Baseball's Alliteration All-Stars
Alliteration, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is "the repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables."
What does this have to do with Major League Baseball?
Honestly, nothing, but at least give me credit for finding a way to incorporate sports into my English homework.
Each slide will have the position player and an extremely cheesy sentence about said player with as much alliteration as possible.
Catcher: John Jaso, Tampa Bay Rays
Luckily for the Alliteration All-Stars, Tampa Bay Rays rookie catcher John Jaso broke into the big leagues in 2010 to provide a solid backstop for this team.
Jaso enjoys his job of judging pitch location and jerking opposing hitters into jeopardy.
Since starting catcher Kelly Shoppach sprained his right knee April 13, Jaso has provided a jolt to the Tampa Bay lineup, posting a .328 batting average and a .452 on-base percentage for the Rays.
First Base: Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals
While he's technically a "William," we're just going to go by the name on the lineup card.
Billy Butler boasts the best batting average in Kansas City (.344) and has belted baseballs to the beat of four home runs and 27 RBI in 2010 (through May 25).
Butler had a career year in 2009, blasting 21 home runs and 93 RBI, leading Royals fans to believe that his best years have only just begun.
Second Base: Skip Schumaker, St. Louis Cardinals
The only thing that can be said about Skip Schumaker is that every team, including the Alliteration All-Stars, needs a good contact hitter.
Schumaker swings a solid stick (.294 career batting average) and should supply sufficient skills at second base.
Schumaker has never been the flashiest player around, but he has shown offensive consistency, scoring 87 and 85 runs respectively in the past two seasons.
Schumaker also became the first Cardinal since Terry Moore in 1935 to record six hits in one game, going 6-for-7 at the plate in a 10-8 win over the New York Mets in July 2009.
Third Base: Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies
The fact that Placido Polanco plays for a team with an alliterative name like the Philadelphia Phillies is just the icing on the cake for this lineup.
Polanco personifies the perfect player, providing pop at the plate (.303 career batting average) and playing peerless defense at third base.
Polanco is very talented with both his glove and his bat, winning two Gold Glove Awards (2007 and 2009) and a Silver Slugger Award in 2007.
The Phillies' third baseman was also a member of the AL All-Star team in 2007 and was named the 2006 ALCS MVP as a member of the Detroit Tigers.
Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
Kudos to Mr. and Mrs. Tulowitzki for providing a triple alliteration, Troy Trevor Tulowitzki, for the Alliteration All-Stars in the Colorado Rockies' shortstop.
Tulowitzki tames tough grounders and takes a titanic bat to the plate with his trademark tenacity in tow.
Tulowitzki proved he was a clubhouse leader during his rookie season with the Rockies, helping guide Colorado to the 2007 World Series with 24 home runs and 99 RBI.
The .284 career hitter rebounded from an injury-plagued 2008 campaign by posting a career high in homers (32) and driving in 92 runs for the Rockies last season.
Left Field: David DeJesus, Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus of the Kansas City Royals cracks the starting lineup of the Alliteration All-Stars as the team's left fielder.
DeJesus delivers decent driving power with his bat and displays a determined desire to disappoint his doubters.
DeJesus has come into his own as a solid offensive player, hitting 25 home runs and 145 RBI combined for the Royals during the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
Center Field: Coco Crisp, Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletic Coco Crisp, whose name often makes one think of chocolate cereal, provides a talented, speedy outfielder for the Alliteration All-Stars.
Crisp is capable of recreating his consistent numbers from Cleveland if he can keep himself completely healthy.
Crisp, who began the season rehabbing a broken pinkie finger, was 2-for-3 with two RBI in the A's leadoff spot in his return to the lineup May 21 in a 6-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Crisp averaged 20 stolen bases per season from 2003 to 2008 and hopes to cause chaos as a baserunner for Oakland this season.
Right Field: Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay Rays
Arguably the best player in this lineup, the athleticism of Tampa Bay Rays' outfielder Carl Crawford forces him to set up camp in the unfamiliar terrain known as right field for the Alliteration All-Stars.
The cannon-armed Crawford cannot be caught on the base paths, and his command at the plate cannot be contained.
A four-time AL stolen base champion (2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007), Crawford has become the most dangerous baserunner in baseball, stealing at least 50 bases in a single season five times, including a career-high 60 stolen bases last season.
The 2009 All-Star Game MVP is a force to be reckoned with on defense as well, racking up 49 career outfield assists as of May 25.
Starting Pitcher: CC Sabathia, New York Yankees
The ace of the New York Yankees also serves as the ace of the Alliteration All-Stars in the form of three-time AL All-Star CC Sabathia.
Sabathia solidifies a stupendous starting staff with sick stuff that strikes out sluggers.
Last season, Sabathia added a World Series championship, a third consecutive Warren Spahn Award (given to baseball's best left-handed pitcher), and the 2009 ALCS MVP Award to a résumé that already included the 2007 AL Cy Young Award.
Starting Pitcher: Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher and two-time NL All-Star Chris Carpenter takes his place as the No. 2 starter for the Alliteration All-Stars.
Carpenter can call himself the "comeback kid," overcoming injuries to continually control pitch counts and confuse opposing hitters with his killer curveball and his crafty cutter.
Carpenter has won the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award twice, returning from a torn labrum for the 2004 season and battling back from elbow problems for the 2009 campaign.
Carpenter led the NL with a 2.24 ERA in 2009 and won the 2005 NL Cy Young Award with a 21-5 record and 2.83 ERA.
Starting Pitcher: Jair Jurrjens, Atlanta Braves
Narrowly beating out fellow NL East "JJ" (Florida Marlin Josh Johnson) for a spot in the Alliteration All-Star starting rotation is Jair Jurrjens of the Atlanta Braves.
Jurrjens makes jaws drop and other pitchers jealous by throwing junk that puts opposing hitters in jeopardy.
Jurrjens has been been one of the few bright spots for the Braves during their four-year playoff drought, posting 27 wins and a 3.10 ERA in two full seasons in the Atlanta rotation.
Despite an 0-3 record and a 6.38 ERA in 2010, Jurrjens will rejuvenate the Braves' rotation and return to his former self once he returns from a left hamstring injury.
Relief Pitcher: Alfredo Aceves, New York Yankees
New York Yankees reliever Alfredo Aceves provides a good, solid arm for the Alliteration All-Stars' bullpen.
Aceves ably annihilates opposing batters with an awesome array of A-list pitches.
The 27-year-old right-hander had a very good 2009 season for the Yankees 'pen, putting up a 10-1 record with a 3.54 ERA.
Aceves has picked up up from where he left off last season in 2010, posting a 3-0 record and a 3.00 ERA through May 25.
Closer: Scot Shields, Los Angeles Angels
Prior to the 2009 season, Scot Shields of the Los Angeles Angels would have been a shoo-in pick as the Alliteration All-Star team's closer.
However, an ugly 2009 season (1-3, 6.62 ERA) and a bad start to the 2010 campaign (6.14 ERA, 2.05 WHIP through May 25) don't help him at all.
Shields' sure-fire stuff should surface again soon and strike fear into the psyches of sluggers.
Before his recent run of awful pitching, Shields was one of the top relievers in baseball, recording a 2.20 ERA for the 2002 World Series Champion Anaheim Angels and posting a 2.70 ERA in 2008.
The Alliteration All-Star Team
1. Coco Crisp - CF
2. Carl Crawford - RF
3. Troy Tulowitzki - SS
4. Billy Butler - IB
5. Placido Polanco - 3B
6. John Jaso - C
7. David DeJesus - LF
8. Skip Schumaker - 2B
9. CC Sabathia - P
1. CC Sabathia
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Jair Jurrjens
1. Scot Shields - Closer
2. Alfredo Aceves - Relief Pitcher
What do you think of this lineup? Have any deserving alliteratively-named players been left out? Comment below!