As we head into the All-Star break, it’s time to evaluate what’s going on with the Tigers.
I’m not talking about the on-field play. We still have 20 games until the games start to matter. I’m talking about the collection of names Dave Dombrowski and his staff have assembled throughout the organization. Don’t get discouraged about the lack of joy you get from Andy Dirks and Don Kelly. There are plenty of guys coming through the system that will make your tongue tickle.
From rookie ball to the major leagues here is the the Tigers’ 2013 25-man all-name team.
C Luis Alberto Sanz (High-A)
The 22 year old is batting just .204 in the Florida State League, but he’s averaging .667 in the name department. Luis is meh, Alberto is pleasant and Sanz is underrated, giving a decisive bite to the end of the name.
Every team needs a three namer. We put ours behind the plate.
1B Jesus Ustariz (Rookie Gulf Coast League)
Whether it’s pronounced like the savior or the the salutation to the Greek god, I’m a supporter of the people walking around this world with the name Jesus. Combine that with a last name that is basically a Spanish sentence smashed together and the Tigers have an 20-year-old all-name gem ready for ripening.
2B Gregoris Hidalgo (Rookie Dominican Summer League)
Expect Dave Dombrowski to address the lack of name depth at second at the trade deadline. Until then, Hidalgo stays.
Research reveals Hidalgo is basically the Latin American version of Smith, but it’s still a lot more fun to say. Gregoris sounds like a either Roman Gladiator or some nasty Greek food, earning Hidalgo the cross-cultural 10-point bonus.
SS Gustavo Nunez (Triple-A)
With Eugenio Suarez and Dixon Machado also in the system, there is a lot of depth at shortstop, but no real breakout star. Machado probably has the better name, but Nunez is closer to being MLB ready and has a name that flows better with Gregoris Hidalgo at second base. That G-to-G connection should pay dividends in the future.
3B Dilinyer Flores (Rookie Venezuelan Summer League)
Another position where the Tigers lack depth. Flores gets the spot mostly because Dilinyer Flores sounds like a process you need to complete before a fission reaction.
“WAIT! Did you Dilinyer the Flores?”
“OK, go ahead.”
OF Ismael Salgado (Rookie Gulf Coast League)
Ismael Salgado? His name is Ismael Salgado. No explanation necessary.
OF D.J. Driggers (Rookie Gulf Coast League)
Our MVP. The first impression may not be spectacular. D.J. and Driggers aren’t particularly wild or unique, but that’s their beauty. Combine them into one, say it out loud and it will be the most fun your vocal cords have had all year. The alliteration creates a rhythm and Driggers is a perfect capper.
Unfortunately, him being our MVP makes our team will be absolutely awful on the field. He batted .160 in 94 at bats last year and hasn’t played this year because of a steroid suspension.
OF Matt Tuiasosopo (MLB)
Tuiasosopo barely stuck in the starting lineup. The Tigers have outfielders with names that would make a 13-year-old laugh (Samuel Crafort), are their own nursery rhyme (Ben Guez) and start with Ignacio (Ignacio Valdez). Tuiasosopo’s name doesn’t really flow. There’s a huge break between the boring ‘Matt’ and the blood-tingling Tuiasosopo. But Tuiasosopo earns the spot because Tuiasosopo might be the single-best word/name any language has ever produced.
DH Dean Green (High-A)
Rhyming names are the designated hitters of the name game. They might not be as versatile as some of the other pieces, but they consistently do their job and have the potential to bring some real power. With that in mind, Dean Green was really the only choice for DH.
OF Ben Guez (Triple-A)
SS Dixon Machado (High-A)
C Adolfo Reina (Single-A)
1B Dominic Ficociello (Low-A)
I’d put this pitching staff up with the best names in all of baseball. It was so good we created a full 12-man pitching staff and one of the most old-timey names the Tigers have, Max Scherzer, didn’t make it. These are listed purely in alphabetical order. We’ll figure out who fills what role later.
P Al Alburquerque (MLB)
A previous favorite of this site, Alburquerque is the favorite to be our closer. The alliteration is fun, and it’s helped by Alburquerque inexplicably being able to rock his own name. If I didn’t know who he was and you pointed to him and said, ‘That guy’s name is Al Alburquerque,’ he might be the one guy I would see and actually believe you.
P Yei Almonte (Rookie Dominican Summer League)
If this is pronounced either way I want it to be pronounced, YEE Almon-TEE or YAY Almon-TAY, then he’s a necessary addition. With Ben Guez and Dean Green play limited roles, we need a stronger presence of rhyming names with the club. If his name is one of the off combinations, like YEE Almon-Tay or something, then he’s being demoted to that one guy in the bullpen who only pitches when the game is outside of eight runs.
P Junior Camaripano (Rookie Venezuelan League)
His bio says he’s from Venezuela but I’m pretty sure that’s a front to hide his real identity as the greatest mob boss New Jersey has ever seen.
P Buck Farmer (Low-A)
Anybody who has a name that sounds like an underground occupation has a spot on my team. After his starts Buck Farmer cools off with a nice jar of Moonshine.
P Juan Falcon (Rookie Gulf Coast League)
Another possible rhymer. Juan FAL-CONE would a sensational addition to our club. Juan Falcon, like the bird, would be, well, a sensational addition as well.
P Guido Knudson (Single-A)
Junior Camaripano’s enforcer. Knudson is also a Scandinavian last name. He earns the 10-point cross-cultural bonus. He and Camaripano form the most intimidating 1-2 punch in baseball at the top of our rotation.
P Gerbinson Perez (Rookie Venezuelan Summer League)
It’s unclear whether the pronunciation is GRRRR-binson or JUR-binson, but whatever it is, it’s more enjoyable to say than it should be. If he played for the Pistons the announcer would have an aneurysm.
P Montreal Robertson (Single-A)
There are only three ways this name could be better: 1.) His last name was another city, preferably starting with an ‘M’. Montreal Moscow has a nice ring; 2.) His last name was Canadien, Expo, or Alouette; 3.) His last name was Canada.
P Warwick Saupold (Double-A)
His name is Warwick, he’s Australian and he is a pretty good pitcher. He may not be Montreal Canada, but what’s not to like?
P Will Startup (Double-A)
He missed his calling as the most aptly named entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.
P Slade Smith (High-A)
You really thought we were going to field a whole team without picking Slade “Runner” Smith? I say good day sir! Smith will be the greatest action hero/pitcher this world has ever sen.
P Jade Todd (High-A)
We needed a two first-name guy, but Todd is so much more than that. He’s the rarest of specimens: two first-name guy, eight letter full name guy, and guy who sounds like a chick. All in one. He also sounds like the worst stripper of all time.
Manager: Chris Cron (Double-A)
Hitting coach: Nelson Santovenia (Rookie Gulf Coast League)
Pitching coach: Carlos Bohorquez (Rookie Venezuelan Summer League)
Bullpen catcher: Jeff Kunkel (MLB)