Shohei Ohtani rookie cards: A buying guide to Dodgers star's first collectibles

Two-time MVP has a wide variety of rookie cards — from value buys to high-end investments

Cover Image for Shohei Ohtani rookie cards: A buying guide to Dodgers star's first collectibles
The two-way star has rookie cards featuring him as a pitcher and hitter, and some collectors have a preference.

Shohei Ohtani is already considered one of the most dynamic baseball players ever, so novice collectors and experienced hobbyists alike can't get enough of the two-time MVP's rookie cards.

Trouble is, there is a large selection of first-year Ohtani cards, and that can lead to confusion for collectors.

With the Dodgers superstar again off to a sizzling start and leading the National League with 27 home runs, cllct is here to help you sort through all the various Ohtani rookie cards — whether you're looking for a value buy or making a major investment.

Value Rookies

2018 Topps Allen & Ginter #100: A hit-or-miss set for many, Allen & Ginter features an old-school design inspired by the set’s origins, dating back to the late 1800s. Similar to many cards during the Tobacco era, Ohtani’s A&G rookie is a simple portrait with a rookie shield in the bottom left.

The 2018 Topps Heritage rookie offers a classic look at an affordable price.
The 2018 Topps Heritage rookie offers a classic look at an affordable price.

2018 Topps Heritage #600: Not unlike Allen & Ginter, the Topps Heritage set is all about a vintage look and feel. Drawing inspiration from 1969 Topps Baseball, Ohtani’s #600 rookie features a bat-over-shoulder pose with the Angels name in yellow block lettering at the center.

2018 Topps Opening Day #200: Among the cheapest Ohtani’s rookies, this Opening Day card features the two-way star at a podium rather than on the field. One of Topps’ entry-level sets, Opening Day has a low price that’s a good fit for new collectors or those working on a tight budget.

2018 Stadium Club #138: Known for its stunning photography, Stadium Club underwhelms some with a shot of Ohtani standing at a podium. Not all cards can be incredible, but it’s certainly a little disappointing that one of MLB’s best players doesn’t have a great rookie in a fan-favorite set.

If the lackluster image isn’t a deal breaker, this Stadium Club in high grades is extremely affordable for most collectors.

Flagship Rookies

2017 Bowman Mega Box Chrome Prospects #BCP31: Showing Ohtani pitching during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, this card was pulled from Mega Box Chrome packs included in each Bowman Mega Box and is Ohtani’s first English card. Sporting a design similar to Panini’s Mojo Prizm, this card also has Ohtani's name spelled as “Otani” on the front and back.

2018 Bowman #49: A paper Bowman rookie, this has remained one of Ohtani’s most popular cards due to its affordability. This card is as basic as it gets — a simple paper product with a rookie shield but no 1st Prospect designation — but that’s likely been what has kept the price low enough to be accessible for most collectors even in high grades.

**2018 Bowman Chrome (Batting) #1: **This has remained a key card for Ohtani due to the image of him actually batting rather than pitching. His status as a two-way star has resulted in cards being split between him at the plate or on the mound, and collectors sometimes have a clear preference.

2018 Topps Chrome Update #HMT1: Along with the 2018 Topps paper (#US1) version of this card, the image of Ohtani attacking the plate from the mound has been a favorite for collectors. Like several Ohtani rookies on this list, collectors can opt for the cheaper Topps paper version or spend a little more for the Chrome finish.

Refractors from Topps Chrome Update are great options for collectors looking for a more expensive example, though they are numbered to just 250.

2018 Topps Chrome Update Rookie Debut #HMT32: Variations like the Rookie Debut subset aren’t typically incredibly popular, but stars such as Ohtani are exceptions to the rule when a massive number of collectors are fighting for a limited number of high-grade cards.

Along with this Chrome Update example, collectors can easily find high grade 2018 Topps Update (#US285) paper copies at a discount.

The 2018 Topps Chrome #150 card features Ohtani on the mound.
The 2018 Topps Chrome #150 card features Ohtani on the mound.

2018 Topps Chrome (Pitching) #150: Another photo of Ohtani on the mound, this image can be found in 2018 Topps (#700), 2018 Topps Chrome and 2018 Topps Sapphire Edition (#700). Along with base examples, collectors can also hunt for refractors if they’re willing to pay a premium.

While cards from Topps and Topps Chrome are easily achievable for most collectors, the 2018 Topps Sapphire Edition should be considered among Ohtani’s high-end rookies. Topps Sapphire Edition drops have much lower print runs, and high grades of top rookies will often cost $1,000-plus if not more.

Unique Rookies

2023 Topps Now World Baseball Classic: Topps Now cards don’t typically hold much value on the secondary market, but this card has always been an exception with a print run of more than 42,000. The card captures the incredible moment when Ohtani strikes out Angels teammate Mike Trout to win the World Baseball Classic.

The card garnered more attention when Ohtani and Trout signed and hand-numbered three copies that were later graded by PSA.

The Bowman's Best Atomic Refractor shows great eye appeal.
The Bowman's Best Atomic Refractor shows great eye appeal.

2018 Bowman’s Best #1: The geometric backgrounds on Bowman’s Best cards aren’t for everyone, but certainly provide a change of pace. One major selling point for the set is the refractors really pop with eye appeal — especially the Atomic Refractor, which can hold a significant price premium over the flagship refractor.

2018 Topps Gypsy Queen #89: Not unlike Allen & Ginter, Gypsy Queen features a throwback design, but takes inspiration from the original Gypsy Queen cards from the late 1800s. The design isn’t for everyone, but some collectors love the vintage feel.

2018 Topps Living #7: Like Topps Now releases, the Topps Living set is printed to demand. This portrait of Ohtani is simple with a print run of a little less than 21,000. Topps Living examples are far from flagship cards, but they can serve as a good place to start for new collectors.

2018 Topps Finest #100: Similar to Bowman’s Best, Topps Finest features unique geometric backgrounds that might not be a great fit for all collectors. Refractors have incredible eye appeal while paired with the chrome finish and Ohtani’s batting stance.

2018 Bowman Platinum #34: Another set featuring a unique design pattern on the background, Bowman Platinum has a premium feel to it and carries a variety of parallels to chase. The Ice Pattern Foilboard is an achievable variation for most collectors in high grades if the design is appealing.

Expect to pay a premium for the high-end autographed cards.
Expect to pay a premium for the high-end autographed cards.


2018 Topps Chrome Rookie Auto #RA-SO: A flagship set paired with an autograph is a great combination when looking for high-end cards.

Topps Chrome Rookie Autos are among Ohtani’s best cards, and refractors like Gold /50, Orange /25 and Red /5 are key variations. Expect these key refractors to sell for $10,000-plus.

2018 Bowman Chrome Rookie Auto #CRA-SO: Much like the Topps Chrome Rookie Auto, Bowman autographs are highly sought after, though the set doesn’t generally hold as much value as the flagship Topps and Topps Chrome products. Expect these cards to also sell for $10,000 and above in many cases.

Ben Burrows is a reporter and editor for cllct.