If you are a fan of Baseball and you live within driving distance, you owe it to yourself to get to a Minor League game. Even though the Dodgers and Angels are closer to where I live, I still make the effort to get out to the various MiLB stadiums of the teams playing in the California League.
Recently I went to see the Lancaster Jet Hawks. For twelve dollars, I sat five rows up off the field, right behind home plate. Just behind me was Ron Brand, longtime scout for the New York Yankees. He couldn’t have been more kind, talking baseball with me when he wasn’t busy using his radar gun or taking notes on players. He even let me have a close look at his 1998 Yankees World Series Ring, very impressive for this life long pinstripe fan. But the main reason I was at the game was to watch the players. Young, raw talent, some of whom I have been tracking for a while and some who are destined to get the call up to “The Show.”
Topps captures the essence of the MiLB experience with 2012 Pro Debut Baseball cards. For a reasonable price you get a great representation of the some of the best the minors has to offer in a streamlined set with the possibility of pulling a really nice hit, of which the full impact will be determined further down the road.
This set falls under our classification of trading cards. Hobby Boxes contain 24 – 8 card packs with two autographs and two relic cards per box.
Here are some of the cards I pulled from a hobby box of Pro Debut.
Bryce Harper, front and back
Billy Hamilton, Gary Brown, Michael Choice
Trevor Bauer, Joe Panik, Shelby Miller
Manny Machado, Sean Gilmartin, Cory Spangenberg
Jameson Taillon, Bubba Starling, C.J. Cron
Jurickson Profar, Javier Baez, Matt Harvey
Base Set Parallels
James Allen - Gold #/50, Cory Spangenberg Photo Variation SP
All Stars Inserts
Manny Machado, Scooter Gennett
Andrelton Simmons, Julio Rodriguez, Mike McDade
Rymer Liriano, Trevor May, Will Middlebrooks
Manny Machado Game Used Relic, Cory Spangenberg Manufactured Cap Logo Patch
Kyle Waldrop Autograph, Allen Webster Autograph
The design of the cards is based on 2012 Topps MLB cards which I happen to like this year. The bonus is you get all the players in their Minor League uniforms. The gold border cards work well and the All Stars inserts look really good. The Autograph cards are smartly designed with slight fading for the signature area. The cap logo cards look great.
Quality and Variety of Players
220 base cards make this a streamlined checklist that includes the top prospects and some players who are showing some early potential.
Do the hits hold up?
In short, yes. The best of the bunch are the dual autos or Jumbo Patch cards. But here is one instance where I wish Topps had numbered certain cards, just to show off their rarity. After looking at the odds, if my math is correct, the cap logo patch card would have been numbered to 49 and the photo variation SP would have been number to just 26. If you pull one of these and your player breaks into the Majors, you could have a huge hit on your hands. So, clearly, I'm pulling for Cory Spangenberg to get called up by the San Diego Padres and have a major impact in the MLB.
Will you want to collect them all?
This is a set you will want to complete. It appears there are under 10,000 boxes of Pro Debut, a very limited print run compared to other releases, like Topps Baseball, so there are probably only about 7,500 sets that can be put together, about 1,500 sets if you include the All Stars inserts. So if pulling together a set of Pro Debut is of interest to you, I would go for it sooner than later.
5 out of 5
If you appreciate Minor League Baseball, 2012 Topps Pro Debut should be a part of your collection.
Review box provided by Topps
Review box provided by Topps