Once again, and in the tradition of this time of the calendar year, it’s that time of year again — time when baseball writers search beneath the seats of their Camrys for something (anything!) to write about and, finding nothing, proceed to write about nothing. What follows, in the tradition of things that follow the phrase “what follows,” is the following: the usual analysis of exciting prospects, without whose convenient presence baseball writers would have to sell their Camrys and, with those Camrys, all the excellent story ideas each would likely have discovered beneath the seats.
BASEBALL’S TOP FIVE (5) PROSPECTS (PROSPECTS)
Steve “Mac” Stevenson, shortstop:
Strengths: has strong arm; quick release; good at creating memorable nicknames for himself and others; excellent knowledge of strike zone; solid gap-to-gap power; is nice to his grandmother, particularly his maternal grandmother and especially during holidays (e.g., Thanksgiving, Saturnalia); good understanding of traffic patterns; makes an excellent BLT; has often played the game the right way; is in contact with the angel Gabriel; owns a smartphone.
Weaknesses: tends to lose focus; has bad two-strike approach; frequently takes the last bag of sunflower seeds and proceeds to craft abstract-expressionist portraits of “Shell E. Duncan” on the infield dirt; sneezes a lot; has poor baserunning instincts; suffers from bad taste in movies (e.g., Adam Sandler, David Spade, educational film strips about venereal disease); lacks kneecaps; has a poor work ethic on the third Thursday of every month; is a charter member of the Free Madoff Society; shits his pants while tagging up at third base.
MacCauley “Steve” MacArthur, second baseman:
Strengths: boasts quick double-play pivot; has soft hands; can hit four of five high notes while singing Mariah Carey songs during Karaoke Night at Finnegan’s Pub; handles the bat well (e.g., bunting, hitting-and-running, threatening pizza delivery guys who forget the red pepper flakes); spends every other weekend saving orphans from monitor lizards and tire fires; is a team-first guy, though only if you recognize him (and him alone) as such; has trained hard to have good baseball instincts; can recite Wuthering Heights, verbatim, in Esperanto.
Weaknesses: lacks power; moonlights as a moonshiner named Reaper; has three nipples.
Junior “Junior” Oldman Jr., RHP:
Strengths: boasts live arm; possesses three plus pitches and a fluffy kitten; has angular build with room fill out; writes catchy jingles for shampoo commercials; fields position well; vomits in creamy pastels; can command his off-speed pitches, e.g., tell them to take out the garbage and mow the lawn; has memorized 37 of the state capitals.
Weaknesses: tires easily; is in prison.
Oil Can “Dennis” Floyd, LHP:
Strengths: boasts rubber arm; has poise in tense situations, and poison in life-insurance situations; looks good naked; boasts excellent spin rate on slider; can spell “syzygy;” has never lost an argument with a fence; once made a unicorn-shaped puppy out of a rainbow.
Weaknesses: doesn’t reply to emails; doesn’t return phone calls; might be dead.
Sir Nigel Smythe-Smytheson, Earl of Smythewick, right fielder:
Strengths: wears a monocle; looks dashing; pronounces it “shhhedyule.”
Weaknesses: lives in a distant castle; still likes Wham!