September, when summer surrenders to the captive embrace of fall, is upon us, and that means the pleasing sports nexus of baseball and football is upon us, as well. In the interest of unifying these two pursuits -- and in the interest of hitting our numbers -- let us undertake the necessary task of assembling a fantasy football starting lineup using baseball players.

In doing this, we'll of course evaluate -- i.e., guess somewhat wildly -- how each player's athleticism would translate to the position-specific demands. We'll also take into account each ballplayer's past history of playing football at some level or another. Do we recommend actually drafting the names to follow in your fantasy football cattle-call? Of course, people. Now come with us, won't you?

Starting Lineup:

Joe Mauer
MIN • Quarterback • 7
View Profile

Mauer's cobbled together an excellent career in baseball, but let's not forget he was a highly regarded football recruit coming out of high school. In fact, Mauer was rather famously one of the top recruits of the 2001 class, and he wound up committing to Bobby Bowden and Florida State. Now let's roll some tape of the onetime star QB for Cretin-Durham Hall HS in St. Paul, Minn.

So, yep, Mr. Mauer could sling the pigskin once upon a time. Of course, Mauer's hometown Twins took him with the top overall pick of the 2001 draft, but they had to increase their offer multiple times in order to persuade Mauer to walk away from his commitment to Florida State. Thankfully, we're here to revive Mauer's football career.

Mike Trout
LAA • Running Back • 27
View Profile

Trout's the best player in baseball, and he certainly looks like he'll wind up as one of the best players in baseball history. He's also a sturdy and well-constructed 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds. He's strong, powerful, athletic, quick, and fast -- just like, you know, a running back. As for Trout's multi-sport chops, please call your attention to the embedded color television below ...

OK, so Trout will most assuredly be on our fantasy basketball team when we get around to that labor of love, but even in a video devoted to Trout's hardwood skills, his running-back-ness is invoked. The touchdowns shall flow like rivers of fantasy points.

Tim Tebow
NYM • Running Back • 85
View Profile

Tim Tebow is now a baseball player. Did you know that? It's true. Tim Tebow is now a baseball player. He's been signed by the Mets, you know. The Mets. While we don't yet know whether Teebs will ever hit his way to Flushing, it's a matter of historical record that he won the Heisman Trophy and played in the NFL. You might think that we'd install the guy who, you know, played QB in the NFL at QB, but, well, we've seen that movie. Instead, we'll take full advantage of his rock-toting abilities. Here's just a taste ...

You know all this, of course. Now imagine a touchdown-conjuring two-back set featuring Tebow and Trout. "Wholesome and Nutritious" will be their tandem nickname. The Mets.

Jeff Samardzija
SF • Wide Receiver • 29
View Profile

Shark's an effective major-league starting pitcher who was good enough to fetch a $90 million contract last offseason. As you're also surely aware, he was an excellent wideout for Notre Dame. Forthcoming: Sports football highlights ...

So skilled was Samardzija at the necessary tasks of running and catching a leather prolate spheroid that he may have been a first-round talent had he stuck with football. Instead, the Cubs paid him $10 million to focus solely on baseball. Sound decision, as it turns out.

Jeff Francoeur
Wide Receiver •

Frenchy! Baseball's hail-fellow-well-met was also, once upon a time, a coveted two-way threat coming out of Parkview HS in Lilburn, Georgia. Francoeur, a five-star recruit, committed to Clemson and intended to play football and baseball for the Tigers. In fact, Clemson still has a football bio of Francoeur on its web site. Grainy screengrab forthcoming ...


Here's what then Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said of Frenchy's football capabilities (via the Wall Street Journal) ...

"He could have played defensive end, strong safety, wide receiver. He could have done any of those things. We had a lot of interest."

It took a signing bonus from the Braves that was at the time a franchise record for Francoeur to pass on playing ACC football. Now, though, consider his football career resumed as a wide receiver on this very special fake team. Frenchy!

Giancarlo Stanton
NYY • Tight End • 27
View Profile

Without question, baseball enthusiasts the world over have declared Giancarlo Stanton -- iGiancarlo! -- to be "built like a tight end." This is indubitably true, as the 26-year-old cloutsman fills the door frame with a 6-foot-6, 245-pound figure. Stanton was a three-sport standout at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and as this MaxPreps piece points out baseball may have been his worst sport of the three. During his senior year, Stanton led the ND hoops squad in scoring and rebounding, and on the football field he did stuff like this ...

Stanton had football offers from USC, UCLA, and UNLV, among others. Fortunately for baseball, the Marlins paid the going rates after taking him with a second-round pick in 2007.

Hamilton is one of the fastest players the game has ever seen, so it comes as no surprise that once upon a time he used that speed on gridiron. Check out Taylorsville (Miss.) High School's Hamilton -- No. 3 in your programs, No. 1 in your hearts -- return a kick for a TD starting at the 2:44 mark ...

Haste in display! Hamilton committed to Mississippi State as a wide receiver, but he of course wound up inking with the Reds, who took him in the second round of the 2009 draft.

Will Middlebrooks
Kicker •

Please allow us to quote from the unimpeachable Wikipedia regarding Middlebrooks' football career ...

In addition to baseball, Middlebrooks played American football and basketball in high school. A quarterback, placekicker and punter, he played on the school's football team, which also featured LaMichael James. He was named an All-State punter. Middlebrooks admits that he preferred football, until he realized during his junior year that he had the opportunity to be selected in the Major League Baseball draft. In November 2006, he committed to attend Texas A&M University on a full scholarship to play baseball and football for the Texas A&M Aggies.

American football! Will Middlebrooks was a kicker. Ergo, thus, and therefore, he shall be our kicker.

Defense - Cubs

Yeah, tough to know what to do with this one. My colleague Matt Snyder recently pointed out -- rightly -- that the 2016 Cubs are shaping up to be one of the best team defenses of all-time. That's baseball, of course, and this is football, so something would surely be lost in translation. Maybe John Lackey and Jason Heyward could make a formidable defensive-end tandem. Whatever, man.


Clayton Richard
TOR • Quarterback • 2
View Profile

The veteran left-hander was once upon a time a quarterback for the University of Michigan. Look, we have proof and everything ...

Yep, there's Richard slinging the skin o' pig for the Wolverines back in the early aughts. But wait: That's not all!

That's Richard as a coveted four-star recruit out of McCutcheon High School in Lafayette, Ind. At Michigan, Richard got beat out by Chad Henne for the starter's job, and he eventually switched to baseball. The White Sox drafted him in 2005.

George Springer
TOR • Running Backs •
View Profile

The Astros' outfielder has the size, speed, strength, and athleticism to play some football. That's mostly what's driving his inclusion on this list. What's also a factor is this ...

That's George Springer playing football in a dinosaur costume. Just imagine what he could do in a football uniform.

Delino DeShields
TEX • Running Back • 0
View Profile

DeShields is of course a promising young outfielder for Texas, but he was also a standout football player for Woodward Academy in College Park, Georgia. Such was his promise that he was recruited as a running back by Ole Miss and Georgia, among others. He'll get some late-game carries in relief of Wholesome & Nutritious.

Manny Machado
SD • Wide Receiver • 13
View Profile

Machado is 6-foot-3 and, as one of the best defensive third basemen in all of baseball, has exceptional hands. And while this will not yield fantasy points in a direct manner, you may also consider him to have substantial downfield blocking potential ...

Jason Heyward
CHC • Wide Receiver • 22
View Profile

No, Heyward didn't play football at a high level, but let's consider his height, wingspan, speed, and velvety -- velvety! -- hands to be an excellent fit for the position. Now imagine Mr. Heyward running the deep route ...

Touchdown, people. Touchdown.

Matt Holliday
COL • Tight End • 7
View Profile

Holliday was quarterback in Stillwater (see here for a young, football-playing Matt Holliday with hair), and he eventually committed to play QB at Oklahoma State. One could surely argue that he'd be best deployed as, you know, a QB, but in 2016 we'll defer to his tight-end-like physical dimensions.

Remember how things were before you read a blog post about a starting fantasy football lineup populated with baseball players? Those were darker times.

In conclusion -- and in keeping with ancient fantasy basefootball tradition -- please genuflect before the graven moving images of Willie Wilson ...