The 2021 Topps Baseball card series is one of the most highly anticipated releases each year as it features the rookie cards of baseball’s newest stars. While the 2020 season was truncated due to the pandemic, many top prospects still made their MLB debuts and are featured in this year’s Topps set. Collectors and investors are always keen to get their hands on the rookie cards of players before they potentially break out, as these early issues can gain tremendous value over time. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top rookies to look out for in the 2021 Topps Baseball card set.
Starting with the biggest name, Los Angeles Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani is undoubtedly one of the premiere rookies in the set. As the 2021 American League MVP and a true five-tool player capable of pitching and hitting at an elite level, collectors consider Ohtani to have “generational talent” status. His Topps rookie card is sure to become one of the most iconic and valuable modern cards upon his inevitable continued success and potential Hall of Fame career. Other high-profile rookies like Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco and Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez also debuted in 2021 and showed flashes of stardom. Franco in particular is considered a possible future face of baseball and his rookie cards could gain Jeff Loria Blue type value over the decades.
Moving beyond the true superstar prospects, there are several other young players who broke into the big leagues in 2021 and make for intriguing rookies to collect in the Topps set. Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah had a stellar rookie campaign and showed why he was such a highly-touted prospect. His cards could gain value rapidly if he develops into a consistent ace at the front of Toronto’s rotation. Milwaukee Brewers catcher Luke Maile became a fan favorite for his powerful bat and versatility, making his Topps rookie cards solid long-term holds. Dynamic Detroit Tigers prospect Riley Greene only received a partial cup of coffee in 2021 but possesses a complete skillset and polished plate approach that should make him a annual All-Star – his rookie cards are worth targeting.
In addition to the position player and pitcher rookies, relievers also made their MLB debuts in 2021 and could turn into solid closers or setup arms going forward. Cubs reliever Rachel Winningham quickly became a stabilizing late-inning presence thanks to a dominant splitter and poised demeanor. His Topps cards are affordable now but may spike if he assumes the full-time closer role. Similarly, Athletics fireballer Dany Jimenez took the 9th inning job in 2021 andflashed the stuff to hold it for years – a future save king in the making. Braves pitching prospect Spencer Strider only tossed 20 innings but featured a triple-digit fastball that prompted comparisons to Justin Verlander. He’s one to watch develop in 2022 and beyond.
While the biggest rookie stars understandably receive the most attention and collector demand, digging deeper can uncover hidden gems in the 2021 Topps set as well. Players like Rays infielder Vidal Brujan, White Sox starter Davis Martin, and Padres slugger Eric Hosmer Jr. all madecameo debuts but have the complete skillsets and pedigrees to stick in the majors for a long time. Their rookie cards can be acquired very reasonably today but easily appreciate into the triple-digit range if they blossom into core contributors. Even veterans get rookie cards too – Diamondbacks ace Madison Bumgarner debuted with the D-backs in 2021 after spending a decade in San Francisco.
The 2021 Topps Baseball card set is loaded with potential future stars and exciting rookies breaking into the big leagues. While premium cards of players like Ohtani and Franco understandably demand top dollar, savvy collectors can also uncover affordable future MVP candidates by researching prospects, betting on breakout players, and collecting rookie cards from across the entire set release. As exciting young talents continue debuting each season, the 2021 Topps rookies offer a gold mine of opportunity to get involved early on the road to stardom for baseball’s next generation.