Justin Verlander on the mound, Babe Ruth at bat. That’s how some are describing incoming Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani. Many MLB teams fought to get the 23 year old, but the Los Angeles Angels won the battle. He is sure to become one of the hottest rookies of the season and collectors will be looking for his cards as soon as possible, but they won’t have to wait long. Topps has signed Ohtani to a trading card and long-term autograph deal for the upcoming MLB season.
Topps already issued an Ohtani card in the Target Exclusive 2017 Bowman Chrome Mega Box and a 2017 Topps Now card on December 14th that had a print run of 17,323 cards. If you missed either of those and still want one, you can follow this link to try to pick one up.
His first pack-pulled trading card will appear in late spring, just in time for Ohtani to join the Los Angeles Angels in Spring Training. His cards will be featured in Topps products throughout the year, including autographed cards.
The Angels are already hinting they might use Ohtani in a six player pitching rotation and move Albert Pujols back to first to open up the DH position to allow Shohei to bat on his days off the mound. If he produces in the way he has in Japan, 624 strikeouts in 543 career innings and a batting average of .322 with 30 home runs and 98 RBI in 169 games, Ohtani will have some of the most highly coveted baseball cards and collectibles on the market in 2018. Topps will be the only company to produce his officially licensed MLB trading cards.
If you haven't already, you can follow Topps on Twitter (@topps), Instagram (@topps) and Facebook (@topps) for the latest updates and see the first images of Ohtani’s rookie cards. We will be sure to share them too here on the site when they become available.