Instead of arguing about which of the players selected in the 2018 MLB Draft are going to be viable big league players, we decided to go in a different direction with our draft coverage. We took all of the superheroes and sidekicks and peak-human-performance characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and then drafted them into teams to play baseball.
Every MCU movie hero, from Iron Man to Black Panther! Every major television show branching off from the MCU is represented, like Jessica Jones and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but not Inhumans, because no one watched that or liked it and, honestly, we should just forget it ever happened. Grant Brisbee, Whitney McIntosh, and Marc Normandin picked their teams and made their arguments, and now you get to sit in judgment of all of us.
The best part, besides basically everything about this, is that no one picked Iron Fist. You suck, Danny. Watch from the bleachers.
Here are the three teams, which again, do not feature Iron Fist, who sucks.
|2||Ant-Man (Scott Lang)||1B|
|3||Wasp (Hope van Dyne)||CF|
|4||Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers)||RF|
|5||Black Panther (T'Challa)||SS|
|8||Daisy "Quake" Johnson||SP|
|11||James "Rhodey" Rhodes||LF|
|13||Drax the Destroyer||Dingers|
|15||Bobbi "Mockingbird" Morse||RP|
They got their name from being in first place all the time, see.
The first overall pick was Doctor Strange, and it was an easy choice. When you get the chance to take a guaranteed 0.00 ERA over 400 innings, you take the 0.00 ERA over 400 innings. He’s transporting umpires to different dimensions to get called strikes, and I’m pretty sure these umpires will be, like, Angel Hernandez and C.B. Buckner. They won’t be equipped to handle this. Strange will turn changeups into dragonflies and fastballs into fasterballs. Untouchable. He makes Greg Maddux look like a high schooler screaming “FASTBALL’S COMING” before every pitch.
Ant-Man and Wasp will be a pair of 1.000 OBPs at the top of the lineup. The other GMs were busy drafting Mike Trout; I was busy drafting twin Eddie Gaedels. Plus, Ant-Man as a first baseman can switch to Goliath mode and become a huge target, and he can also Goliath himself into a 30-foot monster who can stick his hand in front of home plate after the pitch and block batted balls from traveling farther than five feet, then pick them up with his foot already on the bag. And when he runs the bases, he keeps one foot on the previous base, then Goliaths his way to the next base, never giving the other team a chance to tag him. He might be the best player in the draft.
Wasp is a center fielder, of course. Did I mention the 1.000 OBP? Can’t throw a strike to someone who’s millimeters tall. And just try to tag her on the bases, whoops, you can’t.
Captain Marvel is just as strong as Thor or the Hulk, so it was a nice surprise that she lasted that long. She’ll have the arm and bat for right.
T’Challa is basically Carlos Correa with A GOSHDANG VIBRANIUM BAT and super strength and speed and, well, everything. He’s also six steps ahead of every pitcher, like a less whiny Batman.
Vision might be the most powerful, well-rounded player in the draft, if we’re being honest. He’s Shohei Ohtani if I want — like he couldn’t throw a fastball fast enough to incinerate the surrounding area — but I’m sticking him at the hot corner. Please note that he’ll hit a million home runs.
Shuri can do everything T’Challa can, and she allows me to adhere to my overarching draft philosophy: Get yourself all the vibranium bats in the lineup that you can.
Quake can start earthquakes without being affected. Imagine trying to hit a baseball when there’s a seismic event taking your legs out from under you. Imagine that every pitch. I’m sure that Stark will figure something out for her, but, like, what is Black Widow going to do? Just sit there and shake for every pitch, IMO.
Heimdall is as powerful as the typical Asgardian, and he’s sturdy enough to be a catcher. He’s basically Gary Sanchez, but stronger and with the ability to listen to opposing pitchers, catchers, and coaches talk strategy at the mound.
Daredevil is a calculated risk. He doesn’t have the kind of superpowers that, say, Hulk or Thor have, so there are no guarantees he can throw a baseball faster than 114 mph. But he’ll bring the fear factor. You know he’s a superhero, and he’s legit, so you’re not worried.
Then he buzzes you with an inside fastball.
Ha! Ha! That’s just a coincidence. He knows what he’s doing, right?
Then he throws one behind your back.
Wait, should this guy be out there?
Right when you’re in your own head, he throws three straight back-door sinkers with perfect location.
War Machine was the last addition to my lineup, and I’m thrilled. He’s the Tim Raines to Iron Man’s Rickey Henderson, and there’s no shame in that. He can cover ground in left, and he can use a bunch of techno-crap to get on base and score runs. My only concern is that Stark will frame him for techno-steroids.
Gamora and Drax are both key bench cogs, with super strength and versatility. Well, Gamora has the speed and athleticism to be versatile. Drax hits dingers. We’re talking .180/.210/.620. But I’m okay with that off the bench. Pick your spots.
Nick Fury is a player-manager, and he would make Billy Martin say, c’mon, chill the hell out, Nick.
Mockingbird is a versatile long reliever, able to bounce back quickly after being stretched. She’s a West Coast Avenger, which means that everyone’s asleep while she does her thing, and she’s extremely underrated.
My team is the best team. Vote for my team. My only concern is that, gee, I hope Hawkeye doesn’t shoot arrows at us. Or, whoa, what if Falcon flew around us real fast-like? That’d be horrible. I’m so scared about that, everyone. — Grant Brisbee
We Are Groot!
|4||James "Bucky" Barnes||3B|
|15||Nakia||UTIL/Pos Player Pitching|
The other guys might think they have the most well-drafted team, but they’re wrong. The best Avengers baseball team is definitely the one you see here. It’s indisputable.
I drafted Scarlet Witch first because she’s extremely valuable. Just try to hit any pitch of hers when she’s manipulating it with energy and chaos magic. She has chaos magic! Her fastball could break the laws of physics, and even if an opponent somehow figured out how to crack her magical pitches, she could just manipulate reality to prevent the bat from making contact. Scarlet Witch is Justin Verlander combined with top-shelf hallucinatory drugs, so good luck.
Beyond my ace though, this team is all about the infield. Nothing is getting past a combination of Iron Man at short, Groot at first, Loki at second, and Bucky locking things down on the hot corner.
Iron Man at short makes our shift practically impenetrable. He can just jet to the ball or deploy some part of his suit to block it and make a play. Meanwhile, Loki’s over there at second making himself appear on both sides of a rundown, or manipulating reality so that someone trying to steal second sees the base a foot to the left of where it actually is, leading them to aim their slide completely wrong and get easily tagged out. Just picture a player’s face transitioning from smug “what a steal I just pulled off” to baffled “what in the heck just happened here ... aw, man, I’ve been duped by Loki again.” Endlessly entertaining.
Then you’ve got Groot and Bucky at the corners.
Groot can catch any throw, growing his limbs to both reach the ball if it’s off target or his legs to stay on the base. But it won’t be off target coming from third since Bucky has a mechanical arm that is a thousand times stronger and more reliable than Nolan Arenado’s, plus the playmaking ability of Alex Bregman. That’s two 1.000 fielding percentages on the season right there.
Both of them will be home run machines at the plate too, what with Groot’s ability to make a top-tier bat out of his own arms and Bucky’s extra-strong robot arm that can probably hit a baseball from his beloved Queens all the way to the tip of Long Island.
The rest of the starting rotation is made up of Korg and Misty Knight. Korg is basically space’s Bartolo Colon, and I look forward to his long and healthy career surprising people with his velocity while remaining goofy as hell.
Misty Knight gives this team both major one-armed characters in the MCU and an unstoppable cutter in the pitching arsenal. She’s the type of pitcher you acquire at the trade deadline to give you a reliable arm late into Game 3 of a Division Series when your bullpen needs a break. Plus, talk about #PitchersWhoRake.
With Hulk backstopping everything even wild pitches are easily blockable. He’ll probably get ejected half a dozen times each season because the umpire made a questionable call and Hulk got angry, but that’s a drawback we can work with.
If we need someone to lay down a bunt he can just turn back into Bruce Banner for late-game suicide squeeze situations. But that won’t be necessary because Hulk will hit 37 home runs in the first month of the season, with all other scoring just gravy on top of that.
In the outfield, we have Falcon in center, Black Widow in left, and Luke Cage in right.
Falcon can cover a whole lot of ground (er, air), catching any fly ball or mid-range liner no matter what the catch probability is on the play. Have you seen Black Widow’s slides, rolls, and wall usage in combat? She can adapt to any field and catch any ball that would be a home run with many other outfielders. Luke Cage won’t ever need a cutoff man, easily launching balls from deep right to home plate for the out like it’s nothing.
Rocket is my player/manager mostly because he’d always be the last man off the bench, but is fast on the base paths if you need a pinch runner in extras. Sometimes he forgets the batting order and misses flights, but he’s mostly loyal and provides sarcastic levity so we’ll keep him. He’ll mostly be enjoying cigars and grain alcohol in the dugout while planning how to steal valuables from the clubhouse on off days.
My bench is just badass ladies with War Rhinos involved.
War Rhinos. Out of the bullpen.
YOUR FAVE BULLPEN CART COULD NEVER.
With Okoye as my closer, Nakia as a utility player and my designated position player pitcher, and Peggy Carter as my middle reliever, it’s a true women-led bench and I have the utmost faith in all of them. No batter will be able to keep their nerves in check with Okoye staring them down from the mound in a save situation.
Carter can also easily decode all of the other team’s signs, rendering their nonverbal codes useless. Your secret strategy is toast.
Meanwhile, Grant has Captain Marvel and Vision. Scary! One is a whiny clubhouse presence and the other one will be on the 90-day DL all the time because she has to go time travel or something. Always apologizing like “listen guys i know there’s important division games right now but there’s some Quantum Realm stuff going down so you’re going to have to call a prospect up too early (again) and compromise their development.”
Marc has Hawkeye, who I am less than concerned about mostly because those injury updates will just be “day-to-day, at the cabin with his secret family again,” and Peter Quill who is an emotional liability during any and all clutch situations.
My team will clearly dominate. — Whitney McIntosh
Agents of Field
|10||Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez||SP|
|12||Phil Coulson||Bench (P)|
|13||Melinda May||Bench (Util)|
|14||Peter Quill||Bench (Crying, probably)|
|15||Alphonso "Mack" MacKenzie||Bench|
With the two best options for pitchers off the board before I even had a chance to pick, I knew I had to focus on hitting and defense. So, enter Thor, who understands the importance of a balanced swing better than anyone in the MCU, literally has the strength of a god, and, oh, can fly. When you’ve got aliens and superheroes and such sending baseballs into orbit, someone who can fly after anything hit in the air is going to be key to the defense.
Plus, if a game is going poorly, Thor can just make sure it’s rained out before it’s official.
Captain America might not be a god in the literal sense, but in a much truer sense where we’re all in love with Chris Evans, he definitely is. Putting him behind the plate makes a ton of sense: he’s already basically the field general for the Avengers, his insignia will look wonderful on a chest protector, and oh, unlike, Hulk, Cap isn’t about to be suspended every other game for getting mad about balls and strikes and then attacking the umpire in response.
Spider-Man’s webbing gives him a serious advantage for balls hit over his head, and have you seen him swinging around New York City? Dude has range. Sure, Peter Parker is on the smaller side, but he’s low-key one of the stronger Avengers out there, too. Quicksilver at short is a no-brainer: he will never be caught off guard by a hard liner in the infield, and no grounder will get out of the infield with him around. And if anyone does manage to get on base, well, Quicksilver means hidden ball tricks galore.
Valkyrie is a hard drinker who still thrives the next day, so even leaving aside the supernatural strength and agility, she’s perfect for baseball. If you think Yasiel Puig bouncing back from slamming into an outfield wall to make a catch is impressive, wait until you see an unbreakable alien cyborg do it at every opportunity. Nebula obviously has competitive spirit, so God help those walls and anyone who gets in her way on the basepaths.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Hawkeye is lame as hell and I got roasted in the draft for this one. HOWEVER (and, yes, you know whose voice you should read that in), Hawkeye’s accuracy isn’t just for shooting arrows: he played 18 holes of golf and shot 18, and that kind of perfection is going to serve him well against lineups where perfect command and control will be necessary. Am I basing the pick for my number one starter entirely on a throwaway joke from Captain America: Civil War? Guilty as charged, unlike Bucky: that devotion to interpreting dialogue to my benefit is what’s going to get me through the long season.
Did I draft Wong to pitch solely because Grant’s Doctor Strange strategy made a ton of sense to me? Hell yeah. Maybe he won’t be Greg Maddux like Strange, but if he’s Tom Glavine or John Smoltz, things are going to be just fine.
Jessica Jones is going to be hungover, like, all the time, but that’s why she’s playing second base, where she won’t need to range. Also, she’s stronger than Luke Cage, so that ball is going to fly off her bat. Or, at least, further than she used to be able to in her comics.
Yo-Yo has similar powers to Quicksilver, and she will abuse them to move baseballs around the bats of her opponents after she pitches them. Is that cheating? Well, you’ll never know if it’s happening, because the only other superhero capable of seeing what Yo-Yo is up to after every pitch is on the same team as her. They’re probably also the only two players capable of ever tagging Ant-Man or the Wasp on the basepaths, and since they’ll apparently be on 100 percent of the time, that’s going to matter.
Every baseball team needs a thicc first baseman, and M’Baku is overqualified. My dude swings a big stick and survives fights with overpowered heroes and aliens and such: he can handle swinging a baseball bat at a puny sphere.
Player/manager Phil Coulson has strategy and a robot hand, and that robot hand is going to help him throw serious heat on the mound. Melinda Mae is the television version of Black Widow, all agility and strength and speed and one-liners, and she’ll similarly thrive in a utility role. Peter Quill is a bit of a downer, sure, but it was hard to leave a half-god who has survived holding an Infinity Stone in his hand undrafted. Mack is a big dude with a bigger heart, perfect for the clubhouse, and also the dude swings an axe that is also a shotgun and there has to be some kind of translation for that in baseball, yeah? — Marc Normandin
Which team is the best?
This poll is closed