I don't want to exaggerate, but this is the single most important piece of writing in the history of the Internet. It is long past time that we had a scientific evaluation of each current Padre for the Padreness of his name.
I'd love to say that I know what my standards are for this - and since I said "scientific" above I must know them! But I won't share them for hazy undefined reasons; instead I will give you general hints as to how I came up with the ratings. It helps (a lot) if your first name can be a last name and your last name can be a first name. It helps if I look at your name and think "Hey, that's a white guy!" (Note: it is not necessary for the player to actually be white. See: Maybin, Cameron)
And it certainly helps if at least one of your names is a combination of letters I'm pretty sure your parents picked out blindly from a bag of Scrabble tiles.
But beyond that, this isn't easy to define. I think of a Padre name as a name that, if I were to wake up from a coma, I would immediately look at it and think "I bet that dude's on the Padres."
With that out of the way, here is my Official Padre Name Ranking.
Anthony Bass - 6. Sure that's the name of a nondescript white guy, so points there, but it just doesn't go to the next level. Can you imagine a guy named Bass Anthony? Ridiculous.
Brad Boxberger - 8. GO BACK TO BABYLON 5.
Brad Brach - 7.5. I keep revising this one upward. My initial instinct was to give it a 6, but then I said it a few times and it's just so close to "Brad Bradge" that it had to come up
Cory Burns - 7. Let's be honest: you get big points for "Cory" no matter what your last name is. It's hard to mess that one up.
Andrew Cashner - 6.5 or maybe 9.5. I looked at this name and thought "That's decent, but nothing special." Then I came back to it and thought "He has to be on the Padres for three years before he gets traded for four more guys who are all also named Andrew Cashner." Then I came back to it again and thought "But it's so boring." But then, the Padres are boring. Since I am a coward who is unable to make tough decisions, I'm hedging. (Note: this seems like a better Padre name than Anthony Bass and I can't explain why.)
Luke Gregerson - 11. Pure magic. There will be children in Poway aspiring to this level of Padrenamedom, and their mothers will say "You can do anything you set your mind to, dear" and their fathers will sadly shake their heads, knowing this just sets them up for a lifetime of disappointment. Every one of these children will be named Aiden.
Casey Kelly - 9. Just a fantastic effort.
Tommy Layne - 5.5. If he went by Thomas Layne, this would be a 7.5. Alas.
Cory Luebke - 8.5. A Cory! With a last name no one's ever seen before!
Jason Marquis - 2.5. Jason Marquis is not a name. Jason Marquis is a description. "How was his start?" "Pretty Jason Marquis." "Oh, so 5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 K, 2 BB?" "That's what I said. Jason Marquis. Weren't you listening?"
Miles Mikolas - 9.5. The only thing holding him back is that you have to stretch a little on both his first and last names to reverse them. Michael Miles could technically be a name, but it doesn't fit exactly right. Still, that's just nitpicking. This is a truly great Padre name.
Dustin Moseley - 8. See, Anthony Bass? This is how you do Padre nondescriptness.
Juan Oramas - 4. If I squint, it seems decent. But that's because when I'm squinting it's hard to read words on a computer screen, so that's not really a good method for figuring this out.
Micah Owings - 1. I'm surprised he even got six appearances before getting hurt this year, to be honest. Micah Owings has no business being on the Padres. He should be in some midwestern city where they deep-fry deep-fried onion rings, then put them inside a stick of butter and deep-fry it again.
Clayton Richard - 10. The fathers of all those Aidens who looked up to Luke Gregerson will try to steer their children toward Clayton Richard, which is the Platonic ideal of Padrenamenessness, but they won't have any of it. "Don't you understand?" the fathers will say. "Don't you understand"
Josh Spence - 8.5. There's like an 80% chance that he has an ancestor who got sent to Australia as a convict, but continued his life of crime. When the police caught up to him, they wanted the name of his associates. "I'll never talk," he said, spitting out blood and the tooth they'd just broken. One detective nodded to another, and they brought in the strangest machine he'd ever seen. "Do you see this?" the lead detective asked. "This will take the R off the end of your last name if you don't talk, Mr Spencer." "You wouldn't," Spencer said. The detective looked at him evenly. "Hook it up, boys," he said.
Tim Stauffer - 6.5. Tim Stauffer has a career ERA+ of 94. Tim Stauffer also has the Tim Stauffer of names.
Huston Street - 4. You're supposed to have two first names, Huston, not zero. Get it together, man.
Eric Stults - 5.5. "Now, this is Nate Colbert, from St Louis. Very good name. This one is Eric Stults, different, but equally good. And this is Moss Dante, from Laguna Beach. Now the first two are the same, forty-five a letter -- these are friend prices -- but the third...it's a little more expensive. It's fifty-five. But you'll-Oh, you're a cheapskate? Oh, okay. Eric Stults it is."
Joe Thatcher - 4. I bet he got so many thatching jokes when he was a kid. "Hey Joe, where's my grass roof?" "Oh, Joe, would you rather use straw or reeds?" "Joe! Joe! Can you teach me to ridge sometime?" Children can be so cruel.
Dale Thayer - 6.5. Dale is not a name I associate with Southern California. I associate Dale with the Earnhardts and King of the Hill. Yet it seems like the Padres should have more Dales.
Nick Vincent - 7. It's okay on its own, but you can reverse it into Vincent Nichols, which is perfect.
Edinson Volquez - 3.5. "I never win anything. The gods always smiled on Bailey, though. When he got a playoff start in Cincinnati, he drew a team that struck out ten times against him." "Was it a shutout? Did he get the win?" "No, the Reds lost it in the tenth. Still, it was pretty lucky, missing those bats."
Thad Weber - 6. I knew a guy named Thad in middle school. This completes the only edition of "groug's Thad trivia."
Andrew Werner - 6. Warner Andrews would be solid.
Joe Wieland - 3.5. The Padres seem to have in inexhaustible supply of injured pitchers I've never heard of. Also, healthy pitchers I've never heard of. Also, position players I've never heard of. Also, prepositions are things I enjoy ending sentences with.
John Baker - 2. "I been called boring, Padre boring, snoring, Padre snoring, but never boring boring." "Your name is John Baker. Boring boring."
Yasmani Grandal - 7. It shouldn't work, but it does. Like Hunter Pence's swing, if it worked.
Nick Hundley - 3. Todd Hundley never had an OPS+ between 100 and 130. Better than 130? Yeah, four times. Worse than 100? Yep, for 10 seasons (though several of those were partial seasons lost to injury or rookieness). Still. Seems kinda odd.
Ali Solis - 4.5. This is a soft 4.5, because he could grow into his name. Right now, nothing special, but if he spends a few years with the team, gets some big hits, somehow gets lauded as a great defensive catcher despite obvious shortcomings but no one ever talks about those and they're right there and Jesus Christ you guys stop it stop talking about how great he is he's really not...shit, he just hit a walkoff double. A few years of that will bump him up several points, not because any aspect of his name will change, but because it will expand our conception of what a Padre name can be.
Yonder Alonso - 3. Maybe it should be a 2, but there's a certain delight to be had in saying "Which Alonso? Yonder Alonso!"
Alexi Amarista - 6? This was the last rating I did and I just stared at it before guessing. The question mark means "I 'unno."
Everth Cabrera - 3.5. I'm not going to say "Everth" isn't a real name, but 12 suburban couples just gave that name to their sons because they saw a typo at the end of a children's book.
Logan Forsythe - 6. If it turns out he's related to William Forsythe, this goes up to a 9. It still won't be more than a decent Padre name, but who cares? William Forsythe is great.
Jesus Guzman - 1.5. It just felt mean to give him a pure 1.
Chase Headley - 6.5. What was the question, moderator? When I add a .5, is that an actual assessment of worth or it is because I am literally too lazy to hit backspace once and redo the rating? Um...well, I...think it's important to be bipartisan, like Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan, and uh, if elected, I promise to wipe Saskatoon off the map. Next question.
Andy Parrino - 5. Oh, let me clear that up. The city will still be there, it just won't be allowed on maps anymore. Why? I dunno. Seems fun.
Jeudy Valdez - 7.5. A girl's name with a letter added to make it seem like it's not a girl's name but every kid in elementary school totally picked on him about it for a week before they got bored and forgot? Well played, San Diego. Well played.
Kyle Blanks - 5. Every Padre is basically a blank, waiting to be traded to another team. Is this name too on the nose? I think it is. Breaking the fourth wall is always a risk, and sometimes it just doesn't pay off.
James Darnell - 2. Darnell James? That would never work.
Chris Denorfia - 4.5. Let's be honest: It is extremely difficult to separate Denorfia from The Dive. But we try. We think of Chris Denorfia, and sure, the first thing that comes to mind is him flying through the air not particularly near the ball he is trying to catch, and maybe that's also the second thing and the third thing and the fourth thing is laughing at The Dive, but the fifth thing? That is an actual question. Someone please let me know. I've never gotten past number four.
Mark Kotsay - Impossible to tell. There is a grand conspiracy to convince me that there has ever been a time in the history of the universe when Mark Kotsay was not a Padre, but I'll never fall for it. Sample conversation: "No, no, I remember when he was on the A's." "You're a goddamn liar and I will hit you."
Rymer Liriano - 7. "Hey, you dinged Huston Street for having two last names but this guy gets a pass? How does that work?" Shut up, that's how.
Cameron Maybin - 8. Cameron Maybin is currently in prep school in Loyola. Teachers say Cameron Maybin is a smart student but he doesn't apply himself as much as he could. Cameron Maybin was suspended for being part of a group that bullied a kid because he was nerdy and friendless and they found him alone after school one day. Cameron Maybin secretly regrets this, but he will never confess that to anyone because he puts too much value on being part of the in-crowd. Next year, Cameron Maybin will attend Dartmouth.
Carlos Quentin - 4. A rare case where reversing it into a perfectly adequate Padre name -- Quentin Carlos -- doesn't help. Rough one, but that's baseball. Sometimes all those tools just don't ever come together.
Edinson Rincon - 3.5. "I just want to say to whoever is voting for me that I would certainly make an awful third baseman. But so would all these others."
Blake Tekotte - 8.5. Is this the peak of irreversible names? It might be.
Will Venable - 5. He's been around for a few years now, but I still have trouble having any kind of opinion about Will Venable. That extends to his name.
Casey Blake - 7.5. How was Casey Blake never on the Padres? He's a not that good infielder somewhere between scrappy and power-hitting who got a lot of big hits against the Giants and if you reverse his name it becomes Blake Casey, who despite not existing just threw a perfect inning and a third against the Giants.
Phil Nevin - 7. Surprisingly reversible. Nevin Phillips? I could see that.
Scott Hairston - 3. Honestly, just pure name-wise, I don't know that he should even be this high. This is probably bias, but I just can't rank him any lower.
Tony Gwynn - 1. Weird that Mr. Padre has a very un-Padres name. Could this be the cause of their slide into irrelevance?
Steve Finley - Fuck Steve Finley.
Ryan Klesko - 5.5. When the Aidens grow older, it will become clear that not only will they never be Luke Gregersons, but they will also never be Clayton Richards. Their fathers will keep drilling them, trying to live vicariously through their sons. Their mothers will point to Ryan Klesko. "There's nothing wrong with Ryan Klesko," they will say. "He had a very nice career as a Padre." "Who is Ryan Klesko?" the Aidens will ask.
The mothers will sit sadly on their beds, wondering if it was their fault - if they shouldn't have ever encouraged their sons to aspire to Gregerson-level heights. Or perhaps it was their fathers' faults, pushing Clayton Richard on children who had no interest in him and perhaps dimming the light that baseball provides in their souls. Or perhaps it was the capricious whims of fate, pushing them toward a life that they could never really love.
Oh well, she thinks to herself. They can't all be great. But we can have another child. And if it's a son, we can name him Porter. Porter.