MLB The Show 23: Retro Finest Randy Johnson vs Incognito Randy Johnson

October 9, 2023 by Cory Dell

Diamond Dynasty, Meta Overall, MLB The Show News

The newest Chase card released recently and unleashed a new Randy Johnson in Diamond Dynasty. With Sets and Seasons, we’ve seen multiple 99 overalls of the same player so this was nothing new. However, the first 99 overall Johnson was the Incognito version found within the Set 2 Collection Choice Pack. This latest version is a Retro Finest version found only in Chase packs. No matter which of these versions you look at, they’re both fairly expensive cards.

Obviously, due to said Sets and Seasons you cannot use the Incognito version of Johnson without burning your Wild Card. Which creates an interesting roster decision: do you burn a Wild Card for a SP that you can’t use every game? The safe answer to that question is no, which makes the debut of Retro Finest Randy Johnson in Set 4 mighty convenient.

However, with all cards becoming Ranked legal in December – is it really worth it to binge on the new Randy Johnson?

MLB The Show 23: Retro Finest Randy Johnson vs Incognito Randy Johnson

As you can see from the Sets and Seasons chart, Season 5 will officially launch on November 3 which is less than one month away. Then on December 21, Season 6 will go live which will unlock all cards in Diamond Dynasty for use in Ranked and elsewhere. In other words, December 21 will essentially revert Diamond Dynasty back to how it has always operated where you can use any cards at any time.

This creates some interesting decisions for Diamond Dynasty players when it comes to newer versions of players that already have really good cards. Obviously, for those that want to use specific players regardless of cost this conversation is a bit moot. For everyone else, though, there’s definitely some serious consideration that needs to be taken.

SP Incognito The Big Unit! [Randy Johnson] (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Meta Overall rating: 107.39 – #4 SP

The first 99 overall Johnson came back in Set 2 with this Incognito version. When that Set 2 Collection Choice Pack was revealed, Johnson seemed like the obvious pick to slot into your rotation for the next couple of seasons. The reasons are obvious: Outlier Fastball, Break Outlier, 110 H/9, 120 K/9, 98 BB/9 and 125 Clutch. Randy Johnson was an absolute demon to deal with last year in his Diamond Dynasty debut and this version seemed like a clear continuation of that terror.

The obvious downside was the fact that this card would rotate out during Season 4, which just went live at the end of August. That’s a huge downside of all the collection cards. Whereas in years past, those big Flashbacks and Legends collections typically ended up in the upper-tier of cards and were rostered all year, the collection cards this year disappeared within 2 seasons without a Wild Card designation. This has proved useful for me as I’ve had Chipper Jones in my lineup all year, but as I said in the opening – the prospect of burning a Wild Card on a pitcher just doesn’t return as much value.

SP Retro Finest Randy Johnson (Seattle Mariners)
Meta Overall rating: 109.43 – #3 SP

Meet the new Johnson, same as the old Johnson? With a cursory glance, the two cards look to be almost identical. Well – that’s because they are.

The Retro Finest Randy Johnson has +4 Stamina, +8 H/9, -4 K/9 and -5 BB/9. Pitch-mix wise, Johnson features the exact same pitches though some are a bit spicier on the Retro Finest version. The Slider has +1 MPH, the Splitter is +2 MPH and the Slurve is +1 MPH. Not exactly major shifts there, but notable nonetheless.

Using the Compare Players feature at, I loaded up a Johnson in each hand to take a closer look. The obvious difference off the top is the fact that Retro Finest Randy has a higher Meta Overall rating by 2 points. Most of that work is being done by the 118 H/9, as it’s typically seen as the most important attribute for pitchers.

But is the Retro Finest version actually better?

Attribute Attrition

One of the coolest aspects of the Compare Players feature at ShowZone is the color-coded grid that tells you off-the-top which attribute is better between the cards. If an attribute is green, it means that card has the higher rating than any other compared cards. Red means that the card in question is lower-rated. Pretty straight forward, yeah?

Can you tell which Johnson is which in the photo? Given that we talked about each card’s attributes, you can probably surmise that the Incognito version is the left column while the new Retro Finest version is the right. This comparison shows just how similar the two cards are and again – the Retro Finest featuring higher H/9 gives it the higher Meta Overall rating.

Is it better?

I don’t think so. The Incognito Randy Johnson might have lower H/9, but you can feasibly Parallel the card up to 115 before any potential Captain boosts. That puts Incognito Johnson in the ballpark in regards to that very important attribute. However, that same Parallel 5 Incognito Johnson would feature 103 BB/9 which to me is more important than the H/9 in this case.

We know Johnson has amazing stuff. Even the lower-rated versions throw gas with nasty breaking pitches. The higher BB/9 for the Incognito version means that the PAR circles will be a bit smaller, which ultimately will help you be more successful and consistent with location. With a flame-throwing, nasty pitcher like Randy Johnson every bit of control is a big deal. In the head-to-head comparison, I think Incognito Randy Johnson is actually the better card.

So why does any of this matter?

The Closer

At the time of this writing, Retro Finest Randy Johnson is sitting around 500,000 Stubs on the marketplace. That seems criminally low for one of the very best SP in the game. We joke within the community that Randy Johnson is an auto-win, as many players will simply quit out of a game rather than face him. So why is this card so cheap?

For starters, I think the extra Chase packs being pumped out during the last Flash Sale put more into circulation than would typically exist. On top of that, however, I think it’s getting harder for people to justify spending that amount of Stubs on a card just to use “in-season” when an incredibly similar version already exists. If you’re grinding at the highest levels of Ranked and want the very best team you can field, you’ll probably happily buy Retro Finest Johnson and cruise him through the rest of Seasons 4 and 5 without hesitation. Again, I’m sure very few people will be using their Wild Card on Incognito Johnson so you can’t use a top-tier Randy any other way.

Me? I’m simply looking past this Johnson and spending my Stubs elsewhere. Depending on where you’re at with Team Affinity, those Stubs could be invested in exchanges to help progress there. Even then, if you’re finished with Team Affinity 4, you can simply start banking Stubs or even investing in cards now to be ready for the next wave of Team Affinity. If I end up packing Retro Finest Johnson, I’m selling him on the spot to do exactly that – pad my Stubs for the rest of the year.

These two cards are so similar that I struggle seeing the value in paying such a hefty price when you’ll be able to use Incognito Johnson again within a matter of weeks.

What do you think? Are you still ripping packs in hopes of landing Retro Finest Randy? Are you content waiting for Incognito Randy to come back into rotation? Let us know in the comments!

About the Guest Author

Cory Dell

Cory is a freelance writer that currently features for Operation Sports and ShowZone and has dabbled in streaming from time to time. Cory has been a diehard Atlanta Braves fan since birth and has tortured neighbors and family alike with avid guitar playing for the last twenty years.

This post was submitted by a guest author. If you would like to be featured as a guest author on ShowZone, reach out to us at with your ideas.

MLB The Show News & Tips Related Content

Join the Discussion Comments

ShowZone Newsletter

Stay up-to-date on everything MLB The Show.

Perfect-Perfect Grid Game

Play ShowZone's Perfect Perfect Grid. It's free!
Showzone Logo