Topps Done ‘Em Wrong (Chris Taylor Isn’t Alone)

The scandal surrounding NLCS co-MVP Chris Taylor’s absence from any Topps Flagship product has gotten it’s share of attention lately, but Taylor isn’t the only one done dirty by Topps. Not by a long shot.

If you’d missed it, the issue concerns Taylor not being included in 2017 Topps Update, Series 1 or Series 2, despite his becoming a breakout player for the National League champion Dodgers and appearing in 140 games in 2017.

I’d suspected that Taylor is not the only notable omission Topps made.  What I did to confirm my suspicions was to take all of the players listed on the PDF checklists issued by Topps (which had, in between, been loaded into my personal baseball card database) and compare them to a list of players who’d appeared in any games in 2017.

I realize that Topps flagship sets are a commercial product and never really intended to be an exhaustive document of the MLB season… But you’d think that anyone who played enough to qualify for a batting or ERA title would have their own little spot in a combined 1000-card checklist… Right?


So here’s the breakdown… If you take the checklists for Series 1, Series 2 and Update, remove the duplication, the team cards, the combo cards and such, you’ll have 776 different players represented (FYI, this does include the two-player rookie cards from Update as two different players).  On the other side of the equation, there were 1,458 players who appeared in the Majors in 2017, but a pretty decent number of those are “cuppa coffee” guys and September callups.

When I bumped one list against the other, I found that the list of players who did not appear in flagship Topps included five batters with at least 502 plate appearances and 6 pitchers with at least 162 innings pitched.

Some of the players who did appear in flagship include David Ortiz (retired), Angel Pagan (Topps was the only organization which had any interest in him), Derek Holland (who has not pitched 162 innings since 2013) and David Wright (who has not played since 2016 and has not had 502 PA’s since 2014).  Granted, Topps didn’t know that three of these guys wouldn’t make an impact on 2017, but they could’ve held them back for a while.

A little side note… I normally wouldn’t do customs for a during-the-week post, but for a variety of reasons it was easier than scanning, plus some of these guys don’t have a whole lot of cardboard.

First, let’s start with the position players, ranked by the number of games they appeared in.

Whit Merrifield – Kansas City Royals – 145 games

AB – 587; R – 80; HR – 19; RBI – 78; BA – .288; OBP – .324

Merrifield was the starting second baseman for a team that was expected to be competitive in 2017… Granted, the Royals were not, but Merrifield did lead the AL with 34 stolen bases.

Recent Cardboard:  2017 Topps Heritage High Numbers;  2017 Topps Now

Yolmer (Carlos) Sanchez – Chicago White Sox – 141 games

AB – 484; R – 63; HR – 12; RBI – 59; BA – .267; OBP – .319

Yeah, the White Sox stunk this year, and Sanchez didn’t put up amazing numbers, but he didn’t suck either.

Recent Cardboard:  2017 Topps Now, 2017 Topps White Sox team set (as Carlos Sanchez on those 2015 cards — Yolmer is his first name)

Chris Taylor – Los Angeles Dodgers – 140 games

AB – 514; R – 85; HR – 21; RBI – 72; BA – .288; OBP – .354

The previous two players were on losing teams.  I did mention the whole “breakout” and “co-MVP of the NLCS” before, right?

Recent cardboard:  2017 Topps Heritage High Numbers and a poopload of 2017 Topps Now

Tim Beckham – Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles – 137 Games

AB – 533; R – 67; HR – 22; RBI – 62; BA – .278; OBP – .328

I’m willing to give Topps a flyer on this one.  Beckham wasn’t doing much of anything with the Rays in the first four months of the season, but getting traded to the Orioles lit a fire under his butt… Oh, I forgot, Topps Update’s checklist was apparently finalized around the All-Star break.

Recent cardboard:  2015 Topps Heritage

Ben Gamel – Seattle Mariners – 134 Games

AB – 509; R – 68; HR – 11; RBI – 59; BA – .275; OBP – .322

If Ben Gamel put up these numbers with the Yankees, his original organization, he’d be in every freakin’ set that Topps put out.  Tell me I’m wrong.

Recent cardboard:  2017 Topps Heritage High Numbers;  2017 Topps Seattle Mariners team set

…and the fact that he’s in the Mariners team set just pisses me off even more.  The only work Topps had to do to get him in flagship was changing the card number.

Now let’s get to the pitchers, in descending order of innings pitched.

Patrick Corbin – Arizona Diamondbacks – 189.2 Innings Pitched

Games – 33; Record – 14-13; ERA – 4.03; K – 178; WHIP – 1.418

Patrick Corbin had me double-checking my findings… He’s in Heritage, he’s in National Baseball Card Day, he’s in the D-Backs team set, he’s in freakin’ Honus Bonus, for cryin’ out loud… but he’s not in Series 1, 2 or update?  Are ya kidding me???

Recent cardboard:  2017 Heritage;  2017 Topps Arizona Diamondbacks team set;  2017 Honus Bonus Fantasy Baseball;  2017 Topps National Baseball Card Day

Lance Lynn – St. Louis Cardinals – 186.1 Innings Pitched

Games – 33; Record – 11-8; ERA – 3.43; K – 153; WHIP – 1.229

I understand that Lance Lynn missed all of 2016 after Tommy John surgery, but on the other hand he tied for the 2017 National League lead for Games Started.

Recent cardboard:  2017 Heritage High Numbers;  2017 Topps Now

Mike Leake – St. Louis Cardinals and Seattle Mariners – 186.0 Innings Pitched

Games – 31; Record – 10-13; ERA – 3.92; K – 130; WHIP – 1.28

Guys like Beckham and Leake would likely get into Update if Update was an update (and a woodchuck would chuck wood).

Recent cardboard:  2017 Heritage High Numbers, 2017 Topps Now;  2017 Honus Bonus

Dan Straily – Miami Marlins –  181.2 Innings Pitched

Games – 33; Record – 10-9; ERA – 4.26; K – 170; WHIP – 1.299

Dan Straily appeared in Donruss, but not Topps.  Sink your teeth into that.

Recent Cardboard:  2017 Donruss;  2017 Topps Gypsy Queen;  2017 Topps Heritage (with the Reds); 2017 Topps Heritage High Numbers (with the Marlins);  2017 Honus Bonus

Jose Urena – Miami Marlins – 169.1 Innings Pitched

Games – 34; Record – 14-7; ERA – 3.82; K – 113; WHIP – 1.273

A 14-7 record for a 77-85 team?  That’s not too shabby in my book.  Plus nobody in the NL plunked more batters than Urena.

Recent Cardboard:  2015 Topps Update; 2015 Topps Heritage High Numbers

Luis Perdomo – San Diego Padres – 163.2 Innings Pitched

Games – 29; Record – 8-11; ERA – 4.67; K – 118; WHIP – 1.509

In the past 10 years, there have been two pitchers named Luis Perdomo, and both pitched for the Padres.  The first Luis Perdomo pitched in San Diego in 2009 and 2010, for the Twins in 2012, and in independent baseball as recently as 2016.  Tell me that didn’t cause confusion somewhere at some time.

Recent Cardboard:  2017 Topps Stadium Club;  2017 Gypsy Queen;  2017 Honus Bonus

Just to salvage some of the research I did… I originally went looking for players who appeared in 100+ games but didn’t get represented in Topps Flagship.  There are TWENTY-THREE of them all together.  Here are the guys who appeared in 100+ games but didn’t have the necessary plate appearances for this post (in decending order of games):  Greg Garcia, Albert Almora, Ezequiel Carrera, Darwin Barney, Gorkys Hernandez, Wilmer Difo (Are we not men?), Andrew Romine, Guillermo Heredia, Delino DeShields, Matt Davidson, Joey Rickard (Another Oriole left out of flagship?  What a shock), Erick Aybar, Manny Pina, Alen Hanson, Chris Herrmann, Tyler Moore, Austin Barnes (another NL champion Dodger).



3 thoughts on “Topps Done ‘Em Wrong (Chris Taylor Isn’t Alone)

  1. Last year I bought a Luis Perdomo auto on COMC thinking it was the current guy, but turns out it was the old guy. So yes, very confusing! ha

  2. I’m always speechless by posts like this one. I truly tip my cap to you and all of the other awesome bloggers out there (like night owl) who put the time and effort into these well written and very informative posts.

  3. Pingback: Topps Done ‘Em Wrong, Part 2: Was 2017 Really The Exception? | The Shlabotnik Report

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.