clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Awesome names: who are these draftees?

Tell us which name is your favourite.

Texas Rangers v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

I had this terrific Excel sheet full of drafted players but didn’t have a real plan for them until I saw Spencer pulling up his fantastic drafts series.

As usual, I will add my own pinch of salt to the draft menu that was prepared by Spencer and give you the most awesome names that were ever drafted by the Diamondbacks, obtained via baseball reference. Little note: not all draftees eventually sign.

The player that was most often drafted by the Diamondbacks was “Matt”. A blistering 39 times did Matt hear his name getting called on draft day. If you add “Matthew” to them that would make 45. That is a clear number 1, because the number 2 on this list is “Ryan”, who was named 31 times. From Ryan it is a big step again to the number 3: “Mike”. Mike was brought into the organisation 23 times, although if you add the “Michael” to them, they would make a combined 34 and thus take over spot number 2. Rounding out the Top 5 are “Justin” (21 times) and “Josh” (19). Josh just barely beats a few others, so I will mention the full top 10 here: Jason and Jake (both 18), Chris (17), Andrew (15) and Tyler, Kevin, Jeff, Daniel and Brian (all 14).

But, while all beautiful names, they aren’t as cool as, for example, Dansby. Of all the special names the Diamondbacks drafted, Dansby Swanson is by no doubt the one with most success. Touki is another one, although success isn’t exactly attached to his name, but he has at least reached the major leagues. But since I always talk about the not-so-famous I will only discuss the ones we do not know but could have known.

Aric LeClair does not only have a cool first name, but also a classy last name. Aric was drafted in the 19th round of the 2000 draft out of Indiana State University, although the kid himself was originally from Springfield, Vermont, but grew up in New Hampshire. After 3 seasons in Class A he reached AA in 2003 and was released a year later. The lefty then pitched until 2008 in Independent baseball and decided to return to college after that to complete his degree. He appears to be a baseball coach and also, if we can trust LinkedIn, the manager of a car wash in New Hampshire.

Aric is a masculine name of Old Norse origin. A variant spelling of Eric, this name translates to “eternal ruler,” a beautiful way to make baby feel distinguished throughout their life.

Bookie Gates was drafted in the 2002 draft by the Diamondbacks in round 25 out of Washington State. He didn’t last long in the minor leagues, as his stint in professional baseball was over after a year playing for the Yakima Bears. My best bet is that shortly afterwards he returned to Washington because that is where he still lives. He apparently is a CEO of some transport company and proud to be a follower of Christ. Beside that Bookie is also the founder of “Baseball Beyond Borders”, an organisation that, as the website tells us, helps student-athletes of colour connect their passion with their academic future off the field.

This name derives from an English occupational surname, meaning “maker of books, a binder of books or one who makes a reservation.

Bubu Garcia was a 2012 draftee out of Gilroy HS in California. He was a catcher drafted in the 39th round, so wasn’t exactly much of a prospect to begin with. Bubu played just 11 games in the rookie leagues and barely achieved a .300 OPS so his professional baseball career was already over before it even started. According to baseball reference his full name is actually Rafael, although all hits on Google return a certain Eugenio Garcia who has a catholic podcast and is a local commercial and sports announcer as well, who had a stint in baseball. So we’ll take that guy as the Bubu we wrote this little piece about.

Name Bubu generally means Gives Light or Prosperous or Glowing or Glorious, is of Egyptian origin, Name Bubu is a Masculine (or Boy) name.

Donta Warfield was another 2002 draftee with also a cool last name. He didn’t take his name nor war to the field as he didn’t sign after being picked in the 33rd round out of Riverview HS in Florida. Aside from that I couldn’t find any interesting information about the now 39 year old.

The name Dontae is of Greek origin and means “lasting” and “enduring,” and is the ideal choice for a name that’ll grow with baby.

Golden Tate was chosen in 2007 in round 42 to join the Diamondbacks, out of a Tennessee high school. But Golden chose not to sign and went to the University of Notre Dame. 3 years later the Giants took him in round 50, but Tate decided to forego professional baseball. Maybe the entire baseball world already knew that he wouldn’t sign a baseball contract and that’s why they all decided to pass on him: Tate was a much better football player and was drafted that same year by the Seattle Seahawks and would win a Superbowl just a few years later.

Javan Williams was taken in the 45th round in the 2010 draft out of Contra Costa College. He lasted just a year in the organisation, where he played in Missoula. He tried for another year in the Blue Jays organisation and eventually ended up in Independent baseball. According to an article he went “from being a dismissed and looked over ballplayer to one of the most well-trained and effective Strength coaches in the Bay”. He is a really big dude and seems to own a fitness school, aimed at young athletes in Los Angeles.

Javan is a boy’s name of Hebrew origin that means “Ionian.” The Ionians were one of the first tribes that made up Ancient Greece and the namesake of the western coast of Anatolia, modern-day Turkey.

Kawika Emsley-Pai, who hails from the state of Washington, was taken in the 10th round of the 2010 draft. He was a catcher and lasted just one year in the Diamondbacks’ organisation, playing in Yakima. From 2011 to 2015 he was with the Pirates but never outgrew A+. He was a baseball coach for some years in a college and is nowadays a development coach with the Texas Rangers, ain’t that funny.

Kawika is a Hawaiian form of David. David is an English name that is derived from the Old Hebrew name “Dodaveha” which means “beloved of Yahweh”.

Koley Kolberg is yet another example of a fine name and surname combo. Kudos to mom and dad Kolberg here. Koley signed for 90k back in 2004, when the Diamondbacks took him in round 9 out of the University of Arizona. He was a right-handed pitcher who pitched in Yakima and South Bend where he wasn’t really bad at all, but after 2005 his professional baseball career halted at 22 years of age. Just like the sudden disappearance of the former Wildcat is somewhat a mystery, so is the origin of his first name, although it is probably a last name that is used as a first name, not uncommon. The last name, however, is a former German town that now belongs to Poland.

The surname Koley was first found in Norfolk where Hunfrid de Cuelai was listed there in the Domesday Book. However, we must look to the aforementioned reference of Derbyshire to find the earliest land grants for the surname.

Maels Rodriguez wasn’t really a prospect at all when the Diamondbacks picked him in the 22nd round of the 2005 draft. He was originally a pitcher from Cuba who defected after gaining some fame because of reaching the triple digit mark with his fastball. But when he signed for the Diamondbacks his velocity was supposedly already quite down and he eventually never made it to professional baseball as several surgeries prevented him from getting back into shape.

“Mael” is a Breton boys’ name meaning “chief” or “prince”. The name for girls is “Maela”. The Breton name is popular in French as “Maël”, with French girl-forms “Maëlys” and “Maëlle”, largely after the Breton Saint Maël.

Osbek Castillo was another Cuban defector, but this time the Diamondbacks were a bit luckier with the 33rd round pick of the 2006 MLB amateur draft. Luckier as in: he enjoyed two years of professional baseball but didn’t get any further than AA. The biggest problem was the age. Osbek was already 25 when he debuted in Missoula, where he dominated. However, the following season in Mobile he struggled and the organisation decided it wasn’t worth the time, money and effort. As the Latin Americans have the somewhat awkward tendency of “Spanishing” names, it isn’t really clear what Osbek means.

Osbeck - Swedish: ornamental name composed of os ‘river mouth’ or ås ‘hill ridge’ (possibly as placename elements) + beck a variant of bäck ‘brook stream’.

Özbek - Turkish: means - “pure (Oz) ruler (Bek)”

Phildrick Llewellyn lives up to the expectation of what I thought when I saw this name. Initially thinking of this medieval person wandering through the hills of a certain English county, maybe it was a bit of a deception to see his last name wasn’t in the likes of “of Nottingham”, but Llewellyn, originally a Welsh first name but also used as last name, is a nice addition to the name of Phildrick and much better than the Anglicised version called “Lewis”. Now the only thing that doesn’t really fit is that Phildrick hails from Curaçao, so the migration of that name will obviously make for an interesting story. Phildrick himself also migrated, being it to a Florida HS, out of which the Diamondbacks selected him in the 13th round of the 2012 MLB amateur draft, at 18 years of age. He had two anonymous seasons in the Arizona Rookie Leagues before he was released and signed on with the Baltimore Orioles. His stint there was over in 2016, after which he played in Italy, Canada and the independent leagues. Since 2019 he is playing in Germany, this year for the team in Bonn, the capital of former West-Germany.

English (southeastern): probably a habitational name from Felbrigg in Norfolk named with Old Norse fjǫl ‘board plank’ + Old English brycg ‘bridge’.

Tutu Moye was selected in the 1997 MLB amateur draft in round 21. Not much is known about the man, because baseball reference only lists him as a player who was picked out of Rose HS in Greenville, North Carolina. He never made it to professional baseball, so he probably didn’t sign. Why? A 2002 article mentions a certain Tutu Moye playing quarter back in East Carolina. Maybe Tutu preferred a football career. Honourable mention goes to a certain Moye who was convicted a few years ago for drug trafficking in Greenville at 40+ years of age...

Name of African origin that could mean “cliff dweller”, “conqueror” or “uprooter”.

Wacy Crenshaw was a 2018 amateur draft pick of the 34th round out of the Glendale Community College. He went on to play baseball at Colorado Mesa University where he should have finished by now a study in Sports Management. While he never played baseball for the Diamondbacks he did realise two internships in the organisation, so the draft signing contacts definitely bore some fruit. He is probably now looking to get his professional working career started as a fitness coach or similar.

First name taken from the surname Wacy, that was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat, and predominated the region around 1000 AD.

Yazy Arbelo was a 26th round pick in the 2010 draft out of a college in Pennsylvania. The lefty first baseman played for four years in the Diamondbacks organisation and got as far as AA. After getting released in 2013 he played in the Independent leagues until after the 2015 season. Ever since it looks like he has been a coach in several baseball development programs, recently his own.

Some of the most popular nicknames for people named Yazan include Yazy, Yaz, ... Did you know that the name Yazan means “to be determined” in Arabic?

Yogey Perez-Ramos was another Cuban defector (he escaped in a boat to Mexico (!)) the Diamondbacks drafted, this time in the 17th round of the 2012 MLB amateur draft, out of a college in Miami. He played two years in A- for Yakima and Hillsboro and became a Mid-Season All star there. By the end of the 2013 season it looks like he was traded to the Cubs, because he got assigned to South Bend and was immediately placed on the 7-day IL there. Maybe his injury was that bad that it is the reason why the Cubs released him early 2014 and he never made it back to professional baseball. In 2015 he appears as having signed with a team in Venezuela, but not much more can be found about his whereabouts. Maybe he is still there, which would be kinda sad if you know he made a scary escape from Cuba in 2010.

What is the meaning of the name Yogi? The name Yogi is primarily a gender-neutral name of Indian origin that means Of The Yoga Practice.

Those were the best names the Diamondbacks have drafted, although there are a couple of recent ones that could have been added too. If you care to know what are the best surnames or combos of names and surnames, just let us know in the comments and we’ll give you those too in a follow-up article!