Early this year, Topps rolled out the 2017 Topps Now Baseball program with a bang, releasing Spring Training sets for all 30 MLB teams. I guess the official name for the sets is Road to Opening Day. The MSRP on the 15-card sets was $50, if I recall correctly, and there were also sets available for $100 which contain one randomly-selected autograph card from the team. Anyone who purchased a Topps Now card through the Topps website in 2016 received a Mike Trout card in the mail with a coupon code for 25% off these sets. I used my 25% off code to buy the basic Astros set, the one without the autograph. In all, the print run on the Astros set was 142 autograph sets and 37 regular sets, for a total of 179 sets in the print run.
If the team you purchased is in first place in their division at the All-Star break, you get a bonus card for that. You also get a bonus card if a player on your team throws a no-hitter or hits for the cycle during the 2017 season or playoffs. I guess I've got a pretty good chance of getting a 1st-place bonus card for the Astros, since they've got an 8-game lead on the Angels and Rangers right now in the AL West. In fact, all four of the other teams in the division are clustered together, with records below .500 and 8.0-10.5 games behind Houston. A lot can happen in two months, though, so I can't be certain of the Astros holding that lead.
Like some people have mentioned in blog posts that I can't relocate at the moment, the 2017 Topps Now cards are pretty standard glossy trading cards, but the backs have a holographic sheen to them. There are some team sets with some pretty cool non-standard photos on them, like Yoenis Cespedes in one of his cars (a Polaris Slingshot, I believe), but the Astros' photos are pretty basic baseball pictures, with Evan Gattis in catcher's gear being about as exciting as it gets. It is a pretty cool card. So far, the back of the card is pretty accurate. Gattis has appeared in 25 / 39 (64.1%) of the Astros' games, splitting time between the DH and catcher positions. His stats have been pretty good, but it's got to be hard to be held out of the lineup so much.
Here are some of the other big names in the set. Dallas Keuchel has been excellent this year, and hopefully he will keep that up. Carlos Correa took a while to get going, but he's rounded into form recently. Jose Altuve has been good, as has George Springer. Alex Bregman and Yulieski Gurriel have been decent. The three signers for the Astros autograph sets are Correa, Bregman, and pitcher Joe Musgrove. I'm guessing there will be a lot more Musgrove signatures than there will be Bregman or Correa.
Here are the rest of the cards in the set. Lance McCullers has been right up there with Keuchel in carrying the pitching rotation, although Charlie Morton has more wins than McCullers does. The bullpen has been pretty good to great, with a lot of strikeouts. I was happy to get a card of Josh Reddick in an Astros uniform, as he's a guy I've been collecting for a while, since his time with the A's.
These Topps print-on-demand and online-exclusive cards are more expensive on a per-card basis than most of their traditional pack-based counterparts, but I can't help picking some of them up from time to time. I've mostly stayed away from the daily Topps Now cards this year, though, as there are just too many of them. I can't even keep up with the Astros in the set, let alone all of the other stuff that comes out. I was happy to get this team set, with cards of the new additions and the holdovers who are piloting the team to a great start so far.