Big League Stew - MLB

Since starting the Stew at the beginning of February, this blog has been sorely lacking in two areas: draft coverage and the female perspective.

So when David Chalk, the resident Devil Rays (that's him being stubborn, not me) expert at Bugs & Cranks, proposed a solution to fix both problems, I eagerly took him up on it.

His following effort is an attempt to both inform and entertain the masses who would like to know the players that Tampa is considering with the No. 1 pick in Thursday's draft.

And lest you think his "hot or not" questions toward his quartet of babe baseball writers sounds a bit sexist, I need only remind you of all the times we've "mistakenly" linked to a picture of Eva instead of Evan in the Morning Juice.

David takes it over from here ...

I love baseball, but I realize the MLB Draft is never going to be as interesting as the NBA or NFL draft. We've never seen or heard of any of these people and it's going to be a year or two before any of them make it to the big leagues. 

So why not turn it into an entertaining and educational journey with some of the finest female baseball writing minds on the Internets? And why not sprinkle in some information about the prospective top picks with a little analysis of my own?

Before continuing, let's meet the All-Star Lineup who answered my call:

JessicaHer Rays

Andrea Reiher Bugs & Cranks

Rachael WSo Much Sound and Fury

KatieThose Twins Girls

* * *

CHALK. Ladies, the concept is simple: Our Tampa Bay Devil Rays are so good, we have the luxury to simply take the sexiest player available.  Please rate the hotness of these top 18-22 year-old prospects and tell me who we should make the #1 overall pick?

KATIE. Honestly, I kind of assumed that this was already the official draft strategy for the Devil Rays.  If they come by super-hotties by ACCIDENT, that is really impressive. In this group, luckily, no one is unfortunate looking, so the Devil Rays really can't go too wrong in the hotness department with any pick.

CHALK. Not everybody thinks that way ...

JESSICA. The selection of pics you included was pretty slim. Also, it's weird thinking of some of them as sexy since they're like 18!  I have to say that many times athletes are hotter when wearing their gear.  For example, Tom Brady is hot, but way hotter with black gunk under his eyes. Andy Roddick is super hot, but without his hat and racket he's only sorta hot. 

Baseball players are a major source of this phenomena, because they look completely different without their hats.  Jason Bartlett is only attractive without his hat, but in it he totally does it for me. 

Oh, one other thing.  Athletic ability adds to the hotness factor. Perfect example of this is Evan Longoria.  He's not really what I consider hot, but his baseball skills make him very lovable.

Chalk: OK, let's get to the candidates.

Brian Matusz, U of San Diego, LHP

Matusz is a tall lefty with four pitches he can throw for strikes. His biggest knock is not using his fastball enough and a lack of velocity.  However, he probably has more of an upside than Aaron Crow (who is discussed below).

A. Needs to beef up before he'll really be cute. (He's on the left)

K. Brian Matusz is definitely cute enough to warrant consideration. But he's a little awkwardly gangly and in one of the pictures he totally had a Napoleon Dynamite vibe going on.

J. He's a really tall Napolean Dynamite. Which makes him sorta adorable. Where's my tots?

R. In some photos, he looks tall, dark, and handsome ... and then in others he looks like Napoleon Dynamite. But everyone needs a pitcher, right?

C. So only one out of three women find the Napoleon Dynamite look adorable. Interesting ...

Tim Beckham, Griffin (Ga.) High, SS

Tim Beckham has a wide array of impressive tools for a shortstop. Still, there's a lot of talk about shortstop Reid Brignac at AAA Durham being the next great Devil Ray. And he's a high schooler — the D-Rays haven't done too badly drafting college guys like Longoria and David Price.

K.  When I considered Tim Beckham, who is a high schooler, I had to continually remind myself that I'm considering "Prospective Hotness," in order to not feel too dirty. That didn't really work though, so I just stopped thinking about him. There's nothing WRONG with him; I'm sure I would have liked him when I was 14. Besides, the Rays already have the hottest shortstop in baseball, no need to get greedy at that position.

J. Great smile, very cute, long and lean which is always a bonus.

C. (snicker) "Long and lean?"

R. Pros: His last name is Beckham, which I think most ladies have been pre-conditioned to love, thanks to David Beckham. Cons: He's a high schooler! I could never call a high schooler sexy -- sorry, Baby Becks.

A. Seems cute, but doesn't photograph well. He'll need to work on that to get featured on Ladies ...

C. So, to sum up Katie and Rachael couldn't get past the high school thing, but Jessica said it was weird but still went with it. And Andrea didn't even mention that it might be an issue.

Aaron Crow, Missouri RHP

Crow is the highest ranked righty in the draft, throws three very good pitches and hits 96 mph. The Rays have a lot of pitching down on the farm with Jeff Niemann, David Price, Jake McGee, and Wade Davis — but you better believe the old maxim that you can never have enough.

C. Aaron Crow got the widest range of responses, with Jessica leaving him out for her write-in candidate ...

K. Aaron Crow is hands down the hottest player in the group.

A. Also very adorable. Hopefully not the same Aaron Crow as this guy.

R. Yeah, the first few Google pictures scared the crap out of me until I realized they were of some magician and not of the RHP prospect. I wanted to like this guy, I really did. But would any ladies really find this face sexy? Or this one? Or this one? Sadly, I think not. Dude looks like he needs some Ex-Lax.

Pedro Alvarez, Vanderbilt, 3B/1B

Alvarez is the closest to the bigs. With Evan Longoria locked up at third, he'd probably have to move to first. Despite missing a lot of time this year with an injury, he's still talked about as a very safe bet. Plus, he played with the team's 2007 #1 pick, David Price, at Vandy.

R. Kind of goofy-looking, but I've yet to see a ballplayer whose formal photos don't make him look temporarily stunned or half-baked (I'm looking at you, Grady Sizemore). Besides, I think his name would be fun to say over the loudspeaker. In this photo , Alvarez may look goofy, but the USA guy on the left makes Alvarez look innocent and appealing.

C. From the look of this picture, I don't think he's tough enough to be Devil Ray material.

J. Also very nice looking, wears his hat with a little modern tilt. I might not be judging him fairly since I sorta love our current third baseman.

K. Vanderbilt = Brains are hot. His mop of curly hair doesn't hurt either.


Buster Posey, FSU, C

Buster Posey would fill the biggest need in the organization — catcher Dioner Navarro has been great, but there's not much depth behind him. 

C. Wherein I learn that women dig catchers (the one position I refused to play in Little League. Is his name adorable, or does it make you think of the Bluth family? Is playing all 9 positions — hot — or a showy turnoff?

A. The choice has to be Buster Posey. Even though his name is Buster ("Hi brother"), he is a total cutie-patootie.  In addition to being a hottie, he also had a game earlier this year where he played at least one inning at every position and hit a grand slam. That's so hot.

He also seems to have a brain in his head.  His college major was finance, which is no cake major, and he was on the All-ACC Academic Team in 2006 and 2007, was a member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll in 2005-06, 2006-07, was on the President's List in the Spring of 2007, which is awarded for a 4.0 GPA for the semester. 

A 6-foot-2 hottie who is also a formidable Scrabble opponent?  Nice. Also, there is NOTHING in baseball hotter than a guy in catcher's gear.  Nothing.

R. He's a catcher. I love catchers; they're tough and they tend to play with a lot of heart. And that gear can make even the ugliest player seem lean, mean, and fearless ... except for Jason Varitek. Use a photo where Posey's got the gear on.

J. Bonus points for great name, negative points for being a show off and playing all 9 positions in a game. In the pic, he would look infinitely cuter with his hat on.  I think he'd look pretty hot in a Rays hat.  Maybe you should photoshop that.

K. Aaron Crow is hands down the hottest player in the group, but Buster Posey is also hot AND has the most adorable name of the five. That makes them equally attractive in my opinion. I can't pick just one.  I would kind of like to have both of them.

My decision might come down to the team's needs ...Do the Rays anticipate a greater need for pitching hotness (Crow) or everyday hotness (Posey)?  It's important for a team to have a good balance of both to maximize fan satisfaction at each and every game. 

Well ... female fan satisfaction, anyway.

Chalk's conclusion: I think it is very important for any great team to keep all of its female fans satisfied. Therefore, I am also endorsing Buster Posey as the No. 1 pick of our beloved Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

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