Ten Most Intriguing Prospects From 2010 Topps USA Baseball

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.

RENDON TUSA ImageAnthony 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.

SPRINGER TCHROME AUS ImageGeorge 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.

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.

JBJ USA PAU ImageJackie 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.

STARLING RED USAU ImageBubba 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.

LOPES BCAUORANGE ImageChristian 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.

N ROD USA AU ImageNelson 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.

SGRAY USAAUP ImageSonny 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.

LANCEM BC USA ImageLance 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.

DICKERSON BPLAT AUPOA ImageAlex 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.

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2010 Topps USA Baseball Box Sets Team USA Red Auto AJ Vanegas RC 90 99
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2010 Topps USA Baseball Box Sets Collegiate Team Autograph Kyle Winkler RC Auto
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2010 Topps Box Set CHRISTIAN LOPES USA 18U National Team BLUE ROOKIE AUTO! #A-5
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2010 Topps Box Set JOHN HOCHSTATTER USA 18U National Team BLUE ROOKIE AUTO! #A13
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2010 Topps Box Set TYLER ANDERSON USA National Team RED ROOKIE AUTO #A-21! # 99!
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2010 Topps USA Baseball Box Sets Collegiate Team Autograph Tyler Anderson RC
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2010 Topps Team USA Autograph Box Set Red Auto Nolan Fontana RC 79 99 Autograph
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2010 Topps Team USA Autograph Box Set Red Auto Phillip Pfeifer RC 15 99 Auto

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Brett is a former contributor to The Cardboard Connection.

User Comments

  1. Great review of the Topps USA baseball product and the “10 most intriguing prospects”…really enjoyed reading this. I agree with most of your picks…glad you included Lance McCullers.

  2. @Abe Doctor: no problem, glad you enjoyed the articles!

  3. Another great article, Bret. I don’t know where you get all of the great info but I’d love to look over some of it if you don’t mind emailing links to me. Out of curiosity, who are you looking at to win the College World Series this year?

  4. I pulled a Topps chrome USA Baseball auto from a player named Andrew Maggi, was hoping he made your list, seen the same card for up to forty dollars on Ebay, probably hype but who knows?

  5. @Jeff: Sorry about that, I responded but for some reason the site decided to reset to early yesterday and it deleted my response. Anyhow, I have a gut feeling that the Topps Chrome USA Autographs are going to have some sneeky value down the road. The Bowman Chrome USA Autos on the otherhand are going to plummit do to their ugly appearance and sticker drop auto on chrome stock.

  6. @David Tenneson: Sorry about that, I responded but for some reason the site decided to reset to early yesterday and it deleted my response. Anyhow, I basically just google a prospect and read 5-10 articles/scouting reports, then watch any available Youtube videos in order to see their swing or arm motion, then combine that with what with what I previously thought and my gut.

    As far as writer’s go, my favorite would have to be ESPN’s Keith Law, I like the way he thinks and the way he looks at prospects. Another thing I like to do is try and link a past player’s story to a current prospect, as the same stories tend to play out over and over again when it comes to prospects. The only prospect story that didn’t make sense to me since the age of 8 (when I started paying attention to prospects) is Albert Pujols’ rise out of absolutely nowhere at 21. I also like to look for comments made by well respected scouts, GM’s and coaches, such as how Nelson Rodriguez’s high school coach compares him to Manny Ramirez.

    I haven’t really had a chance to put much thought into the College World Series, but will be sure to let you know once I have had a moment to think about it.

  7. Thanks Brett! I actually just picked up a Bubba Starling blue auto for $25, so I’m going to hope he’s a first-rounder and maybe forgoes college

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