Friday, January 18, 2013

Analyzing the Orioles Players Included in 2013 Topps Series 1

A week or so ago, I was searching online for some information about the 2013 Topps Series 1 checklist, something I typically do at this time of year to see which new O's might be featured on their first official Orioles card. The 2012 Topps Update set included a virtual plethora of  O's first-timers, so I didn't know what to expect. Last year's Updates & Highlights set pictured Jason Hammel, Pedro Strop, Luis Ayala, Matt Lindstrom, Darren O'Day, and Ronny Paulino all in orange and black for the first time on cardboard, which might be some sort of record or something. It's always nice to have new Orioles autographs to track down, but that is a lot in one set, especially considering that Paulino seemed to despise signing anything.

Originally in my search for the 2013 checklist, I wasn't able to find anything other than a list of 100 star players that Topps guaranteed would be in the set as part of their sales sheet. But then on Wednesday, when perusing some other blogs, I noticed that the final checklist was finally out. (Hat tip to Paul who writes Paul's Random Stuff, for drawing my attention to the official checklist posted on sportscollectorsdaily.com.)

I'm sure that some others out there can sympathize, but as a fan of a team that hasn't been particularly successful or exciting in recent years, Topps normally has mailed it in as far as which Orioles they include in the set. You could always count on Nick Markakis/Adam Jones/Brian Roberts/Jeremy Guthrie/Mark Reynolds, a few of the somewhat promising young pitchers (Arrieta, Britton, Matusz, Tillman, etc.), a prospect/young player or two, and then maybe one or two new or random players. While things aren't entirely different this year, I was somewhat surprised to see the list of Orioles in the set. Without further delay, here are the players included and my thoughts.

Adam Jones- of course
Tommy Hunter- surprising since he had been pictured as an O in '12 series 2, and ended the year in the 'pen after a stint in the minors
Dylan Bundy- a no brainer for Topps to get Bundy in this set, I would expect to see a ton of his cards in coming years
Mark Reynolds- bittersweet with his departure, but with the up-in-the-air contract status, an obvious pick
Chris Davis- as it should be for the slugger, after his inclusion in the '12 Heritage high set I was hoping he would get more base set love
Jake Arrieta- standard, if not entirely deserved, inclusion
Jim Johnson- absolutely deserved for the All-Star and one of the best closers in the Majors, didn't have many cards until last year
L.J. Hoes- prospect made his debut last year, and has been on the among top five O's prospects in recent seasons
Robert Andino- suspect inclusion of O's part-time 2B who is no longer an Oriole
Brian Matusz- see Jake Arrieta
Manny Machado- pretty much the same situation as Bundy, doubt Topps will issue many sets that don't include both from here on out
Luis Ayala- surprising since he was included in '12 Update set
Endy Chavez- WTF? Pretty clear he wasn't coming back for some time, and 4th OF didn't play much last year in any case
Team Card- Always nice to get signed if I'm not expecting a player to be at a game I attend

And there you have it. Not a single player featured for the first time as an Oriole, which was probably the most shocking part of this list for me. (And I won't get into the whole "official RC" discussion; Bundy, Hoes, and Machado have all been included in Major Release sets in recent years.) I'm excited to see new O's cards of Davis, Hunter and Ayala specifically, and really only surprised to see the inclusion of Endy Chavez.

However, I was expecting to see Nate McLouth and Miguel Gonzalez featured for the first time as Orioles, especially after last year's playoff run. And it's strange that both Nick Markakis and J.J. Hardy were passed over, but you can't include everyone in every set. But, if it was up to me, I would have included Markakis, Hardy, McLouth, Gonzalez, and probably Wei-Yin Chen, Ryan Flaherty, and Wilson Betemit over the combination of Reynolds, Arrieta, Hoes, Andino, Matusz, Ayala, and Chavez. Those are just my thoughts, what are yours?

To wrap things up, I'm pretty excited to attend tomorrow's Orioles FanFest, it sounds like it's going to be crazy, but I was lucky enough to snag tickets for the autograph sessions that include Hammel, Strop, Ayala, and O'Day (among others) to get their 2012 Update cards signed. And due to Topps' selection of players to include in the 2013 set, I won't need to add any new guys to my want list, at least for now.


3 comments:

Aaron said...

I was wondering who would be included, thanks for the update. Pretty disappointing after the 2012 update set.

Paul said...

Remember, this is only series one.

Have fun at Orioles FanFest tomorrow.

Orioles Magic said...

Aaron- Happy to pass along the info.

Paul- I know it, and I'll be really intrigued to see if all the players that I thought should be in Series 1 will make it into Series 2. Or Heritage for that matter.