This time, we're continuing the discussion about bonus cards that Topps included in 2003 Topps Retail (that would be Target/Walmart, etc) and Holiday factory sets. As you recall, Topps included 10 "First Year Player" cards as bonuses in their Hobby and JC Penney/Sears exclusive factory sets. In the retail and holiday sets, they included ten 2003 Topps Draft Picks cards, featuring ten players selected in the 2003 MLB Draft. The ten players selected for this set are:
- Brandon Wood, SS, Anaheim Angels (1st Round, Horizon High School)
- Ryan Wagner, P, Cincinnati Reds (1st Round, University of Houston)
- Sean Rodriguez, SS, Anaheim Angels (3rd Round, Braddock High School)
- Chris Lubanski, OF, Kansas City Royals (1st Round, Kennedy-Kendrick Catholic Hich School)
- Chad Billingsley, P, Los Angeles Dodgers (1st Round, Defiance High School)
- Javi Herrera, C, Cleveland Indians (2nd Round, University of Tennessee)
- Brian McFall, 1B, Kansas City Royals (3rd Round, Chandler Gilbert Community College)
- Nick Markakis, OF, Baltimore Orioles (1st Round, Young Harris College)
- Adam Miller, P, Cleveland Indians (1st Round Supplemental, McKinney High School)
- Daric Barton, C, St. Louis Cardinals (1st Round, Marina High School)
WHERE ARE THEY NOW???Brandon Wood made his MLB debut with the Angels on April 26, 2007, and has been shuttling back and forth between Anaheim and the AAA team in Salt Lake. In 68 games with the LAAOA, he has hit 6 home runs, driven in 16, and is hitting a less than stellar .191. He is starting the 2009 season in the minors.
Ryan Wagner became the first player in the 2003 draft to make it to the majors for the Reds. He made his MLB debut on July 19, 2003, finding a spot on the much maligned Cincinnati bullpen. He was sent along with Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez to the Nationals in a seven player trade. In five seasons as a Red and a National, Wagner is 11-9, finished 23 games (no saves yet), and an ERA of 4.70. Injured for most of 2008, he is also starting the 2009 season in the minor leagues.
Sean Rodriguez made his MLB debut with the Angels on April 19, 2008, getting into 59 games with the Halos last year. In his rookie year, he hit 3 homers, 10 RBI's, stole 3 bases, and hit .204. He is starting the 2009 campaign in the minor leagues.
Chris Lubanski has not yet appeared in the majors for Kansas City. While he has been productive in the minors, the Royals have not found room for him yet on the big league roster. He begins his 2009 season in the minors.
Chad Billingsley has been a mainstay in the Dodger's starting rotation since his debut in 2006. In three years with the Dodgers, he sports a 35-19 record, struck out 401 batters, and has an ERA of 3.33. He made my 2008 MLB End of the Year All-Star team (which is another thing I'm working on...I swear).
Javi Herrera has not yet appeared in the majors. After spending five seasons in the Indians minor league system, he was traded to the Washington Nationals. He is starting the 2009 campaign in the minors.
Brian McFall has not arrived in the majors as well. In six years, he has yet to advance beyond the AA level. His case is another where the Royals have no room currently for him. He starts the year in the minors.
Nick Markakis is an All-Star in the making for the Baltimore Orioles. Playing RF for the O's, he finished tenth in the batting race last year with a .306 clip. In three seasons, he has hit 59 home runs, driven in 261 runs, and is batting a decent .299. At just 26 years old, he future is bright as the Orioles begin to build around him and their other young stars. He also made my 2008 MLB End of the Year All-Star team.
Adam Miller has not yet made his MLB debut, but that's the least of his worries. Although he carries a 32-25 record heading into the 2009 season, he also faces career-threatening surgery after being shut down in spring trainging twice so far. If he can get past it, he plays for the Tribe's AAA team. If not, he goes under the knife.
Daric Barton was traded to the Oakland Athletics in the deal that brought Mark Mulder to St. Louis in 2004. He made his MLB with the A's on September 10, 2007, and played both first base and catcher for them in 2008. He is starting the 2009 campaign in the minors to give him some playing time, as the A's have Jason Giambi at first and Kurt Suzuki calling the pitches right now. He will be back with the team soon.
So all ten players are still living the dream. There are at least two players who have All-Star potential in this bunch, but all are still young enough to make an impact in the majors some day. As the years go by, the number of factory sets these cards are found in will be hard to find. But more and more people are giving these cards a chance to belong in their collections. Which is great. Otherwise, these cards would never see the light of day...EVER!!!