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2011 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Baseball

2011 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Baseball

Product Review

2011 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Product Review

Reviewed by Paul Lesko

Good: A good autograph checklist compliments a deep 2011 draft class, continues with a good prospect card design, no Bowman bends, a chance to pull Futures Relics and AFLAC autos.

Bad: Not all the autographs are great, which especially hurts for a one-hit per box product like this, too much emphasis on the USA cards, with Leaf Valiant and Metal Draft beating Bowman to the market, a lot of excitement over the autos has diminished, AFLAC autographs aren't serial numbered.

The Bottom Line: Every year I enjoy this product, and 2011 Bowman Draft Picks was no different. Sure, a couple of names were missing, but we can satisfy our Cole and Rendons urges through other products, at least until their first Bowman cards arrive in 2012.

Staff Rating:
4.2 / 5.0

Card Design: 4.2/5.0

2011 Bowman Draft continues with a decent base prospect card design. It's sharp, shiny and has good art. I said it before, it's a very impressive design.

But really, a lot of the excitement for this product comes from the autographs, which also continue the quality design from Bowman Chrome. The semi-transparent, white signing-surface is just large enough to show off the signature without breaking up the continuity of the image on the card. It's good stuff.

The Futures patches, especially the jumbo patches, are noteworthy. Even better, the disclaimer on the back of the patch confirms the patch actually came from the 2011 Futures game.

It's too bad about the AFLAC autos. Somehow, they did not get numbered, which unfortunately opens up the secondary market to potential fraud. Topps has united with PSA to allow those who pull the cards to get them slabbed for free, which adds value, but it is value-added due to a mistake. However, a free slab for a great up-and-comer is a great offer.

And there are no Bowman bends this time around. That killed my enjoyment of 2011 Bowman Chrome, so I was leery going into this one. No need to fear.

My biggest complaint with the design though is the base Bowman cards. Why do they still exist? Sure, I understand Topps' desire for retail autos that differ from hobby autographs but when the base cards mirror the Chrome base cards, it seems a lot of wasted time and money. Maybe it's time to drop the non-chrome and focus solely on the Chrome?

Checklist: 4.7/5.0

The 2011 draft class was praised as one of the deepest in a long time, and 2011 Bowman Draft has a good sampling of autographs from some of the biggest names, including Bauer, Starling, Gray, Springer, Swihart, Bundy, Bradley, Wong and more.

Now, Leaf did beat Bowman Draft to the market with two 2011 draft sets (Metal Draft and Valiant) that had deeper checklists (cough, Rendon, cough), but the Bowman Chrome autos are still king as reflected by eBay prices.

There's also a lot of focus on the USA cards, autographed and non-autographed. For the last two years, these cards were desirable because of the big names in them (Strasburg, Harper, Cole, etc). I think Topps read that as a desire for more USA cards. It may backfire this year when the USA checklist is filled with a lot of unrecognizable names. Guess that's just the fallout from the last few draft classes being as deep as they were and the upcoming ones not as deep.

The checklists for the Futures relics and AFLAC cards are ridiculous. Futures relics include Harper, Machado, Miller, Goldschmidt, Moore, Marte and more. The AFLAC checklist has Bundy, Bradley, Swihart and Lindor. Wow. They're certainly power pulls if you are lucky enough to get them.

Value: 4.0/5.0

The biggest problem with Bowman products is the one hit per box. While it is a deep checklist, there are still some duds. I'm all for this format changing somehow, either by shrinking the checklist to only the best prospects, or keep the longer checklist but have more than one guaranteed hit per box.

I hope that with added competition from Leaf Valiant and Metal Draft that Bowman changes its format at some point. But, with the exclusive MLB contract still with Topps, it's pretty much assured that if you want an early autograph in uniform, Bowman is the only game in town. Also, with all things being equal, if I had a choice of just one George Springer Valiant, Metal Draft or Bowman Chrome autograph, I'm going Chrome because this card design simply looks better than both Leaf products.

The Fun Factor: 4.0/5.0

Just look at eBay, the Bowman Draft autographs have value. They also have more value than their competition (for now). The one hit per box format, though, makes it hit and miss if you buy by the box. However, case buyers of cases are likely to get a good return.

My recommendation still is to invest in at least one box then cherry pick as many autographs from the secondary market as you can.

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Product Details

User Rating:

Calling all prospectors: 2011 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Baseball offers your latest fix of Bryce Harper hits, up-and-coming youngsters and Refractors galore. Once again combining the Bowman and Bowman Chrome brands, the release sticks to the format that's made it one of the most popular in the hobby. Bowman Chrome MLB Future Stars autographs come one per box. Hobby boxes will also have one of 18 Bowman Chrome 2011 USA Baseball 16U National Team autographs.

Estimated Release Date: 11/23/11
Product Configuration: 24 packs per box, seven cards per pack
Price Point: Mid-End Baseball Card
Target Audience: Prospectors, Rookie Card Collectors, Chromies, Autograph Collectors, Set Builders, Refractor Fans

Box Break

  • One on-card Bowman Chrome Autograph
  • One Team USA Baseball 16U Chrome Autograph
  • 72 Rookie Cards (48 Bowman, 24 Bowman Chrome)
  • 24 Parallel Cards
  • 168 total cards

Product Highlights:

  • 110-card base set done in both Bowman and Bowman Chrome formats. All are rookie cards. Two Bowman cards and one Bowman Chrome card are inserted in each pack.
  • 92-card MLB Future Stars set and 18-card USA Baseball 16U National Team set in Bowman and Bowman Chrome formats. Three Bowman cards and one Bowman Chrome card per pack.
  • Bowman parallels (Base, Future Stars and USA Baseball): Bowman Blue (/499), Printing Plates, Red (/1).
  • Bowman Chrome Parallels (Base, Future Stars and USA Baseball): Refractors, Blue Refractors (/199), Gold Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Red Refractors (/10), Printing Plates, Super-Fractors (/1), Canary Diamond (/1).
  • 31 different Bowman Chrome MLB Future Stars Autographs are inserted one per box. Autographs are on-card and all the subjects are new signers to the Bowman Chrome brand. Parallels: Refractors (/500), Blue Refractors (/150), Gold Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Purple Refractors (/10), Red Refractors (/5), Printing Plates, Super-Fractors (/1).
  • Exclusive to hobby boxes, 2011 USA Baseball 16U National Team Bowman Chrome Autographs are inserted as a bonus hit. The checklist will consist of 18 cards. Parallels: Refractors (/199), Blue Refractors (/99), Gold Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Purple Refractors (/10), Red Refractors (/5), Printing Plates, Super-Fractors (/1).
  • Bryce Harper Autographed Relic Card: (/69) featuring a piece of his 2011 MLB Futures Game jersey. Parallels: Blue (/50), Gold (/25), Green (/5), Red (/1)
  • A new Bryce Harper Bowman Green Autograph (/350) is a new parallel of his 2011 Bowman Baseball card. Autographs are on-card.
  • 2011 Futures Game Relic Cards feature jersey swatches from the participants in the Minor League All-Star Game. Parallels: Jumbo Patch Cards (/5), "Futures Game" Patch Cards (/1, hobby only), MLB Logo Patch (/1, hobby only). Bryce Harper is promised to be included in the set.
  • AFLAC Autographed Cards highlight players from past AFLAC All-American High School Games. Each card is numbered. The checklist includes Yordy Cabrera, Stetson Allie, Tony Wolters, Braxton Lane, Jason Thompson and Kyrell Hudson.
  • Continuing the season-long cross-brand set, three more players are added to the Topps 60th Anniversary Autographed Cards set (/60).

Related News:

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Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff.   His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.

User Reviews

Gary Lynch
Gary Lynch

this set just keeps on giving … Love it!


Why would the reviewer want Topps to drop the regular cards and only focus on the chrome? If Chrome is the preferred card type for the review, their are plenty of product available to quench his appetite. (Topps Chrome/Bowman Chrome). Personally I’m glad they have the regular cards, it keeps the price reasonable. If you don’t believe me…look at all the Topps Chrome overstock at your local Target/Walmart. There is a reason that their are so many $8.99 rack packs on the shelves. They just don’t have the same bang for the buck that Prospects and Draftpicks have. I love this product. Don’t change a thing about it!!!!
I hope they keep the “Future Game” relics for the 2012 set.


By far my favorite set out of the 2011 class. The hits where plenty and with serious quality. This is the only product I know that when I get a Manny Machado reliic i feel disappointed.

I hope topps DOESN’T CHANGE A THING, when making the 2012 set

Jon Brock
Jon Brock

The Base Rookie Cards features nice shots of the players in action. My personal favorites are the pitcher cards because some of the photography catches them in their throwing motion. The back of each card gives their stats from last season as well as a “Bowman Briefing” which features a few comments under the headings of Resume, Skills, and Up Close. There are 110 cards in the Base Rookie Set.

Also included in this product are 90 Draft Picks cards that are exclusive to this product and 20 Team USA cards. Those 90 cards are stamped with the 1st Bowman Card logo. The majority of these cards feature action shots of the players, but there are some that are staged photos. Some of the cards feature facsimile autographs on them. Those players are the only players in the set to have real autograph cards in the set. I’ll say this about them, some look so real that I thought I had gotten a couple extra hits in the box. The back of these cards features the same information as the Rookie Base Set. The Team USA cards all feature the facsimile autographs and the USA Baseball logo. The back of these cards feature no stats, but rather a longer Scouting Report on the player.

In every pack of 2011 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Baseball, you will find 2 Bowman Chrome cards, 1 from each of the 2 different base sets. You’ll also find refractor versions of the cards at a rate of 1 for every 4 packs. The Chrome cards as always look sharp and clean. The players just pop off the front of these cards.

The set also features several different parallel sets, most of which are numbered. The certified autograph card is signed with a sharpie directly on the card.

Here are my final thoughts on 2011 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Baseball. This product is a very sharp and clean looking set. The Chrome cards as always look amazing and I love that all the autographs are signed on-card this year. I am not a big fan or collector of prospect card sets. I am not that informed on who the good prospects are and who are the career minor leaguers. That being said, if I am not going to recognize most of the names on the cards, I would have liked to seen a larger selection of parallels per box. We got a total of 7 refractors and 1 parallel card in this box. Anyone who reads my reviews know that one of my biggest pet peeves is a ton of duplicates. That is my #1 irritant. And in that respect, this box was stellar. No base duplicates or Chrome duplicates out of this box. Kudos to Topps for continuing to make card collecting…collectible in that sense. Most products will randomly insert their checklists in packs. Sometimes you have no clue what player goes to the card number you are missing. In this case, we got all 3 checklists. Jake Hager is a 1st Round Pick of the Tampa Bay Rays so I was happy to pull a card of him. These boxes can be found online for about $60, so the value is definitely there for this product.

Jerome J. Wood S.R.
Jerome J. Wood S.R.

Bowman Draft is a very clean, Crisp design. Although the only issue I can see here is the black border’s chipping at time’s (putting into penny/top-loader). In my box there was no issue with warping or the bend’s which is important in my eye’s, and overall the chrome cards where clean with minor to no scratching. Although my autograph did have a very minor scratch, a soft glasses type cloth and “polishing” it seemed to make it almost completely go away. I do think the white auto box is great showing the auto off nicely without taking away from the actual card. I was lucky enough to pull a orange refractor # to 25 which was flawless, as well as 5 other refractors that where very clean. The auto check list is pretty deep this time around but can be hit or miss as with any product. But getting a box is a fun rip I would think for anyone, and at least it guarantee’s a auto as well as a nice mix of refractor’s. The refractor’s are very brilliant with color really popping off the card. I would recommend this product to anyone that want’s to have a fun rip or a prospect/rookie collector. The rookie class and prospect class seems strong in this one as it has been in the last few years. Also the chance for a jersey card,patch, or AFLAC autograph as a bonus, gives it some added value as well. And since box price is still cheap on this one, Id say go pick a few up while it’s still around and affordable!

David T
David T

I’m actually more stoked about this year’s BDPP than last year’s!

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1 Star - Avoid this product like the plague
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