The man in that picture is “The Upstate Baller” himself, Casper Wells. And though I don’t consider him much of a ballplayer (and kind of a goof), I was sad to see him and Charlie Furbush leave the organization. Why? Because I admit, I’m a fan of guys with goofy names in the Tigers system. It’s why I always make sure to have Lastings Milledge and Reggie Abercrombie on my MLB: The Show minor league teams.
So today, I thought I’d take a look at the top twenty names we’ve got floating around on the rosters from Detroit, Toledo, Erie, Lakeland, West Michigan, and even the new guys from the 2012 Draft. They don’t need sound kind of dirty to my 13 year old mind, but it’ll probably help. Long live Furbush.
Here’s the list.
20. Michael Rockett, OF, Erie
I can hear Rod Allen in my head right now giggling about Michael Rockett from Sugar Land, Texas. Sadly, the 24 year old is hitting only .198 with no power at Double A. Rockett…yeah…satellite of love…
19. Austin Wood, RP, Erie/Toledo
Wood. Uh, huh huh huh huh. Has a combined ERA of 4.64 between Erie and Toledo. He’s 25 and only striking out 5.5 per 9 innings, so I doubt the Tigers will be getting Wood any time soon.
18. Dean Green, 1B, West Michigan
The 23 year old is having a good year with the Whitecaps batting .306 with 9 homers in 58 games. He doesn’t have the greatest name, but it rhymes and sets up for fun nicknames like “Mean” Dean Green or “The Machine” Dean Green. Or if you don’t like him, “The Queen” Dean Green.
17. Rawley Bishop, OF, Erie/Toledo
Between Double A and Triple A, the 26 year old has hit a respectable .270 with 6 home runs. I just like his name because Rawley Bishop sounds like a guy I can depend on. Someone I can respect. Oddly enough, I can also picture a pimp named Rawley Bishop. I may be a bit weird…
16. Austin Schotts, SS/CF, 3rd Round Pick, Centennial High School (Texas)
Schotts! Schotts! Schotts! Schott Schott Schotts! LMFAO and Lil John approve. Terrible song, but I’m hoping Austin is smart enough to use it as his walkup music for the obvious tie-in.
15. Melvin Mercedes, RP, West Michigan
Nothing says “luxury vehicle” like Mercedes. Then you mess it up by putting MELVIN in front of it. So sad. The 21 year old Dominican has been affiliated with the Tigers for parts of five seasons and he’s currently having a nice little season with a 2.96 ERA in 24.1 Class A innings.
14. Fu-Te Ni, P, Toledo
Regular readers of this site know of my love for the Taiwanese former Tiger pitcher. Great name and he’s had an up and down season going 2-2 so far with an ERA of 4.56 with the Hens.
13. Slade Smith, P, 17th Round Pick, Auburn
If you’ve seen the cult classic “Kentucky Fried Movie”, you’re familiar with Big Jim Slade and understand why Slade Smith is on this list. If not, you’ve led a sheltered life. That, or I’m old.
12. Prince Fielder, 1B, Detroit
An air of royalty combined with a name made for baseball. Too bad his middle name isn’t “Poor”. Kills the baseball, though.
11. D.J. Driggers, RF, 22nd Round Pick, Middle Georgia College
Sounds like a porn name. I approve.
10. Zachariah Kirksey, OF, 29th Round Pick, Mississippi
I hope he’s Amish. He sounds Amish. We NEED an Amish outfielder in Detroit.
9. Ryan Soares, IF, Lakeland
Only 1 for 11 this year. Probably the sores. Yuck.
8. Bryan Pounds, 3B, Erie
Pounds spent last year in Toledo, but was demoted to Erie for 2012. At the age of 26 and possessing no power, he doesn’t have much of a future left in the organization. But Bryan Pounds. You bet he does. Bryan pounds the…
7. Jared Gayhart, RP, Erie
Junior High and High School must have sucked for Mr. Gayhart…especially growing up in bigoted Texas. Kids are cruel. Jared’s sporting a 4.72 ERA in 26.2 innings in Double A. At the age of 25, he needs to improve quickly if he wants to stick around.
6. Hunter Scantling, P, 14th Round Pick, Florida State
If that’s not a name made for an Ivy League school, I don’t know what is. Hunter Scantling THE THIRD would be better, but it’s not meant to be, I suppose. I was very disappointed to see that he’s a date rapist from FSU instead of a polo expert from Yale. (possibly not a date rapist)
5. Ramon Lebron, RP, West Michigan
Latino King James! For some reason, that makes me smile, despite my hatred of the NBA’s Lebron. This Lebron is 23 years old and from the Dominican Republic. He’s a converted starter and is struggling this season after a stellar 2011, currently sporting a 6.91 ERA in 14.1 innings.
4. Doug Fister, SP, Detroit
Of course he’s on here. And even better, he’s rejoining the Tigers this Saturday from the disabled list. Hopefully he sticks around.
3. Jerad Head, LF, Toledo
He’s 29 and has struggled this year after hitting 24 Triple A homers last season. But who doesn’t love Head? Everybody could use a little Head, I think.
2. Guido Knudson, RP, Lakeland
It’s a shame the kid has given up 7 runs on 8 hits in only 2.2 innings. Because I want a pitcher named Guido F’n Knudson on the Tigers almost as much as I want a World Series victory.
1. Warwick Saupold, RP, West Michigan
The 22 year old Australian has one of the best baseball names I’ve ever heard. He sounds like a mythical cartoon figure. Or a kangaroo warlock. In A-Ball, he’s currently 1-1 with a 3.96 ERA and striking out 9.2 batters per 9 innings. Oh, how I pray he joins the Tigers in the next couple years.
And there you have it. Making a name in baseball seems much easier when you’ve got a head start like these gentlemen. Good luck to all of them.