Giants

Giants' Sean Hjelle, Trey McNutt among unique spring training names

Giants' Sean Hjelle, Trey McNutt among unique spring training names

Many times during MLB spring training you’ll see a young player with a ridiculously inflated number on the back of his jersey trying to leave an impression on his big league squad.

But what’s his name?

Sometimes, fans miss out on some of the most spectacularly unique names ever contrived. But don’t worry though, we have you covered.

After doing some due diligence, here are a list of some of the most electric names in the game that have yet to make it to The Show (not every team included).

Atlanta Braves

RHP Connor Johnstone - Connor Johnstone is your typical create-a-player name in any video game and I’m here for it.

RHP Ben Rowen (Been Rowin’) - Sneaky names are sometimes the best, and you could say this name without realizing you’ve been telling people you’ve been really into rowing recently.

Arizona Diamondbacks

RHP J.B. Bukauskas - Jacob Allen Bukauskas already sounds like a big league name, but when you shorten it to two letters … forget it. Just a big league name.

RHP Damien Magnifico - With a last name like Magnifico, you already sound like a world-class magician. If I were a betting man, I would say he can make the ball disappear and leave batters wondering where it went.

INF Seth Beer - Beer and baseball: A match made in heaven. I would imagine this top prospect with a plus bat will be part of many ad campaigns in the near future.

Baltimore Orioles

LHP Zach Lowther  (Low + Thrower = Lowther) - This prospect is named exactly where you want your pitchers to live in the zone.

Boston Red Sox

INF Jeter Downs - OK, this guy is pretty well-known ever since the Mookie Betts trade, but it still stands out that there’s a shortstop named Jeter with the Red Sox.

Chicago Cubs

LHP Wyatt Short - This 5-foot-8 guy can be a cult hero in Wrigleyville by striking out the larger competition. His name fits his stature perfectly AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT (coming from someone 5-9). “Height doesn’t measure heart," as New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman said.

LHP CD Pelham - I can’t really put my finger on it, but there’s just something about unique abbreviated names and Pelham can bring CDs back to the midwest.

Chicago White Sox

OF Cheslor Cuthbert - Cheslor Cuthbert is just a name I wouldn’t forget. It’s a solid name that almost sounds made up on the spot as an alias at a bar.

C/INF/DH Yermin Mercedes - This name sounds like it has 40 long-balls in it. Yermin Mercedes not only has a car deal waiting for him, but you also can tell this guy struts to the box without watching a single at bat.

Cincinnati Reds

INF Jonathan India - Baseball better watch out for Indiana Jones’ 3rd removed cousin Jonathan India. He’s here to take the diamond.

OF Shogo Akiyama - Shogo is just a sweet name already. Then you throw Akiyama on it, and you have yourself a memorable big league name.

Cleveland Indians

RHP Dalbert Siri - Hey Siri, how many strikeouts with Dalbert have this season?

C Kungkuan Giljegiljaw - If Giljegiiljaw doesn’t have the nickname “Jaws,” I won’t be upset, but I’ll be disappointed. This is the most unique name in the bunch.

Houston Astros

RHP Dean Deatz - Not sure if he’s a pitcher or runs a college and tries to kick the top fraternities off campus.

RHP Andre Scrubb - Scrubb could be seen as a negative, but what if this relief pitcher takes the mound to scrub and clean up messes?

Los Angeles Angels

INF Arismendy Alcantara - Again, one of these names that you can’t forget because the swagger is just dripping off of it. Arismendy Alcantara simply is just a big league name.

Los Angeles Dodgers

OF Zach Reks - Zach Reks fastballs, so don’t throw him one.

Kansas City Royals

RHP Brady Singer - Country music star or Royals’ pitching prospect? You decide.

Miami Marlins

RHP Aaron Northcraft - Another create-a-character name that could be randomly generated in "MLB The Show," but let’s be honest, you’ll stick with the name because it's a simple thing of beauty.

INF Gosuke Katoh - This is one of rare names that if a person says Gosuke, you already know who you’re talking about. Just like LeBron. Just a great name.

OF JJ Bleday - I mean, JJ and his last name rhymes too.

OF Victor Victor Mesa - You thought only one Victor was enough? Wrong.

Milwaukee Brewers

RHP Bubba Derby - Just a general fan of the name Bubba & Derby as a pitcher’s last name is excellent, but when combined... magic happens.

New York Mets

RHP Adonis Uceta - Fun Fact: Only three other players in big league history have the name Adonis, and Uceta would be the fourth. Boom. Analytics.

OF Johneshwy Fargas - Too many Johns and Johnnys in baseball, but how many Johneshwys do you know?

OF Tim Tebow - Just sounds like more of a football name to me.

New York Yankees

C Wynston Sawyer - Anyone with a name like Wynston just sounds like a professor.

RHP James Marvel - Jimmie Marvel. Get him in the Marvel universe ASAP.

Oakland A’s

RHP Wandisson Charles - Wandisson is just an elite first name, so give a tip of the cap to his parents.

San Francisco Giants

RHP Trey McNutt - This name roughly translates to “Three McNutt” and three nuts is better than two, unless you are allergic. Can’t help you there.

RHP Sean Hjelle (pronounced "Jelly") - He's not flying below the radar with his 6-foot-11 frame, but there are endless possibilities for Giants fans to use Jelly as a play on words for their top pitching prospect.

[RELATED: How Hjelle impressed Zaidi in spring debut]

Seattle Mariners

RHP Ljay Newsome - It sounds like Ljay knew something.

RHP Penn Murfee - His first name is William, but it’s a power move to go by your original middle name instead. Any pitcher with Penn as his name has to be a valuable asset out of the bullpen (even though he’s a starter, but you get what I’m saying).

St. Louis Cardinals

C Pedro Pages - Can’t write a name like this ... wait.

Tampa Bay Rays

RHP Phoenix Sanders - Sanders would be the first player ever named "Phoenix" to play in the big leagues if he were to make it to The Show. Wouldn’t be a bad PR decision by the Diamondbacks to trade for this guy, too.

Texas Rangers

INF Sherten Apostel - Just want to know how his parents came up with Sherten. Is he named after the famous Tibetan singer I just googled and found out about? Possibly.

Toronto Blue Jays

RHP Ty Tice - Short. Simple. Clean. Both first and last name have Ts and have a “Ty” sound.

OF Forrest Wall - An outfielder named Forrest Wall? I mean, c’mon. This is a layup.

Will Clark shares funny story about homer off Nolan Ryan in MLB debut

Will Clark shares funny story about homer off Nolan Ryan in MLB debut

On April 8, 1986, 34 years ago to the date, Will Clark made his major league debut with the Giants.

And it was a debut Clark and everyone else involved won't forget.

Clark's first career at-bat is the stuff of legends.

With the Giants facing the Astros in Houston, Clark had to face Nolan Ryan, one of the most intimidating pitchers in baseball history.

Instead of easing Clark in by putting him at the bottom of the lineup, Giants manager Roger Craig batted the rookie second, guaranteeing a first-inning at-bat.

Rather than striking out against "The Ryan Express," Clark crushed his first career homer in his first at-bat.

In an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy Gutierrez this past weekend, Clark recalled the scene in the dugout after he rounded the bases.

"So I come in and everyone is excited and I'm high-fiving everybody and we sit down on the bench and there's just like this calm, and nobody was really fired up," Clark said. "Everybody was kind of looking around and [Giants pitcher] Mike Krukow sorta says it best. Everybody's looking around going 'What the hell did he just do?' That kind of thing. Off of Nolan Ryan. Dead center field in the Astrodome.

"So then, I'm sitting there, and like I said, this calm came over me, and I don't know why, I looked at Chili Davis, who was sitting on my left, and I said 'Chili, he's going to drill me next time up?' And he goes 'Oh hell yeah.'

"And the next time up, Nolan's in his wind up and I'm already easing to the ground and it was up and in, but it was just a message pitch."

[RELATED: Giants set to retire Clark's number]

The homer was Clark's only hit of the game, but the Giants went on to win 8-3.

So in his big league debut, Clark homered, didn't get drilled by Ryan and left the Astrodome with a win. Not a bad day for the 22-year-old.

How Gabe Kapler, Giants coaches are getting work done during MLB hiatus

How Gabe Kapler, Giants coaches are getting work done during MLB hiatus

For a month in Scottsdale, reporters asked subtle questions, hoping to dig up another breadcrumb that would ultimately help answer what fans were asking. Who was Gabe Kapler going to use in the ninth inning? Which pitcher would be his fifth starter? Was he going to have Mike Yastrzemski as his leadoff hitter, or Mauricio Dubon, or perhaps someone else? Is Buster Posey still hitting in the heart of the Giants' lineup?

When baseball resumes, whenever it does, that process will pick back up. There's something special about a lineup. People want to see it, debate it, tell you why their version would be better. At some point, that will be part of normal life again. But for now, Kapler still mostly has managed to keep his preferences close to the chest. The answers to all those questions are known only to Kapler, some of his coaches and analytics people, and front-office officials. 

Oh, and also the PlayStation sitting in his condo in Scottsdale.

Kapler is an outspoken proponent of social distancing and flattening the curve, and his staff has followed suit. But it's a group full of restless people who won't just simply wait for the call that they can return. The staff has been trying to find ways to improve during this hiatus, starting with that PlayStation.

It was the brainchild of Justin Viele, the young co-hitting coach who uses "MLB: The Show" to scout opposing pitchers. Kapler has picked the habit up over the past month, using the video game to get through a season in quick manage mode.

"You can play a game in about five minutes," Kapler said on this week's Giants Insider Podcast. "It's just kind of going through each at-bat and making the decisions along the way. It's a good way to learn opposing bullpens and who is in them and how highly they're rated. That's another way we're using video games to stay in shape."

For nearly a month now, the staff has been barred from Scottsdale Stadium. Kapler's office there had two doors and he encouraged his 13 coaches to walk through on their way to other meetings, or pop in during the day for a quick chat. He has tried to keep that vibe going during a strange time for the sport, using technology that's now part of everyday life for a country on lockdown. 

Yes, the Giants are fully on board the Zoom train. They're using it for big meetings and small ones. First base/outfield coach Antoan Richardson is holding Zoom calls with outfielders to dig into the nuances of outfield play, something that can get lost during a long season. The staff even uses Zoom to run a book club. They're currently reading "The Culture Code" by Daniel Coyle. The book sells itself as unlocking "the secrets of highly successful groups."

"We're breaking into smaller groups as a staff -- and as you know, we've got a pretty big staff -- so we've got several smaller groups having Zoom calls discussing how to make our culture stronger as a result of reading that book," Kapler said. 

The Giants also make regular use of Trello, an app that tracks and logs conversations, videos and drill packages. If one of his hitting coaches has a 30-minute conversation with a player and shares some highlights, Kapler can get a quick rundown of how it went. Those types of conversations are happening daily, although Kapler said he's careful not to overdo it. He's talking to several players a day but understands that some would prefer their space right now. 

"This is just an opportunity to connect," Kapler said. "I think when players are isolated and they're by themselves, a catch-up conversation can only help."

Listen and subscribe to the Giants Insider Podcast

The coaches are doing the same, although there's only so much you can accomplish over the phone or during a video call. Still, the Giants are regularly sending workout plans to players and some are taking part in virtual yoga classes. The organization's nutrition department is taping cooking demonstrations to help players make healthy meals. 

The rest of the time right now isn't all that different whether you're working from home because your tech office in SoMa closed, or because you're the manager of the Giants and you have no ballpark to report to. Kapler, a health enthusiast throughout his career, was digging deep into COVID-19 even before camp shut down, and one of the first things he does every morning is listen to "Up First," a 10-minute news podcast from NPR. 

Like most Americans, he is digesting regular updates on social media, where he also has gotten a kick out of seeing some of the creative training methods of his players. Kapler is encouraged that the Giants are using this time to try and get better, and he said they'll come out of this with "best practices" and some new teaching tools. They'll also be much better with a video game controller in their hands. 

[RELATED: MLB's proposed plan to start in May has plenty of holes]

The PlayStation simulations will continue, and Kapler also plans to play "Out of the Park Baseball," a computer game that also allows simulations. The Giants aren't facing NL West opponents right now, but Kapler is still trying to simulate that feeling. 

So ... how are the virtual Giants doing?

"Maybe I'll lean on the sample size is too small right now," Kapler said, laughing. "But I'll say this, it's fun to see the player of the game. I sent a player of the game screenshot to Brandon Crawford when we beat Madison Bumgarner, and that was pretty fun. We had a nice back and forth and he sent me back a shot of him in a hoops game, so that was kind of cool. And then I did the same thing with Wilmer Flores. 

"It's kind of a fun way to stay in touch with players and a fun way to stay up to speed on what's going on around baseball."