2021 Topps Chrome Baseball Review

August 17, 2021

Look no further than Cardlines for the ultimate 2021 Topps Chrome Baseball Review.

Topps Chrome Baseball was first released in 1996. The product took off in a big way for basketball collectors. Meanwhile, baseball fans were skeptical of the product and preferred paper. At least at first.

Over the years, Topps Chrome has gained popularity among baseball collectors. It is now one of the most popular Topps releases.  If you are interested in this issue, we have already tackled the paper vs. chrome conundrum.

The Release Date Of 2021 Topps Chrome Baseball 

Topps Chrome 2021 hobby boxes, jumbo hobbies, and blasters are currently scheduled for release on August 20th. The blasters are set for release on September 10th. The release had previously been expected in late July, but the release was postponed.

However, blasters have been widely sighted in retail outlets days before the official release at a . They are already being flipped on eBay for $59.  Expect the resale price to decrease as they become more available.

2021 Topps Chrome Baseball hobby boxes have two autos (get Chrome hobby boxes on eBay).

Upside And Downside Of Topps Chrome

The main drawback of the product is that it is merely a chrome rehash of previous releases. Sure, there are some exclusive cards and parallels. But generally, it takes the design of Topps Series 1 and Series 2 and makes chrome versions of those cards. In this case, it is a particularly unappealing design (and rightfully so, in my humble opinion).

The advantage is that the glossy cards tend to hold value better than their flagship equivalents, especially in recent years. And there is no doubt that some of the cards are more attractive in a chrome format.

2021 Topps Chrome Baseball Review Of Release Formats

Topps Chrome will enjoy both retail and hobby releases.

Hobby Boxes

Topps 2021 Chrome Hobby Boxes include:

  • 24 packs
  • 4 cards per pack
  • 2 autos per box

This release features several exclusive cards:

  • Captain’s Cloth Chrome Relics
  • Green Refractors /99
  • Orange Refractor /25
  • Red Refractor /5
  • SuperFractor 1/1

Odds for pulling refractors and inserts in hobby packs are as follows:

  • Refractors – 1:3 hobby packs
  • Prism Refractors – 1:6 hobby packs
  • 1986 Topps Baseball Inserts – 1:6 hobby packs
  • Future Stars Inserts – 1:8 hobby packs

So you are likely to hit 8 regular refractors and 4 prisms per hobby box.

You can pre-order for $164.95 or so. But be careful; some sellers are hawking them for a lot more.

Jumbo Hobby Boxes

The Jumbo Hobby boxes include:

  • 12 packs
  • 13 cards per pack
  • 1 parallel per pack
  • 4 autos per box

They have all of the hobby exclusives mentioned above, aside from the orange refractors.

They are preselling for $750.

Hanger Boxes

Each hanger box has the following components:

  • 5 Packs
  • 4 cards per pack
  • 1 exclusive 5-card Topps Updates Preview Pack per hanger box
  • X-Fractor cards are exclusive to this format

You can pre-order these babies for $40.

X-Fractors are only available in hanger boxes (get your Ohtani X-Fractors on eBay).

Blaster Boxes

The hanger boxes include:

  • 7 regular packs
  • 4 cards per regular pack
  • 1 bonus with 4 Sepia Refractor parallel cards

You can get blasters on preselling for $60.

Value Packs

  • 3 regular packs
  • Each regular pack contains 4 cards
  • 1 pink refractor pack
  • 5 cards in each pink refractor pack

The pink refractors are value pack exclusives. These packs are not yet available for presell.

Checklist Information

The checklist for the 2021 version has not been released yet. However, traditionally it is very similar to the Series 1 and Series 2 ones. However, it is much smaller and tends to include only rookies and significant stars.

We can expect the key players and most desired cards to be the rookie autos. I have ranked the best autos to look for. Keep in mind that some of the biggest recent callups, such as Wander Franco and Jarred Kelenic, have not appeared in flagship and are unlikely to be on Chrome checklists.

  • Ryan Mountcastle

It is no secret that Cardlines loves Ryan Mountcastle. Ok, I love Ryan Mountcastle. His performances this year have been impressive, and his cards represent strong ROI potential.

  • Trevor Rogers

No one has had a quicker impact than Trevor, and he is the rookie of the year favorite at this point with a 2.45 ERA.

  • Dylan Carlson

Dylan was a #13 prospect and has also shown solid ability in the show. His .260/.340/.421 line is solid, and his 12 homers hint at more power to come.

Dylan Carlson seems to be developing impressive power (buy Dylan Carlson posters on Amazon).
  • Jo Adell

Adell has struggled in the majors so far and has a negative WAR to show for his efforts. However, his athletic build and potential power remain highly impressive. There is a reason he was once the #3 prospect in the sport, according to Baseball America.

  • Casey Mize

Casey was the #1 draft pick in 2018 and had the stuff to back it up. He has managed a 3.66 ERA and fits comfortably as the Tigers no. 2 pitcher. To me, Mize has ace written all over.

  • Alex Kiriloff

Alex has all the tools to be a future All-Star. He has adjusted relatively quickly to the majors and was fast becoming a valuable part of the Twins lineup. However, his known injury problems crept up, and he has opted for surgery.

  • Alec Bohm

Many lists had Alec as the elite prospect coming into the majors for 2021. His fielding has always been suspect, but the 3rd baseman was one of the best hitting prospects around. However, his rookie season has been unimpressive at the bat. Meanwhile, watching him attempt to play the corner has been downright painful. He has the tools to become a star eventually, but likely as a 1st baseman or DH.

Will Alec Bohm’s defensive struggles be his undoing? (look for Alec Bohm posters on Amazon).
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes

Ke’Bryan is a highly rated rookie, often considered one of the best of his class. However, his ceiling is not as high as some of the others on this list.

  • Christian Pache

Pache’s cards have sold for some substantial amounts. He is an incredibly gifted fielder and an impressive athlete and was ranked the #7 prospect. However, I don’t believe his offense is elite. That is not just a reflection on his poor MLB stats but instead reflects a general scout consensus.

  • Jake Cronenworth

Scouts described Jake as having “average tools” and did not make many fancy prospect lists. However, this year’s production for the Padres has been remarkable, and they consider him their future 2nd baseman. But before you invest, keep in mind that Jake is 27.

The 2021 Topps Chrome Baseball Review Of Parallels and Refractors

Here is a complete list of all the parallels set to appear in Topps Chrome 2021.

Base Refractor Parallels

  • Refractors
  • Prism Refractors
  • Negative Refractors
  • Magenta Refractors  /399
  • Magenta Speckle Refractors /350
  • Purple Refractors /299
  • Aqua Refractors /199
  • Aqua Wave Refractors /199
  • Blue Refractors /150
  • Green Refractors /99
  • Green Wave Refractors /99
  • Blue Wave Refractors /75
  • Gold Refractors /50
  • Gold Wave Refractors /50
  • Orange Refractors /25
  • Orange Wave Refractors /25
  • Red Refractors /5
  • Red Wave Refractors /5
  • Printing Plates 1/1
  • Superfractors 1/1
Superfractors are 1/1 (get Topps Chrome Superfractors on eBay).

Rookie Autograph Refractor Parallels Breakdown

  • Refractor /499
  • Purple Refractor /250
  • Aqua Refractor /199
  • Blue Refractor /150
  • Blue Wave Refractor /150
  • Gold Refractor /50
  • Gold Wave Refractor /50
  • Orange Refractor /25
  • Orange Wave Refractor /25
  • Red Refractor /5
  • Red Wave Refractor /5
  • SuperFractor 1/1
  • Printing Plates 1/1


Now to the ultimate question, is the product worth the price? We will examine the value of wax and singles separately.

The Value Of Wax

Let’s start with blasters. Here are the recent sales for blasters of current year Topps Chrome Baseball blasters.

2018 Blasters $394
2019 Blasters $213
2020 Blasters $55

The first thing that jumps out from those numbers is the dramatic difference between the 2020 blasters and the previous years. Part of the issue is that the rookie class of 2018 and 2019 was remarkably strong. 2020 was not; at least, they have not fully blossomed so far.

Another issue is that people were stockpiling wax during the pandemic. So there is plenty of 2020 Chrome to be found.

Now let’s see how hobby boxes fare.

2018 Hobby Boxes $965
2019 Hobby Boxes $875
2020 Hobby Boxes $315

The value of 2021 is likely to be more similar to 2020 than the previous years. There are no massive rookies in this lot. While one may break out to be a superstar, I would bet against it.

The 2018 hobby box holds strong value (buy 2018 hobby boxes on eBay).

If we compare the value to the 2020 equivalent, the conclusions are clear. Blasters are not worth the space they take up in the closet. However, the hobby boxes are a solid investment at a $165 price point. After all, the prices will likely appreciate a few years down the road.

The Value of Singles

Let’s see how the most notable single cards in recent releases have performed. All cards assessed below are PSA 10s.

Ronald Acuna Base 2018 $202
Ronald Acuna Refractor 2018 $436
Shohei Ohtani Base 2018 $280
Shohei Ohtani Refractor 2018 $560
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Base 2019 $197
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Refractor 2019 $430
Fernando Tatis Jr. Base 2019 $263
Fernando Tatis Jr. Refractor 2019 $380
Luis Robert Base 2020 $90
Luis Robert Refractor 2020 $152
Bo Bichette Base 2020 $90
Bo Bichette Refractor 2020 $133

Even a cursory glance shows that unless the player is a massive star, the value of the singles generally is not great. So while you will likely make back the money from your hobby box, it may not be by an impressive margin.

Are any of the 2021 rookies as promising as Acuna? (look for Acuna 2018 Chrome refractors on eBay).

The play for Topps Chrome seems to be simple. First, buy the hobby boxes and stash them. Then pray that the rookies from that year pan out.

Bottomline Of The 2021 Topps Chrome Baseball Review 

The quality of the rookies determines the value of most products. Topps Chrome seems to be particularly sensitive in this regard. While I like the 2021 rookie class, it seems unlikely to contain any franchise players. It is even less likely to hold a generational talent.

That means investors should expect it to perform similarly to the 2020 Topps Chrome release. However, in the long-term, I would rate it slightly below. After all, Luis Robert has more upside than anyone in the 2021 release.

It will be a different story next year, with Wander Franco, Jared Kelenic and possibly Adley Rutschman and Julio Rodriguez in the mix. Now that will be a year to invest in.