From David Aardsma to Tony Zych, there have been a lot of ballplayers in the Minors this season, and as such, there is also a wide variety of names that come with them. Though there are plenty of Jones, Johnsons or Smiths, we can't forget Bemboom, Toadvine or Quackenbush. Don't worry, we haven't, and chances are neither have you.
For that reason, MiLB.com announces the return of Moniker Madness, now in its seventh season.
Fans are encouraged to visit the contest homepage and vote for the player they believe to own the best name in the Minor Leagues. In a change from previous years, voting will pit two players at random with fans choosing which name is hot or not. A constantly updated leaderboard with all 75 contestants will mark their progress until Thursday, Aug. 29, when the winner will be announced.
To give you a taste of what it takes to claim the top prize, the previous champions are Rock Shoulders (2012), Seth Schwindenhammer (2011), Rowdy Hardy (2010), Dusty Napoleon (2009), Will Startup (2008) and Houston Summers (2007).
The winner from this year's list of 75 fantastic names will only add to that tradition.
There are, of course, those with some great first names. Diamondbacks prospect Socrates Brito should make fans think long and hard about giving him a vote (and maybe about our role in the universe as well). Bubba Starling has already made a name for himself as the Royals' No. 3 prospect, but his given name always grabs your attention. Meanwhile, Montreal Robertson may have those north of the border pining for the days when the Expos hadn't yet moved to Washington. (For the record, Robertson is a Tigers farmhand, so Montreal in Montreal wouldn't have been a possibility barring a trade or free agency.)
Moving beyond first names, great surnames also landed some Minor Leaguers in this year's contest. Indians prospect Michael Goodnight certainly has some clout in that department, although he could also make for a great comedy duo with Forrestt Allday in the Red Sox organization. "Allday-Goodnight" just has a certain ring to it. Rangers prospect Rougned Odor will also get another sniff at the top prize after finishing second to Shoulders a season ago.
As an aside, the author of this post endorses Nationals prospect Cutter Dykstra for his excellent last name, although he admits it's the first name that earned the infielder's spot among this year's 75.
Then again in some cases, it's not a great first name or last name that makes for a great moniker but the combination of the two. Forrest Snow and Rocky Gale sound pretty poetic when you think about it, while Stone Speer and Storm Throne could have come from George R. R. Martin himself.
Finally, you'll find some names that will make you just pause and say, "Huh?" Kenneth Peoples-Walls and Will Piwnica-Worms will do that, due to their hyphenated surnames. As for Sicnarf Loopstok and Jose Jose, there really isn't much to add except to confirm that, yes, those are indeed their real names.
Now, let the Madness begin.