2018 Video Game Protagonists All-Stars

I wrote in my Game of the Year list about MLB The Show 18 getting its hooks into me through Diamond Dynasty, which is this franchise's answer to EA's Ultimate Team mode. It's exploitative and grind-y in all the ways designed to keep player engagement and spending up in gross ways, but I couldn't resist the appeal of building a team with Johnny Bench in his prime at catcher, Bryce Harper and Ted Williams in the outfield, and a double play team of Chipper Jones and Roberto Alomar up the middle, finishing to Frank Thomas at 1st base. And now that Giant Bomb's Game of the Year list is out, I wondered if I could construct a baseball team, positions 1-8, out of this year's best video game protagonists. Here's what I came up with:

2018 Video Game All Stars Batting Lineup

1. Celeste (Celeste), CF - You want range and speed in the middle of your outfield, and that speed is also going to set the table when it comes time to bat.

2. BK (Donut County), SS - Not the strongest hitter i nthe 2 hole, but crafty enough to get a bunt down and move our lead-off hitter over. BK's real strength is in the field, where sure paws will help make tricky plays, and anything he misses can get swallowed up by the hole he moves around the infield. We'll probably need a ruling on if he can use this against opposing baserunners, but I'm telling him he can until the umps say otherwise.

3. Spider-Man (Marvel's Spider-Man), LF - Your best all around hitter hits 3rd. The combination of enhanced power and his Spidey Sense's help in pitch recognition means I expect him to be a solid, consistent hitter. I almost put the acrobatic superhero at 3rd base too, but I think someone with the nickname of "wall crawler" is better suited to help us rob home runs.

4. Kratos (God of War), 1B - Big, slow, and powerful. Seemed like a no-brainer for position and line-up spot.

5. Dead Cells's Protagonist (Dead Cells), RF - Another outfielder who's good at jumping, even if I've never personally seen his highly acclaimed "wall jump" ability. I'm sure I will someday. You also want your 5th hitter to be aggressive (which is why I almost put Kratos here) and adaptable to the situation. Put a bat in this guy's (or gal's? I don't really know) hand and he'll figure out a way to make it work.

6. Florence (Florence), 2B - Playing second base takes adaptability, and you're going to make mistakes, or maybe even make the right play but have things not go your way. I want someone here who can learn from these experiences and move on.

7. Insurance Investigator/Adjuster (Return of the Obra Dinn), 3B - The hot corner takes quick thinking and super fast reactions, which may seem like an odd fit for this combination. But when an opposing batter just absolutely murders a pitch, I want a third baseman who can quickly pull out his supernatural pocket watch, go back in time, and figure out what happened at the moment of impact. Look, this might be where the analogy falls apart a bit.

8. Arthur Morgan (Red Dead Redemption 2), C - Catcher's gear has been called "the tools of ignorance" in baseball for a long time, but for the past decade or so it's been done ironically. Catchers are the on-field manager, setting the tone by hopefully controlling the game through pitch selection and preparing the pitching staff for what they'll face each day. They need to know hitters' tendencies and preferences as well as the same for their own pitching staff - both starters and relievers. They're also traditionally slow and awkward moving. Can you name a better catcher than Arthur Morgan? I guarantee between innings he'll be jotting down notes in his journal so the team is better prepared for the next series, game, or even inning.

I didn't want to get into a pitching staff, so that's our daily starting line-up. But baseball seasons are long and grueling, so I thought it would be a good idea to call out a few key bench players.

John Marston (Red Dead Redemption 2), Back-up catcher - Someone's going to need to step in to give Arthur a break now and then. Catching is brutally hard on the body. Marston might not have the same savvy for the game yet, but he'll get there.

Agent 47 (Hitman 2), Utility player - Utility players can play damn near anywhere, depending on the situation. That's what Agent 47 brings to the team; give him the right glove for any position and watch him fill in flawlessly. Fans won't even notice the starter's getting a day off unless they're super-observant, like season ticket holders who attend every game.

Monster Hunter (Monster Hunter World), Utility player - Another utility player, but one who we usually keep at a corner outfield or infield (LF, RF, 1B, 3B) position because of their bias towards hitting with power. They can be on the more agile side, but tend not to be in my experience.

Hosea Matthews (Red Dead Redemption 2), Middle infielder - I know I skewed heavy to RDR2 characters, but Hosea Matthews is my favorite character from Red Dead Redemption 2 even if the writing has been on the wall for him since we came down out of the mountains. He's the crafty veteran who doesn't see as much playing time as he used to, but whose council between innings and in the clubhouse is invaluable. He's lost a step for sure, but he can still fill in at second, first, or maybe third when needed. Just expect routine plays, not the spectacular ones.

That's my 2018 Video Game Protagonist All-Stars. Did I miss any obvious positional connections? Leave out someone?

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