2009 All-Beer League Softball Team
Across Major League Baseball, we see players that make us think "how in the name of Ted Williams' Head are these guys professional athletes?"
I decided to honor those players that make us wonder. Many of these guys are fan favorites—great guys to root for and tons of fun to watch when they make contact.
Here's my 2009 All-Beer League Lineup:
1. Utility: Mark DeRosa
One of the most beautiful things about beer league softball is the extra fielder. You are allowed to have an extra player so that you don't have to run too hard and exert yourself more than you must.
Mark DeRosa is the best fit. He can play anywhere. If someone doesn't show up, or throws out their back, he can take their place. He's the guy that saves everyone's butts. He's also the only guy on the team with decent speed.
Honorable Mention: Willie Bloomquist, Willy Aybar
2. SS Bobby Crosby
Trying to find a MLB shortstop who looks like he belongs in a beer league is hard. Most teams look for defense at the position, not just offense. Though Crosby is playing 1B more than SS these days, he's a natural SS and he's big enough that he fits. He's not a great hitter, but has a decent glove. He fits the best here.
HM: Chris Woodward, Troy Glaus
3. 3B Troy Glaus
Huge man. Tremendous power. Not very athletic, but just good enough to handle the hot corner. At this point in his career, he's your prototypical beer leaguer.
HM: Aubrey Huff, Casey Blake, Kevin Youkilis, Pablo Sandoval
4. DH Russell Branyan
The perfect DH, especially in a slow-pitch softball league. Branyan's game is power, and the 6'3" lefty anchors this lineup. A batting-practice beast, Branyan would destroy opposing pitching in a beer league
HM: Travis "Pronk" Hafner, Eric Hinske, Jack Cust, Mike Sweeney, Dimitri Young, David Ortiz, Kevin Millar
5. CF Andruw Jones
Jones has ballooned over the years from an athletic, Gold Glove CF to a larger, slower version of that player.
That said, Jones has turned his career back around in Texas, still hitting for power. His athletic past allows him to be a solid defensive option in the beer leagues, and can hit anywhere in the lineup as a result.
HM: Mark Kotsay
6. LF Matt Stairs
When I first thought up this project, two players came to mind: Matt Stairs and Kevin Millar. Both look like they shouldn't be able to do anything for a MLB team. If you've seen Stairs swing, it's all-or-nothing.
The Canadian and part-time hockey coach is a ton of fun to watch when he comes in to pinch hit, though surprisingly, not a drone in the field. Stairs is the ultimate beer leaguer.
HM: Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns, Jeff Francoeur
7. RF Jonny Gomes
I really wanted to include Jeff Francoeur because of his desire to swing at every pitch, but the OF/1B/DH logjam made it impossible. Frenchy would have been that typical guy on the team that doesn't quite fit the mold, but is always there...the young guy who has a ton of talent, and makes you think he might have a shot at at least a minor league career.
Gomes, however, is a great fit for a beer league team. He's got enough sense in the field to handle RF, but he's still a guy who's game is predicated on power and nothing much else. I could have went a lot of ways on this one, and thought long and hard about Adam Dunn. Gomes took the spot in a close call.
HM: Dunn, Berkman, Kearns, Frenchy
8. 1B Kevin Millar
As I mentioned earlier, Millar was one of the first two players to inspire this project. Millar looks more like a beer leaguer than anyone. He doesn't hit for power as much as Glaus and even Stairs, but he's just that grungy type of guy you expect to see out there playing some slow-pitch.
HM: Youkilis, Russell Branyan, Chris Davis
9. C Jason Varitek
Some might say I could have just copy and pasted the 2004 Red Sox roster and had my team right there. But if that team was a beer league team, nobody embodies those characteristics more than the captain.
Varitek is exactly what you'd expect for this position. He's a perfect fit, and was really the only choice.
HM: Mike Napoli
10. 2B Willy Aybar
Aybar fits here because of his size at 2B, his versatility to play across the IF, and his seemingly innate ability to find the scrappy plays. Maybe he's not the scrappiest player, but he routinely finds his uniform dirty. He's also got some pop.
HM: Jeff Baker, Ronnie Belliard, Bloomquist
11. SP Micah Owings
I thought of going a lot of different ways with this, including Tim Wakefield and his knuckleball.
But I decided on Owings because of one thing: the dude can flat out rake at the plate for a pitcher. Put this guy in a beer league and he's one of the most dangerous players. Having a pitcher who can hit is a big bonus, and this big guy is just that.
HM: Wakefield, Carlos Zambrano, Seth McClung, Joe Blanton, Mike Hampton