Juan Soto Rookie Card Guide and Highlights of Other Key Early Cards
With his arrival in Washington, the first big league Juan Soto Rookie Card wasn’t far behind. The prospect has made the Nationals’ offense that much stronger. And depending on how the free agent market shakes down over the next couple of years, he could be looked to be an even bigger anchor for the team.
After tearing up minor league pitching to kick off the 2018 season, Soto jumped quickly through the ranks. And his start in Washington couldn’t have gone any better. On the first pitch of his first start, he took San Diego’s Robbie Erlin to the opposite field for a three-run home run.
That’s going to grow exponentially in the months and years ahead now that he’s embarking on his MLB career.
His fast ascent has certainly raised the profile (and prices) of his early cards. Now that he’s in the majors, it’s up to his continued ability to flourish for that momentum to stick.
Juan Soto Rookie Card Guide
The following is an ongoing list of Juan Soto Rookie Cards. Only cards with the RC tag in the Beckett database and price guide are included, not inserts or parallels. Cards are listed alphabetically.
More cards will be added as more sets come out.
2018 Donruss Juan Soto RC #280
You’re not going to find this card in packs of 2018 Donruss Baseball. Rather, it’s one of several products put in packs of 2018 Panini Chronicles. It’s one of a handful of new Rated Rookie cards that expand on the existing Donruss checklist.
Parallels: Teal Border (/199), Gold Press Proof (/99), Father’s Day Ribbon (/49), Mother’s Day Ribbon (/25), Season Stat Line (/19), Artist Proof (/10), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)
2018 Donruss Optic Juan Soto RC #181
Similar to Donruss, this is another expansion card found in Chronicles. The main idea behind it is that Optic offers a chromium take on the regular Donruss set. This brings a slightly elevated approach but not a massive price increase.
Parallels: Holo, Aqua (/299), Orange (/199), Blue (/149), Red (/99), Carolina Blue (/50), Black (/25), Gold (/10), Gold Vinyl (1/1)
2018 Panini Illusions Juan Soto RC #20
The 2018 Panini Illusions Juan Soto Rookie Card brings a two-photo look reminiscent of Flair Showcase sets from the late ’90s. It’s another set found in 2018 Panini Chronicles. The card also has an autographed version that’s among the earliest Panini Juan Soto signatures.
Parallels: Trophy Collection Blue (/99), Trophy Collection Red (/25), Trophy Collection Gold (/10), Trophy Collection Black (1/1)
2018 Panini Prizm Juan Soto RC #14
It has been a couple of years since Prizm had its own full standalone release. For 2018, it gets an abbreviated spin as part of 2018 Panini Chronicles. Chromium remains the anchor as well as several colorful (and patterned) parallels.
Parallels: Holo, Hyper (/299), Ruby Wave (/199), Blue Ice (/149), Purple Mojo (/99), Green (/50), Pink (/25), Gold (/10), Gold Vinyl (1/1)
2018 Panini Spectra Juan Soto RC #87
The 2018 Panini Spectra Juan Soto Rookie Card takes the chromium approach and makes it a little busier and bolder. The base version also comes with the reflective Holo backdrop. Like Prizm, colors and patterns highlights the parallels. Spectra is another line attached to 2018 Chronicles.
Parallels: Neon Blue (/99), Neon Pink (/75), Neon Green (/49), Green Mosaic (/25), Gold Pulsar (/10), Neon Orange (/5), Nebula (1/1)
2018 Select Juan Soto RC #15
The 2018 Select Juan Soto Rookie Card is a final release found in the Chronicles anthology. Like other sets under the Select name in recent years, chromium dominates the design with several Prizm parallels joining it and adding a rainbow of color.
Parallels: Prizm, Aqua (/299), Orange (/199), Blue (/149), Red (/99), Carolina Blue (/50), Black (/25), Gold (/10), Gold Vinyl (1/1)
2018 Topps Archives Juan Soto RC #73
The 2018 Topps Archives Juan Soto Rookie Card was his first pack-inserted MLB release following his call-up. Archives uses retro designs throughout, which is apparent on this card, which has its roots in 1959 Topps Baseball. Its release was not exactly traditional with retail arriving about two months before hobby.
Parallels: No Signature, Venezuelan Back, Purple (/175), Silver (/99), Blue (/25), Gold Foil (1/1)
2018 Topps Fire Juan Soto RC #181
2018 Topps Fire is a Target-exclusive release that has big designs from renowned graphic artist Tyson Beck. As far as Juan Soto Rookie Cards go, it may be a little too bold for some but appealing to others. The exclusive distribution may make it a little tougher to find, particularly at the pack level, but it’s not a release that’s extremely limited.
Parallels: Blue Chip, Flame, Gold Minted, Onyx, Orange (/299), Green (/199), Purple (/99), Magenta (/25), Inferno (1/1)
2018 Topps Heritage Juan Soto RC #502
The 2018 Topps Heritage Juan Soto Rookie Card takes it back to 1969 with its design. Part of the expansion High Number set, there’s not much that’s complicated about it. However, some of the parallels may required a second look as they can be very subtle. Traditionally, Heritage High Number Rookies aren’t huge, but they can appreciate nicely, especially for players who debut late and don’t have a lot of RCs.
2018 Topps Heritage High Number is also notable as it’s the first packs to have MLB Juan Soto autographs following his Nationals debut.
Parallels: Chrome Purple Refractors, Chrome (/999), Chrome Refractors (/569), Mini (/100), Chrome Black Refractors (/69), Black Border (50 copies), 100th Anniversary (25 copies), Magenta Back (10 copies), Chrome Gold Refractors (/5), Reverse Stock (5 copies), Chrome Superfractors (1/1)
Top Early Juan Soto Cards
This is not a full list of Juan Soto cards. Rather, it charts some of his more significant early releases.
2016 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autograph Juan Soto #CPA-JS
The 2016 Bowman Chrome Juan Soto autograph is his key card. By definition, it’s an insert so it doesn’t carry the RC tag. That said, as the hobby has continued to evolve, first Bowman Chrome autographs have become the cornerstone pieces for virtually every player. They have on-card autographs, players are in their MLB uniforms and the brand has a long history.
Then there are the Refractors that add color and a certain level of rarity. When it comes to the 2016 Bowman Chrome Juan Soto autograph Refractors, all are serial numbered with the one-of-a-kind Superfractor being the most coveted (and expensive).
Usually players with Prospect Autographs also have an unsigned version in the same product. Soto’s first regular Bowman Chrome Prospect card didn’t come along until 2017, though.
This card is found in packs of 2016 Bowman Chrome Baseball.
Parallels: Refractors (/499), Purple Refractors (/250), Blue Refractors (/150), Green Refractors (/99), Gold Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Orange Shimmer Refractors (/10), Red Shimmer Refractors (/10), Red Refractors (/5), Blue Twitter Refractors (/3), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Superfractors (1/1)
2016 Bowman International Ink Autographs Gold Juan Soto #II-JS /99
Although 2016 Bowman Chrome is home to Juan Soto’s most popular Bowman autograph, it wasn’t the first. 2016 Bowman Baseball included an insert set highlighting some of the top prospects from around the world — like Soto. While the regular inserts don’t have signatures, parallels that do. Soto’s autograph is numbered to 99 and has a one-of-one Metallic version.
One thing to watch for are cards that have been signed in person or through the mail. Given the name of the insert, it’s easy to mix up a pack-inserted card to a aftermarket signature. The quickest way to see on the front is the “Topps Certified Autograph Issue” notation above his names. The basic unsigned versions don’t have this.
This card was distributed in packs via redempition.
Parallels: Metallic (1/1)
2016 Elite Extra Edition Juan Soto #165 /999
2016 Elite Extra Edition doesn’t have any Juan Soto autographs. However, Panini did get him in the base portion of the prospect set. The brand had a bit of an overhaul in 2016, which meant base cards came serial numbered. Soto has 999 copies. On top of those are several parallels that mix up colors and die-cuts.
Parallels: Aspirations Purple (/200), Status Red Die-Cut (/99), Aspirations Blue (/75), Status Emerald Die-Cut (/49), Aspirations Tie-Dye (/25), Status Tie-Dye Die-Cut (/10), Aspirations Gold (1/1), Status Gold Die-Cut (1/1)
2017 Bowman Chrome Prospects Juan Soto #BCP180
This card is in a bit of a weird spot. For many, the 2016 Bowman Chrome autograph is either too expensive or not a priority given the price. But there’s not the unsigned version to act as an alternative. Instead, there’s this card, which came out a year later. It has the MLB uniform and marks. It has the extensive Refractor rainbow. But there’s also this sense that it’s like a second-year card. Put all that together and it shouldn’t be surprising that this is an affordable card where its significance comes in being a second choice of sorts.
Soto is also in 2017 Bowman Chrome Draft. They photo on that card has him wearing a gray jersey, which makes it easy to spot.
Parallels: 70th Anniversary Blue Refractors, Purple Shimmer Refractors, Refractors (/499), Purple Refractors (/250), Blue Refractors (/150), Blue Shimmer Refractors (/150), Green Refractors (/99), Green Shimmer Refractors (/99), Gold Refractors (/50), Gold Shimmer Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Orange Shimmer Refractors (/25), Red Refractors (/5), Black Shimmer Refractors (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1), Superfractors (1/1)
2017 Bowman Chrome Bowman Scouts’ Top 100 Autographs Juan Soto #BTP60 /50
Here’s a card that charts Soto’s rise from solid prospect in 2017 to major leaguer in 2018. Bowman Scouts’ Top 100 ranks prospects at the start of the season. For Soto, he was on the second half of the list in 2017, coming in at #60. While there’s a regular version of the card, the autograph takes things up a notch. Numbered to 50, it’s not that easy to find. It uses a sticker to hold the signature.
Parallels: Superfractors (1/1)
2017 Bowman Platinum Top Prospect Autographs Juan Soto #TP-JS
A lot of the initial chase in 2017 Bowman Platinum Baseball stemmed from Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger. This isn’t Bowman Chrome and it’s a “second-year” autograph. But for those looking for Soto’s signature, it’s still and early one and it’s cheaper than Chrome.
Parallels: Purple (/150), Green (/75), Orange (/25), Blue (/20), Black (/10), Gold (1/1)
2018 Topps Now Juan Soto #235
Juan Soto’s MLB debut was a memorable one. And within a few hours of his first game (and home run), Topps had his first card as a bona fide Major Leaguer. Sold through their website, the 2018 Topps Now card commemorates the moment, complete with a photo from his swing.
Available for just 24 hours, the print run is determined by the number that are ordered.
Given the nature of Topps Now, it’s possible that Soto could have several cards in the set before the season’s done.