Pro: The base set cards feature a nice clean design and Topps has switched up some of the parallel cards and they look really nice.
2013 Topps Daniel Descalso
I picked this Daniel Descalso card because I could almost picture Ozzie Smith making a move like this to throw out a runner at first base. Descalso's got the polyester uniform and all. I think the design is pretty simple this year with the infield design in the bottom left-hand corner and the colored lines extended around the outside of the card. My favorite since the 2008 Topps with the circles at the top of the cards.
2013 Topps Emerald Tom Layne
Topps also switched up the base card parallels for the 2013 set too. Topps had been running the usual gold, retail red/blue, black, etc, etc for the better part of a decade. This year they have added a Desert Camo parallel and an emerald green parallel. Not sold on the desert camo, but the emerald green cards are really nice. I am not going to put together a whole set of them, but I will at least do a Cardinals team set. Maybe a Rays.
Pro: The 1972 Minis are the best mini set since mini has come back into style.
2013 Topps 1972 Mini Trevor Bauer
Topps has been into minis the past two years. I enjoyed the 1987 mini set last year and it brought back some great memories from my childhood. However, I have always liked the look of the 1972 Topps cards and I was really excited to see that they were been used as the design on the mini set. Very well done.
Pro: Topps has become better at using the die cut card.
2013 Topps Cut To The Chase Andrew McCutchen
I am not bitter about the fact that we are now done to one officially licensed baseball card company, but I do like to reminisce about some of the past set from put out by companies not named Topps. Pacific used to make a mean die cut card. Christmas ornaments, crowns. You name it and Pacific could make a die cut card. Topps has been much more conservative about die cutting in their cards over the years. I am not going to post a non-2013 Topps picture, but go search 2009 Ticket To Stardom Die Cut. Lamest Die Cut ever. I was actually pretty excited about the Cut To The Chase insert this year and was surprised that they aren't harder to find. A well done die cut worth owning.
Con: I have bugged Topps since last October about including Justin Ruggiano in the Topps set this year. They included Brian Fuentes as a Cardinal, without a 57 jersey airbrushed on, among other players that may not be as worthy as Ruggiano.
Yes, I collect Justin Ruggiano cards. First, he's probably the greatest Durham Bull while wearing a Durham Bulls uniform. He actually owns most of the team's offensive records. Second, he played well for the Miami Marlins last year and had an OPS of .909 in almost 300 at-bats with 13 home runs. What's not to love?
There are several candidates I could throw under the bus for Topps to kick out of the set in favor of a Ruggiano. I've already pointed out Brian Fuentes, but there are at least a dozen other cards in the set I could live without. For example:
Just flipping over the back of my Emerald Tom Layne card shows that he went 0-10 last year in the minors, but still got a card in the 2013 Topps set. Don't even look at the bottom right corner for his WHIP and ERA. Wow. Luckily, Topps has placed Justin Ruggiano in the second series of the 2013 Topps set.