Minors Moniker Madness: Natty Nattress Bracket

Banks earns a top seed in 2008 tournaments

(Jerry Hale/MLB.com)

March 18, 2008 6:00 AM

Voting is under way for MiLB.com's second-annual "Minors Moniker Madness" competition. The goal of this bracket-style tournament is a noble one -- to determine the best name in all of Minor League Baseball.

Here's a comprehensive look at the first-round matchups. After all, the voting public needs to be as well-informed as possible.

No. 1 Ernie Banks vs. No. 16 Gonzalo Gonzalez -- There have been some rumblings in the MiLB.com office that Gonzalez should have been awarded a higher seeding, and one could certainly make an argument to that effect. Regardless, he is sure to have a hard time with Ernie Banks, who shares a name with the most popular Chicago Cubs slugger of all time. This particular Ernie Banks is a 21-year-old first baseman in the Florida Marlins organization.

No. 2 Rocky Cherry vs. No. 15 Given Kutz -- Cherry, who logged time with both the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles last season, is a familiar face from the 2007 Minors Moniker Madness tournament. The 28-year-old reliever defeated A.J. Zapp in the first round, but fell to the mighty Jorge Poo Tang in the second. Cherry will now go up against dark-horse competitor Given Kutz, a 23-year-old righty in the Dodgers' organization.

No. 3 Benito Beato vs. No. 14 Arquimedes Caminero -- Caminero (whose middle name is Euclides, for the record) made it to the Elite Eight last year before being dispatched by the more literary Ari Kafka. Beato, meanwhile, was a first-round loser at the hands of Jung Bong. Will he now be able to "Beat"-o Caminero? Only time will tell...

No. 4 Woods Fines vs. No. 13 Lovesquis Santana -- Woods Fines, a Rays' pitching prospect, would be feeling fine if he can defeat the eloquently named Lovesquis Santana. The 20-year-old outfield prospect made his professional debut last season as a member of the Dominican Summer League Athletics. Neither individual was involved in last season's inaugural Minors Moniker Madness tournament.

No. 5 Judd Songster vs. No. 12 Dusty Napoleon -- Songster scored a first-round win against Will Smith in last year's competition, but then succumbed to the aforementioned Ari Kafka. If the seven-year Minor League veteran wants to advance further this time around, he'll have to conquer newcomer Dusty Napoleon. The 21-year-old A's prospect made his professional debut with the Vancouver Canadians last season.

No. 6 Tagg Bozied vs. No. 11 Jackvid Avila -- Bozied bashed 24 home runs for the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds last season, giving him 97 dingers in his Minor League career. The 19-year-old Avila, meanwhile, has never gone yard as a professional. Nonetheless, the two players are now equal in the eyes of the voters, who must deliberate long and hard over who has the most appealing and interesting name. Choose wisely.

No. 7 Keltavious Jones vs. No. 10 Van Pope - This matchup is essentially a battle between loquaciousness and brevity. In the former category is the eloquently named Keltavious Jones, a 22-year-old outfielder in the Cincinnati Reds' system. In the latter category is the quick-and-to-the-point Van Pope, who spent the 2007 season as the starting third baseman for the Double-A Mississippi Braves.

No. 8 Ray Liotta vs. No. 9 Smelin Perez -- Liotta , perhaps the most prominent member of this year's crop of "celebrity name" competitors, is in fact a distant cousin of actor Ray Liotta. He advanced to the second round of the 2007 tournament, where he was defeated by one Winter Polo. Perez, meanwhile, is a switch-hitting infield prospect in the Florida Marlins organization.

Benjamin Hill is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

View More