Ten Most Intriguing Prospects From 2010 Topps USA Baseball
One of the more confusing things about prospecting is when a player hasn't even been drafted yet. This year, Topps took full advantage of it's recently acquired USA Baseball license. This paired with Topps' exclusive MLB and Minor League Baseball license gave the card giant the license to essentially print cards of any baseball player on the planet.
From 2010 Bowman Baseball's USA inserts/autos to 2010 Topps Chrome's USA Baseball on-card autographs to the recently released 2010 Topps USA Baseball Box Set, a size-able amount of cards featuring future MLB draft picks found their way into the hands of collectors in 2010.
Below is a look at 10 of the most intriguing big name prospects to make appear in 2010 Bowman Baseball, 2010 Bowman Chrome Baseball, 2010 Bowman Draft Baseball, 2010 Bowman Platinum Baseball, 2010 Topps Chrome Baseball and 2010 Topps USA Baseball. Under each player are several Cardboard Connection card recommendations.
Anthony Rendon, 20, Rice Univesity 3B
Most scouts project the 6'0", 210 pound slugger to be the top pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. Rendon has excellent pitch recognition and uses his lightning quick bat speed to generate a substantial amount of power for a player his size. In 2010, the right handed sophomore won the the Dick Howser Trophy and was named Baseball America's College Baseball Player of the Year. The only real concerns surrounding Rendon are injury related, as he's had two substantial ankle injuries in the last 3 years.
George Springer, 21, Connecticut Huskies OF
After Rendon, many scouts consider the 6'3", 200 pound U-Conn outfielder to be the second best college bat in the 2011 draft. Springer possesses incredible bat speed, is able to work deep into counts and though he's not lightning fast, is an instinctive fielder and base runner. To borrow a phrase from Grandpa Jake Mauer (Joe Mauer's grandpa), when Springer's "man muscles" settle in, he could be an elite power hitter in the pros.
- 2010 Topps Chrome USA Baseball Autographs #USA20 George Springer
- 2010 USA Baseball George Springer Autos, Relics, Relic Autos
Gerrit Cole, 20, UCLA Bruins SP
In 2008 MLB Draft, the New York Yankees drafted the then 17-year flame throwing righty with the 28th overall pick, but Cole left a more than lucrative contract on the table to pursue his boyhood dream of winning the college world series. Going into the 2011 MLB Draft, most believe Cole will be the top pitcher taken and is a near lock to go in the Top 5.
- 2010 Bowman Platinum Gerrit Cole Autos, Relic Autos
- 2010 Topps Chrome USA Baseball Autographs #USA4 Gerrit Cole
- 2010 USA Baseball Gerrit Cole Autos, Relics, Relic Autos
Jackie Bradley Jr, 20, South Carolina Gamecocks OF
The speedy Gamecocks OF has been the biggest draw of all the 2010 Topps USA Baseballers up to this point. Scouts have varying opinions on the fleet footed outfielder, with some believing he could go as high as #2 in the draft, while others have him falling as far as #15. Bradley has been described as a Centerfielder with a Right Fielder's arm, during a game in the Cape Cod League, JBJ threw a ball roughly 101-103 MPH from the outfield. Bradley has the tools to develop into a top of the lineup bat and an excellent defensive Centerfielder, he also has an intriguing personality which bodes well for card collectibility.
- 2010 Bowman Platinum Jackie Bradley Jr. Autos, Relic Autos
- 2010 Topps Chrome USA Baseball Autographs #USA3 Jackie Bradley Jr
- 2010 USA Baseball Jackie Bradley Jr Autos, Relics, Relic Autos
Bubba Starling, 18, Gardner Edgerton High School OF/SP/QB (Kansas)
Bubba Starling is perhaps the most intriguing athlete with a Topps USA card due to the fact that he is a three sport star. Starling was a consensus top 5-10 recruit as a QB in addition to being a projected first round pick in the 2011 MLB draft as an Outfielder/Pitcher. If that wasn't enough, he was also an All-State basketball star in Kansas. The intriguing three sport star recently committed to play football and baseball at the University of Nebraska. As a baseball player, Starling projects as a 5-tool outfielder. What makes Starling's Topps USA autos so appealing to collectors is his two sport pro potential, his cards might actually be worth more should he wind up a starting Quarterback in the NFL. There are currently rumors swirling that if a team takes Bubba in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft, he would likely bypass the college and sign.
- 2010 Bowman Chrome 18U USA Baseball Autographs #BS Bubba Starling
- 2010 USA Baseball Bubba Starling Autos, Relics, Relic Autos
Christian Lopes, 18, Edison High School (California) SS
The skilled short stop has been on the major league radar since the age of 12 (sounds creepy). Lopes currently grades out as a top 2 or 3 short stop in the 2011 MLB Draft. One of the words most commonly associated with Lopes is "smooth" due to his natural ability in the field and at the plate. The 6'0", 185 pound short stop doesn't grade out a 10 in any category, but is a well rounded player with high upside potential.
- 2010 Bowman Chrome 18U USA Baseball Autographs #CL Christian Lopes
- 2010 USA Baseball Christian Lopes Autos, Relics, Relic Autos
Nelson Rodriguez, 16, George Washington High School (NY) C/1B
Rodriguez might be Bryce Harper without the hype. N-Rod's high school coach Steve Mandl believes the 6'3" 220 pound Catcher is every bit as good as a player he coached 20 years ago named Manny Ramirez. While taking cuts at Minute Maid park, Rodriguez hit a moon shot that if not for a light pole, would have left the park. Rodriguez's card are currently flying under the radar when compared to other USA prospects.
- 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft USA Baseball Autographs # Nelson Rodriguez
- 2010 USA Baseball Nelson Rodrigues Autographs
Sonny Gray, 21, Vanderbilt Commodores SP
Most scouts project the the lively armed righty to go in the top 10 of the 2011 MLB Draft. Gray is best described as a power pitcher who sometimes struggles with control issues. Gray can hit 97 MPH on the radar gun and in the right hands could develop into a top of the rotation talent.
- 2010 Bowman Platinum Sonny Gray Autographs
- 2010 Topps Chrome USA Baseball Autographs #USA8 Sonny Gray
- 2010 USA Baseball Sonny Gray Autos, Relics, Relic Autos
Lance McCullers Jr., 16, Jesuit High School (Florida) SP
McCullers is arguably the best 16 and Under pitching prospect in 2010 Topps USA Baseball. The son of former big league pitcher Lance McCullers Sr. can already hit 97 MPH on the radar gun and is viewed as one of the top 5 prospects for the 2012 draft.
- 2010 Bowman Chrome 18U USA Baseball Autographs #LM Lance McCullers
- 2010 USA Baseball Lance McCullers Autographs
Alex Dickerson, 20, Indiana Hoosiers OF
Dickerson might have the most raw power of any player eligible for 2011 MLB Draft. The Hoosiers outfielder is projected as a mid to late first rounder and is viewed as a top 5 outfield prospect. The only drawback is that many scouts feel there are some major holes in his swing.
- 2010 Bowman Platinum Alex Dickerson Autographs
- 2010 Topps Chrome USA Baseball Autographs #USA5 Alex Dickerson
- 2010 USA Baseball Alex Dickerson Autos, Relics, Relic Autos