By: Jake Perda
During MLB’s Players Weekend, which will take place from August 25th through August 27th, players league wide were given the option to sport nicknames on the back of their jersey as opposed to the traditional style of their last name or, depending on the jersey, no name at all. As expected, the players jumped at this opportunity leaving us with 23 nicknames to judge the quality of. I will be ranking them based on their creativity, flow, how well they fit the player, and overall execution. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@PerdaGuyBoston) if you agree/disagree with the order. Let’s jump right into it.
1. Craig Kimbrel A.K.A “Dirty Craig”
This was a no-brainer. Kimbrel’s connotation game, much like his fastball, is simply overpowering. I love that he was able to work around whatever guidelines that the players were given to come up with something that will make people laugh. Even if you want to take it literally, it makes a ton of sense. He is always COVERED in sweat and rosin, so if anyone is going to be called dirty, it should be him. Regardless of whether or not anyone actually calls him Dirty Craig, this is a huge W for the Red Sox closer.
2. Robbie Ross Jr. A.K.A “Lawnmower”
Shoutout to Carrabis for creating this instant classic. Despite the fact that Ross hasn’t been with the team for the majority of the season, there was no way anyone was going to let this weekend go by without putting “Lawnmower” on a number 28 jersey. Hopefully, if Robbie does join the Major League team this season, he’s ready to follow suit of his fellow relievers and mow some guys down.
3. Eduardo Rodriguez A.K.A “El Gualo”
According to Google Translate, this translates to “The Gualo”, so I did a Google search. From what I found, El Gualo was the alias of a man who was arrested for robbery in Panama this March. Does this have anything to do with E-Rod’s selection of the nickname? Probably not. But I like the way it sounds, and this could be E-Rod’s way of saying he’s going to be robbing the opposing team of a win.
4. Chris Sale A.K.A “Stickman”
I like Sale keepin’ it real here. He’s 6’6”, yet he’s 180 pounds... on a good day. He looks like a stick figure. I know it, you know it, and he knows it. And I love that about him. Not to mention, you can look however you want when you’re the best damn pitcher on the planet.
5. Drew Pomeranz A.K.A “Big Smooth”
I’m a big fan of irony, so I love seeing an awkward guy like Drew Pomeranz with the word Smooth on the back of his jersey. I’ve supported Drew all along, and I’m excited to see if he can keep it going down the stretch, but the only smooth thing about him is his curveball.
6. Matt Barnes A.K.A “Barnicles”
I admire the clever creativity here. I really do. But I have to knock him for electing to spell “barnacles” incorrectly. I don’t know if it was a mistake that went unnoticed by everyone throughout the process, or if there was intention in this typo, but I don’t like it. That cost Barnes a spot in my top 5.
7. Mitch Moreland A.K.A “2-Bags”
Shoutout to Dan O’Mara for this one. This nickname was much more fitting early on in the season when Moreland hit 16 two-baggers in his first 203 plate appearances. In 213 plate appearances since, Moreland has doubled just 8 times, which isn’t bad. But it begs the question of whether or not he still deserves the “Mitchy Two Bags” nickname.
8. Sandy Leon A.K.A “Noah”
I have been made aware that Noah is the name of Leon's unborn son. That's a very cool tribute, so Leon definitely deserves a top 10 spot on this list.
9. Blaine Boyer A.K.A “Grande Rojo”
I don’t know what inspired Boyer to go with a Spanish nickname, but it translates to Big Red. That’s not super creative, considering every other red haired athlete associates their hair color with their nickname (Matt Bonner, Clint Frazier, etc.), but at least the translation shows that he put in a little more effort than his teammates that are ranked below him.
10 .Doug Fister A.K.A ”Fist”
This one made it in at number 10 by earning it’s points via the “What The Hell?” factor. I know that a lot of people shorten their last names and use that as their nickname, but when shortening your last name turns it into a noun, you should probably come up with something else. Too late now! We’re goin’ with Fist.
Nandito translates to "Little Boy" in English. This seems as though it'd be a far more appropriate nickname for Rafael Devers, but I can live with that being on the back of Abad's jersey. Abad also deserves a few bonus points for not disappointing me in a while. Good for him.
11. Fernando Abad A.K.A "Nandito"
Nandito translates to "Little Boy" in English. It seems as though this would be a far more appropriate nickname for Rafael Devers, but I can live with that being on the back of Abad's jersey. Abad also deserves a few bonus points for not disappointing me in a while. Good for him.
12. Dustin Pedroia A.K.A “Laser Show”
If Players Weekend was happening 5 or so years ago, Pedroia’s nickname surely would have ranked higher, but it’s been used so much and has proven to lack the longevity of other career-long nicknames such as Big Papi. Respect to Dustin for at least putting some effort in rather than opting to go with “Pedey”.
13. Heath Hembree A.K.A. “Heater”
I don’t love this one. Hembree loses serious points here for not making a Kenny Powers reference and for having the gaul to put heater on his jersey when he is in the same bullpen as Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly.
14. Christian Vazquez A.K.A "Cold"
No clue where Vazquez was going with this one. If anyone does, please inform me because I'd like to know why Cold is on the back of his jersey as opposed to "Mini Yadi". Nonetheless, Vazquez refrained from using his name/jersey number, and that's more than most of his teammates can say.
15. Brock Holt A.K.A “Brock Star”
Much like Pedroia, Holt had himself a solid nickname until NESN and the Red Sox social media team overused it and beat it into the ground (Just like what John Farrell did to Junichi Tazawa). “BrockStar” may have lost it’s luster, but at least he put in the effort and was able to stay in the middle of the pack.
16. Hanley Ramirez A.K.A “El Trecé”
This isn’t the most creative nickname, but it has some flow to it. There’s nothing wrong with a simple nickname, but that’s just not how you win the nickname game.
17. Xander Bogaerts A.K.A “X”
There is an obvious lack of creativity here, but putting one letter on back of your jersey is a power move. I would still like someone to come up with a nickname for Xander that doesn’t revolve around the fact that his name begins with the letter X, but if it hasn’t happened in the past 4 years, it’s probably not happening at all.
18. Eduardo Nunez A.K.A. "Nunie"
Nunez should probably be lower on account of the fact that this is yet another player who simply shortened their last name, but this one has an "it" factor that the other ones don't. When Nunez belts a homer over the monster, jumping off the couch and screaming "NUNIE" as loud as you can just feels right. For that reason, Nunez has kept himself away from the bottom of the list.
19. Joe Kelly A.K.A “JK”
I’ll put Kelly at the top of the guys who used their initials because at least his create an acronym. Just imagine Kelly going out there and saying to a hitter, ”It’s okay, I won’t paint the outside corner with a 102 mph 2-seamer. JK.”
20. Chris Young A.K.A “CY”
If Young was a pitcher, this would be the power move of power moves. But he’s not. Instead, he demonstrates a lack of creativity and joins his fellow outfielders at the bottom of the list.
21. Jackie Bradley Jr. A.K.A “JBJ”
Jackie ranks at the bottom of initial users on account of the fact that he neglected to use a top notch nickname in “JBJesus” or perhaps a less showy nickname in “Jackie Baseball”. He elected to stick with just his initials, and he was punished for it.
22. David Price A.K.A “Astro’s Dad”
Any bias for/against David Price aside, this is just not good. His dog hasn’t been relevant for a couple of years now, so there’s no need to pretend otherwise. NOTE: I am not targeting nor bashing David Price as a player or a person. Do not turn this into that. I am simply stating that he made a poor choice in his players weekend nickname.
23. Addison Reed A.K.A "Reeder"
This nickname isn't anythign special, but I'm not aware of any other options for the Red Sox new reliever. This lands him at number 23.
24. Tyler Thornburg A.K.A “Thorny”
The age old method for athletes creating nicknames for their teammates is adding a “Y” after the first half of their last name. Even when it doesn’t sound right, like when players refer to Christian Vazquez as “Vazqy”, they seem to make it work. Thorny does have a little bit of flow to it, but that’s about as basic as it gets.
25. Rick Porcello A.K.A “Veintidós”
Porcello is simply using his jersey number in Spanish. It’s not a nickname that is typically used like it is for Hanley, so this shows that Porcello was just unwilling to think of something else. He also avoided using his popularized nickname in "Pretty Ricky", so regardless of the fact that he may be called this by his Spanish speaking teammates, "Veintidós" isn't gonna cut it for me.
26. Mookie Betts A.K.A “Mookie”
I realize that Mookie isn’t his legal name, but that doesn’t mean it’s a nickname. Hell, my legal name isn’t Jake, but even I would realize using it in a nickname game would make me the biggest stick in the mud out there. Mookie truly deserves to be ranked last on this list, but as I will surely rant about next, Andrew Benintendi’s blatant ignorance of quality nicknames landed him in the basement.
27. Andrew Benintendi A.K.A “Benny”
Quite frankly, I’m disgusted. Not only did he choose not use the undisputed champion of nicknames in Benny Biceps (which would’ve landed him at #1), he decided to ignore all of his other great nicknames as well. He could’ve gone with Benny Baseball, Benintendo, Flow Bro numero uno, but no. He went with just Benny. C’mon, man. You’re better than this. The young players are the ones who are supposed to own this weekend and work on making baseball watchable for the younger audience, and this is what you do? That’s weak.
Honorable Mention: Tzu-Wei Lin A.K.A “Tzunami”
Tzu-Wei Lin is currently in Triple-A Pawtucket, but if he was in the Majors to rep “Tzumami” on the back of his jersey, he would’ve been a lock to make the Top 5.
Photo: (@RedSox Twitter)