Friday, April 11, 2014

Repacks R Us Part III: Redemption or Revulsion?

The Toys R Us repack has treated me unevenly at best.  To go through the sheer pain of viewing a Christian Laettner card -- I mean, can you tell that he still bugs me?  It has been fun, though, to see cards from a few sets that I would never have otherwise seen in person because I would not buy them at full price.

This box closes with two 2013 Topps Series 1 Jumbo Packs and two of the 2011 Bowman Platinum four-packs.  Let's see how the repack closes -- will it redeem itself, or will I be so angry as to say I will never buy them again?

2013 Topps Series 1, Jumbo Pack 1
First things first: I don't have high expectations for any base-set packs from Topps.  I've opened too many in the past three months than to think that I'm going to pull a printing plate from one of these babies.  

Second, it's a bit strange to me, but these repacks contain the Wal-Mart blue parallel jumbo packs.  It really puzzled me until I saw that MJ Holding is a big supplier to Wal-Mart for its repacks.  I guess Toys 'R' Us is special and sells its cards out -- or at least holds them in their own inventory for as long as it takes to sell them.

Preliminaries out of the way, let's get to the cards.

Top Half
50 Adam Wainwright
1 Bryce Harper
313 Maicer Izturis
274 Miguel Montero
223 Yonder Alonso
282 Russell Martin
88 Jamey Carroll
10 Adam Jones
225 Will Venable
83 Darin Ruf RC
290 Tom Layne RC
84 Adeiny Hechavarria RC
CC-4 David Ortiz Calling Card

The one insert in the top half of the pack is this Big Papi Calling Card.  To me, I would have preferred it if it actually provided me with cell phone minutes.  It's not that I hate Ortiz or the Red Sox, but the whole spitting onto his batting glove being a featured card is just ridiculous.

195 Chris Heisey
291 Ryan Sweeney
139 Bobby Parnell
96 Edward Mujica
163 J.A. Happ

Well, if that's all we're going to get from these rack packs...

Bottom Half
61 Trevor Bauer
316 Josh Reddick
3 Hunter Pence
17 Shin-Soo Choo
304 Kyle Drabek
68 Colby Rasmus Emerald Reflector

The minute I saw this card, my head immediately went to the English "band" Gorillaz (created by Damon Allbarn, the lead singer of Blur, a band I really like).  Anyone else see the resemblance?  Is it just the hair?

CH-23 George Brett Chasing History

CD-1 Bryce Harper Chasing the Dream

TM-42 Willie Mays 1972 Mini

300 Daniel Murphy Wal-Mart 
322 Alex Gonzalez Wal-Mart

Finally a Brewer, even if he is a really crappy one on a short stay.  But it’s a card I can use for the Brewers collection, certainly.  And I still love those 1980s jerseys.
93 Austin Kearns Wal-Mart
CH-26 Silver Foil Chipper Jones Chasing History

CH-42 Silver Foil Alex Roidriguez Chasing History

I fully appreciate my hypocrisy in making fun of Alex Rodriguez while embracing Ryan Braun.  That's the fun of being a baseball fan and human being -- choosing which jerks and cheaters you embrace and call your own and which jerks and cheaters you hate with a passion reserved for persons who personally wronged you.  

306 Jerry Hairston
104 Jed Lowrie
273 Dexter Fowler

So THAT'S where all the inserts were.  The redeeming quality for that pack was clearly the Brewers Wal-Mart parallel, even if it was Alex Gonzalez.  On to Pack 2.

2013 Topps Series 1, Jumbo Pack 2

Top Half
257 Mike Minor

This is better already.  Not only is he with the Braves, but, more importantly to me, he is a Vanderbilt guy.

62 Tommy Hunter
25 Mark Teixeira
107 Joe Mauer
59 John Axford
A Brewer with a wicked mullet who is now closing for Cleveland.  Best of luck, Mr. Axford.
219 Josh Beckett
138 Michael Morse
67 SF World Series Game #4
294 AL Batting Avg. Leaders
311 Rajai Davis
185 Rob Scahill RC
271 Jeurys Familia RC
91 Alfredo Aceves

Camouflage Parallel 17/99.  That is a pretty good insert to catch.  Now, if I could just find a Red Sox fan who collects cards and would trade for it.

159 Felipe Paulino
221 Heath Bell
312 Scott Hairston
71 Kyle Kendrick
208 Kurt Suzuki

Bottom Half
128 Buster Posey
218 Ben Zobrist
328 Jayson Werth
153 AL HR Leaders
89 Checklist/Johan Santana
139 Bobby Parnell Emerald Parallel

The green does not look too bad with the Mets colors.  Or, rather, it does not look as bad as I thought it might.  Hope his elbow is okay -- the Mets are struggling enough this year already than to need to use Jose Valverde as a closer all year.
CH-22 Matt Kemp Chasing History

CD-18 Chris Sale Chasing the Dream

TM-41 Bryce Harper 1972 Mini

These cards are still great to look at and find.  

158 Chad Billingsley Wal-Mart parallel

Any of you Dodgers guys need either the Kemp or the Bills?

63 Justin Masterson WM blue parallel
150 John Danks WM blue parallel
CH-4 Silver Foil Cal Ripken Chasing History

CH-9 Silver Foil Mariano Rivera Chasing History
32 Craig Breslow
180 Casey Kotchman
258 Doug Fister

All in all, these two jumbo packs were decent.  The Wal-Mart parallels were new to me, since I didn't buy any cards in retail stores anywhere last year.  I had wondered where these silver foil Chasing History cards had come from, and now I know that too.  Finally, the camouflage card was a nice surprise.

So, going into the final packs, I am still ambivalent.  These last two jumbos weren't bad, but they certainly weren't $25 good either.  Let's close this out with the Bowman Platinum.

2011 Bowman Platinum
These cards come in packs of four with a cardboard insert between the first and second cards of the pack. In each jumbo pack, there are three packs of the regular product and one package of only purple refractors. Let's rip them open.

Rack 1, Pack 1:

48 Mark Teixeira
BPP76 Kyle Russell
Russell made it all the way to Albuquerque for a grand total of 18 games for the Dodgers.  He played independent league ball last year for half the season, then played half a year for the Mississippi Braves.  He was then released and, as far as I can tell, has not caught on anywhere else.

53 David Ortiz
49 Joe Mauer

Rack 1, Pack 2:
19 Carlos Gonzalez
BPA-MF: Mike Foltynewicz

An on-card completely illegible autograph is better than no autograph at all.  He’s a 22-year-old kid who made the jump to AA last year and is in the PCL this year.  He may not start, though, and he’s got some control issues that he needs to work through.  BaseballHQ’s Minor League Analyst says he has the potential to be a third starter and, “Key to success is throwing [curveball] for strikes.”  Fixing that may be the difference between being a major league player and never making it.

55 Michael Pineda
58 Clayton Kershaw

Rack 1, Pack 3
8 Hanley Ramirez
BPP83 Manny Machado

Not a bad base card to find.  

27 Jake McGee
60 CC Sabathia

Purple Refractors
BPP27 Jarred Cosart

It's like EVERYONE plays for Colorado or at least in a purple Rockie world.  The Phillies traded Cosart to the Astros in the Hunter Pence deal in 2011.  Cosart started 10 games for the Astros last year with a 1.95 ERA despite the fact that he walked two more guys than he struck out.  He'll need to improve on that to continue to develop as a pitcher.

BPP90 Gary Brown

Brown was added to the 40-man roster last winter even though he admittedly "hasn't developed as quickly as the Giants had hoped" when they drafted him.  For a guy who lived on speed, contact, and bat control, he sure struck out a lot last year (135 times). 

BPP35 Tony Wolters
Wolters is 21 and is the starting catcher at Double-A Akron for the RubberDucks.  No word on whether Ernie and Bert will make an appearance.

BPP98 Matt Moore

Moore made it to the majors in 2011, and last year in 27 starts he went 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA.  He was an all-star as well, and finished 9th in the Cy Young Award voting.  On the downside, he certainly led a charmed life last year -- he walked exactly 1 batter every two innings he pitched -- 4.5 BB/9 -- which meant that his K/BB ratio did not reach 2.0.  That 2.0 mark is where you want to be to increase the likelihood that your results will be good.

All in all, a very good group of cards.  Let’s see what Rack 2 has.

Rack 2, Pack 1
89 Shin-Soo Choo
BPA-KP Kyle Parker Autograph

Parker is a Clemson product and was a first round pick in the 2010 draft.  Being that he is a Clemson guy, I’m surprised his autograph isn’t an X.  Then again, it sure isn't that far off.  Parker isn't far off from the majors either -- he's starting the year in AAA Colorado Springs. If he keeps hitting as he has the past three years, he will be in Denver soon.

18 Adam Dunn
11 Justin Upton

Rack 2, Pack 2
99 Roy Halladay
BPP71: Johermyn Chavez X-Fractor

It’s a hit, but this is a 25-year-old going the wrong way in his third or fourth organization in three years. He was in this set on the strength of his 2010 season in the California League where he hit 32 homers at High Desert.  That's looking more and more like an aberration.  He's now in the Carolina League -- High-A again.

51 Jose Bautista
36 Johan Santana

Rack 2, Pack 3
30 Felix Hernandez
BPP31 Domingo Santana

I'm not sure why this looks so yellow -- it's just a normal BPP card.  Baseball Prospectus's rating system gives this guy a 30% chance at being an Elite player.  

36 Johan Santana Gold

It’s a Santana Hot pack!
39 Brian McCann

Purple Refractors, Pack 2
BPP51 Alex Wimmers

Numbers can speak volumes.  This guy was a first round pick out of THE Ohio State University for the Twins in 2010.  He pitched 4-1/3 innings in 2012 at AA, and that is as high as he has gotten.  That said, the usual sunny stuff in the local newspaper is still out there -- the Twins haven't given up on him after Tommy John surgery in 2012.

BPP63 Jonathan Schoop

Schoop is 22 and broke spring training camp with the Orioles big club as a second and third baseman. He spent most of 2013 in the International League, and appears to profile as a slick-fielding second baseman with a little pop.

BPP17 Kolbrin Vitek
At the end of March, Kolbren Vitek decided to retire at the age of 25 after several disappointing seasons in the minor leagues.  Vitek and 2006 Red Sox first round pick Jason Place were the two draft failures from the Theo Epstein era in Boston.  

I wish I could say I had more, but it appears that I got shorted one refractor.  Or I lost it.  Oh well.

All in all, I think the Bowman Platinum may have saved the repack to an extent.  Now, to be clear, these packs sucked in terms of having Brewers in them -- I mean, it was an Axford 2013 base, a gold sparkle league home run leaders in 2012, a Carlos Villanueva, and an Alex Gonzalez Wal-Mart 2013 parallel. That's it. But the autograph hits in the Bowman still give this repack some potential to be great.

That said, if you saw something you liked over the past few days, let me know!


  1. You sure did get one heck of a Bowman Platinum rack pack.

  2. I'm interested to trade for the Rivera if it is still for trade. Please email me at