Longest Name of the Year Contenders

Salty

April’s over, so it’s time to take a look at the longest-name-of-the-year standings and see who’s shaping up to be a top contender.  As of April 30:

1. Jarrod Saltalamacchia | 14

2T. Al Alburquerque | 12

2T. Will Middlebrooks | 12

4T. Chad Billingsley | 11

4T. Joba Chamberlain | 11

4T. Edwin Encarnacion | 11

4T. Paul Goldschmidt | 11

4T. Adeiny Hechavarria | 11

4T. Bobby LaFramboise | 11

4T. Steve Lombardozzi | 11

4T. Darin Mastroianni | 11

4T. Kirk Nieuwenhuis | 11

4T. Brett Oberholtzer | 11

4T. Tyler Pastornicky | 11

4T. Marc Rzepczynski | 11

4T. Nate Schierholtz | 11

Quite a race, as you can see.  Saltalamacchia once again seems to be in the lead, although given that it’s only the end of April, we do have to watch out for small sample size.  Billingsley’s injury probably takes him out of contention for the rest of the year — it seems unlikely he’ll be able to get back in time to make up two whole letters, even if the rehab goes well.  

Bobby LaFramboise is a surprise contender — his name just doesn’t look that long until you start counting the letters!  That’s a hidden skill that his team will hopefully take advantage of.  Once again, Jeff Samardzija shows promise, but misses out on the leaderboard when you really start adding up those characters.  Like we always say here at long-name-central headquarters, it’s not about how hard it is to pronounce, it’s about the actual count.  So no extra points for Rzepczynski or Nieuwenhuis. Their letters count just the same as the ones in Goldschmidt.  

Smart money is on Saltalamacchia holding off the contenders, especially with this early-season lead.  Always have to watch for someone like Hechavarria adding some consonants in the midseason heat, or someone getting married and deciding to hyphenate, but for right now, these are the standings.  We’ll check back in a couple of months and see if anything’s changed.




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34 Responses to “Longest Name of the Year Contenders”

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  1. The Over-Murdered says:

    Some might argue that these extra letters are more style than substance, considering the competing viewpoints http://www.fangraphs.com/not/china-employs-secret-market-inefficiency/. Still the debate on whether an extra consonant or two is more glitz and glamour or more grit and intangibles will likely rage on, akin to the Saber vs scouting debate.

    Just my take, but this type of stat is useful to look at retrospectively to tell us “what happened”, but I think it lends little predictive value. Similar to WPA.

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  2. Bryan Joiner says:

    At least we don’t have to worry about performance-enhancing marriages. Huge problem in the WNBA.

    +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Pseu says:

    You should really have Russell “The Stromboli Slicer” Carleton do a guest post on how quickly Name Length (or, better, zNmLngth) stabilizes. Will Middlebrooks looks good now, sure, but how do we know that in a few years he won’t turn into another Mel Ott?

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  4. MustBunique says:

    Jorge de la Rosa is furious at his exclusion. Along the same lines, Rubby de la Rosa is a prospect to watch, and may get a callup. Rubby could have the highest LAR aside from Salty.

    Is Will Middlebrooks legally William? Hmmm.

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    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      The count seems to be for surnames only, which leaves the de la Rosas at a mere 8. A pity, because if first names were in play, Will Middlebrooks could change his name to Wilberforce Middlebrooks and reign as champion.

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      • bluetuzo says:

        I’ve been producing a variation on the Length statistic for some time for my own personal benefit. I call it Length+, which includes all characters, including space characters. In my advance Length+ statistic, the de la Rosas do fairly well, bumping up to 4T status. Length+ also gives an extra point for accent marks, which is often quite useful.

        It is interesting to note that many hispanic players legally have two surnames (though only the first is ever listed on rosters). Albert Pujols’ surnames are Pujols Alcántara, for example. Factoring this into any calculation is difficult though because second surnames typically don’t stabilize for at least 25000 plate appearances, so small sample size problems abound.

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        • Well-Beered Englishman says:

          Do you include middle names? What about hyphens?

          Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton
          Jurickson Barthelomeus Profar
          Rogearvin Argelo Bernadina
          Albertin Aroldis Chapman de la Cruz

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  5. The Mayor says:

    Joey Terdoslavich: 12

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  6. Andy says:

    Mike Olt is hoping he doesn’t get called up, because he’d be dead last with pretty much no hope of making any headway.

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  7. Anthony says:

    Mike Moustakas(13) and Nick Markakis(12) both deserv mention.

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  8. Seth Schwindenhammer – 15

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  9. Menthol says:

    Cliff Lee, cellar dweller.

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    • l1ay says:

      No surprise there, this is the same guy who could only manage 6 wins in 30 starts last year. Yeah, he’s pretty bad.

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    • matt w says:

      Fu-Te Ni is gone, but does Jae-Hoon Ha have a shot at the bigs?

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      • 5_run_homerun says:

        Not this year. However, if his walk rate continues to improve the way it has been over the last couple of years and Brett Jackson continues to strikeout twice per plate appearance, he may get called up to AAA. That would open the possibility for a September callup, but he would more likely have a shot at competing next year. This is only, of course, if everything pans out for him. Of course, you’d expect a prospect good enough to get to the bigs to hopefully add a few letters by that time. If not, then the big league pitching will just eat him alive.

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  10. DoctorJ says:

    Al Alburqurque’s first name is really
    Alberto

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  11. Urban Shocker says:

    Doesn’t onomastics belong in Fangraphs? heh.

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  12. the sauce says:

    The Cards just sent Rzepczynski down, presumably to work on his vowels. He’s someone to keep an eye on as the season moves forward.

    +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Joser says:

    I’m sorry, but the era of simple counting stats is over. I realize they’re interesting inasmuch as they are an accurate record of what the name actually is, but what we really want to know is what the name could be — in other words, we need name projections.

    Also, counting all the letters the same clearly fails to capture the complete value of the name. Coming up with proper linear weights for each letter is work I leave to others, but a rough approach might be to look to earlier work involving Scrabble®. Summing the linear weights according to each letter’s Scrabble Score produces a value we can call wSS; applying that calculation to the list of names given in this article produces the leaderboard:

    Last Name wSS
    Rzepczynski 40
    Lombardozzi 34
    Alburquerque 32
    Schierholtz 28
    Oberholtzer 25
    Saltalamacchia 23
    Middlebrooks 22
    Hechavarria 22
    Pastornicky 22
    Goldschmidt 21
    Chamberlain 20
    LaFramboise 18
    Billingsley 17
    Nieuwenhuis 17
    Encarnacion 15
    Mastroianni 13

    And thus the expected name sorts to the top of the list; more surprising, perhaps, is how far some of the others fall.

    Of course, that is using the English Scrabble scoring; other languages have other weights. And clearly many of those names actually originate in other languages; thus, a proper accounting — and future work for others — should factor that into their value to give a language-adjusted wSS+.

    +17 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Menthol says:

      Pfft, another tiresome stathead thesis. I bet you hardly ever actually *watch* the names; all you do is wreck everything with your “advanced” analyses. I know name length when I see it, and I don’t need your bogus stats to mess with what my own eyes tell me.

      Also, Pete Rose was the greatest hitter ever. He had the most hits. End of story.

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Tim says:

      The top three all need to be penalized ten points for required use of blanks.

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    • 5_run_homerun says:

      I feel like you should also factor in playing time. I mean, lots of letters in a last name are nice, but if they get less playing time due to injuries or futility, then they aren’t providing as much value to a team.

      You have to admit, if Rzepcynski were starting for the Cardinals, his letters could have a far greater impact on the game.

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  14. I miss Tim Spooneybarger

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  15. Matt says:

    IT’s not LafrAmboise, it’s LafrOmboise.

    Which makes him a contender for both longest and shortest, Depending if you read it as Bobby LaFromboise, or Bobby La, From Boise.

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  16. Daniel says:

    Pierre-Luc Létourneau-Leblond (professional hockey player) says hello. He registers a score of 17 (excluding the hyphen)

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  17. Bip says:

    I miss the days of Mark Grudzielanek and Doug Mientkiewicz

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