

  • Jarred Kelenic – BDC-6
  • Alec Bohm- BDC-25
  • Jonathan India – BDC-112
  • Nico Hoerner – BDC-165

There is a lot of considerable talent here that has not quite fully panned out but could. We still aren’t sure where Luis Robert’s career is going, even less so Kelenic, Bohm, and India.

Bowman Hobby Box$849
Bowman Chrome Hobby Box$1,299.95
Bowman Draft Hobby Box$575.95

The prices are inflated because of the Shohei cards in these boxes. But they are not Bowman 1sts, so we cannot in good conscience include this in our grades. We are a publication of great integrity.

Grade: B-

The 2019 Baseball rookie cohort

Series 1:

  • Kyle Tucker – 60 
  • Jeff McNeil – 281 
  • Brandon Lowe – 114 
  • Adolis Garcia – 227 
  • Corbin Burnes – 94 
  • Cedric Mullins – 318 

Series 2:

  • Fernando Tatis Jr. – 410 
  • Pete Alonso – 475 
  • Patrick Wisdom – 578 
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (No # short print) 

Update:

  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – US1 
  • Luis Arraez – US247 
  • Bryan Reynolds – US51 
  • Jared Walsh – US59 
  • Austin Riley – US100 
  • Will Smith – US199 
  • Mike Yastrzemski – US245 

There is a lot of depth here. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are the marquee names.

But behind them, there are so many players with fabulous potential: Austin Riley, Pete Alonso, Cedric Mullins, and Corbin Burnes, now one of the best pitchers in baseball. They are a significant cohort.

Topps Series 1 Hobby Box$149
Topps Series 2 Hobby Box$219.95
Topps Update Hobby Box$107.95

By 2019, more people were stashing their boxes. That is one reason these prices are low despite being very heavy with talent.

Grade: A-

Bowman 1sts

  • Julio Rodriguez – BCP-33
  • Logan Webb – BCP-79
  • Wander Franco – BCP-100

Chrome:

  • Patrick Sandoval – BCP-236
  • Luis Garcia – BCP-237

Draft:

  • Adley Rutschman – BDC-1
  • Gunnar Henderson – BDC-22
  • Brett Baty – BDC-39
  • Riley Greene – BDC-50
  • Corbin Carroll – BDC-125

You must be kidding me with this bunch of Bowman firsts. Okay, let’s move Wander aside for a second, for um….reasons. Julio Rodriguez is already one of the best sluggers in the MLB. Webb is an ace.

Then Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, and Corbin Carroll seem destined to have glorious careers. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Bowman Hobby Box$439.95
Bowman Chrome Hobby Box$249.95
Bowman Draft Hobby Box$799.95

 The prices of these boxes are significantly higher than they were a year ago. And rightfully so. But the market still hasn’t caught up to how loaded they are.

Grade: A+

The 2020 Baseball rookie cohort

Series 1:

  • Nico Hoerner – 70 
  • Bo Bichette – 78 
  • Zac Gallen – 207 
  • Randy Arozarena – 229 
  • Yordan Alvarez – 276 
  • Dylan Cease – 326 

Series 2:

  • Emmanuel Clase – 390 
  • Luis Robert – 392 

Update:

  • Devin Williams – U113 

Another underrated cohort here. Bo Bichette, Yordan Alvarez, and Randy Arozarena have put together very consistent early careers. Zac Gallen is a full-on, top-of-the-line ace now. And the jury is still out on Robert. There is a lot to like here.

Topps Series 1 Hobby Box$109
Topps Series 2 Hobby Box$149.99
Topps Update Hobby Box$61.95

The prices here are meager. In the case of Update, that is obviously because it was a weak bunch. However, the other two are a bit underrated, and many people hold these because they were at the peak of the COVID-19 era. Nonetheless, it’s a great bunch.

Grade: A-

Notable Bowman 1sts

Prospects

  • Jasson Dominguez – BCP-8
  • Bobby Witt Jr. – BCP-25
  • Tarik Skubal – BCP-108
  • Jarren Duran- BCP-144

Draft

  • Spencer Strider – BD-20
  • Pete Crow-Armstrong – BD-72
  • Spencer Torkelson – BD-121
  • Zach Britton – BD-158

In recent years, Jasson Dominguez, Spencer Torkelson, and Bobby Witt Jr. have been the most significant prospects for entering the majors. Spencer Strider is the best young pitcher in baseball.

There is plenty of buzz around Tarik Skubal and Pete Crow-Armstrong right now. This group is filled with studs.

Bowman Hobby Box$369.95
Bowman Chrome Hobby Box   $369
Bowman Draft  $600

The boxes for this year are likely to rise significantly in price. There is too much talent and upside here for these (relatively) low prices. We will all be surprised if there aren’t at least two big long-term stars in this cohort.

Grade: A+

The 2021 Baseball rookie cohort

Series 1:

  • Jo Adell – 43 
  • Alec Bohm – 277 
  • Joey Bart – 128 
  • Dylan Carlson – 285 
  • Ryan Mountcastle – 143 
  • Cristian Pache – 187 
  • Ian Anderson – 239 

Series 2:

  • Ke’Bryan Hayes – 644 
  • Jazz Chisholm – 538 

Update:

  • Jarred Kelenic – US302 
  • Andrew Vaughn – US312 
  • Jonathan India – US286 
  • Alek Manaoh – US227 

This bunch features many players we were told were the next big thing, but they haven’t panned out. Plenty of these guys are going to have promising careers.

But Jarred Kelenic, Jazz Chisholm, Jonathan India, and Alec Bohm are not what we were told. They are all above-average players. That is about it.

Topps Series 1 Hobby Box$61.95
Topps Series 2 Hobby Box$58.99
Topps Update Hobby Box$59.99

The poor cohort of rookies and the fact that everyone was stashing wax in 2021 mean these boxes are worth nothing. It’s a shame because I have a bunch of them! But so does everyone else.

Grade: C

Notable Bowman 1sts

  • Austin Martin – BCP-87
  • Blaze Jordan – BCP-71

Draft

  • Marcelo Mayer – BD-174
  • Jordan Lawlar – BD-194
  • Jay Allen – BD-11

At this point, we are just speculating about prospects, so the grades here are far less accurate than in previous years. But Mayer is a clear standout and has a chance of becoming a superstar. Others, like Lawler, project to be above-average everyday starters.

Bowman Hobby Box$99.95
Bowman Chrome Hobby Box   $109.95
Bowman Draft  $549.95

Mayer and Lawlar are keeping the 2021 Bowman Draft box price up. Will they justify it? I’m not sure. I guess the box is overpriced.

Grade: B-

2022 Baseball Rookie Cohort

Series 1:

  • Wander Franco – 215 
  • Gavin Sheets – 12 
  • Brandon Marsh – 243 
  • Bryan De La Cruz – 22 
  • Reid Detmers – 201 

Series 2:

  • Joe Ryan – 390
  • Juan Yepez – 506
  • Josh Lowe – 479
  • Spencer Strider – 509
  • Oneil Cruz – 537
  • Spencer Torkelson – 658 SP
  • Julio Rodriguez – 659 SP
  • Bobby Witt Jr. – 660 SP

Update:

  • Spencer Torkelson – US20
  • C.J. Abrams – US34
  • Julio Rodriguez – US44
  • Bobby Witt Jr. – US100
  • Royce Lewis – US105
  • Hunter Greene – US160
  • George Kirby – US207
  • Alek Thomas – US212
  • Bryson Stott – US224
  • Jeremy Pena – US253
  • Seiya Suzuki – US250
  • Steven Kwan – US261
  • Nick Lodolo – US298

They built all of Series 1 around Wander Franco. That was a solid idea at the time, but it didn’t age well. But by pushing the other big stars into the other boxes, they made them much better.

We have Spencer Strider, Spencer Torkelson, Julio Rodriguez, and Bobby Witt Jr., as well as others who could pan out. They’re a great bunch.

Topps Series 1 Hobby Box$64.95
Topps Series 2 Hobby Box$89.95
Topps Update Hobby Box$164.98

It is hard to get any value on the recent Flagship boxes. But the 2022 Update is so loaded that it stands out from the pack. It may be one of the few recent boxes of Flagship worth stashing.

Grade: A+

Notable Bowmans 1st

Prospects:

  • Elly De LA Cruz – BPPF-50
  • Jackson Chourio – BPPF-79
  • Curtis Mead – BPPF-10
  • George Valera – BPPF-22
  • Kahlil Watson – BPPF-3

Chrome

  • Roderick Arias – BCP-153

The name our eyes go to immediately is, of course, Elly De La Cruz. We could write a book on whether he will be a boom or bust. But there is no doubt that his ceiling is high.

Everyone else? It’s a crapshoot at this point. Still, Chourio is the no. 2 prospect in the nation right now. Baseball America says, “Chourio has a chance to be a franchise cornerstone, a potential perennial all-star with 30-30 potential who could hit in the middle of the Brewers’ lineup. “

And as a Mets fan, I can vouch that this dude can do some damage in the MLB.

Bowman Hobby Box$255
Bowman Chrome Hobby Box   $299.95
Bowman Draft  $450

The Elly De LA Cruz factor has inflated the price of the Draft box. So proceed based on whether you believe in him or not.

Grade: B

2023 Baseball Rookies Cohort

Series 1:

  • Nolan Gorman – 16
  • Riley Greene – 31
  • Brett Baty – 89
  • Triston Casas – 92
  • Oswald Peraza – 94
  • Hunter Brown – 111
  • Miguel Vargas – 163
  • Gabriel Moreno – 169
  • Gunnar Henderson – 206
  • Michael Harris II – 226
  • Adley Rutschman – 250
  • Vaughn Grissom – 275
  • Vinnie Pasquantino – 302
  • Christopher Morel – 308

Series 2:

  • Jordan Walker – 344
  • Kodai Senga – 362
  • Logan O’Hoppe – 363
  • Max Meyer – 388
  • James Outman – 395
  • Corbin Carroll – 401
  • Anthony Volpe – 460
  • Masataka Yoshida – 471
  • Josh Jung – 529
  • Oscar Colas – 545
  • Ezekiel Tovar – 651
  • Francisco Alvarez – 644

Update:

  • Tanner Bibee – US168
  • Taj Bradley – US55
  • Bryce Miller – US178
  • Mason Miller – US15
  • Zach Neto – US98
  • Eury Perez – US139
  • Grayson Rodriguez – US50
  • Joey Wiemer – US245

The 2023 class is a good one in two most important ways. It is deep AND top-heavy. There is a lot of talent throughout this list, but the standouts are remarkable.

Adley Rutschman may be a generational catcher talent. Meanwhile, Gunnar Henderson may be the better youngster on his team. Then you have Michael Harris II, who dominated 2023, and Corbin Carroll, who dominated 2024. A fine list, indeed.

Topps Series 1 Hobby Box$66.45
Topps Series 2 Hobby Box$64.95
Topps Update Hobby Box$64.95

It is painful to see flagship boxes with such a good rookie class selling for so little. But that is what happens when everyone has switched to Bowman.

Grade: A

Notable Bowman 1sts

Chrome:

  • Ethan Salas – BCP-171
  • Felnin Celesten – BCP-156
  • Luis Guanipa – BCP-200

Draft:

  • Paul Skenes – BD-14
  • Bryce Eldridge – BD-107
  • Max Clark – BD-76
  • Wyatt Langford – BD-106

Salas is already a top-ten prospect, so this crop has that going for them. He has a good chance of being an elite catcher. Meanwhile, Skenes is a number two prospect with a 102 mph fastball.

Wyatt Langford is the number six prospect and is an elite hitter with questions surrounding his fielding. Max Clark is highly rated, too. It’s too early to tell, but this looks like a very solid group.

Bowman Hobby Box$239.95
Bowman Chrome Hobby Box   $239.95
Bowman Draft Hobby Box$799.95

The Chrome box may be a bit undervalued. But the market is correct; the Draft box is a better buy.

Grade: A

2024 Baseball rookie cohort

Series 1:

  • Nolan Schanuel – 53
  • Jasson Dominguez – 60
  • Sal Frelick – 76
  • Curtis Mead – 82
  • Elly De La Cruz – 141
  • Zack Gelof – 166
  • Christian Encarnacion-Strand – 219
  • Ronny Mauricio – 224
  • Marco Luciano – 232
  • Colton Cowser – 257
  • Evan Carter – 280
  • Henry Davis – 295

It is certainly too early to tell, but this Series 1 crop seems very promising. Elly took the baseball world by storm in 2023, and Dominguez and Carter both have a great chance of making serious waves this year.

Topps Series 1 Hobby Box$94.95

Very preliminary grade: A

Bowman has not been released in 2024 yet. It will be coming in May 2024.

A final word on ranking the baseball rookie cohorts

It was a long journey from 2011 to 2024. We have seen just how much phenomenal talent baseball produces every year. But not every year is equal. Some are stacked, and some are plain mediocre.

If you go over the list, you will see that wax prices do not always match the talent in them. That is where you have a chance to make some money. The market seems somewhat behind and sleeping on several of the best years.

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is the emeritus editor of Cardlines. He continues to write for several hobby outlets, including this one and Cardbase. He collects primarily vintage baseball and soccer and has a weird obsession with 1971 Topps.

In his spare time, Shaiel is sobbing into his bourbon when the Mets lose and playing Dungeons and Dragons. In a past life, Dr. Ben-Ephraim was a political science professor, journalist, and diplomat. But cards are more fun.
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