Moving forward with our reviews of the early minor league results of the 2015 MLB Draft, we turn our attention to the early outcomes of the "Best Names" list. Quoting from the original article back in June:
What's in a name?
Quite a lot actually, maybe anyway. I have a theory that a player with a boring name sometimes gets lost in the shuffle compared to a player of equal skill with a more standout name. I ran this idea by a couple of baseball friends a few years ago. One of them, a former scout still active in the game, felt that there was probably something to the theory. Another one, a front office person, felt it was a silly idea.
Silly or not, you have to admit that a player with a cool name is simply fun to follow. And every year come draft time there are lots of cool names. Here are some examples from 2015 and were the names would properly belong if they weren't attached to baseball players.
You have you admit, it is a unique way to pick out some prospects. Let's see how the guys on the original list did. Suggest your own in the comments!
Luken Baker, RHP-1B: sounds like main character from a 1970s cop-on-the-edge film played by Joe Don Baker. Drafted in 37th round by the Houston Astros, did not sign and will attend Texas Christian. 6-4, 240 pound horse, pitches and also plays first base. Hey that actually sounds like how Joe Don must have profiled in high school.
Francis Christy, C: sounds like a character from an F. Scott Fitzgerald story. Drafted in the seventh round by the Arizona Diamondbacks from Palomar Junior College, hit .200/.302/.386 in the Pioneer League. Needs glove polish but has more offensive potential than the early numbers imply.
Seamus Curran, 1B: sounds like a character from a James Joyce novel. Drafted in the eighth round by the Baltimore Orioles from high school in Massachusetts, hit .232/.310/.341 in rookie ball. Selected for his raw physical power as well as his literary value, but not much performance in the early going.
Chandler Day, RHP: co-star of an overly cheery sitcom from the late 1990s. Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 30th round from high school in Ohio, right-hander did not sign and will go to Vanderbilt and look for a higher spot in the 2018 draft. Might turn out something like Walker Buehler if all goes well.
Icezack Flemming, RHP: Rapper of course. 26th round pick by the New York Yankees from Cal State Los Angeles, right-hander pitched 28 innings between rookie ball and Florida State League, combined 4.50 ERA with 33/14 K/BB. Staff-filler type, but c'mon, Icezack Flemming.
Mitch Ghelfi, C: Irish/Italian mob character from The Sopranos. Drafted in the 28th round by the Milwaukee Brewers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, hit .306/.398/.375 in the Pioneer League, also played decently on defense as a catcher. Switch-hitter with a home state connection and a good start to his career, could last awhile as an organization player.
C.J. Hinojosa, INF: Secondary character in a Cormac McCarthy novel. 11th round pick by the San Francisco Giants from the University of Texas, hit .296/.328/.481 in the Northwest League. A legitimate prospect and a real bargain at this point in the draft, struggled during the college spring but hit very well as a pro.
Dustin Hurlbutt, RHP: name invented by Bart Simpson or Beavis for prank telephone calls. Drafted in the 16th round by the Oakland Athletics from Tabor College in Kansas, posted 3.14 ERA in 14 rookie ball innings, 20/10 K/BB, collected five stays. Heading for bullpen in A-ball where thick skin developed during childhood will help.
Drasen Johnson, RHP: starship captain. 26th round pick by the Colorado Rockies from the University of Illinois, posted 2.37 ERA in 38 innings in the Northwest League, 28/13 K/BB. Not many strikeouts but he gets tons of ground balls (2.33 GO/AO), can throw strikes, chew innings, and defeat Gorns single-handedly.
Ryan Mountcastle, SS: Soap opera star. First round pick by the Baltimore Orioles from high school in Florida, hit .313/.349/.411 with 10 steals in rookie ball, legitimate prospect obviously, fast, athletic, could hit for power and average eventually. With one life to live, you have to value all the days of your life and avoid ending up in the general hospital.
Rock Rucker, LHP: If there was no such thing as baseball, he'd invent it. Drafted by the Reds in the 20th round from the University of Auburn-Montgomery, posted 7/9 K/BB in nine innings in rookie ball allowing seven runs. 6-5 lefty who actually hit very well in two seasons of summer ball with wooden bats. Worth tracking. Might win a Most Interesting Man in the World contest against Chuck Norris.
Blaise Salter, 1B Serial killer from Criminal Minds. Drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 31st round from Michigan State University, beat up younger competition in rookie ball with a .293/.336/.414 line. Big guy at 6-5, 245, presenting a challenge for Rock Rucker and Luken Baker.
Ethan Skender, 2B: Skeptical FBI agent assigned to follow Mulder by the Cigarette-Smoking Man. Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 31st round from high school in Illinois, did not sign, off to State College of Florida to locate Scully.
Owen Spiwak, C: Pitched for the Angels in The Naked Gun. 10th round pick from Odessa Junior College by the Toronto Blue Jays hit .293/.332/.329 in rookie ball, native Canadian. We can blame Canada for our troubles if we allow ourselves to mix pop culture references.
Dansby Swanson, SS: Town lawyer in an unpublished Harper Lee story. First-overall pick by Diamondbacks out of Vanderbilt hit .289/.394/.482 in the Northwest League while playing well defensively. Obviously the best prospect on the list, but I always found Lee more accessible than Joyce.
Max Schrock, 2B-SS: Batman villain. 13th round pick by the Washington Nationals from University of South Carolina, hit very well in pro ball (.308/.355/.448) in the New York-Penn League, real steal at this point in the draft though he cost overslot $500,000 bonus. As Tim Burton's directorial film history shows, having a big pricetag doesn't necessarily mean quality but it may in this case.
Christian Turnipseed, RHP: from a Mark Twain story, friend of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. 28th round pick from Georgia Gwinnett College, posted 0.00 ERA in 28 innings between rookie ball and NY-P, 30/7 K/BB, 11 hits. Throwing seeds at the lower levels.