Of all Panini products to spontaneously be great, I wasn't really expecting it to be Diamond Kings.
Look, Donruss proper has become relatively nice, and Panini is definitely improving on how it uses its license, but...DK this year is one of the first truly great sets they've put out since Hometown Heroes.
So, right now, I'm gonna bust a blaster of the product, which I somehow found at Target an hour ago.
38- Josh Donaldson. The base set, while different from Diamond Kings in the past, is really nice. There's this sweet-spot-esque portrait swoosh, and it's really colorful and nice. EFFORT was put into a Panini baseball product. That alone is impressive.
Memorable Moment insert of Babe Ruth. A bit lower key than most of the other inserts, but still nice. Plus, it's Babe, which is always a nice pull.
...and we got a hit.
A Rookie Signatures Double-Swatch/Sticker Auto hit of MANUEL MARGOT of the Padres. As far as rookie hits go, it's pretty alright, as Margot is having a nice enough rookie season. Also, one of the swatches is a CAMO SWATCH...which is pretty damn cool actually. Not a perfect hit, but still nice to pull out of a blaster at Target.
70- Clayton Kershaw. Best pitcher in baseball.
27- Kirby Puckett.
...and that's just the first pack, guys.
17- Joe Cronin. One of those Hall of Famers you don't seem to see in sets anymore.
37- Ty Cobb. One of those Hall of Famers you see in basically every set these days.
94- Chipper Jones. Next year, barring catastrophe, Chipper will be joining those first two guys in Cooperstown.
AURORA insert of Madison Bumgarner. This is, without a doubt, one of the coolest inserts of the year. The amount of color in this set is fantastic.
123- Stephen Strasburg.
129- Dansby Swanson RC. Needs to get back to what he was doing last season, but still a nice pull.
Heritage Collection insert of Eddie Murray. Liking this set design a ton better than last year's.
18- GREEN BORDER of the Yankee Clipper himself, Joe Dimaggio. Pretty excellent pull there.
74- Yoenis Cespedes.
52- Freddie Freeman, already having a career year.
35- The poster boy himself, Ted Williams.
59- Jose Abreu
80- Madison Bumgarner
Heritage Collection of Ozzie Smith.
146- Luke Weaver
125- Yoan Moncada. Awfully nice of them to throw him in a White Sox jersey already.
Memorable Moments insert of Roberto Clemente. It's impossible to say no to a new Clemente card.
23- Lloyd Waner. Another rare Hall of Famer, which seems to be Panini's specialty.
65- Justin Verlander. It's proof you're doing well when everyone seems to think you have one too few Cy Youngs.
78- Andrew McCutchen. Waiting for the comeback, Cutch.
63- Trevor Story
21- Lefty Gomez. I do love telling people that I share a birthday with a Yankee Hall of Famer.
Ted Williams Collection insert. As much as I despise Boston...this is a pretty great card.
DK Originals insert of Jim Palmer. Also loving this insert set.
125- Nelson Cruz
5- Harry Brecheen, another Panini favorite.
7- Carl Furillo. My grandmother's favorite player.
87- Josh Donaldson...ARTIST'S PROOF, NUMBERED TO 99. How the bloody hell did that happen? On top of the already awesome Margot hit, I get a Donaldson low-numbered beaut. This set, man.
Heritage Collection insert of Kirby Puckett.
150- Renato Nunez
Amazing blaster, great set, hell of a rip.