Baseball is at its best when it lets its extremely cool players carry the sport. When Griffey, McGwire and Sosa were bashing dingers the sport was elite. When Bonds was setting records seemingly every day, no one was complaining. And then they snitched on themselves and they’ve been floundering ever since. It started to come back a bit, and then they snitched on themselves again! Mike Trout is incredible, no one cares. The MLB won’t market its stars properly, so fine, I’ll fucking do it. Introducing the first ever All Cool Teams. There will be a First Team, a Second Team, and three (3) players I’ve got my eye on to make the leap onto one of these teams in the not-too-distant future. Because right this second the MLB is flush with talent. Not only talent, but marketable talent they could, yanno, build the sport around. What’s great about the All Cool Team? No advanced analytics. If that’s your jam, this blog is not for you. Go play with your calculator, dweeb. Now, let’s start off with the three to keep an eye on.
Jo Adell, OF, LAA
Jo Adell has almost a zero percent chance at being better at sports than Mike Trout. That’s not a knock on Adell, by all reports he’s a specimen and reason for hope in Orange County. But while Adell can’t possibly be better at baseball than Trout, he would have to fuck up miserably to not be substantially cooler. He’s got a fire name, he’s already been calling out the entire scouting system before making his Major League debut, I have high hopes for Adell making the Angels endearing and human instead of just numbers on a baseball-reference page that no one actually saw happen in the real world.
Chadwick Tromp, C, SF
His name is Chadwick Tromp. He’s from Aruba. He’s a rookie with four hits, half of which are homers. That’s all I got. Frankly all I need. Again, his name is Chadwick Tromp and he’s from Aruba. Him not being cool would frankly be an insult to my intelligence.
Dustin May, SP, LAD
Dustin May came into the year as one of the top pitching prospects in all the land. He’s also a 6’6” ginger with a flowing lion’s mane. He throws gas. As long as he’s not a choking dog like Clayton Kershaw, he’s going to be cool for a long time. He needs to settle in on a real number next year, because 85 is cool for Chad Ochocino and ONLY Chad Ochocinco. You can’t be an ace rocking #85. That number selection next year could be the deciding factor in all of this, but I have hope. Now, for the Second Team All Cool.
SECOND TEAM ALL COOL
Willson Contreras, C, CHC
Extremely cool, second coolest catcher in baseball per my metrics. He hits bombs, he bat flips walks, he tossed an extra L into his first name just because he could. Not a lot of negatives with Willson Contreras. He didn’t land on the second team because he did anything wrong, there’s just a cooler catcher out there. No shame in that.
Chris Davis, 1B, BAL
Let me make one thing extremely clear: being a finesse legend is more than enough to get you onto this team. Chris Davis was a fearsome slugger for many years in the heart of the Orioles lineup. Then he got paid and stopped trying entirely. That has always been, and will always be, extremely cool. Whenever he’s on my television the only thing the announcers talk about is how much he’s getting paid to stink at baseball. If that’s not the American Dream personified then we’ve truly lost this once great nation.
Yoan Moncada, 3B, CWS
Yoan rakes, he’s a Cuban sensation, and he loves to work out glamor muscles. I don’t know what more you want from a cool baseball player. This is also the point where I’d like to announce that I do not care what position you play outside of catcher. I selected four infielders, three outfielders, and two pitchers per team. You can be a relief pitcher, shortstop, shortstop or shortstop. Mostly because shortstops are cooler than your average position, it just comes with the territory. This will become more clear with the first team, but while we’re talking about it.
Xander Bogaerts, SS, BOS
Another Aruban. Xander is perhaps the most handsome player on either team. Also, it’s my list, so if you thought you were going to read about 20 players and not have to sit through me waxing poetic about one of my guys, you don’t know me very well. I don’t care how garbage the Red Sox are this year, Xander is a bright shining beacon of hope in this out of control shit storm from hell. He rakes, he slays, he’s a multiple time World Series Champion. He’s the best shortstop to wear #2 in the history of the AL East.
Vlad Guerrero Jr., Wagon Ass, TOR
I’ll be honest, I don’t know how many All Cool Teams Vladdy Jr. is going to rack up over the course of his career. It’s not his fault, he’s a delight. He mashes. He has a wagon ass. His performance during the 2019 HR Derby was the most memorable display of the entire weekend. But, to no fault of his own, he isn’t Senior. I’ve yet to see him gun someone out from deep right field nor has he swung at a pitch that bounced 12 feet in front of home plate. I love Vladdy Jr. I hope he continues to blossom into an elite talent in the League. There should always be a Vlad Guerrero playing baseball for the rest of time, that feels like a good rule for the MLB to adopt. But I cannot envision one ever amounting to the Cool known as Vladimir The First.
Andrew McCutchen, OF, PHI
Since we're on the topic of McCutchen, this is a primary example of why the Yankees are inherently uncool. They haven't had a cool player since Mickey Mantle per my calculations. And it's their own fault. McCutchen was always cool in Pittsburgh. He's been cool his whole life. Except for when he went to the Yankees because they ripped out his soul and stomped it out due to the fact that they hate fun. Dreadlocks? Facial Hair? Not in pinstripes you wont. Robinson Cano became 1000 times cooler the second he signed with Seattle and could grow a beard. A beard! Aaron Judge? Not cool. Giancarlo Stanton hasn't been cool since he was launching in Miami. If Brian McCann were a franchise he'd be the Yankees.
Christian Yelich, OF, MIL
Yelich isn’t off to a hot start this year. That matters zero to me in this context. He could never hit a baseball again and I’d have him on this list. Any time rumors sweep the nation that you were in porn getting your salad tossed? Rumors to the point where you don’t even believe the guy when he says it isn’t him? Rumors to the point where fans start showing up with signs about you getting your taint tongue tickled? That’s cool as hell. I don't care if he has the personality of a doorknob. That isn't the only factor at play here. His play, how he goes about his business and stays true to himself is what makes his aura cool.
Luis Robert, OF, CWS
It’s looking like Chicago as a collective city might be the hub of cool baseball players between the White Sox and the Cubs. Luis Robert signed an $88 million contract before he ever played a major league game. What number does he wear on the back of his jersey? #88. You cannot teach that kind of flash and pizzazz. La Pantera is an ELITE nickname and I will enjoy watching him hit tanks for the rest of his career. I cannot imagine what would have to happen for him to lose his cool status and I am not interested in finding out. If anything I see him racking up a stack of first teams throughout the next five years.
Nelson Cruz, DH, MIN
Nelson Cruz has been suspended for steroid use and I bet you forgot that until you read it in this sentence. That’s how cool Nelson Cruz is, absolutely no one holds it against him that he literally cost the Texas Rangers a World Series because he was too cool to give maximum effort with two outs in a title clinching game. A career ending moment for most has managed to become a blip on his radar as he’s mounted over $100 million and has become one of the premier power hitters in baseball over the last decade. He hits BOMBS on the baseball field and also at Top Golf. He also has this custom mask to counter Coronavirus. Certified cool.
Oliver Perez, RP, CLE
Oliver Perez has been pitching professionally since 2002. He has recorded FOUR (4) winning seasons over that span. He’s had an ERA under four EIGHT (8) times, 25% of which have happened the last two seasons. There’s no excuse for his longevity other than he must be cool. He simply has to be cool. There’s no other explanation. Him being a lefty cannot be the only reason he’s been able to stay in the majors for 18 years. I also typed his name as Darren Oliver during the first draft of this because honestly they’re the same person in my mind and also in your’s. Anyone who refuses to log off, go home and be a family man for all these years is commendable and that alone gets you on this list.
Johnny Cueto, SP, SFG
I rest my case.
FIRST TEAM ALL COOL
Willians Astudillo, Baseball Player, MIN
LA TORTUGA. Effortlessly cool. Gets all of his baseball and cool powers from being fat. There's always a couple fat guys in baseball that are just cooler than everyone else. I don't care how ripped you are, how many homers you rake, how fast you can throw, when you're on the same field and playing as well, if not worse, than someone who just doesn't care? You can't be as cool as that. It's just not possible.
Fernando Tatis, Jr., SS, SD
The very reason I penned these teams. His mammoth blast last night was the fuel to drive this ship. Every time I see Tatis there's greatness taking place. This home run is also the litmus test for what kind of sports fan you are.
If you saw this Granny Smith Apple last night and immediately said, "Scoreboard," you're a waste of time. Your opinion cannot be taken seriously on any matters, specifically when it comes to what makes a person cool. It's not Tatis' fault the Padres were losing to the Dodgers. He just hit the dogshit out of a baseball, he's going to let everyone know about it. Maybe if the rest of his teammates were that cool they wouldn't have been losing, ever think of that? Don't be a nerd. Be a jock. You can make that decision for yourself, you don't have to be miserable every second of your life. Enjoy things sometimes. I promise you it's better over here.
Tim Anderson, SS, CWS
If you got mad about Tatis' homer last night you probably have sent letters to Rob Manfred complaining about the very existence of Tim Anderson. Last year Tim Anderson was the coolest player in baseball. Point blank period. He made people SO goddamn mad by merely existing. He won the batting title, and while I already stated that stats don't matter - the nerds HATE the batting title. Which now makes it cool. He made such an impact in one year alone that he found himself going from relative unknown on a national level to getting lucrative endorsement deals in the blink of an eye. Why? Because its these companies' jobs to be able to identify cool. Cool sells, always has always will.
Javy Baez, SS, CHC
Chicago is currently the Mecca of cool shortstops. That's just the way it is. Tim Anderson? Extremely cool. Javy Baez? On any given day can be identified as the baddest man alive. He got the MLB logo tatted on the back of his neck when he was four years old. He always knew he was going to be great. It was written in the stars long before he was conceived. No look tags, Javy Bombs, everything he does on the field is both effortless and oozing with swagger. I imagine he'll have a permanent spot on the All Cool First Team until the day he retires.
Francisco Lindor, SS, CLE
Here's the thing with cool players: they do extremely cool shit when it matters. I'm not saying they're always going to hit a walk-off every time the situation calls for it. I'm saying they know how to show up in a specific moment in time. Dee Gordon, who just missed these lists, comes to mind for when he dug in and homered in the Marlins first game after the Jose Fernandez tragedy. That's what I mean. And for Lindor, playing in front of his people in Puerto Rico, that's a moment. Listen to this crowd, if you don't get all warm and fuzzy you might not have a soul.
Ronald Acuña, Jr., CF, ATL
I fucking love Ronald Acuña, Jr. Everyone loves Ronald Acuña, Jr. Is he going to sprint to first every time he grounds to the shortstop? No, no he sure isn't. Because he knows as much as I know that it's a waste of fucking time. And when you're as cool as Acuña you don't have time to waste on mundane tasks such as legging out an obvious out. Again, just like the Tatis bomb last night, Acuña is a litmus test for fans everywhere. If you think Acuña should tuck in his chains and "play the game the right way" you're a bad person. I don't know anyone who holds these type of thoughts who also like cures cancer or does a lot of work in soup kitchens. They're all miserable pricks whose televisions should block out anything and everything fun. Acuña's a young legend and the coolest brave since Andruw Jones was out there patrolling center. I would be amazed if he wasn't a staple on this team for the next decade.
Juan Soto, LF, WAS
Don't think much needs to be said here. The Nationals won a World Series last year off the back of how goddamn electric Juan Soto was, is, and will be. Think about how crushing it was for them to lose Bryce Harper, only for them to stumble out of the gates and eventually catch fire once Soto really started cooking. He celebrates, he talks shit, he has a signature shuffle that no one in the world had even considered doing before he started shaking his dick in pitchers' faces. He put Justin Verlander in a goddamn box last October.
Kyle Lewis, CF, SEA
This is why it's important to write this piece now. It's important to show not only that there is a surplus of cool players in the League today but the vast majority of them are extremely young. The MLB has plenty of young stars scattered across the country possessing more than enough cool factor to carry the League. It's fucking stupid to try and put it all on Trout. It's stupid to put it half on Trout and half on Judge or Bryce Harper. The League is littered with marketable guys all under 26 and Kyle Lewis is in an incredibly important position. My entire life the Mariners, despite being terrible at winning baseball games, have had cool players. Ranging from the epitome of cool in Griffey to Ichiro to Randy Johnson and King Felix. Kyle Lewis is here to carry on tradition, rake, and probably never win a playoff series in his career. But that's no matter. As long as he's the face of baseball in the Pacific Northwest, baseball can thrive.
Yoenis Cespedes, Retired (?), NYM
Yoenis Cespedes, the baseball player, is cool. He hits bombs, he throws underhand from the outfield because he's bored, he doesn't exactly care what happens out there, that's all well and good. Yoenis Cespedes the human being? Maybe the coolest cat on the planet. Just a fascinating individual who absolutely treats his job like a job and would much rather be smoking and playing golf like the rest of us. He came back this year after a two year absence, homered to show he's still got it, and then went home like a thief in the night never to be heard from again.
Amir Garrett, RP, CIN
You fight an ENTIRE TEAM? Legit THE WHOLE TEAM? You CHARGE THE DUGOUT? Iconic. Legendary. EXTREMELY fucking cool.
Joe Kelly, RP, LAD
Having your teammates' backs no matter what, defending the very fiber of the sport you love, being able to throw triple digits, having a fight club named after you, being able to throw triple digits but having no control whatsoever, Joe Kelly rounds out the inaugural First Team All Cool with two lasting images that speak for themselves.