by Rich Klein
Topps has both a major league (MLB) and minor league license (MILB). With that in mind, Topps has to make sure they issue a few minor league sets each year. The last few years one of the products issued is their "Pro Debut" name. Issued with the same design as the regular Topps set, this issue has gone through a few alterations since it was first introduced. The most important aspect is that Pro Debut is now produced in one series rather than two. That change enables Topps to focus on players who may be closer to the majors or other leading prospects.
The base set now consists of 220 base cards and the inserts are about what is expected. A new and somewhat popular new twist this year were patch cards featuring some leading minor league mascots. There are also cap patches and Gold Parallel cards numbered to 50 (unlike the much higher print runs of the Golds in the regular Topps issue).
2013 Topps Pro Debut comes in eight card packs with 24 packs to a box. The box does indicate that each box has two autographs, one relic and one patch card. My local card store has sold out, in large part because of Puig, at $74.25 per box while leading on-line retailers are now $65-75 per box.
Yes, this was the first Puig card issued by Topps in 2013 and even though he’s pictured in a minor league uniform, his appearance has driven sales. As an aside, when I set up at the Craig Ranch show in McKinney some man was walking around trying to sell Puig cards which reminded me of the Broder mania in the 1980's. I looked at the cards, laughed and said you do realize these cards will never be listed in Beckett. He responded with well they are all over eBay, I just laughed and thanked him for showing me those cards. I did trade for some 2006 Bowman Draft Chris Davis cards from him though!
So how did we do from our box:
Base Cards: 187 of 220 with no duplicates. We did get a Puig card. There are single-printed (SP) photo variations to chase for some of the big name prospects including Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa and Puig. These could be interesting to watch as things unfold and have already been strong sellers on eBay even though they drive complete set collectors a bit crazy.
Gold Parallel (# to 50): Jorge Bonfacio
Relic Card: Lisalverto Bonilla
Autographs: Fu-Lin Kuo and Eury Perez
Not bad on an overall basis. Four hits and the intrigue of watching the careers unfold for guys in 2013 Topps Pro Debut is going to be fun. Either way at the current price point of less than 40 cents per cards this is a neat box to open to learn more about baseball's future stars.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]