June 9, 2016
Mocking the Draft
The 2016 Name Game
There are lots of MLB mock drafts happening right now. Some variations rely on “MLB Insider” information to try and accurately predict which players will end up where. Others take a more educational approach, teaching fans about players they’ll see years down the line in a fun format. A third type is the classic “here’s what I’d do” mock draft, in which experts essentially roll out a ranking. All are entertaining, all are valuable and all generally tell you something about a player you didn’t know beforehand.
This mock draft will not be like those mock drafts. Instead, it will follow in the proud tradition of our inaugural name draft from 2015, which was born from Craig’s realization that last year’s crop of talent included players with very, very silly names. The 2016 class might lack some of the pure name upside of 2015 -- there’s no Dansby Swanson here -- but we think it’s a solid collection of talent nonetheless.
We’re confining ourselves to MLB Pipeline’s list of Top 200 draft prospects, in the hopes that casting a wider net will prevent us from missing out on the Trey Cabbage-type talent we overlooked by limiting ourselves to 100 prospects last year. And, just as last year, to say there’s an element of subjectivity involved in picking these names would be incorrect: picking them is completely subjective. That being said, if you disagree with us, you’re wrong. Enjoy!
1. Philadelphia Phillies: Ulysses Cantu, 3B/C, W.E. Boswell (Texas) HS
We can and will get into the depth of this draft, which pales in comparison to last year’s edition, but the top overall selection would rank highly in damn near any draft pool. I don’t need to tell you why this name is great. We’re all Potter Stewart in that we know a great name when we see it. Ulysses the novel was actually brought to court as part of an obscenity trial, which is fitting for our prospect in question because you came across a moniker like this and think “f***, that’s good.” Like a good Texan, Cantu determined that if he could have dinner with three guests, one of them would be Adrian Beltre, which only locked down his selection at the number one spot. Sure the other two were Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that he invited them to see Beltre give em a whuppin’. - CG
2. Cincinnati Reds: Boomer White, 3B, Texas A&M
The favorite prospect of Trump supporters everywhere, it’s only appropriate that Boomer White hails from the state of Texas. Stop for a moment and let your mind create an image based on the name “Boomer White.” Congratulations, you are correct. There is a 400% chance Boomer White is a Bass Pro Shop Adventure Club member. Naming your child Boomer White is like rebranding your beer “America,” but when your mom’s name is Kay Kay (that’s real, I promise) it’s actually sort of a favorable outcome. At the very least, Boomer White’s name will appeal to the author of every anti-millennial thinkpiece ever. The people who believe Joey Votto is selfish for walking will love him. Perfect choice for the Reds. - BC
3. Atlanta Braves: Griffin Jax, RHP, Air Force
Right off the bat, I identified the strength of this draft class: Lacrosse names. Jax is the cream of the crop. He’s not only got a last name for a first name and a first name for a last name, but the surname is just the bastardized version of an already extremely “bro” name. If this were Game of Thrones, every child born out of wedlock in the verdant fields of the Bro-lands would carry the last name Jax, just like the Snows of the North, the Sands of Dorne, and the Flowers of The Reach. He may not be The Prince Who Was Promised, but he might be a cereal from Harry Potter. - CG
4. Colorado Rockies: Logan Ice, C, Oregon
If you partied even a little bit in college, you know that nothing good comes from adding “Ice” to the end of a name. Keystone Light was tolerable beer-water. Keystone Ice was death in a black can. Natural Light tasted vaguely of Corn Flakes, but you could choke it down. Natty Ice meant you were missing next morning’s Western Civ lecture. Smirnoff was bad. Smirnoff Ice was bad *and* gave you diabetes. So it goes with Logan Ice, who at once sounds like a brew only sold in 30-racks and the dudebro who would finish that rack in one night. Your college roommate used to drink 12 Logan Ices a night. Now he turns his nose up at such swill as he waits in line at Hill Farmstead. Logan Ice is a young man’s game, is what I’m saying. Fortunately, this mock has Logan going to the home of the “coldest-tasting beer on Earth,” so we don’t need to worry about discerning palates. - BC
5. Milwaukee Brewers: Gavin Lux, SS, Indian Trail Academy (Wis.)
Not only does Lux fit in with the lacrosse-name depth, but he features versatility like few others in this draft. Gavin Lux could be Richard Hendricks’ arch nemesis on the next season of Silicon Valley, or Taron Egerton’s co-star in the next installment of The Kingsman. He could be the pretentious jock, or the handsome nerd, if only he’d lose the glasses. He’s the fourth-place contestant on The Bachelorette. The Brewers already feature one of the top shortstop prospects in baseball, which means they have the lux-ury (sorry) of time to let him choose his own path. After all, neither prospect nor character development is linear. - CG
6. Oakland Athletics: Will Craig, 3B, Wake Forest
Not a terrible pick—we’ve given credit to names that are sentences in the past, so we should appreciate monikers that are questions. Still, this is a bit of a reach, but I’m used to letdowns associated with the phrase “Will Craig.” Some examples: Will Craig ever log off? Will Craig finish this column in time? Will Craig stop taking credit for my very, extremely good jokes? Will Craig’s run on beach-related name pay dividends later in this piece? Will Craig’s Good Face continue to offset his personality? At least we’ll have “Craig” and “Athletic” associated together for the first time ever on Baseball Twitter. - BC
7. Miami Marlins: Easton McGee, RHP, Hopkinsville (Ky.) HS
Presumably named after the producer of baseball bats (or, more likely the town in Kentucky), McGee is a gem of a pick at seven. He’s basically the platonic ideal of a baseball name. He’s the baseball version of when you make up a name based on the subject of a story. It’s like calling a golfer Callaway McMullen. Hell, there’s a decent chance his parents left his name up for a public vote with the note “he’s gonna play baseball,” and the good people of Kentucky went Boaty McBoatFace on us, except America honors the people’s voice and didn’t strike it down as “unworthy.” I hear he’s a quality knifesman too, so he’ll fit right in with the Marlins. - CG
8. San Diego Padres: Anfernee Grier, OF, Auburn
I’m sure this is a reference to Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, but I prefer to think of this first name as a standalone tribute to Jennifer Aniston. If we’re being honest I don’t really understand this name, but I sure as hell respect it. Especially when Craig’s phone autocorrected “Anfernee Grier” to “angry new frier.” Seems like he’ll fit in with the 2015-2016 Padres to me. - BC
9. Detroit Tigers: Braeden Ogle, LHP, Jensen Beach (Fla.) HS
You’ve met Braeden Ogle before. He parked on a diagonal, taking up two spots, because he can’t have someone within “dingin’ distance” of his Benz. He’ll tell you he coined the phrase “dingin’ distance” like it’s something to be proud of. He tells you “next time you’re in Tahiti, you have to go...” when he knows you haven’t had a vacation in two years. That’s fine though, his name brings to mind the lowest-level character in Tony Hawk Pro Skater, and Tigers first-round pitchers always work out. Always.- CG
10. Chicago White Sox: JoJo Romero, LHP, Yavapai (Ariz.) JC
At first I kind of hated this name -- it seems awfully childish -- but after mulling it over for a while, I’ve decided this is a good-ass baseball name. JoJo Romero rhymes, is catchy as hell and is playful without being flat-out ridiculous (looking at you, Chad Bradford). It’s a great LOOGY name, honestly. Plus, we need more JoJos in the world. JoJo Reyes hasn’t seen meaningful big-league innings since 2011. JoJo Levesque hasn’t topped the charts since 2004. It’s been 14 years since Jojo Moyes published Sheltering Rain, if you can believe that. It’s time for a new JoJo in our lives. The one on the Bachelorette doesn’t count (yes, Craig made me include her). - BC
11. Seattle Mariners: Grae Kessinger, SS, Oxford (Miss.) HS
The 50 Shades of Grae headlines will write themselves when he arrives in Seattle. Kessinger continues this draft’s ongoing crusade against the letter “Y,” as well as the Mariners’ quest to avoid position-player prospects who can hit. On the upside, you don’t have to hit to be crowned the best shortstop in the AL, so there’s a chance at infamy here. - CG
12. Boston Red Sox: Skylar Szynski, RHP, Penn (Ind.) HS
I’m receptive to the argument that there are more talented names on the board here. And I know that you can’t draft for need when it comes to baseball. But there is no other player in the draft I’d rather hear Jerry Remy try to pronounce 500 times a season. Seriously, we’re talking about a man who can’t say “Xander Bogaerts.” What do you think he’s going to do with Skylar Szynski? “Skylah Zinskee,” perhaps. Maybe “Skylerr Sinzer.” We can’t rule out “Skyle Esszeeandski.” Boston won’t have seen a butchery like this since Crispus Attucks, or at least since Hanley Ramirez in left field. Red Sox fans lost Don Orsillo. They deserve Remy trying to say this name, at very least. - BC
13. Tampa Bay Rays: Corbin Burnes, RHP, St. Mary's
Pandering to the oldsters who will confuse him for Corbin Bernsen. - CG
14. Cleveland Indians: Dakota Hudson, RHP, Mississippi State
Dakota Hudson was your first crush, a stunning brunette who always finished at the top of her class and took your breath away every time you passed her in the hall. You were going to marry Dakota Hudson, but something changed her Junior year. She died her hair bleach blonde, dropped out of AP Calc and started hanging out with Logan Ice and Gavin Lux. You never understood why girls like Dakota Hudson went for guys like that, but you always wished her the best. You looked Dakota up on Facebook years later, hoping she’d turned it around. Instead she’s in Cleveland, her relationship status says “It’s Complicated” and her profile picture is with Griffin Jax. You know you dodged a bullet, but all you feel is sad. - BC
15. Minnesota Twins: Blair Henley, RHP, Arlington Heights (Texas)
Blair Henley is this year’s Parker McFadden. A Henley is a shirt, a Blair Henley is a way of life. #Branding aside, Henley sounds more like a recurring character on Golden Girls than a baseball player. Can’t you see it? Blanche Devereaux’s high-school friend who drops in every now and then, sharp barbs masquerading behind a lilting southern accent and too-sweet smile? Rumor is that Henley could be a tough sign, so we might be traveling down this road and back again in a few years. - CG
16. Los Angeles Angels: Akil Baddoo, OF, Salem (Ga.) HS
The Angels are infamous for having a bland roster (Mike Trout aside) and a talentless farm system, and that holds true when it comes to name quality as well. Huston Street would do okay in this exercise, and Matt Shoemaker might sneak into the bottom of the first as well. But this is a collection of talent that needs a serious infusion of Good Names, making Akil Baddoo a perfect fit. Names that can be ironically booed by the hometown crowd are very good, and Angels fans will have a great time yelling “Baddoooooooo” between the third and seventh innings of the games they attend. - BC
17. Houston Astros: Trey Cobb, RHP, Oklahoma State
The fly in the ointment of my plan to avoid traditional names that involve a “y,” Cobb is still a worthy get this far down. He might be a starter, could be a reliever, and is definitely the order a douchebag I-Banker makes when trying to impress his date and order a side of corn at the same time. His grandfather played in the majors and he looks like an athletic Louis CK, so he’s got a lot going for him. - CG
18. New York Yankees: Tres Barrera, C, Texas
Why settle for one Barrera when you can have three, as the saying goes. Just like he did with our run of Tristin/on/ans last year, Craig grabs the first of the vaunted Trey/Tres/Tre trio. I get swept up in the run and grab Barrera, who at best has the name of a Marvel superhero’s alter ego and at worst has the name of an “authentic” Mexican restaurant started by two white guys in suburbia. It’s a risky pick. - BC
19. New York Mets: Tre Carter, OF, Soddy Daisy (Tenn.) HS
We’ll close out the run of Tre/s/ys with the one who sounds the most like a Lil Wayne album. His high school doubles as a worthwhile name for a single. There’s not a ton of ceiling here, but I didn’t want to be out-Tre’d in this draft, and the last remaining name starter with “tre” is Trever and I’m not getting involved with a spelling like that. - CG
20. Los Angeles Dodgers: Daulton Jefferies, RHP, Cal
Daulton Jefferies has to be furious. High-falutin names like Dansby Swanson, Cornelius Randolph, Parker McFadden and Triston McKenzie were all top-10 picks last year. But this is the year of the Lacrosse Name, and investment bankers in the waiting like Daulton are sliding. Truth be told, this is probably the first time Jefferies has ever dealt with adversity. For his first birthday, his father gifted him stock in ConocoPhillips. His favorite beverage is a ‘72 montepulciano. His bookmarks include OptionsHouse, LinkedIn and The Ladders. He’s done everything right, and yet here we are, with Jefferies landing behind simpletons like Skylar and Dakota and Blair. It’s a sign of the times, and for this walking Mitt Romney endorsement, yesteryear was sweeter. Stay strong, Daulton. - BC
21. Toronto Blue Jays: Lake Bachar, RHP, Wisconsin-Whitewater
You remember that commercial where a mom is driving with her young daughter in the front seat and they have this back and forth?:
Daughter: Mom, how did I get my name?
Mom: We name you after the place where you were conceived.
Daughter: [With a suddenly new accent] So… that’s why I’m named Savannah...but how did she [references child in car seat] get the name Concorde?
[realizes the car is a Concorde]
Daughter: Oh YUCK!
Well, we know where the Bachars like to summer. - CG
22. Pittsburgh Pirates: Zach Linginfelter, RHP, Sevier County (Tenn.) HS
I don’t understand how Linginfelter isn’t a cheese? - BC
23. St. Louis Cardinals: Ryan Zeferjahn, RHP, Seaman (Kans.) HS
As you’ll soon see, we’re at the point in this draft that the expectation of landing someone with an interesting profile in both their first and last name is going to tough. Sometimes you just have to pick someone with a carrying tool and hope the rest works out, which is the case for Zeferjahn, though he has the added bonus of being from Seaman HS, which will play well on Twitter. Ryan is exceedingly boring, which is a good fit for St. Louis draftwise, and given the success they’ve had with back-end alphabet names like Wainwright, Rzepczynski, Socolovich, and Tuivailala, I feel good about Zeferjahn landing here. - CG
24. San Diego Padres: Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Louisville
The no. 11 overall pick in last year’s draft, Funkhouser falls to 24 here in a class that lacks elite talent but is fairly deep. Add a rough 2016 campaign to Kyle’s 20-grade first name and you get a late first-rounder, but one with plenty of upside thanks to the inherent beauty of “Funkhouser.” It’s gonna be a PR disaster when the Padres’ music guy goes with “Play That Funky Music (White Boy)” over “We Want The Funk” on Kyle’s eventual bobblehead day, though. - BC
25. San Diego Padres: Dane Dunning, RHP, Florida
On quality alone this is a steal. Dane Dunning rolls off the tongue and has a positive connotation. The trouble is it’s quality with limited range. We’re essentially stuck with a character from CSI who isn’t the victim, the killer, or a member of the team. He’s the jet-setting, wealthy guy they want you to think did it before the plot twist. - CG
26. Chicago White Sox: Carter Kieboom, 3B, Walton (Ga.) HS
I tried to find more delicate ways to put this, but c’mon, Carter Kieboom is 100% a porn name. There is definitely a subreddit dedicated to Carter Kieboom gifs somewhere. Fortunately our boy chose Baseball America over Brazzers, and so his glove work can earn him gold instead of an AVN award. It’s a more dignified way to get filmed doing your job at third base. - BC
27. Baltimore Orioles: Logan Shore, RHP, Florida
You remember that commercial where a mom is driving Damn, we did that one already. Okay, fine. Logan Shore sounds like the CMT knockoff of Jersey Shore, filmed in Logan, Utah with a cast featuring a bunch of Brinleighs, Aunistees, and Kynzlees. Hell, Braeden Ogle’ll probably show up. They’ll get wild and might even have some carbonated beverages. - CG
28. Washington Nationals: Buddy Reed, OF, Florida
I posit that no name is so improved by the addition of “-dy” than “Bud.” Bud Reed is only a half-step up from Bud Norris. Buddy Reed, however, is the old friend you’re always meaning to catch up with. Bud Reed will complain about the lack of Logan Ice in your cooler, then drink all of your Lime-a-Ritas. Buddy Reed will show up with extra guac, good tortilla chips and the three bags of ice you forgot to grab. You can trust Buddy Reed. He is your buddy, friend. He is your friend, guy. He is your guy, Buddy. - BC
29. Washington Nationals: Brigham Hill, RHP, Texas A&M
Originally born Wylis Hill, Brigham was renamed after he was thrust into a timeloop by a warg who was in the presence of David Wells as he shouted “bring the ham” over and over.
30. Texas Rangers: Walker Robbins, 1B, Georgia County (Miss.) HS
I mean, think of the headlines. Yes, we have “Walker: Texas Ranger,” of course. But there’s so much more here. Consider:
- Rangers Bask In Robbins’ Success
- Rangers’ Bat Man, Robbins, Drives In Six
- Witness Walker’s Walk-Off Walk
- Robbins Thick? Walker Shows Up Overweight
This needs to happen. - BC
31. New York Mets: Davis Daniel, RHP, Saint James (Ala.) School
Davis Daniel is a third-tier golfer who becomes an unlikely hero when he sinks a putt to bring the Ryder Cup back to the US for the first time since 2008. He’s afflicted with a brutal case of double first name, but the reality is, picking at 31, you just have to hope the pretentiousness overcomes that. - CG
32. Los Angeles Dodgers: Keegan Akin, LHP, Western Michigan
Who better for the Dodgers pitching staff than a player whose last name makes it sound like he’s in pain? This man is destined to make Dylan Bundy look like Mark Buehrle when it comes to staying on the mound. - BC
33. St. Louis Cardinals: Charles King, RHP, Coppell (Texas) HS
Sure, there’s nothing fun or interesting about Charles King as a name. But you know what a common nickname for Charles is? Not Chaz, you idiot. Yes, Chuck. Chuck King, for a pitcher. It doesn’t get better than that, folks. It’s a money name, as is his spoonerism, if you say it fast enough. - CG
34. St. Louis Cardinals: Hunter Bishop, OF, Junipero Serra (Ca.) HS
He’s here exclusively for the spoonerism. #neverBunter - BC
Ben Carsley is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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Craig Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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