Topps Series 1 hit the market on February 5th for customers, after the #MillonCardRipParty that took place on the 4th. With a kickoff of that magnitude, it caused concern around the possible massive print run. However, the parallels and card design look clean and the product has been selling extremely well to start things off. I overall like the product and design. The parallels and veteran autographs and SSPs are fun and plentiful. I especially like the rookie short prints (SP) and super short prints (SSP) which give you some value on the top valued rookies. The inserts are even appealing overall for a change.
The 2019 Series 1 was pretty empty of talent but 2020 this year is completely different. When you are looking at the upcoming Topps releases the first thing you are looking for is the rookies that are in the product. The set of rookie cards is very appealing in 2020 Series 1, led by Yordan Alvarez, Bo Bichette, and Gavin Lux. Referring to Prospects1500 Top 172 list, there are 8 Rookie cards of guys on that list not including Bichette, Alvarez, or Aquino, which shows the depth in this year’s Series 1 flagship product. This is different from my articles that are about pure prospects which are primarily found in Bowman, Topps Heritage Minor League, and Topps Pro Debut. The hobby chases the first card made of a player which is the 1st Bowman prospect card, and the rookie card.
I wanted to highlight some top SSP cards in the product that are fun chase for any collector. The SSPs of note include Stan Musial, Cal Ripken Jr., Aaron Judge (with Babe Ruth looking on), Lou Gehrig, Sandy Koufax, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Ken Griffey Jr., Babe Ruth, and lastly the Pete Alonso SSP of an actual polar bear. It is estimated that the SSP print run of this polar bear is under 80 total cards. So an extremely exciting and rare hit. In this article, I will give you a quick top 5 teams to go for in breaks, and then will give a quick top 5 of rookies that are in the product.
My Top 5 teams in Breaks
#1 Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are a great team to target in pick your team breaks. They are severely underpriced in my opinion. They are typically the 3rd highest priced team in the product behind the Astros and Blue Jays. I prefer the Dodgers over those two because they have two solid rookies to chase. Gavin Lux is the major rookie everyone is chasing but also Dustin May is another consensus top 30 prospect. They also have a solid Veteran checklist with various Sps and autographs.
#2 Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays I have barely above the Astros. Mostly because I prefer Bo Bichette over Yordan as a baseball player. You also have some nice Vladimir Guerro Jr. Rookie Cup parallels and SPs. The Blue Jays can vary in price, I have seen them equal to the Dodgers or a little bit higher. In a Jumbo case break if you can get the Blue Jays under 0 that is a great deal. Bichette is a multi-tool player that I am high on. He made my 3 segment buys for the off-season on BreakerCulture.com which you can view here.
#3 Houston Astros
Yordan Alvarez is the #1 chase in the product for rookie cards. He is pulling the biggest value as well. Alvarez had a monster season for the Astros last year before struggling in the playoffs. From the hobby perspective, there are concerns he will be strictly a DH and lose his hype as he becomes more one dimensional. He is still a fantastic power hitter and should have solid value going into 2020. Astros again has some nice veteran players in the product as well.
#4 Chicago Cubs
The Cubs with Nico Hoerner make the top 5. Cubs naturally have a solid veteran back up if you don’t hit the Hoerner RCs. Nico is a top 50 player on prospects 1500 October report. He had a nice start to his pro career and looks to fit nicely into their line up. Cubs have nice depth and a solid rookie to go for. The Cubs are half the price of the 3 above, so they are a great buy in any break for all Cubs fans.
#5 Cincinnati Reds
The reds are priced the same as the Cubs. The Cubs get the nod above because of the solid veteran possibilities on the checklist. The Reds have Aquino rookie cards along with some fun veteran cards as well. Aquino is a very intriguing player for 2020, he took the league by storm after his call up clubbing HR after HR. He also has the SP pictured here and SSP RC cards I like to go after.
Top 5 Rookie Players in 2020 Series 1
Before I get into the top 5 players based on value, I wanted to outline the parallels and SP and SSPs that are possible.
Yellow (Walgreens exclusive)
Purple (Meijer exclusive)
Gold ( /2020)
Advanced Stat /300 (really cool, has normal stats subbed out with sabermetric stats)
Vintage Stock /99
Independence Day /76
Mothers Day Pink /50
Fathers Day Blue /50
Memorial Day Camp /25
Printing Plate /1
Short Prints for Select Rookies and Veterans
Super Short Prints for Select Rookies and Veterans, it is suggested these are 80 or less in production.
There are also Silver packs that come 1 per hobby box and 2 per Jumbo box. The silver refractors have their colors and parallels as well.
In discussing the top 5 rookies to look for, I will use various but not all parallels along with base cards for price reference points.
#1 – Yordan Alvarez, OF, Houston Astros
Alvarez is currently going for $7-$8 per raw base rookie card. That is a very solid starting point and is close to Fernando Tatis Jr. value for the base rookie card. His SP (pictured here) is selling for $72 and a high card that recently sold of Yordan was an Orange Silver pack auto /25 for $400. Great start, expect these values to decrease a bit as things stabilize but Yordan has my attention.
#2 – Bo Bichette, SS, Toronto Blue Jays
Bichette’s base rookie (pictured) is going for $5-7 depending on lot size. He has a lot of volume of sales right now and that is partially due to the support north of the border. His rookie SP is selling in the $80-$85 range and has had a Silver pack red out of 5 autograph sell for $255.
#3 – Gavin Lux, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Lux comes into the lethal Dodgers lineup as a consensus top 5 prospect. Making Lux another strong rookie in the product, he hasn’t displayed the skill in the big leagues the way Yordan and Bichette have but he is still highly touted coming up for his first full-time role. Lux’s base Rookie is selling between $4-5. His SSP rookie card (pictured) is commanding an impressive $346 out of the gate.
#4- Aristides Aquino, OF, Cincinnati Reds
Aquino is another power-hitting rookie that can be found in 2020 series 1. The value does take a dip here from the top 3 as his base rookie (pictured) is going $2.50-$3.50. His SSP rookie card just sold for $92, both of Aquino’s SP and SSP photos are neat. His SP rookie card is a picture of him flexing in the dugout which is pictured above. There are also some nice rookie relics of Aquino that are fun for any Reds fan but don’t quite command the value you would expect in the hobby.
#5- Nico Hoerner, SS, Chicago Cubs
Hoerner had a nice initial showing with the Cubs and checks in at #5. His base rookie is selling around $2. One of my favorite parallels in the product is the advanced stat variation card numbered to 300. The Nico Hoerner Advanced Stat card just sold for $20, which I think was a great buy.
Honorable Mention Rookies: Jesus Luzardo P OAK, A.J. Puk P OAK, Dustin May P LAD, Sean Murphy C OAK, Kyle Lewis OF SEA, Brendan McKay P/1B TB, Zac Gallen P ARI, Jordan Yamamoto P MIA, Abraham Toro OF HOU, Dylan Cease P CWS, and Sam Hillard OF COL.
Topps Series 1 is widely available. You can find hangers/blasters/value packs at any local retail store to enjoy if you don’t have a local LCS or want to pay for a hobby/jumbo box. Good Luck with the RIPS! Have fun with it! I speak to the value of cards often, it is important to remember that ripping is the fun part that everyone can enjoy. Hit me up in the comments below or on Twitter @tbanker28 if you have any questions.