A few years ago, when I had my own sports site, the community up there came up with an idea: Build an 25-man MLB roster using
(a) Using one player per letter, by first initial of their last name, using every letter other than X. So one A, one B, one Q, etc.
(b) You can only use one player per team.
Some other rules -- 2012 only, ignore contracts. Just take the best guys for right now. http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players?type=lastname&query=Q is your friend. And you want utility guys as utility guys, RPs as RPs. A guy who starts for one team can be your utility guy if it makes sense generally (e.g. Daniel Murphy or Andres Torres) or vice versa (e.g. oh, I dunno). Oh, and no DH.
Okay, let's go. Let's start with Q, because we need one, and pickings are slim. The only real options are Carlos Quentin and Humberto Quintero -- Chad Qualls would cost us too much (no Halladay/Lee) for a RP. I'm going with Quintero, making him a backup catcher. Quentin would have to start and he's not good enough to start on this team.
Z is also a good start sometimes, but with Ryan Zimmerman, Ben Zobrist, and Carlos Zambrano all reasonable choices, I'll revisit it.
U -- pick your Upton, I guess? Or Uggla? I'm going Uggla. It means no Robinson Cano, but I don't know that I want Cano to be my C or my Yankee.
A: Jose Arrendondo. A lazy 25th guy.
B: Carlos Beltran. Homerism on my part, but he's good. Probably should have gone with Joey Bats.
C: Asdrubal Cabrera: Need a SS, could use an Indian. Kind of wanted Matt Cain here. Or Robinson Cano, but I have Uggla and U is hard.
D: Ryan Dempster: He's a Cub, he's a D, he's good.
E: Andre Ethier. Considered Nick Evans for a moment.
F: Neftali Feliz. F is weak, and until I added him, so was my bullpen. See also the note at H.
G: Zack Greinke: Use B for Beltran, losing Braun in the process; took Zack over Gio Gonzalez and Curtis Granderson.
H: Cole Hamels. Originally had Josh Hamilton, but he cost me both Neftali Feliz -- and F isn't a very strong letter -- and Hamels, who has (as Mets fans sadly know) been amazing.
I: Omar Infante. Utility infielder. There are a lot of better Marlins but in general, they're not guys I want. And there aren't a lot of Is.
J: Adam Jones. Eh.
K: Paul Konerko: Would have been harder if Kemp weren't injured (although then I'd lose Ethier); passed on Kershaw because of Ethier.
L: Tim Lincecum. Yes, he's getting hammered. But he fits so well.
M: Joe Mauer. Kills me, really, to add him here, because I am sure I could do better with M. But the team restriction almost forces my hand given previous decisions. Could have gone with J.C. Arencibia but he's kinda sucking.
N: Bud Norris. Holy cow, N sucks! http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players?type=lastname&query=N
O: David Ortiz. Going to use him as a PH, which I think is reasonable given the rules. Maybe not.
P: Gerardo Parra. I need a 4th OF type, and he's reasonable in that role.
Q: Humberto Quintero: As noted above.
R: David Robertson. Need an RP. Can't believe he's the Yankee I took.
S: Craig Stammen. Need an RP. Embarrassed to take him over Strasburg. I'm justifying it by having an incredible rotation and being a bit lazy.
T: Dale Thayer. Need an RP. Get the stache!
U: Dan Ugga: As noted above
V: Justin Verlander: Easy one.
W: David Wright. I actually added him pretty late, trying to balance out my homerism, but I needed a 3B and W was free. Neat.
Y: Eric Young. Utiliy almost awesome-man!
Z: Ben Zobrist. Utility awesome-man!
Pen: Feliz, Robertson, Stammen, Norris, Thayer, Arredondo
- Catcher: Joe Mauer
- 1B: Paul Konerko
- 2B: Dan Uggla
- 3B: David Wright
- SS: Asdrubal Cabrera
- LF: Andre Ethier
- CF: Adam Jones
- RF: Carlos Beltran
Bench: Humberto Quintero, Omar Infante, David Ortiz, Ben Zobrist, Eric Young , Gerardo Parra
There's a good chance I doubled up on a team by accident. The David Ortiz decision is ... poor. But whatever, have fun with it.