Have you ever been lying awake at night restless because no one knows who the true face of the MLB is? No? Oh, well I guess that’s just me. Yet, whether it causes you to lose sleep or not, finding a player to represent all of Major League Baseball is important for the future of the sport. So, I have taken it upon myself to create a list of a few potential candidates for the job using pros and cons. Although obvious, I will inform you that their skills will not be considered a pro because their play is what got them onto the list in the first place.
Bryce Harper (OF, WSH)
Pro: Personality – “Make Baseball Fun Again” is a campaign slogan many fans can get behind, and Harper will play a big part in trying to make it come through. His loose, flamboyant style both on and off the field is helping bring a new swagger to the sport.
Con: Personality – His flamboyance can hinder him at times. I’m not saying I don’t love when Bryce gets in a choking match with his teammate or charges the mound, but it is not the best look for the MLB as they may look to choose a player who acts as a role model for the younger generation.
Pro: Hair – I could not leave out the flow. When you have hair like that, it’s always an added plus. The way he flips his hair after a monster home run is one of the more enjoyable sites in baseball.
Kris Bryant (3B, CHC)
Pro: Chicago – Bryant playing for the Cubs helps his case because the team gets so much coverage from media outlets. Unlike some stars on other teams, Bryant is constantly being watched by the nation which makes it easier for him to become a recognizable name.
Con: Dull – Man, it kills me to say this, but Bryant is kind of a dull guy. For someone who has been a star on every level of competition, he does not really act like it. Sure, being humble is great, but you’d like to see some more emotion from him on the field. If anything, the other member of Bryzzo, Anthony Rizzo has the personality to be the face of the MLB.
Pro: Handsome – He’s just a really good looking guy. The blue eyes and the smile could even make a Cardinals fan melt. Bryant definitely has a good enough face literally to represent the league.
Mike Trout (OF, LAA)
Pro: Guy you take home to meet the family – Trout is the man you bring home for the holidays to show your family that everything is all right, and you’re not secretly dating someone like Bryce Harper. He is what every parent wants their kid to be like when they grow up.
Con: Personality of Cardboard – If you think Bryant is kind of dull, you won’t be a big fan of Trout either. There is no denying he is the greatest talent of his generation and maybe of all-time, but I think the only reason he has not been crowned as the face of the MLB is because his play is the only thing exciting about him.
Con: Angels – It also does not help Trout that he plays for the Angels on the west coast. A miserable team that does not play until 10 p.m. most nights is a bad combination. Besides the Sportscenter Top 10 plays, you don’t get to see much of Trout.
Francisco Lindor (SS, CLE)
Pro: Smile – If you don’t crack a smile after Lindor unleashes his huge grin on the field I’m pretty sure there is something wrong with you. His love and joy for the game can only be matched by a few other players and is incredibly infectious. The Indians have a lot of fun and Lindor is a big reason why.
Con: Cleveland – I know I will take some heat for this one. This has nothing to do with the city of Cleveland or the teams that play there. I strongly believe “The Land” is on the rise to become one of, if not the best, sports cities in the country. The Indians are also still my pick to win the World Series. I say Cleveland is a con for Lindor because they just don’t get enough national airtime. It is hard to believe a team so good with a budding superstar is never on FOX or ESPN, but that is sadly the case for the Tribe.
Pro: International Player – We all saw the excitement Lindor brought to Puerto Rico in this year’s World Baseball Classic. Being from Puerto Rico allows Lindor to have a larger fan base and attract more fans to the MLB. Being bilingual, he has the ability to combine two cultures over the common bond of baseball. Professional sports are always looking to become more popular outside of the states and Lindor can definitely help with that.
Clayton Kershaw (P, LAD)
*Disclaimer: I know the Dodgers have plenty of young studs (Seager, Bellinger) that could be worthy candidates but to many, Kershaw is the name you think of when someone mentions the Dodgers, which is why I have him on this list.
Pro: Dominant – I know I said I was not going to talk about how they play on here, but it’s hard to ignore Kershaw’s extended period of excellence. You can almost guarantee a quality start every time he takes the mound no matter who he is facing. Kershaw is a shoe in for the Hall of Fame, so being the face of baseball during his time playing does not seem like a stretch.
Con: Pitcher – Can a pitcher really be the face of baseball? When you only play one out of every five games, it’s hard to argue yes. Kershaw is brilliant when he’s out there, but the four off days he gets in between starts hurts his chances at taking the crown.
Jose Altuve (2B, HOU)
Pro: Underdog – There’s nothing sports fans love more than a feel good story about a player overcoming obstacles to achieve their dreams. Altuve, undersized and overlooked, was able to beat the criticism and transform into arguably the best hitter in baseball. His story not only makes him a candidate for the face of the MLB, but there’s a chance we see a movie about his journey hit the theatres at some point.
Con: Teammates – Altuve has to share some of his spotlight with a bunch of other up-and-coming players on an exciting Astros team. Correa, Springer and company take away some of Altuve’s star power since he is not carrying the team on his back. But I’m sure he’ll trade sharing the spotlight for a World Series trophy.
Aaron Judge (OF, NYY)
Pro: Yankee – This might be a tad biased, but there is nothing the media loves more than a successful Yankee. Judge’s career is still in the early stages, but he continues to show that he is the real deal, and the biggest player (literally and figuratively) to put on the pinstripes since Derek Jeter. If you can hit 490 foot bombs while playing in New York, you can easily be the face of the MLB.
Pro: Puns – The last name Judge just welcomes so many perfect puns and play on words for marketing and social media workers everywhere. He already has the Judge’s Chamber in right field, and I’m sure there will be more to come in the future.
Con: Yankee – I don’t know, it’s kinda hard to find a flaw with this guy. Not from a playing standpoint (his defense needs work), but from a marketing standpoint, he is perfect. Some people are not the biggest fans of the Yankees, so he will have no problem making plenty of enemies in road stadiums around the league.
If I had to choose one player out of these guys, I would probably go with Judge. Obviously his career is still at the point where we don’t know for certain that he is going to be a superstar. But, if he continues to play like he has in 2017, he has everything needed to become the poster boy of the MLB.
There are obviously other candidates I am leaving off this list (Mookie, Machado, Posey and many, many more), but these are the eight men who I believe have the best cases to earn the position. If you agree with one of these choices, or feel there is another player who should be considered, please let me know so I can finally get some sleep!