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Judging the Names of the Draftees

Have you ever judged a prospect’s future success on their name and name alone? Yes, you have.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals drafted 40 players yesterday, most of which you will never see in the big leagues. If you follow the minors, a decent portion of them will become familiar names for the next few years as they rise up through the system. I personally don’t necessarily think players need to be successful at the major league level in order to call it a good pick. I think a player who at some point looks like they could be successful at the big league level while in the upper minors means the actual pick itself was good. For instance, Tommy Edman, 6th round pick, may never do anything at the big league level, but he’s put himself into a situation where you can imagine him being a successful backup middle infielder, which is a greater value than most 6th round picks provide.

That’s not what this post is about. I’m not going to pretend to know anything about anyone the Cardinals drafted the past three days. Anything I know about a player I read from someone else’s opinion. No, what this post here is about is what’s really important when judging a team’s draft: players’ names. Yes, the all-important factor in scouting is how good a player’s name is. If you have the wrong name, I write you off. I’m sorry. You ever saw a prospect’s name and immediately wrote them off, because Chiz Blonny would never ever pan out as a prospect. Of course you have.

There are eight categories of baseball player names I’ve been able to come up with - names necessary to become successful at the major league level. Some players fall in multiple categories, which increases their odds of success. It’s science. If you are not under one of these eight categories, you have very tough odds, but you can make your name into a baseball name if you’re good enough. Here are the categories

  1. Sam Worthington
  2. Preexisting Condition
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. LOOGY
  5. Animal House
  6. I Want That on a Jersey
  7. International Signing
  8. Gut Feeling

Apologies to Sam Worthington fans, but that is a “fill in a boring leading man” category, so you can change the name if you must. Basically, this name is extremely common, definitely baseball, and super boring for a post like this. John Gant for example. Preexisting condition is not specifically meant for sons of a former major leaguers, but simply having the same last name as a relatively successful major leaguer within the past 50 or so years. Game of Thrones is someone whose name would belong on Game of Thrones. Go look at the Padres roster for some examples.

LOOGY is a judgement call, but someone whose name makes you think they are a LOOGY, and it is not a requirement they be left-handed. Anthony Desclafani or Adam Wainwright for example, kind of have LOOGY sounding names. Animal House is a guy whose name sounds like a frat bro, like Harrison Bader. I Want That on a Jersey is simply fun names like Lars Nootbar. International Signings is relatively self-explanatory, but it doesn’t apply to the draft. And gut feeling don’t really specifically apply to any of these categories, but they just sound like a baseball name, like Miles Mikolas. Not a boring name, nor a complicated one, but also not a super fun name and while Miles could be in a frat, Mikolas is more questionable. Let’s get to the names!

Sam Worthington Picks

Zack Thompson - 1st round

Connor Thomas - 5th round

Thomas Hart - 14th round

Jack Owen - 21st round

Tyler Peck - 28th round

Dylan Pearce - 31st round

Most every one of these names also apply to preexisting conditions, sharing last names with players like Frank Thomas, Corey Hart, Spike Owen, and Steve Pearce. No significant Pecks, so Tyler Peck needs to be here. There are more than a few Thompsons, notably Milt. Zack Thompson, in my opinion, also sounds like a LOOGY, which will not exist when he will make the big leagues.

Preexisting Condition Picks

Trejyn Fletcher - 2nd round

Jeremy Randolph - 26th round

Chandler Redmond - 32nd round

Anthony Green - 33rd round

There were a few borderline players I chose not to pick. There were a few guys who shared last names with players nearly 100 years ago I did not count, and a couple with very close last names, but they were spelled differently. I also did not choose players with the same last name as a player who played for one year. There are a lot of Fletchers in MLB history, including a guy with 2 WAR in 59 games this year. Lots of Greens too, including Shawn and currently Chad. There’s Mike Redmond and of course Willie Randolph.


Patrick Romeri - 12th round

Kurtis Bryne - 38th round

TJ McKenzie - 39th round

None of these three is a pitcher, so that harms their ability to make it to the majors. Bryne wasn’t included in the previous category because Eric Brynes has an “s” so maybe I felt bad, but the Kurtis spelled with a K part of his first name makes me think LOOGY for some reason. TJ McKenize absolutely sounds like a LOOGY, and since he’s a shortstop out of high school, I’m choosing to believe he’s currently a two-way player. Oh and there were no Game of Thrones names. Trejyn was the closest, but I think he goes by Tre.

Animal House

Jake Sommers - 10th round

Alexander McFarlane - 25th round

Logan Hofmann - 35th round

I assume, as most Alexanders, he goes by Alex McFarlane, which somehow changes how I perceive him. Much like Bryne, Logan is very close to a few Hoffman’s but he spells his name weird. Luckily for him, his name is Logan.

I Want That on a Jersey

Tommy Jew - 13th round

Zarion Sharpe - 19th round

Cameron Dulle - 30th round

Cash Rugely - 40th round

Last names that could describe their play or at least are ironic given the type of player they are, has history. Bob Walk for instance. So I look forward to the sharp playing of Zarion and the exciting playing of Cameron. Get it? Cause his name is Dulle. The other two names don’t even need reasons I imagine.

Gut Feeling

Jack Ralston - 7th round

Ben Baird - 34th round

Chris Newell - 37th round

Am I letting the fact that Ben Baird was drafted on my OOTP team and became a major leaguer in about five years? Maybe. Still sounds like a big leaguer to me. Jack Ralston sounds exactly how he looks, which is 6’6, 231 pounds.

Never Gonna Make it

Tony Locey, Andre Pallante - 3rd, 4th round

Pedro Pages - 6th round

Logan Gragg, Todd Lott -8th, 9th round

Connor Lunn - 11th round

Tyler Statler, David Vinsky - 14th, 15th round

Michael YaSenka, Aaron Antonini - 17th, 18th round

Adrien Mardueno - 20th round

Zade Richardson, Brylie Ware, Will Guay - 22nd-24th round

Eric Lex - 27th round

Scott Politz - 29th round

Kyle Skeels - 36th round

You see? The Cardinals just draft by name in the 30th to 40th rounds. How else to explain just one member who isn’t going to make it? They rely on that pesky scouting for the first 20 rounds, but then just look at the best names. Tone Loc fans will take issue with my exclusion of Tony Locey I am sure. If Logan Gragg spelled his last name differently, definitely his fault, he’d make it. Nobody named Brylie is making it to the majors sorry. Lastly, nobody named Guay could ever possibly be successful at anything in life, so he’s a hopeless case.

And there you have it. I’m sure there will be vigorous disagreement over inclusion and exclusions of players and I would love to hear your case. This is not a fixed list. By my count, the Cardinals just drafted 23 future major leaguers, or 23 players whose name doesn’t automatically prevent them from major league success, which is a pretty good rate! And some of the exclusions are definitely debatable. Thus concludes my very serious article about the MLB Draft.