Tuesday, October 16, 2012


You've often wondered to yourself "Who would make the cut if all of the currently active professional baseball players with MLB experience named Brandon were to start their own team?". Wonder no more, dear reader, for I have taken the liberty of assembling such a 25-man roster.

Click to enlarge so's you can read it, buddy.


Very astute of you to notice that, yes, they don't all have the first name Brandon. To get this roster to twenty five names, exceptions were made. Three of the players have the middle name Brandon, and as much as I would love to leave Luke Scott off every roster on the face of the earth, I'm kind of stuck here.

Hey, at least they're not in the starting line up.

Let`s take a quick look at some of the stand-outs, based on information from 2012. Well, mostly from 2012, after the jump.


There's not a whole lot of offence here, as the position players combined for a total fWAR of 12.2 in 2012. That doesn't sound that great, but considering the Blue Jays fielded a lineup with an fWAR of 7.5 at one point this season, it's playable.

It looks like the best player on the field is probably Brandon Phillips with a career fWAR of 27.0 and a grand total of 4.0 in 2012.

In terms of win probability, Brandon Belt leads the roster with 2.84 WPA for the season.

If you're looking for pure offensive value, getting on base and all that fun stuff, Brandon Moss owns all the wOBA with .402 (mind you, that was in only 84 games/296 PA).

Speaking of plate appearances, only three of the "everyday" position players have an average seasons' worth of games played (Phillips, Belt & Crawford). That is probably due to their age, but more on that in a bit.


Oh, if three-man rotations could only work, then you would have probably the best one-named rotation in all of Major League Baseball. Alas, such a thing does not exist, and probably for good reason, which is why you see Brandon Lyon (a reliever by trade) and Brandon Duckworth in the 4th and 5th spots, respectively.

Injuries plagued the top three, with each pitcher missing significant time compared to the 2011 season.

After 141.2 innings pitched by mid-June, Beachy was knocked out to have Tommy John surgery, down 60.2 innings from 2011.

Morrow was sidelined with an oblique injury after 13 starts - he was able to come back to make 8 starts from the end of August onward, and amassed 179.1 IP, 54.2 shy of 2011.

McCarthy threw 170.2 innings before he took a horrific line-drive off the head on September 5th which caused an epidural hematoma. He is going to make a full recovery, but did not return in the 2012 season, throwing 59.2 fewer innings than in 2011.

Even after missing such a great amount of time, each pitcher was able to amass a decent fWAR total for the 2012 season, with Morrow posting 2.4, Beachy coming up with 1.5 and McCarthy a decent 1.8. Looking back to 2011, they were a robust 3.5, 2.9 and 4.8 respectively, so it's a pretty safe bet to run with these three guys at the top of the rotation. So long as they're healthy.


Ugh. The rest. These guys.
They're all named Brandon except
for the ones who aren't.

That's about all I can say about them, but look. It was a haiku.


In looking through these names, I was surprised by something. There seems to be a dearth of Brandons in the major leagues, which is proven by this post's very existence. What's curious is that there are just so many of them. A simple search of the name Brandon on Baseball Reference brings up at least 168 hits. Of those 168, 43 of them are listed as Major Leaguers.

Out of those 43, one is the man I have named manager for this fake team, Brandon Hyde. He managed ONE game for the Marlins in 2011, which he lost. I'll give him a second chance.

Another 6 of the 43 are players who do not carry Brandon as their true first name, rather a middle or nick-name. Three of them were added to the fake roster, as I felt there just weren't enough true Brandons who had served in the Majors with enough effect to round out the list.

That leaves you with 36 Brandons who have served in the Major Leagues, all of them having made their Major League debut in the 2000's -- none in the 90's or earlier. That stood out to me. What stood out more were the other 125 names in the minor and international league list. Why so many young Brandons?

I checked out the popularity of the name Brandon in the US based on Census information, and from 1992 through 1998 it was in the top ten of boy's baby names. In 1992, Brandon was the 6th most popular boy's name in the United States of America. In 1994 alone, an estimated 14,477 out of 1,000,000 babies born were named Brandon. A baby born in 1992 would be 20 today, which is just around the time for a rookie to be playing in the minor leagues or just breaking into the Majors.

That would explain why so few everyday players right now have so few plate appearances under their belt. Over the next few years as their skills develop, the playing time will come.

What's interesting is, as sharply the popularity of the name Brandon rose, it dropped off just as dramatically.

Number of babies named Brandon per 1,000,000
That leads one to believe that unless Brandons are born with innate talent with a bat and ball, about twenty years from now such a 25-man roster would not exist, or at least be nearly as talented.


In the early 90's, America was caught in the icy love-grip of Brandon Walsh, one of the newest residents of Beverly Hills, 90210. The show premiered in 1990, but it really took off in the summer of 1991, when Fox aired new episodes of the hot teen drama while the other networks churned out re-runs.

Nine months later, it's early 1992, and suddenly there's a whole bunch of baby Brandons just waiting to get out on the field.

Is it a coincidence? Was I able to create a 25-man roster solely comprised of Major League baseball players named Brandon, thanks to this guy? Could it really be true?

Brandon Walsh, giving baseball players
a bad name since before they were born.
I hope not, but it's probably true.

That was goofy. Let's do this again soon.

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