We're excited to officially release our nicknames for #PlayersWeekend on August 25-27!
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) August 9, 2017
SI – part of MLB’s attempts to get down with the young people, the weekend of Aug. 25–27 will be Players Weekend, a fun time during which the league’s stars will have the option of putting nicknames on the backs of their Technicolor dream jerseys. On Wednesday, MLB and the Players Association gave us our first look at the attire and the chosen monikers, but I regret to inform you that most of them are trash.
A majority of those names are a confusing mess or proof positive that MLB players have all the imagination of a goldfish; for proof, note that Michael Wacha’s sobriquet will be “Wach,” or that Judge had to be talked into using “All Rise” instead of just his own last name, or that Michael Conforto will go by “Scooter,” a nickname he neither chose nor understands. MLB is mostly devoid of good nicknames, but what about those above-listed choices? Let’s rank them from best to worst.
1. La Potencia (Yoenis Cespedes): A perfect match of descriptor (“la potencia” is Spanish for “the power”) and general cool-sounding name.
2. Bringer of Rain (Josh Donaldson): A good vaguely metal choice for a dude who fancies himself a resurrected Viking.
3. Flaco Fuerte (Chris Archer): “Skinny Strong Man” is as weird as it gets, but bonus points for alliteration.
4. Tsunami (Carlos Martinez): Natural disasters/weather events always make for good nicknames.
5. Tokki 2 (Joey Votto): “Tokki” is Korean for rabbit; the nickname comes via Votto’s former Reds teammate, Shin-soo Choo. You can read the whole backstory here, and it’s cute and funny enough that this moniker gets pretty high up.
6. Corey’s Brother (Kyle Seager): Either Kyle has a fantastic sense of humor for a big brother, or he got tired of trying to think of something after 10 minutes. It can be both, I guess.
7. Wawindaji (Hunter Pence): “Wawindaji” is Swahili for “hunters.” I don’t know if Pence knows that his nickname is plural. Maybe it doesn’t matter.
8. Pappo (Adam Jones): I don’t know the story behind that one, but it’s a cool-sounding name, at least.
9. All Rise (Aaron Judge): This one loses points because it’s not a nickname; it’s an appropriate pun to yell when Judge homers, but it’s not a nickname. Case closed.
10. Codylove (Cody Bellinger): This is right where things start to go south, though “Codylove” would make for a good Swedish or Korean boy band name.
11. Stickman (Chris Sale): Points gained for accuracy and for being a nickname that I can sing to the tune of Soundgarden’s “Spoonman”, but points lost for being very lazy and something that no one would actually call Sale.
12. Big Kid (Bryce Harper): No one has ever called him this.
13. EE (Edwin Encarnacion): This is not a nickname. It’s a contraction.
14. Yoyo (Yoan Moncada): Fine, sure, though “The Twinkie Kid” is right there.
15. Kiiiiid (Mike Trout): Why are there so many “I”s in this? At least he didn’t go with the Millville Meteor.
16. El Koja (Adrian Beltre): Someone please explain this one to me.
17. Cruz (Giancarlo Stanton): This is not a good nickname, but Stanton is too imposing for one anyway. Honestly, he’d be a good choice for an alliterative physical landscape—”The Miami Mountain,” or something like that.
18. Nado (Nolan Arenado): Please try harder.
19. KB (Kris Bryant): Please try harder.
20. Miggy (Miguel Cabrera): Please try harder.
These aren’t the only nicknames—every team has its own, if you want to dig through each roster, and they are all available to buy in t-shirt and jersey form on Fanatics—but these are the ones MLB highlighted, and they are by and large terrible. Good job, guys.
For the record, I hate change. Especially third jerseys and gimmicky looks on my teams. People dont want to spend half the afternoon figuring out whos’ nic name belongs to who. They want to do as little work as possible and enjoy the afternoon. Please put this idea in the same place the White Sox shorts uniforms and pillbox hats.