It's probably too late for Topps to listen to my pleas as far as players from the Padres that they'll include for the Update set, but here's who I hope gets included. In a few weeks, we'll see how they did. Since I run a top five Padres baseball card related blog (probably, right?), I'll go ahead and say that I'm an expert in this subject and if they (Topps) don't agree with me, then they're wrong.
First up, the position players...
My Man Chris Denorfia. I remember listening to the Padres beat the D-Backs one night, and the announcers were discussing who the team MVP would be for this season. I'm not sure how I'd cast my vote, but I think that I'd have Deno in the top three (can't decide if I'd side with him, Jedd Gyorko or Andrew Cashner). Chris has been in two other Topps main sets as a Padre (2011 and 2012), but has always been relegated to the Update set. I'd rather see him sooner than later next year, but beggars can't be choosers, so... I guess I'm begging for a Denorfia card? I'll go with "insisting" that there be a Denorfia card, because that sounds slightly less pathetic.
The Little Ninja. Alexi Amarista hasn't been included in a Topps main set either. To Topp it off, he also hasn't appeared on a card as a Padre (unless you count the online exclusive, very expensive 2013 Topps Turkey Red, which I don't - mostly because I don't have it yet). This needs to happen. I can't say that my love for Amarista is as strong as it was when he was first brought up, but he's still a guy that should be on a baseball card. Did I mention that he's (probably) the only Padre that I'm taller than?
Kyle Blanks. The 88 Train had the best Padre card of the set last year, so it'd be a shame to leave him off the checklist this year. He was injured for a spell and missed a lot of playing time, but early in the year he carried the team on his shoulders for a couple of games. In my ideal world, Amarista and Blanks would be featured on a card together - Kyle is 10 inches taller and (wait for it...) 115 pounds heavier than Alexi! Unfortunately, their batting averages are almost identical, sitting in the .240 range, so they could easily both be overlooked.
Usually I'm more of a "position player" kinda guy when it comes to baseball cards. However, the Padres have lots of pitchers who I think are more deserving than their (slightly) better-hitting teammates. On to the pitchers...
Tyson Ross and Eric Stults have been the core of the Padres rotation for most of the year. This has been good and bad, but Ross especially has come up strong as of late. As of drafting this post, he is 3-8, which is less than impressive, but his ERA is 3.17 and his WHIP is 1.15. I'd be lying if I said that I knew how to calculate WHIP, or even what it is, but I know that it's pretty decent. He's been the victim of the worst run support in baseball, and should've gotten the win on the last game of the season, but Huston Street blew the game against the Giants. There are no cards of Stults as a Padre, and the only one I've seen of Ross was in this year's Topps Mini set.
Luke Gregerson is the man. Of course, being in the bullpen but not being the closer, your name is only printed when you do something wrong, but it happens pretty rarely with Gregerson. Dude should be in.
The only other Padre card of Thayer the Slayer that I've seen is from Panini Prizm, and I'm not sure that you can really even call those "Padre" cards since there are no logos on them. It does show Thayer's trademark mustache, which is pretty epic, so it still gets the nod over this one. He wasn't as good this year as he was last year, but I liked him better than most of the other non-Gregerson/Street options out of the pen.
The best non-Gregerson/Street option out of the bullpen (or maybe just the best option period) was Nick Vincent. I have never seen a Nick Vincent card, but last year Cards from the Quarry put together a comprehensive set of "online" cards of every player who played in the majors in 2012. This was Vincent's card, and it looks pretty sweet. Vincent is now sporting a monstrous goatee, so he'd look a bit different in the set this year, but the San Diego native (Ramona High! I went to their prom my senior year!) was a beast this year, posting a 2.14 ERA in 46.1 innings while striking out 49. Unsung hero out of the bullpen if ever there was one.
Robbie Erlin is a guy got roughed up early on in the year, when he was brought up to help a pitching staff decimated by injuries. After watching him struggle, I figured that was it for him for 2013, but he was brought back up in August and had a strong finish to the year, going 2-0 in four starts in September with a 2.08 ERA. He looks to be in the running for the 4th or 5th starters job in Spring Training, and I think he'll get it, depending on how many of the Tommy John surgery recoverees are still able to throw by then.
Well, there you have it. Like I said, since we're so close to the release date of Topps Update, I guess the guys at Topps missed out on my sage advice. Now I guess this will just serve as a standard to judge them against when the cards hit the shelves. These are the nine Padres who should be in the set. Now we'll just wait and see how they did.