This box break is brought to you by the fine folks at TRISTAR. I apologize for not getting this box break posted earlier, but it was the perfect storm of construction and illness that kept me from pulling this together. Now that everything is done except for the painting, I can get back into the swing of things.
Enough about me, lets get to the cards. My first impression of these cards when I opened the first pack was that they were really nice. TRISTAR used a really nice, thick card stock with a nice gloss on them. The only other TRISTAR baseball product that I had opened prior to this was Obak and there was a huge difference between the two sets. The Obak cards felt like old minor league cards and these cards feel like modern cards.
You don’t notice right away that these cards are unlicensed. TRISTAR did a great job of selecting nice photos that show the player and when necessary, the airbrushing is well done. The only card that feels a little strange is the sketch of Stephen Strasburg, but I’d rather a sketch card of a player in the set than no card at all.
The set consists of many of the top 2009 draft picks, a couple of minor league free agent signings and some veterans on the multiplayer cards. The base cards are nicely designed with a nice large area for the picture with foil on the top and bottom. The cards look really nice in person. Unfortunately, my scanner seems to highlight my fingerprints on the foil more than anything else, but that’s not the case when you are holding the cards in your hand.
Each box of Prospects+ guarantees 11 hits. I got the 11 hits that were promised, but my breakdown was a little different than what is listed on the sell sheet, but I’m not complaining because in my opinion it was an error in my favor.
Serial numbered cards are a staple of TRISTAR releases. The sell sheet states that each box will contain 2 parallel cards, but my box only contained one; this gold parallel of Tony Sanchez numbered 15/50.
Sanchez played his college ball right here in Massachusetts for Boston College. The Eagle was drafted 4th by the Pittsburgh Pirates after setting the B.C. single season record for runs scored with 63. If Ryan Doumit can’t recapture 2008’s glory, his time behind the plate might be running out. Pittsburgh usually has a good number of their draft picks pan out, it’s just a shame that the don’t end up playing in Pittsburgh for long. They’ve traded away an All-Star team over the past 5 or so years.
This Matthew Hobgood card is one of the short print portrait cards. The sell sheet states that there should also be two of these per box, but this one was the only one that I received. There are also short printed color variations. The above Tony Sanchez is actually a numbered version of the color variation as the regular version of the card has a yellow background.
Although variations get under the skin of some collectors, I don’t see any problem with them. If it is a card that you like then you keep it and if not then you sell it. As long as it isn’t a card that was supposedly pulled that “accidentally” made its way into packs, I have no problems with variations.
I love the Obak set. I love that there are Obak update cards as inserts in this set and I will definitely be tracking these down. My box contained the #2 draft pick Dustin Ackley who was overshadowed by the immense hype surrounding Stephen Strasberg. I don’t think Seattle minded too much being able to select him with the second pick in the draft.
It’s tough to go wrong with the Obak update cards since there are only 5 of them so you’re either going to get Strasburg, Ackley, Donovan Tate, Sanchez or Hobgood. There are back variations just like in the rest of the Obak set and these cards will complete that set beautifully.
The reason why I didn’t mind getting only one each of the short print and parallel cards is that I ended up with 4 of the Crystal Ballers insert cards. I like these cards a lot. They’ve got a really nice design and the backs are interesting. Each card back has three statements about the player with the first starting with the letter P, the second with the letter R and the last one with the letter O. My box contained Matthew Hobgood, Michael Leake, Jared Mitchell and Slade Heathcott.
The final four hits in each box are serial numbered autographs. Prospects+ contains autographs of all of the top 40 signed 2009 draft picks including Strasburg so you’ve got a shot at some great cards. The highest serial number you’ll find on the autograph cards is 199 which is very good. In many other sets you’d have to find a rarer parallel for it to be numbered that low, but not in Prospects+. In this set, it’s either that or better.
This card here is a fun autograph to pull out of the box. Alibay Barkley was the 1521st overall pick in the 2009 draft. For those of you counting at home, that was the final pick in the draft. Yes, Barkley is 2009’s Mr. Irrelevant. That’s a fun card.
Jeffrey Kobernus was the 50th pick overall by the Washington Nationals. In 2009 at the University of Washington, Kobernus batted .341 with 14 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 40 RBI and had a .544 slugging percentage. If he can continue that success in the minors, it shouldn’t be too long because he’s playing for the Nationals.
Next up is an autographed card of Randal Grichuk. Grichuk was the 24th pick in the draft and will be joining the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim organization.
Grichuk was drafted out of high school were he batted .613 with 21 HR, 23 walks and 46 RBI in 28 games. He continued to hit well in the Arizona League as a .322 clip with 53 RBI in 53 games.
My one parallel autograph was also the one of the highest draft pick in my box. This is a green parallel numbered to 25 copies. Allen Pollock was drafted 17th overall by the Diamondbacks. A Notre Dame alum, Pollock hit .365 with a .443 on-base percentage during the 2009 season. Pollock is said to have above-average speed and has played in the middle infield as well as the outfield. That versatility could help him reach the majors more quickly.
Design: I like the design a lot. The fronts of the cards are a little busy, but it doesn’t intrude on the picture at all. 4/5
Collation: My box contained 12 duplicates and while it did have 11 hits, it didn’t contain the right assortment of 11 hits according to the sell sheet. 3/5
Condition: There were some cards with slightly dinged corners and you might be able to see a white spot along the bottom of the Sanchez card, but overall the cards were in good condition. 4/5
Value: These boxes look to be selling for around $60. When you are getting 4 autographs numbered to 199 or less of potential future superstars, that’s a great deal. When you also get some nice base cards and the other inserts, in my opinion you’re getting a great deal. 5/5
Total Score: 16/20