Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Tony Stark, Wade Watts and Jean Grey are all great superhero alias names. Names play a big part in being able to sell a product or idea. Why then, hasn’t names played a bigger role in the baseball drafting process?
Did anyone really think that Brian Bullington would flower into an ace pitcher to lead the Pirates to the playoffs? No. What about Brien Taylor or Justin Orenduff? Does it sound like these guys would be major leaguers? Not to me. If you want to be a baseball player, you need a baseball name.
And really, with the June draft today, a name is basically all we have. Sure, there are scouting reports about this guys arm, or bat, or speed, or glove. But then you read his name and immediately, you make a snap judgment. Clayton Kershaw – player! James Adkins – needs to go on a diet or something.
May 11, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) throws in the second inning against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
The names rumored going to the Dodgers today (with thanks to TBLA) in order of the worst baseball name to the best (but mostly in no particular order): Scott Blewett. I guess technically this is great name. It definitely seems like the type of name that would make it to the big leagues just so we could recognize him further as a potential late inning reliever that constantly lets us down. Alex Verdugo. No particular reason why I don’t see him as a viable major leaguer. I just don’t. Michael Cederoth. It’s not a baseball name. I know, this is really getting into deep stuff. Sean Reid-Foley. Something about the name Foley. He needs to be a cop in a late 80’s movie. That and he has a terrible inverted W.
Nick Burdi. Just another name to me. Maybe he’s really good, but I don’t see it translating onto the back of a Dodgers uniform. Spencer Adams. This is not a bad name. And from here on out, most of these aren’t bad. But Adams seems a bit too generic. I’m not sure what the rules are for a good baseball name, but it’s the equivalent of the “scouting opinion methodology”. Luis Ortiz. Maybe this translates to a big league opportunity. Maybe not. But Luis is about as common name as you can find when you head south of the border, as is Ortiz. Simply put, the guy isn’t special.
Nick Howard. I like this name. It’s easy to play the association game. Is he a meddling middle infielder that lost his job to a future hall of famer or is he a hulking first baseman that can’t hit an off speed pitch? Neither. He’s a right handed pitcher. Luke Weaver. No relation and that’s why the Dodgers wont take him. Jacob Gatewood. Another decent name. It seems to match his character too. Maybe that should be part of the name criteria? You can’t be Babe Ruth and be a little skinny guy.
Touki Toussaint. Images of a big right handed power arm comes to mind when saying his name… and that’s what he is. Justus Sheffield. I have problems with Justus. It’s not personal. It’s just a major league name I’ve never seen. David Justice was so fitting. Derek Fisher… returns to LA… The name clearly works on a professional level. At least in the NBA arena it does. But is it a baseball name? Derek Hill. Another toolsy outfielder and its the last name I have to write down. Not the best, especially since we have like 6 outfielders in waiting for the nest 5 years.
Join us at Lasordas Lair after the draft to look over the names (and talents, I guess) of the shiny new prospects we have in the Dodgers system.