Hobby Musings: Onyx bringing out prospects for Platinum Elite – A new baseball season means new prospects for collectors to chase. One company taking that to heart is Onyx with its upcoming Platinum Elite release. With two autographed cards per box, the early April product will be featuring baseball youngsters that may not be known to casual collectors and baseball fans. However, given the company’s track record of finding future stars for their checklists, the 2018 release will be worth keeping an eye on. For more on what this year’s product has to offer, I had the chance to catch up Onyx’s owner Lance Fisher. The following interview was conducted via email.
KS: Lance, how is Platinum Elite different from your other card and memorabilia offerings?
LF: This year’s Platinum Elite edition offers collectors fresh new prospects and players who have never had a card produced yet. The case hit redemptions were a huge hit last year, so we included them again for 2018.
KS: Who are some of the prospects included in this year’s autograph checklist?
LF: Luis Urias, Keston Hirua, Andres Gimenez, Wander Javier and many other upcoming players. Buybacks of super prospect Ronald Acuna, Bo Bichette and Triston McKenzie add additional value!
KS: Your products have been known to feature several future stars well before people know about them. That being said, which prospect in this year’s checklist do you think collectors should be keeping an eye on?
LF: Mason Martin (2017 GCL MVP) and Matt Beaty (2017 Texas League MVP) are two that instantly come to mind and neither have a mainstream trading card.
KS: How do you decide on the players to include in the checklist?
LF: Lots of research, networking and due diligence. We’ve been very fortunate to select guys who have been totally off the radar and in a year or two top 100 prospects. We have become very picky on player talent, personal demeanor and future potential. We also try to study work habits and focus on the sport. Much of this approach carries over from my days working for Florida State football.
KS: All of your product’s autographs are on the card. In a day and age where sticker autographs are prevalent, how do you manage to pull that off?
LF: Lots of travel, phone calls and coordination. It’s tough since the cards have to be printed, checklists finalized and hoping the players don’t skip agencies. It’s a little easier for us since we only produce one trading card product a year.
KS: In your experience, how does working with minor league players for a card product compare and contrast with major league players?
LF: Minor league players are much easier and accessible. The work schedules are a little easier and most of the guys can use the extra income.
KS: Besides the current autographs, you’re also including buyback autographs from previous releases, including Braves super prospect Ronald Acuna. How were you able to include the buybacks?
LF: We always have extra cards of each player we sign. The extra cards allows us to throw in the buyback bonus.
KS: You’re bringing back the case hit feature from 2017’s release. For a prospect-based product, why did you decide to incorporate these case hits into the product?
LF: The case hit really caters to the breakers out in the hobby.
KS: From the pictures you’ve released, there are some pretty notable rookie cards included in the checklist. What are some of the top case hits in this year’s Platinum Elite release?
LF: We have RCs of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton and many more.
KS: Looking to the future, what is one feature you’d like to incorporate into Platinum Elite that you currently do not?
LF: We would love to add team logos!! It would be nice to open those floodgates and make the hobby more fan friendly with stronger competition. It also forces more innovation!