By Elizabeth Muratore
With constant roster fluctuation throughout the MLB season, there are always new players entering and exiting the dugout across all 30 Major League teams. These comings and goings mean there’s an ever-increasing amount of entertaining pitcher-batter name combos across the league, which has inspired me to write a “Part 2” to this article I penned a while back. Enjoy another set of pitchers and batters teaming up to create some new, yet familiar, names.
Joe Ryan facing Bryan Reynolds: “Ryan Reynolds”
This pairing was so obvious that I’m shocked I didn’t think of it the last time I wrote an article like this. Ryan had a strong rookie season for the Minnesota Twins in 2022, and after his All-Star campaign for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021, Reynolds didn’t quite replicate that production last season but was still solid. Ryan and Reynolds have never squared off, but this year when every MLB team plays every other team at least once, there will be a chance for a matchup of Hollywood proportions.
Jharel Cotton facing Gavin Sheets: “Cotton Sheets”
This is perhaps the coziest pitcher-batter name combo in the game today. And the best part is, these two both play in the American League Central -- Cotton is a reliever for the Twins, and Sheets mostly plays outfield for the Chicago White Sox. They have already faced off three times, with Cotton having retired Sheets in all three at-bats. One might even say that Cotton was able to put those at-bats vs. Sheets to bed rather easily.
Zach Reks facing Josh Harrison: “Reks Harrison”
For everyone who has ever enjoyed the My Fair Lady musical or movie, you’re undoubtedly familiar with star of stage and screen Rex Harrison, who portrayed Henry Higgins in both the original Broadway show and the Oscar-winning film. Neither Reks nor Harrison are likely to challenge the famous leading man in any acting categories. They’re also unlikely to ever face each other, since Reks is an outfielder by trade. Still, with the proliferation of position players pitching in blowouts these days, it’s certainly possible.
Tommy Henry facing P.J. Higgins: “Henry Higgins”
You thought there was no way I would reference fictional character Henry Higgins twice in a baseball-themed article. You were wrong. Both Henry and Higgins were rookies in 2022; Higgins played just nine games with the Chicago Cubs in 2021 before appearing in 74 games with Chicago this season, and Henry made his first seven Major League starts for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season. They have yet to face each other in the bigs, but wouldn’t it be loverly if they did?
Art Warren facing Matt Beaty: “Warren Beaty”
We’re one “T” off from this being a perfect combination, but it’s close enough to count for me. If you’re frequently on the hunt for references to old-school Hollywood actors in your favorite sports, you’ll get a kick out of this matchup. Warren is a reliever for the Cincinnati Reds who had a breakout 2021 (1.29 ERA over 21 innings) and then took a step back in 2022 (6.50 ERA in 36 innings). Beyond just the name similarity, what makes this comparison even better is that Warren Beatty actually starred in a movie called “Reds” in 1981.
Beaty (the player, not the actor) has had a similar trajectory to Warren as a utility player throughout his career, getting into 120 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2021 before playing in just 20 Major League games with the San Diego Padres in 2022. Hopefully, 2023 represents an uptick for both players’ careers.
Eric Stout facing Zack Short: “Short and Stout”
If there’s any little teapots reading this, this one’s for you. Stout had several stints with the Cubs and Pirates last year, his second MLB season, and has pitched to a 7.30 career ERA over 24 2/3 innings. Short, who appropriately plays shortstop, has been up and down for the Detroit Tigers over the past two seasons. All we have to do is find two players with last names of “Handle” and “Spout” and we’ve practically got an entire nursery rhyme.
Bryce Elder facing Patrick Wisdom: “Elder Wisdom”
This moniker wouldn’t quite be appropriate for the amount of service time these players have, since Elder made his Major League debut last year on April 12 and Wisdom finished fourth in the 2021 NL Rookie of the Year voting. Still, one would hope that the Cubs’ young infielder would take the Braves’ hurler seriously in the batter’s box if he faced him, since it’s generally wise to respect your Elders.
Elizabeth Muratore is one of the editors of the Here’s the Pitch newsletter. She also works as a homepage editor for MLB and co-hosts a Mets podcast called Cohen’s Corner. Elizabeth is a lifelong Mets fan who thinks that Keith Hernandez should be in the Hall of Fame. You can follow her on Twitter @nymfan97.
Comments / 0