Sunday, June 24, 2012

2012 Pro Debut Cubs

Topps released Pro Debut on June 11 and I haven't seen much at all about the set.  This is the third year for Pro Debut and I don't think it's caught on at all.  My understanding is that as part of Topps' exclusive agreement with MLB and the Players Association, they have to put out a couple sets with minor leaguers.  My guess is that if Topps wasn't contractually obligated, they would have ditched this after years one.

The checklist is made up of 220 minor leaguers, most you've never heard of.  For these guys, its got to be a thrill to be on a Topps card.  Most collectors, however, yawn at it.  Of the 220 players, only six are Cubs farmhands.  That's down from 16 in 2010 and 12 last year.

I've got the six in order by team classification, starting with the Short-A Boise Hawks, which had four of the six

Shortstop Javier Baez 

Second baseman Zeke DeVoss

First baseman Paul Hoilman (who was also included in the Bowman set)

Catcher Rafael Lopez

One player comes from the High A Daytona Cubs

Matthew Szczur...I can hardly wait for the day when Szczur and Samardzija are in the same lineup.

Szczur also had an All Star card.

For the final card we skip up to the AA Tennessee Smokies

Pitcher Trey McNutt, who was also in the 2010 Pro Debut set.  That leads to the question, how can a player have two Pro Debuts?  

And there you have it, your 2016 Chicago Cubs.


  1. "Pro Debut" has always been a bit of a misnomer - it would just have 18-22 year old guys from the short season leagues if Topps tried to live up to the promise.

    For all the marketing effort put behind it, Topps should call it "Topps Minor League." And by making it hobby-only, Topps keeps the one avenue of distribution that would make perfect sense out of the picture - minor league team gift shops.

  2. Agree with Paul, Topps really hasn't set this up to succeed, and I say that as someone who more and more finds himself getting into minor league cards. My deal is that even for Topps flagship, the price point for me is a lot more like gambling than collection. That goes ten-fold for a minor league product.

  3. This set is very popular among the autograph collector boards I frequent which is why I was surprised by its lack of reception among the card collecting blogs. Everybody there works together to get cards signed from their local team and visitors and trades for other leagues. I have about 50-60 signed from the 2010 and 2011 sets.

    I think the players that actually just made their Pro Debut have the foil logo on their card (see the 4 Hawks cards) and the more experienced players do not.

    I like the idea of the set but the execution is lacking.

  4. Ah, the fun part about reading these four years later! Baez and Szczur are here, which likely beats the average for minor league cards.