With the news that Opening Day 2020 is due to be pushed back by at least two weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak, a baseball schedule that was once packed with action is suddenly empty.
Luckily, card sets are still being released, for the time being, giving collectors and gamblers a chance to snag a couple of the best options that 2020 has to offer.
Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming 2020 baseball card release dates, new sets, and the most anticipated players and cards to look out for.
2020 Baseball Cards New Releases
Here are the latest new 2020 baseball card sets in order of release date;
- 2020 Panini Stars and Stripes USA Baseball Release Date: March 11, 2020 (buy on eBay)
- 2020 Topps Opening Day Baseball Release Date: March 11, 2020 (buy on eBay)
- 2020 Leaf Lumber Kings Baseball Release Date: March 13, 2020 (buy on eBay)
- 2020 Topps Total Baseball Release Date: March 13 (buy on eBay)
- 2020 Topps Inception Baseball Release Date: March 20, 2020 (buy on eBay)
- 2020 Topps Gypsy Queen Baseball Release Date: March 25, 2020 (buy on eBay)
Upcoming 2020 Baseball Cards Release Dates
*Companies are often fond of changing release dates unexpectedly, while the ongoing coronavirus outbreak will undoubtedly have an impact on supply chains, factories, and everything else that goes into making a modern baseball card. (Remember, baseball itself has been put off, so there’s no point in expecting trading cards not to be affected.)
As always, Topps still holds the exclusive license for MLB cards, so they’re the only company that can produce cards of players in their major league uniforms or use MLB logos and trademarks.
Panini managed to figure something out with the MLBPA, so they produce cards for a range of past and present players. Other manufacturers include Leaf and Onyx Authenticated, although they don’t command the same interest (or prices) as the latter two. Leaf and Onyx mainly focus on prospect cards.
As of now, the following set releases are still due on the corresponding release date:
- 2020 Topps MLB Sticker Collection Release Date: April 1, 2020
- 2020 Topps Tribute Baseball Release Date: April 1, 2020
- 2020 Bowman Baseball Release Date: April 15, 2020
- 2020 Panini Select Baseball Release Date: April 15, 2020
- 2020 Topps Definitive Collection Baseball Release Date: April 22, 2020
- 2020 Panini Diamond Kings Baseball Release Date: April 29, 2020
- 2020 Topps Transcendent Hall of Fame Baseball Release Date: May 6, 2020
- 2020 Panini Prizm Baseball Release Date: May 13, 2020
- 2020 Topps Big League Baseball Release Date: May 13, 2020
- 2020 Topps Pro Debut Baseball Release Date: May 20, 2020
- 2020 Topps Tier One Baseball Release Date: May 27, 2020
- 2020 Topps Finest Baseball Release Date: June 3, 2020
- 2020 Topps Series 2 Baseball Release Date: June 10, 2020
- 2020 Topps Stadium Club Baseball Release Date: June 24, 2020
- 2020 Topps Baseball Factory Sets Release Date: July 1, 2020
- 2020 Topps Archives Signature Series Baseball: Retired Player Edition Release Date: July 8, 2020
- 2020 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Release Date: July 15, 2020
- 2020 Topps Clearly Authentic Baseball Release Date: July 22, 2020
- 2020 Topps Sterling Baseball Release Date: July 22, 2020
- 2020 Topps Chrome Baseball Release Date: July 29, 2020
- 2020 Topps Heritage High Number Baseball Release Date: August 12, 2020
- 2020 Bowman Sterling Baseball Release Date: August 14, 2020
- 2020 Topps Archives Baseball Release Date: August 19, 2020
- 2020 Topps Gold Label Baseball Release Date: September 2, 2020
- 2020 Bowman Chrome Baseball Release Date: September 9, 2020
As you can see, the majority of cards are released between April to August, with a dizzying amount of sets on offer. But which cards should you be looking out for, and which sets are the best overall? We’ve gone into detail below.
Most Anticipated 2020 Baseball Cards
2020 has a range of exciting prospects, rookies, sets and legends to look out for, even if we’re going to have to wait a little longer for the season to start.
For now, MLB chiefs are floating the idea of playing without standard minor-league feeder systems or to remove crowds completely in an effort to keep infection rates minimal. It’s far from ideal, but it might be the only way we get to see professional baseball in 2020.
We’ve rounded up some of the most anticipated options below, so you’ll have a better idea of what to look out for if you’re planning on scouring auctions or ripping packs for the latest collectible baseball cards.
Most Anticipated Sets
We’ve listed some of the most anticipated 2020 baseball card releases for hobbyists, collectors and investors below. It’ll depend on your personal opinion, but here are some of the best sets to look out for over the course of the year.
2020 Bowman Baseball Release Date: April 15, 2020
Bowman have gone back to basics with this set, going for a similar look to their older releases. It offers the first Bowman Chrome cards of the season, as well as base Bowman options. Look out for the “1st Bowman” designation, as it tends to raise the value of prospect cards by a significant amount.
The base set contains 100 rookies and vets in total. The following parallels will be available;
- Sky Blue – /499
- Purple – /250
- Blue – /150
- Green – /99 (retail only)
- Yellow – /75
- Gold – /50
- Orange – /25 (hobby only)
- Red – /5
- Platinum – 1/1
- Printing Plates – 1/1
Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs are some of the most sought after cards in baseball, and 2020 versions come with the following parallels;
- Refractors – /499
- Speckle Refractors – /299
- Purple Refractors – /250
- Blue Refractors – /150
- Atomic Variation Refractors – /100
- Yellow Refractors – /75
- Gold Refractors – /50
- Gold Shimmer Refractors – /50
- Orange Refractors – /25 (hobby only)
- Orange Shimmer Refractors – /25 (hobby only)
- Red Refractors – /5
- Red Shimmer Refractors – /5
- Printing Plates – 1/1
- Superfractors – 1/1
2020 Topps Definitive Collection Baseball Release Date: April 22, 2020
Towards the higher end is the 2020 Topps Definitive Collection Baseball set. A box is usually priced at the four-figure mark, but it’s easy to see why with rare, extravagant cards on offer.
They all feature on-card autographs which are hand-signed, with Definitive Rookie Autographs (#/50) for the latest batch of new players.
Autograph Relics (/50 or less) have Green (/25) and Purple (/10) parallels available. Several different one-of-one Red versions include; Brand Logo, Jersey Button, Laundry Tag, MLB Logo, and Team Logo.
Topps has added Defining Accolades Autographs and Defining the Decade Autographs to the list of premium cards and patches on offer. There’s a chance of a big payoff if you manage to hit one of the rarer cards in the set, although it’s a risk at roughly $1,000 per box.
2020 Bowman Chrome Baseball Release Date: September 9, 2020
Building on the Bowman Baseball set released in April, this one primarily focuses on rookies and prospects, although there are still some veterans. There are 100 base cards overall, with lots of signatures and rare versions to interest collectors. Chrome Prospect Autographs and Chrome Rookie Autographs are some of the most popular cards available, and they all come with a range of rare parallels;
- Refractors (/499)
- Purple Refractors (/250)
- Blue Refractors (/150)
- Green Refractors (/99)
- Gold Refractors (/50)
- Orange Refractors (/25)
- Red Refractors (/5)
- Superfractors (1/1)
Some rookies will have SP Image Variations, while 100 Chrome Prospects come with the following parallels;
- Chrome Shimmer – 1:12 packs
- Green Shimmer /99
- Gold Shimmer /50
- Orange Shimmer /25
- Red Shimmer /10
- Black Shimmer 1/1
There are a number of interesting cards released under the Bowman brand each year, and Chrome rookies and prospects are often the most expensive options available. It’s always worth keeping an eye on the various refractors and parallels, as they have the most potential to rise rapidly in price.
Most Anticipated 2020 Rookies
A Bowman First should be on your radar if you’re interested in picking up the best rookie cards, as they’re well-respected by collectors. 2020 is sure to be a strong year if you’re looking for promising rookies from your packs, so we’ve listed a trio of hyped players to look out for below.
Cuban first baseman Yordan Alvarez is a ridiculous powerhouse and was unanimously voted AL Rookie of the Year in 2019. He’s tipped for big things in the future, so why the hell is he on this list? Despite debuting on June 9 with the Astros, he didn’t make the cut-off period for inclusion in 2019 baseball sets as a rookie. This means that he’s likely to be the star of 2020 rookie collections, while another good season would see prices rising astronomically.
We have an investment report looking at his rookie cards which can be found here.
22-year-old shortstop Bo Bichette was due to start his first opening day for the Toronto Blue Jays in March, but was left waiting for the worst of the coronavirus to pass heading into April. The power hitter will certainly get a chance to prove that he’s worthy of the hype after a solid 2019, while his rookie card prices are expected to be relatively high. You can find out more about the son of four-time MLB All-Star outfielder Dante Bichette by checking out our investment guide.
Gavin Lux seemed likely to be the Dodgers’ second base this year, but reports suggest he might be sticking to the minors at the start of the 2020 season. It hasn’t lowered the hype surrounding the release of his first official rookie cards yet, so check out his Gavin Lux rookie card investment report. As the youngest player ever to hit a pinch-hit home run in the postseason, and the youngest Dodger to hit a home run in a postseason game, much depends on whether he’s able to get solid game time.
2020 Baseball Card Releases: In Summary
After a difficult start to the year, it’s going to take time to get back to normal. From sports to the economy, almost every aspect of life has been affected by the virus, and the same is true for the collectible market as a whole. Hopefully, baseball cards won’t be majorly affected by the changes, allowing a return to normality for everyone in the coming months.
2020 still has an exciting range of cards, autographs, and collectible patches that will be available throughout the year, offering something for almost every enthusiast. The ‘best’ sets can often be a matter of personal preference, but Topps has baseball locked down thanks to their exclusivity deal.
Bowman Chrome and the Topps Definitive Collection are just two releases to keep an eye on, while there’s always a chance that a couple of new rookies could break through unexpectedly.