The Best Names in Baseball Today
When you hear a name, you think of something. In "Star Wars," the villain Darth Vader is a variation of "dark father." Shakespeare was even more obvious in "The Tempest," naming the protagonist "Prospero" and antagonist "Antonio."
Names in baseball also can be interesting. And if they correlate to the game, it’s more often by coincidence than design.
A number of factors separate a good baseball name from, say, Joe Smith. So let’s check out the best monikers in today’s game.
It's fun to cheer for these players for the phonetics alone.
#25: Robinson Cano, New York Mets
This name makes the cut for more than the way it sounds. Baseball runs in Robinson Cano’s family, so his father, Jose, who played briefly in 1989, named him after Jackie Robinson.
Playing baseball with that namesake is a lot to live up to, but Cano has managed to put up exceptional numbers and earn a World Series ring.
Sure, he served a suspension for PEDs in 2018, but you can’t deny his talent or great baseball name.
#24: Homer Bailey, Free Agent
With this name, you would hope that Homer Bailey would be a power hitter, but in this case, we must settle for irony.
Since undergoing elbow surgery in 2015, the right-hander has surrendered home runs at a rate higher than league average.
Perhaps with a change of scenery, leaving the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark for a more spacious ballpark, Bailey can right the ship.
#23: Jackie Bradley Jr., Boston Red Sox
The trio of two-syllable proper nouns that make up this name is quite satisfying to hear and say aloud.
Even his initials, JBJ, are phonetically pleasing when said out loud — they even look cool in print.
But what takes the cake is when a play-by-play announcer exclaims Bradley Jr.’s name after he makes an amazing defensive play.
#22: Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays
Of course, this name would fit best in Houston, but who’s to say you can’t shoot for the stars in Toronto?
Having an astral-sounding name pairs well with Marcus Stroman’s "height doesn’t measure heart" social media slogan.
Standing at a modest 5-foot-8, the right-hander has produced mixed results on the field, but he did pitch Team USA to the 2017 World Baseball Classic championship, earning the tournament’s MVP honors.
#21: Nicky Delmonico, Chicago White Sox
Choosing Nicky over Nick is pretty atypical of someone named Nicholas born in 1992. "Nicky Delmonico" sounds like he could’ve played with the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers.
But instead of calling Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, and Clem Labine teammates, Delmonico is sandwiched in a Chicago White Sox lineup between Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez.
We should be thankful to Delmonico for gracing the new age with his old-school name that rolls off the tongue so nicely.
#20: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
First off, Xander Bogaerts' name begins with the letter X — that’s automatically cool. In fact, Bogaerts is the first player in MLB history with the distinction whose name isn’t Xavier. What a trailblazer.
If he keeps up his star-caliber production in his prime years, Xander Bogaerts could be just the second Hall of Famer with an X in his name, joining the legendary Jimmie Foxx.
#19: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Show! Hey! It is pure coincidence that the two syllables of Shohei Ohtani’s first name are phonetically the same as two English words that both evoke excitement.
And you’d be hard pressed to find a more exciting type of player than a two-way player who is elite both in the box and on the mound.
#18: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Two syllables. Short, sweet, and compact — just like Mike Trout's swing.
It’s a fun name, too. Who doesn’t enjoy a fish with superpowers?
And to boot, the opportunities are endless with all the puns and wordplay you can make involving Trout and former Angels outfielder Tim Salmon.
#17: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
Right off the bat, you’d be remiss not to think of the former home run king, Hank Aaron.
The surname, "Judge," adds imposing righteousness.
If you were to create a power hitter in a video game, this is just the name you’d want to pair with that 6-foot-7, 282-pound frame.
#16: Bartolo Colon, Free Agent
Independent of the ageless veteran’s 5-foot-11, 285-pound stature, Bartolo Colon is a prosperous, yet also roly-poly name.
The name sounds like it could belong to a 15th century explorer or some high-ranking nobleman within the Old Spanish Empire.
Is that a bit of a reach? Perhaps. But it is worth noting that the name Bartholomew is due for a comeback, and Colon’s popularity could be a precursor for that phenomenon.
#15: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Alliteration is a common trait in a good baseball name, and this one has a nice old-school ring to it as well.
Both Freddie Freeman’s first and last names begin with "Fre," which complements his consistency at the plate. He has not hit below .275 in a single month since posting a .245 average in May 2016.
#14: Scooter Gennett, Cincinnati Reds
This is the perfect name for a scrappy middle infielder, though since catching on with Cincinnati, Scooter Gennett has shed some of his scrappiness in favor of more power at the dish.
Gennett has gone by "Scooter" since childhood, but as a gag chose to wear his given name, Ryan, on his Players Weekend jersey in 2017.
#13: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
Condense the phrase "aerodynamic aficionado" into one word and, voila, you get "Arenado."
The word suits Nolan Arenado's style of play. He makes full-extension diving plays on the regular, so you can count on him to stop just about any ball hit within a six-foot radius.
As for his first name, one can only imagine his parents were paying homage to 1800s pitcher The Only Nolan.
#12: Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees
This name is just pure, concentrated power. And to think, Giancarlo Stanton went by his middle name, Mike, until 2012.
We should all take a moment to appreciate Stanton’s decision to use his given name, as those mammoth home runs would be noticeably less fun to watch if he was just another Mike.
#11: Victor Victor Mesa, Miami Marlins
One of the most hyped international prospects in recent memory, Victor Victor Mesa’s mystique seems to be largely based on how Victor doubles as his first and middle names.
It’s not a gimmick, either. It’s a necessity when it comes to differentiating between him and his younger brother, Victor Jr., who also signed with the Marlins.
Here’s to a long and successful career for Victor Victor.
#10: Jabari Blash, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (NPB)
"Blash" might as well be a portmanteau of "blast" and "smash" — how fitting for a 6-foot-5 power hitter.
Jabari is a cool sounding first name as well, derived from the Swahili word for "brave one."
While Blash hasn’t been able to stick in the majors, he has crushed Triple-A pitching with an even 1.000 OPS across parts of five seasons at that level.
Be sure to keep tabs on him in his Japanese endeavors.
#9: Manny Machado, Free Agent
The masculinity in both Manny Machado's first and last name is almost too much. However, it aptly complements his style of play, which occasionally sparks controversy.
Another thing that makes this name great is the "cha" syllable in Machado. It brings to mind the act of charging a chopping grounder, which Machado does as well as anybody.
#8: Justus Sheffield, Seattle Mariners
Much like Aaron Judge, Sheffield’s name also has a righteous ring to it, though perhaps more so in full: Justus Kane Sheffield. This sounds like an 18th-century judge who sports a powdered wig.
That comparison was the first thing that came to mind when I watched the Cleveland Indians select him with the 31st pick of the 2014 MLB draft.
#7: Buck Farmer, Detroit Tigers
This is as blue collar as a baseball name gets. Since debuting in 2014, Buck Farmer has not seen his minor league success as a starting pitcher translate at the game’s top level.
He did, however, show more consistency coming out of the bullpen in 2018, so for the sake of the game, you should hope Farmer sticks around baseball for the long haul.
#6: Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets
In a nutshell, Old Testament first name and godlike surname. It perfectly complements his 6-foot-6, 240-pound frame, long-flowing hair, and heavy sinker.
Barring debilitating injury, Noah Syndergaard is primed to go down in baseball history as one of the most mystical players of all time, his name being a key attribute.
#5: Didi Gregorius, New York Yankees
"Didi" sounded out pairs well with his sound footwork at shortstop. Plus, "Gregorius" has a certain authoritative ring to it. Perhaps it just bears an inherent connotation to Gregorian chants.
The actual story behind it is interesting as well. His given name is Mariekson, but when his minor league teammates couldn’t pronounce it, he had them call him Didi, as that is what his family calls him at home in Curaçao.
#4: Sixto Sanchez, Philadelphia Phillies
The alliteration and cadence of this name is quite spectacular and pairs nicely with Sixto Sanchez's 100-mph fastball.
The Phillies' top prospect looks to be on track to make his big league debut at some point in 2019 and should be a fun, young player to root for.
#3: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
Obviously, "Mookie" is reminiscent of two former pro athletes who were quite fun in their own right: 1986 World Series hero Mookie Wilson and former NBA star Mookie Blaylock.
But the name itself is, effectively, a shot of linguistic espresso. And "Betts," with all the gambling innuendos, is a nice adrenaline shot in and of itself.
So all in all, with "Mookie Betts," you’ve got yourself a quality name for a five-tool player.
#2: Touki Toussaint, Atlanta Braves
If it’s not the best baseball name, it is in the running for catchiest.
Not only do you have alliteration, the name "Touki" is a combination of his parents' surnames (Toussaint and Kiti) of Haitian and Kenyan lineage, a rather unique background for a baseball player.
All it will take for Toussaint to become a national sensation is to have a string of outings in which he performs reasonably well — his name will take care of the rest.
#1: Balbino Fuenmayor, Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos (Mexican League)
This name is hands down the most fun to say out loud. His first name sounds derivative of Babe Ruth’s "Bambino" nickname, and "Fuenmayor" has its own pizzazz that doesn’t go unnoticed.
Any broadcaster or PA announcer would yearn for the opportunity to say this name on a regular basis.
The Venezuela native has played 12 seasons of pro ball, but has never reached the majors. He did, however, appear in the 2015 Futures Game.