You can read every single bit of our legitimate draft coverage here, but as I’m no draft expert, this next bit cannot be considered legitimate. The part of every baseball draft that anyone can get excited about — even people who know nothing about the sport — are the names of the draftees.
Simply put, baseball player names are fun. Most are a needed easy laugh in this terrible world, but the very best not only startle the funny bone but ignite the imagination.
Are these the real names of the pictured draftees? Who knows? Could be. Most people don’t follow the MLB Draft closely — there are simply too many teams, players, and draft rounds to cover, unlike the other, lesser drafts. But the cottage industry that’s sprung up around it and specifically the names of these draftees can’t be ignored.
That’s closer to the mark here. The Giants drafted 40 players over three days, which means we’ll almost certainly forget about most of them very quickly. Too many players, too many teams. But I bet some players will stick in your head regardless of where their careers wind up because of their memorable names.
But which Giants draftee has the best name of the bunch? My criteria for these rankings used MLB scouting’s traditional 20-80 scale (20 worst, 80 best) for scoring and involved four categories: Cool, Classic, Position-Appropriate, and Popped Collar Potential.
Cool: Does the name sound cool?
Classic: Does this sound like the name of a baseball player?
Position-Appropriate (PA): Does it sound like the name of a player for that position?
Popped Collar Potential (PCP): Does it sound like the name of someone who’d be a part of a popped collar douchey varsity/frat bro squad in high school or college?
You might wonder why I included Popped Collar Potential as a category or didn’t use it as a negative when calculating these scores, and the answer’s simple: great baseball players are popped collar punks. Bryce Harper is that guy. Manny Machado is that guy. Madison Bumgarner is the country version of that guy (he definitely carried around a red Solo cup filled with his tobacco spit at every high school party).
And it’s okay. That’s just the type of personality that works in Major League Baseball. As much as we non-players might feel it’s a weakness, it has to be considered a strength, because it’s definitely some part of why they were desirable to major league teams.
So, without further ado, here are the scores from every player drafted with the top 10 rankings beneath:
The top 10 (rounded up from .5s and down from anything beneath):
Clay Helvey (RHP) — 68 | Probably because Clay Helvey is a classic baseball name that perfectly fits a pitcher of any role and a Clay Helvey sounds exactly like someone who’d be a part of a squad of varsity/frat boys causing trouble at a house party or pulling pranks that damage personal or public property.
Blake Rivera (RHP) — 66 | I want the Giants’ closer in 2020 or 2021 to be Blake Rivera. That’s a closer’s name, but it could also be the name of the bro squad’s lieutenant, the sensitive one who likes to surf in his spare time and thinks that sometimes Clay Helvey goes too far with this pranks.
Jett Manning (SS) — 63 | Can imagine a future where we hear about Jett turning double plays, and that’s very exciting. Everyone sees that name and thinks “wide receiver”, but he’s actually too cool for football. Instead, he’s the enforcer of the squad, and if you want to fight Clay, you first have to get through Jett.
Angel Guzman (C) — 63
Lucas Krull (LHP) — 63 | Angel will forever be a cool name, even if it’s not the best fit for a catcher. Lucas Krull just sounds like he could be the next Andrew Miller. These are the other members of the varsity squad who just want to have fun, but have their bros back at the first sign of trouble. Angel has a spiritual
These rankings may be controversial, but they are indisputable and, as with every ranking or grading on this site, legally binding. Congratulations to these 10 for having the best names of the Giants’ 2018 draft class.
Keaton Winn (RHP) — 62
Solomon Bates (RHP) —62 | It’s pretty easy to run up high score totals when you’re a pitcher whose name sounds like a pitcher we might’ve heard of over the years, but Keaton is special because of the Cape Cod boat club ring it has to it while Solomon Bates could just be a good dude who’s pretty chill and just lets his stuff speak for itself.
Matt Frisbee (RHP) — 60
Trenton Toplikar (RHP) — 60
Ryan Walker (RHP) — 60 | As you can see, my grading system nearly pushed Grant Brisbee’s near-namesake out of the top 10 and also gave the white bread / vanilla ice cream / glass of room temperature water name of Ryan Walker equal billing. That’s because unusual is great, but usual is also great, and as fun as Matt Frisbee is, the boredom of Ryan Walker also is.
And, listen, don’t underestimate the power of a boring name. I love my name, but Bryan Murphy is the “John Smith” of Ireland. But I love it to the point that it motivates me. Ryan Walker can be inspired by all the Walkers before him. Like how all the Boones figured out a way to distinguish themselves (Bob and Aaron are managers, Bret used PEDs to lead the Mariners to their last playoff appearance).
Sometimes, a name can precede you. Sometimes, a name can fool you; and always, the MLB Draft is such a crap shoot that scouting players can come down to their name.