Let’s take a look at baseball’s best player. Shohei Ohtani rookie cards can easily sell for five figures if you’re looking at top options, and the Los Angeles Angels two-way star is the favorite to take home his second MVP award in 2023.
The league’s only two-way player, Shohei Ohtani is one of the more valuable rookies if you’re looking at 2018 MLB sets.
As the AL MVP Award winner in 2021 and runner-up in ’22, it’s disappointing that the Angels have failed to make the playoffs during Ohtani’s five seasons, leading to rumors that he could become Major League Baseball’s first $500 million man following free agency.
Given his obvious talents, it’s no surprise that collectors are interested in his best RCs.
The Best Shohei Ohtani Rookie Cards
We’ve included an option from 2013, as well as the best Shohei Ohtani rookie cards released in 2018.
10. 2013 BBM Rookie Edition Shohei Ohtani RC #206 (eBay)
If you don’t mind a lack of MLB logos, the 2013 BBM Rookie Edition set is the ideal place to begin. It’s where you’ll find the true Shotime RC, released when he was an 18-year-old featuring for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan. Even at the time, he was seen as a massive prospect, and was the Opening Day right fielder, going 2-4 with a double and an RBI while batting eighth.
Of the cards to feature Ohtani, the Silver Foil option seen above is a top pick. PSA 10 copies will sell for upwards of $2,500.
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9. 2018 Topps Chrome Sapphire Shohei Ohtani RC #700 (eBay)
Moving on to MLB options, Shohei Ohtani’s RC was the final card in the premium 2018 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition Baseball set. It uses Topps Series 1 and Series 2 as a basis, and gives the cards a distinctive blue chromium finish. You’ll also be able to find a duo of rare parallels. PSA 10 copies of the base version currently sell for over $2,000.
- Parallels: Red Sapphire #/10, SuperFractor 1/1
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8. 2018 Topps Update Shohei Ohtani RC #US285 (eBay)
A set predominantly focusing on rookies, 2018 Topps Update Series Baseball is a solid pick if you don’t mind the lack of an autograph. The Ohtani RC can still be one of the more valuable options when looking at parallels, while the Gold version (limited to 2,018) is always popular with collectors.
- Parallels: Rainbow Foil (1:10 packs), Gold #/2018, Vintage Stock #/99, Independence Day #/76, Black #/67 (Hobby/Jumbo), Mother’s Day Hot Pink #/50, Father’s Day Powder Blue #/50, Memorial Day Camo #/25, Negative (Hobby/Jumbo), Platinum 1/1, Printing Plates 1/1
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7. 2017 Bowman Shohei Ohtani RC #BCP31 (eBay)
2017 Bowman Baseball is where you’ll find one of the earliest Bowman-branded cards to bear Ohtani’s likeness. He is pictured while playing for Japan in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
The 2017 Bowman release is a decent option, despite misspelling his surname on the nameplate at the bottom. You’ll also be able to find Refractor parallels.
- Parallels: Purple Refractor (#/250), Green Refractor (#/99), Orange Refractor (#/25), Black Refractor (#1/1)
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6. 2018 Topps Dynasty Shohei Ohtani RPA RC #AP-SO5 (eBay)
This high-end RPA is found in 2018 Topps Dynasty Baseball.
The Topps Dynasty Autographed Patch has base copies that are limited to 10, with a further two parallels that are also highly limited. There’s a sleek blue on-card auto, and a generous patch. However, one downside is that the relic isn’t from any specific game, event, or season.
- Parallels: Blue #/5, Gold 1/1
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5. 2018 Panini Flawless Shohei Ohtani RPA RC #SO (eBay)
Next up is a premium set with a selection of solid options featuring the Japan star.
2018 Panini Flawless Baseball is another high-end release, despite a lack of MLB logos. The Rookie Patch Autographs subset is where you’ll find this RPA.
2018 Panini National Treasures is an alternative if you want a Showtime RPA, although that also lacks MLB logos.
- Parallels: Ruby #/20, Sapphire #/15, Gold #/10, Emerald #/5, Black 1/1
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4. 2018 Topps Now Shohei Ohtani RC Mike Trout Albert Pujols #502C (eBay)
2018 Topps Now Baseball is where you’ll find this high-end option featuring Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. It has the tagline;
‘1st Time Slugging Trio All Homer in the Same Game’.
A print run of 4,207 means the base card is fairly easy to obtain, but the same can’t be said for the autographed parallel versions. You can see an example of the Orange version in the image above.
- Parallels: Green #/199, Base #/99, Blue #/49, Purple #/25, Red #/10, Orange #/5, Gold 1/1
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3. 2018 Bowman Sterling Shohei Ohtani RC #BSASO (eBay)
The 2018 Bowman Sterling Shohei Ohtani RC is a little different, released as part of a cross-brand set that was randomly inserted into 2018 Bowman products. The on-card autos are serial numbered to 99, while cards from the collection use a sleek landscape design.
- Parallels: Orange #/25, Red #/5, SuperFractor 1/1
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2. 2018 Topps Chrome Shohei Ohtani RC #RASO (eBay)
Improving on the flagship designs with a sleek finish, 2018 Topps Chrome Baseball features a range of strong Shotime options. Take the Rookie Autographs set, which uses a great close-up shot of the player with bat in hand. As you might have guessed, there’s a rainbow of parallels to collect.
- Parallels: Refractor #/499, Purple #/250, Blue #/150, Blue Wave #/150, Green #/99 (Retail), Gold #/50, Gold Wave #/50 (Hobby/Jumbo), Orange #/25 (Hobby), Red #/5, Red Wave #/5 (Hobby/Jumbo), SuperFractor 1/1 (Hobby/Jumbo), Printing Plates 1/1
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1. 2018 Bowman Chrome Shohei Ohtani RC #BCRASO (eBay)
The Chrome Rookie Autographs card found in 2018 Bowman Chrome Baseball is undoubtedly a top option if you’re looking for the most valuable Shohei Ohtani RCs.
It features a simple shot of Ohtani at the plate, with his bat poking out of the border at the top of the card. The inclusion of on-card autos being paired with numbered Refractors makes it one of the more popular 2018 baseball releases.
Even the higher numbered versions are reasonably valuable:
- Parallels: Refractor #/499, Blue #/150, Green #/99, Gold #/50, Orange #/25 (Hobby), Atomic (#’d), Red #/5, SuperFractor 1/1, Printing Plates 1/1
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Why are Shotime cards so expensive?
He’s arguably the best player in the league, and offers consistency along with his high ceiling. He’s already certain to be a Hall of Famer, and could yet join a franchise that would lead him to some of the biggest accomplishments in the sport.
Shohei Ohtani Rookie Cards: Final Thoughts
It’s rare to see a player take a league by storm like Ohtani has. He has truly lived up to the hype, and that has caused the average price of his rookie cards to rocket in the past few years.
No matter where he ends up, he’s going to be a key cog for any team chasing the playoffs. Expect to pay a decent chunk of change for any of his best rookie cards.