The 2020 Bowman Draft baseball card set was released on June 24, 2020 by Topps. It marked the 33rd annual Bowman Draft set and included cards featuring prospects selected in the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft. With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the baseball season and draft, the 2020 Bowman Draft set was highly anticipated by collectors.
The 2020 Bowman Draft set included 350 base cards total across 10 cards per pack with 35 packs per box. Each box had an MSRP of $99.99. The base cards featured draft prospects from the 2020 class as well as prospects eligible for the 2020 draft that were selected in prior drafts but had not yet debuted professionally. Notable rookies in the set included touted prospects like Spencer Torkelson (Detroit Tigers), Austin Martin (Toronto Blue Jays), Max Meyer (Miami Marlins), Nick Gonzales (Pittsburgh Pirates) among many others.
In addition to the base cards, the 2020 Bowman Draft set included various insert and parallel card variations for collectors to chase. There were Silver Pack parallels (#/250), Rainbow Foil parallels (#/150), Bowman Draft Chrome parallels (#/99), and Refractor parallels (#/75). Popular insert sets included Draft Picks Autographs, Draft Paper performers, Defining Moments & Masterpieces. The Draft Picks Autographs featured autographed cards of top draft prospects like Torkelson, Martin, Meyer, and Emerson Hancock who were selected in the first round of the 2020 draft.
The 2020 Bowman Draft set saw increased fanfare and hype compared to prior years due to the unique circumstances surrounding the 2020 MLB season and draft. With no minor league or college baseball being played due to COVID-19, fans and collectors were eager to get their first glimpse of the new wave of drafted prospects through the card releases. This led to the 2020 Bowman Draft boxes and individual cards selling out quickly upon release at major card retailers.
Resale demand also surged for the 2020 Bowman Draft cards on the secondary market. Within a few months of the release, base rookie cards of first round selections like Torkelson and Martin were selling for $50-100 raw and higher in graded gem mint condition through PSA or BGS. Autograph cards of the top prospects commanded prices above $1000. The strong early demand signified fans and collectors interest in this unique draft class during such an unprecedented year.
As the drafted prospects began their professional careers in the rookie levels of the minor leagues in 2021, interest and values of their 2020 Bowman Draft rookie cards continued climbing. High profile performances and callups to higher levels led to a spike in eBay sales prices. For example, Spencer Torkelson smashed 30 home runs in his 2021 minor league debut season which propelled his base rookie card above $200-300 raw. Austin Martin hit .305 in High-A and saw his base card eclipse the $100 mark.
Even lesser known prospects like Emerson Hancock saw their cards appreciate significantly in value in response to positive on-field performances. Hancock’s autographed Draft Picks insert eclipsed the $2000-3000 range following a strong 2021 minor league showing. As more of these drafted talents develop and move up through the minors towards eventual major league debuts, their 2020 Bowman Draft cards should sustain strong collector demand for years to come as valuable modern baseball rookies.
The 2020 Bowman Draft baseball card release was a uniquely historic set issued during the COVID-19 pandemic that captured the draft class ushering in the next generation of MLB stars. The initial scarcity upon release combined with how the drafted prospects have performed since has elevated several cards in the set to become highly valued modern rookie investments for diligent collectors. Although smaller in scale compared to Bowman’s other annual releases, the 2020 Bowman Draft set has proven to have lasting appeal and significance within the growing world of baseball cards. It stands as an iconic snapshot capturing a pivotal time in the sports world and beyond.