Why Wait for 2014 Bowman? Top Kris Bryant Prospect Cards Available Now
If you haven't heard of Kris Bryant yet, get ready. Touted by many as baseball's next big thing, he is getting the Chicago Cubs faithful excited for the future. And that future might not be far away. And while collectors will have to wait for 2014 to get his Bowman Chrome Autograph, there are already lots of Kris Bryant cards to choose from.
The second overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, he got off to a great start in A-ball. Following the season, Bryant proceeded to tear up the Arizona Fall League where he hit .364 with six home runs in 20 games -- good enough for AFL MVP honors.
There is no shortage of Kris Bryant cards. A big part of this comes from the fact that he played for USA Baseball, which means lots of appearances in Panini sets. Bryant has also been featured in recent sets from Leaf and Topps.
The first Kris Bryant cards came out in 2012. The 2012 Panini USA Baseball box set has a bunch of options, including autographs and memorabilia cards. Bryant also has an autographed jersey card in 2012 Playoff Prime Cuts.
The floodgates opened in 2013 as the USA Baseball cards continued as well as the first Kris Bryant cards featuring him as a pro. Many collectors were disappointed to see that the hard-hitting third baseman wasn't a major part of 2013 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects. He does have a couple of cards in the set -- his first in a Cubs uniform -- but not a Bowman Chrome Autograph. Although not guaranteed, it's likely these will come in 2014 Bowman Baseball as Bryant was featured among the initial details released for the set.
For those not wanting to wait until then, below is a detailed look at some of the top Kris Bryant cards you can get right now.
Key Kris Bryant Prospect Cards
Please note that this is not a definitive list of Kris Bryant prospect cards. Rather, it's highlights of some of his most popular and readily available cards.
Click on card names or images to shop for singles on eBay.
Part of the 2012 Panini USA Baseball box set, this might not rank as one of the most valuable Kris Bryant cards but it is his first base card. This should make it affordable over the long-term. That said, not a lot of these sets are broken down for base singles so they're not the easiest cards to find either.
One of the many premium inserts in the 2012 Panini USA Baseball box set, this Kris Bryant autograph benefits from an on-card signature. The numbering to 399 means that it pops up with regular frequency. This could be an attractive option in the years to come for those wanting an attractive Kris Bryant certified autograph without having a huge budget.
Another premium box set offering, this card comes with two jersey swatches. The sticker autograph takes away some of the desirability but it still has an attractive design.
2012 Playoff Prime Cuts USA Basbeall Collegiate National Team Game Jersey Signatures Kris Bryant #2 #/199
With both an on-card autograph and a jersey swatch, this is one of the stronger Kris Bryant prospect cards. In fact, the design is a lot better than many of the major league rookies found in the same release.
Although Topps didn't include Kris Bryant in the main 2013 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospect Autographs lineup, he does have a couple of signed cards in the set. The Bowman Black autograph is numbered to just 25 copies. As one of the first cards to feature the highly touted prospect in a Cubs uniform, it's long-term outlook is very strong -- for those that can find and afford one.
Bowman AFLAC Autographs have been popular for a long time. Produced, printed and signed back at the 2009 AFLAC All-American game, it is notable for having a very early Kris Bryant signature. Even now, there's a noticeable difference in the quality. If history proves true once again, there's a solid chance that Bryant's signature will further suffer as he signs more in the years ahead.
Like all AFLAC cards, there are a couple of different variations. Certified pack-issued cards are serial numbered. Unnumbered copies were also given out at the game. These can be found signed and unsigned. If you're going after an autographed version that isn't serial numbered, it is highly recommended that you go with professionally authenticated versions.
Mixing the past and the future, the 2013 Leaf Memories Kris Bryant autograph is inspired by the 1990 Leaf Baseball design. The on-card signature is another big selling point. It also has several parallels numbered between 50 and 1.
Another overlooked early Kris Bryant card, 2013 Leaf Metal Draft comes with a sharp Prismatic (or Refractor) look. It's also hard-signed. In typical chromium fashion, collectors can also hunt for colorful parallels.
While Topps didn't include a Kris Bryant Chrome card in 2013 Bowman Draft, Panini went there with their similarly themed 2013 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks. While the set name may be a little difficult to make sense of, the headliner's inclusion isn't. Like all Prizm sets, a rainbow of parallels can also be found.
The chromium-style card comes with an on-card autograph. Until Bryant gets a Bowman Chrome autograph, this might be one of the next best things. Over time, it's unlikely it'll be as valuable as its Bowman Chrome counterpart, but it is available now for those looking for a solid value.
Certified is a name familiar to a lot of long-time collectors. Besides the trademark foil stock, the card is also highlighted by multiple colored parallels. The sticker signature is somewhat less desirable, but it's still a solid card for those who like the foil style. 2013 Panini USA Baseball Champions is also proving to be a cheap box break with some solid upside.