A Hypothetical Starting XI Composed Entirely of Major Leaguers

As was made mostly clear by way of their 2-1 defeat of Ghana, what the US national team makes up for with pluck and want-to, it probably lacks in terms of overwhelming skill so far as the world’s game is concered. This isn’t entirely surprising, of course: not only is soccer in its infancy, relatively speaking, within the States, but there are also multiple other sports which tend to draw potentially transcendant talent in other directions.

Other internet webloggers have wondered what might happen were America’s best athletes to play only the world-type of football. The present post is the expression of a similar, but not precisely the same, kind of thought experiment. Rather, the question the author has attempted to answer here is as follows: were one to select an ideal starting XI from all active major leaguers, who might one pick?

I’ve resolved to utilize a 4-3-3 formation because (a) it’s the sort which that most aesthetically pleasing of clubs, Barcelona, tends to deploy, and also because of (b) whim.

The prospect of providing an exhaustive explanation for each selection is among the most tedious acts — for myself, for the reader — of which I could presently conceive. Really, the motivation here has mostly been to produce a graphic such as that which appears above. If pressed, however, I’d say that the thought of watching Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon running down the wings is a pleasant one; that, owing to their agility, Andrelton Simmons and Dustin Pedroia are probably most comparable to Barcelona’s long-tenured midfield tandem of Xavi and Andres Iniesta; and that the combination of Jason Heyward and Giancarlo Stanton at center backs represents ca. 15 feet and 500 pounds of defensive man wall.

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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

31 Responses to “A Hypothetical Starting XI Composed Entirely of Major Leaguers”

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  1. IMW says:

    Wrong. All you need is Brian McCann and he’ll stop everyone from scoring.

    +35 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Andrew Faris says:

    I can’t believe you picked Mike Trout over Miguel Cabrera after Cabrera just won the Triple Crown. That’s lucidcrous.

    +57 Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. BottomPirate says:

    Striker: Bartolo Colon, Bengie Molina
    Goalkeeper: Bill Buckner
    Designated throw-in guy: Ryan Zimmerman(n)
    Center back: Eddie Gaedel
    Left wing: Prince Fielder
    Right wing: Cecil Fielder
    Referee: Ty Cobb

    +35 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • tz says:

      If you position Colon, Molina, and Sessile Cecil Fielder close together, everyone else on the field but Prince will gradually go into orbit around the threesome.

      Then Prince is free to waltz down to the open net and score at will. Even with an injured neck!

      +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • a eskpert says:

      Prince Fielder’s pretty damn fast actually. Papi, for instance, is way slower.

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    • saggy says:

      some of those guys aren’t americans.

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  4. kdm628496 says:

    puig at center forward is a better balotelli. trout should be a sweeper. i feel like mccutchen would work as a wing back who likes to get forward a la dani alves.

    also, mr. cistulli, how do you not have corey kluber in goal, preventing the other team from scoring? for shame.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Bill says:

    I can’t believe that you are fielding a team in a sport in which diving is an, if not the, most important skill, you are not employing the skills of one Derek “Past-a-Diving” Jeter. One hopes that you will correct this oversight post haste.

    +16 Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Melk Was a Bad Choice says:

    No Bronson Arroyo? Have you seen that leg kick?

    +23 Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. scatterbrian says:

    Defensive Man Wall. They were really good until their guitarist left.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. DavidJ says:

    Either “15 feet” is a typo for “13 feet,” or “Jason Heyward and Giancarlo Stanton” is a typo for “Manute Bol and Shawn Bradley.”

    +17 Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Longar Longar says:

    Barcelona are the most aesthetically pleasing of clubs if you wish to take a nap

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. reillocity says:

    Retired obviously, but who in today’s big leagues can rival José Canseco’s header?

    +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. CPT says:

    Can anyone explain George Springer at keeper? Is it because he is so dapper?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Sr Beisbol says:

    Gomez and Simmons aren’t from the USA.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Andrew says:

    Well done…I don’t know why but I was laughing thinking about the logic behind these picks. They make sense though.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. J Rich says:

    Springer for the clean sheet! Nothing would get by him in the field. (At the plate, a different story.)

    (Also, check out superofficialworldcuppredictor.com and @SOWCP on twitter. It’s my ad agency’s projection/foosball tournament for the World Cup, and so far we are a game behind Nate Silver, and way ahead of Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs. Shows what they know!)

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Gilmai says:

      As foolish as the Cameroon pick was, the Spain call was brilliant. And no one could see Costa Rica or Iran (just wait and see) coming. The lack of faith in the USA is as predictable as it is unpatriotic. A Uruguay v Colombia final is a very bold prediction though.

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  15. Spa City says:

    You should add Todd Helton at Quarterback and Frank Thomas as Tight End. They were pretty good at football, too.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. Bip says:

    I’m guessing Trout is center forward just based on the assumption that he’s also the best soccer player in the world.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. ncb says:

    National league BIAS!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. Steve-O says:

    This is blasphemy.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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