Hot Hobby Standout: 2016 Donruss Optic Baseball
Written by: A.J. Faymore
Next up on our journey to find a hidden gem of a product, we traverse into the baseball side for a product that is barely over a year old at this point, 2016 Donruss Optic. Made under the Panini umbrella, this rookie based product centers on a 165 card set made up of base, Rated Rookies, and Diamond Kings, the latter two being slightly more short printed than regular base. The typical base cards come in a myriad of parallels, starting with the holo parallel with a shiny, rainbow pattern, and finishing with the very sharp looking gold vinyl 1/1.
Let's focus on what I think is the bread and butter of this product though, the autos. The base Rated Rookie autos are on-card, which is increasingly gaining steam as the most important aspect of any rookie or prospect based autograph set. The autos are definitely very clean looking, and boast and pretty good rookie class that has a nice balance of already proven stars, along with others that have great upside or are already proven themselves at the top level. The big names in this product as of now are Corey Seager, Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner and Miguel Sano, to name a few. When you add some names of other players that are starting to get more playing time or that haven taken off this season, such as Aaron Nola, Luis Severino, Stephen Piscotty and Michael Conforto, that is the making of a great class, and lots of fun names to chase. Each box comes with two autos, so your chances of hitting a great name is significantly greater than most product that you see currently.
Sticking with the auto theme, another great aspect is the Retro autos. Though incredibly rare (the easiest to find are limited to /5), they add a nice old school flair to the release. They come in 5 different retro designs, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1989, with multiple color parallels for each. They include most of the big names (including this really nice Kyle Schwarber) that I mentioned above, and all look awesome with the “chrome-d” out finish and on-card autos.
Not to be outdone, Veterans and legends also have their own auto subsets. Significant Signatures highlights some legendary names, all with a variety of parallels to accompany them, while the Studio set has some of today's brightest stars. These two sets just increase the plethora of different choices of autos, making every box exciting to see which of these sets you will see hiding in the packs.
Of course, the chase is made much more fun by the addition of hot boxes. Personally one of my favorite gimmicks, there are randomly inserted hot boxes floating around, with either five autographs instead of the usually guaranteed two, or twenty (!) serial numbered parallels, one in each pack! This chase makes for a fun experience, and can greatly increase the amount of nice stuff you get from opening a box.
This class has plenty of time to grow, and we are already seeing the fruits of it with some of these players. As of now, it's a great time to get in there and bust some Optic. Boxes and Cases are available, come see what all the fuss is about!