Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Handicapping the Next Few Weeks

Tomorrow, the 2nd product of the year is released in Bowman Draft, with UD Draft not far down the pipeline. I have gotten a few emails over the last weeks wondering which is a better product to buy, that is, IF you must buy one. I think at this time in the year, buying these type of products is completely stupid, unless you are a college collector or are going to flip everything right away. Regardless of current value, im going to break down pros and cons of each with the idea of answering as many of the questions I got as possible.

Bowman Draft Picks (Release 5/21/2009)

Format: Hobby and Jumbo boxes
Content: 1 auto per box in hobby, 2 in jumbo
Highlights: Signed auto patches and letters, guaranteed 1 per box in jumbo.
Price: $65 Hobby, $110 Jumbo

After opening a few packs last week at the Beanie Wells signing, the cards don’t look bad at all. The problem with Bowman Draft is that the content of this product is one base set with auto parallels, and the auto patches and that’s it. There are not any chrome, there are not any duals, and there are not even other auto sets with veterans in them based on what I saw and the checklist. On the other hand, the manuletters are signed on the letter this time, and base parallels have some real potential for early flips. If you are planning on getting a group A auto, better buy a lot as this product is loaded with no-namers, inserted at an alarming rate. But, if you do pull an A auto, you have hit the Jackpot at 1:900+ odds.

The pics on the cards are very good action shots, and I believe they do have draft day variations from my shotty memory of other people's pulls at the party. The base inserts, which you shouldn’t really care that much about, also have some nice graphics, which is nice. Here is what I would have liked, however, as this set would be perfect for OTA and Camp TTMs. Instead of the ultra gloss coating on the cards, make them semi gloss so they don’t turn out like my Wells sig. If you see my Prestige sigs from the Premiere, they signed THAT much better for that reason.

Lastly, the pack format for hobby looks like you get 1 orange un-numbered parallel per pack, and then two to three base parallels per box. Again, these are not refractors - you will have to wait on that until july. May not be a big deal now, but with a gigantic price tag on the jumbos, it will be important.

Upper Deck Draft (Release Scheduled 5/26/2009)

Format: Hobby Boxes Only
Content: 5 autos per box
Highlights: On card autos, and many multisigned cards.
Price: $85 Hobby

When the preview for UD draft came out earlier this year, I thought the design was ten times better than last year. The main issue with UD draft will always be that it will be succeeded by other UD products that far outshine this offering, so the content was upped this time from last year's 4 autos per box. The good news is that most of the time you have MUCH better odds at pulling nice sigs, and with 5 chances, most likely one should be a better guy from the Preimere. Of course, these cards have parallels that go all the way down to 1/1, naturally, so you may get luckier still if you manage to pull one. You also have quite a few multisigned cards from the top guys, and I believe there may even be some veteran sigs in there too - something that makes this product better 100%.

The product is not without drawbacks, as a hobby box of Draft will cost you much more than a hobby box of Bowman, so you do need to be careful. Also, the auto checklist is pretty deep, so you could end up with 5 scrubs and be down 90 bucks. I think that the potential with Draft is much better than the potential with Bowman, but the Draft Picks name with Bowman attached may be detremental to the success of this product based on Baseball's offerings. Collectors recognize Bowman in baseball as THE rookie card to have, and I have a feeling it may transfer to draft more than it ever did before. That could hurt overall lasting value of this set.

Lastly, as the year progresses, this set will be forgotten, which puts an expiration date on your pulls. Yet, if you want a cheap way to get your player's auto THIS is the set to buy it from. Bowman top guys will cost too much due to the shear ridiculous odds, and this set will have enough parallels to keep the price low enough for the commoners like me. I will be buying singles from this set for that reason along with the hard signed cards, and I may even splurge on a box if I can get a good deal.

Here is my verdict: If you are a set collector, buy the Bowman, it is right in your wheelhouse. If you like autos, buy the Draft, as it will provide you more bang for your buck with hard signed cards. If you have the patience, wait on both - as Heroes will be better, Icons will be better, and Classics is less than 2 months away for the first cards with rookies in their NFL jerseys. If you don’t fit into any of these categories, just buy the draft, you will be happier without a doubt. Design + 5 autos + hard signed cards + potential = Positive Stance on UD Draft.

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