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March 12, 2018

As voting is set to kick off tonight, here's a quick guide to help you navigate the field of the best names Major League Baseball has to offer.

Socrates Brito vs. Joe Panik

The philosopher against the fire alarm. This matchup might be a little favorable to the former, given that he is a present-day human with an uncommon name that predates both the sport he plays and the country he plays it in.

Harrison Bader vs. Byron Buxton

I promised myself I’d refrain from any unsavory jokes so I’m just gonna present the hard facts… With an interesting first AND last name,Bader is the full package. He’s a master in the field, too. Buxton gets major points with the alliteration, and at the 8-9 spot, anything can happen here.

Buster Posey vs. Keon Broxton

An imposter of Arthur Read’s best friend against a guy named Keon. There’s really not much else to say here. I’d say there might be some potential for an upset, but I don’t make the rules here.

Lonnie Chisenhall vs. Kenley Jansen

The reason Chisenhall is a four seed is because his name is just so damn fun to say. Lonnie Chisenhall, Lonnie Chisenhall, Lonnie Chisenhall. Big chance this wacky word juxtaposition could make its way to the next round. Kenley Jansen gets points for not being named Kenneth.

Chaz Roe vs. Andrelton Simmons

Interesting matchup here… The former is a six-seed, while the latter is an 11, but this is really a toss-up. Some people may be tickled by the name Chaz, while others probably despise it. But that disdain could turn into a hate-vote, a la Sanjaya from American Idol. Andrelton is one of the more interesting names in the field, but dropped in the seeding due to his common last name. Excited to see how this one shakes out.

Boog Powell vs. Lorenzo Cain

I dunno, man. I just really hope Boog Powell wins this one.

Elvis Andrus vs. Robinson Cano

These are both just some really fun names. Fun to say. Lots of historical significance to both first names, too. Any 7-10 matchup is going to be a barn burner.

Al Alburquerque vs. Alexi Amarista

I like to call this one The Battle of the Batteries. While they both share the AA initials, there’s certainly two different stories here.I’m inclined to believe that Al Alburquerque’s parents are the two funniest people on the planet. Alexi Amarista’s parents are probably the two sexiest people on the planet, or at least have a knack for putting together one hell of a sexy name.

Tuffy Gosewisch vs. Domingo Santana

Tuffy Gosewisch has the creator of Backyard Baseball kicking themselves, because his name is better than anything that they thought up (and they had some GOOD ones). Domingo Santana, or as they say in English, Sunday Santana has a fun name, but it’d be TUFF (I’m sorry) to knock off the other guy.

Magneuris Sierra vs. Yulieski Gurriel

Not much to say here other than the Caribbean nations might have the largest amount of great names per capita.

Xander Bogaerts vs. Yonder Alonso

Any name that starts with X gets bonus points. Also doesn’t hurt that his last name is a fun iteration of the last name of the Casablanca movie star of old. Alonso might be the only person in the field who coopted a vague distance marker for their name.

Kirby Yates vs. Starling Marte

Pre-Nintendo, this match up would’ve probably been closer,but I think the universal love for that cute lil’ pink sucker guy might play arole in determining the winner of this match-up.

Kelby Tomlinson vs. Joc Pederson

If either of these two people introduced themselves, the initial reaction would be “No, really. What’s your ACTUAL name?”

Madison Bumgarner vs. Fernando Rodney

Based solely off of the sounds here, this is a match up between an American Civil War general and the villain in a Zoro-like movie.

Scooter Gennett vs. Jharel Cotton

Gennett is the youngest in the tournament at only seven years of age. Kidding, but with a name like that, he’d fit in just fine with the Little Rascals. Points to Cotton for the very bold “Jh” start to his name.

Jesús Sucre vs. Welington Castillo

Jesus Sugar against Beef Wellington Casserole. I don’t haveanything else to say about this one.

Cheslor Cuthbert vs. Pedro Florimon

I know that Sherlock Holmes already has a sidekick, but I wish his name was Cheslor Cuthbert. It works. It just does. Florimon is an exciting last name, though I’m not sure it’s enough to take down a name giant like Cheslor Cuthbert. I just love saying it.

Koda Glover vs. Wilmer Difo

Two succinct, yet very interesting and fun names. This should be a close 8-9 matchup.

Dansby Swanson vs. Sonny Gray

Move over, Bumgarner. When it comes down to it, this tournament isn’t big enough for two American Civil War era names. This 19th century foot soldier is going up against a walking, talking oxymoron. Should be interesting.

Yu Darvish vs. Yasmani Grandal

Two “y” first names from different ends of the earth. Both last names are incredibly fun, too. If I had to guess, I’d give a slight edge to Yu. Who? Yu. Who? I’m not going to keep doing this.

Shin-Soo Choo vs. Nicky Delmonico

This is a culture clash. This is Seoul meets Jersey Shore.If the tournament voting was done by toddlers, the former would win the whole thing, on account of his name sounding like a train horn. But toddlers aren’t part of the voting (I don’t think… I’m not gonna stop anyone, though. Any technologically adept toddlers are welcome to participate), so we’ll see about this matchup.

Yoenis Cespedes vs. Chad Kuhl

It is worth noting that Chad’s last name is actually pronounced “cool,” because otherwise he would have no place in this tournament.“Chad Cool” sounds like he could be Joe Camel’s cousin or something. So if you’re into that kinda thing, he might be your guy. Yoenis Cespedes is going to be hard to beat though.

Keone Kela vs. Jeurys Familia

Alliteration points for Keone Kela. Short, sweet, and to the point. Familia gets the “Family” discount. Not entirely sure if that applies in this arena, but in this economy, you gotta take what you can get.

Jett Bandy vs. Bubba Starling

I don’t know why, but this match up honestly feels like a battle between good and evil. Which side are you on?

Didi Gregorius vs. Curtis Granderson

Not only is Didi Gregorius the most powerful name in this tournament, but it might be the most powerful name in the world. It just sounds like you’re dealing with something larger than life here. It’s a shame Curtis Granderson has to meet him in the first round, because both names are commendable. But I think we all know there’s a clear favorite here.

Mallex Smith vs. Homer Bailey

Mallex is amazing because it sounds like his parents wanted to name him Matthew and switched on a dime to Alex in the middle of writing the birth certificate. An unparalleled addition to an already strong field of names. Negative points for the insanely common last name though. Homer gets points just for being so incredibly on the nose. Imagine a football player named “Touchdown” or a basketball player named “Dunk” …….. Alright now I kinda wish my name was Dunk. But I digress. Homer is a great name.

Yasiel Puig vs. Yadier Molina

There’s a lot of Y names in this tournament. One might say too many. Although they’re all great names, we gotta pit a few of them against each other early on to weed out the weaker ones. That’s what we have here. Pick your poison.

Whit Merrifield vs. Nomar Mazara

Whit Merrifield sounds like yet another veteran of the American Civil War. Except this guy didn’t fight or lead any battles. I feel like he probably would’ve been the drummer boy or something. There’s a lot going on with the Nomar Mazara name, and I love all of it. A lot of A’s, a lot of similar sounds. It’s just pleasing to the ear holes.

Mookie Betts vs. Taijuan Walker

These are too great names. I have an affinity for any grown man named Mookie. It sounds so innocent and fun. Sounds like somebody you’d like to get to know. Taijuan Walker might be the exact opposite. Sounds like somebody you wouldn’t want riding a horse into your small western town.Something bad is going to happen.

Gift Ngoepe vs. Antonio Senzatela

It goes without saying that Gift is probably the best first name in the entire tournament. Huge potential for him to go far here. On the other hand, Antonio Senzatela might be the most fun name to say. I can’t say it without pronouncing it in the style of that one scene in Inglorious Basterds where Christolph Waltz keeps making Eli Roth say his fake Italian name.

Jurickson Profar vs. Rocky Gale

This is a clash between the eccentric and the classic. One name really excites you, the other might instill fear in you. Maybe that’s just me. It’s hard for me to say which one wins here.

Chance Sisco vs. Jordy Mercer

I love that guys name. Chance Sisco. Sounds like a super successful club promoter, or an announcer for Slamball. Jordy Mercer is just ok.