MLB Cover Candidates for 09

Posted November 11th, 2008 at 7:57 am

Last year the cover athletes for the baseball titles were announced by 2K Sports and SCEA in early December. In all likelihood the decisions on who will make the covers of MLB 2K9 and MLB 09: The Show have already been made and if not then the process is currently nearing finalization. The players who will receive the covers will likely be revealed next month.

So lets take a look at who the most likely candidates are. Make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments on who you would most like to see on a cover.

Top Contenders

The World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies have a number of viable cover candidates to offer. Ryan Howard could be chosen to repeat as The Show’s cover representative after his 48 homerun (8 higher than anyone else) 146 RBI (16 higher than anyone else) year. Chase Utley has the numbers to justify it after batting .292 with 33 homeruns and 104 RBIs. Moving on to pitchers the World Series MVP was Cole Hamels who was dominant in the NLCS and WS although he did only go 14-10 in the regular season. Closer Brad Lidge was perfect all season going 41/41 in saves in the regular season and 7/7 in the playoffs.

Josh Hamilton was the story of the year considering what he overcame to do it. His unbelievable performance in the Homerun contest at the All-Star Game propelled him to a status that would make him well known enough to get a cover. He batted .304 with 32 homeruns and 130 RBIs.

The Brewers are another team that have multiple players who would make sense for a cover. Prince Fielder (who I thought should’ve gotten a cover last year) would be the most likely due to his widespread appeal while Ryan Braun arguably had a slightly better season. Fielder hit .276 with 34 homeruns and 102 RBI while Braun hit .285 with 37 homeruns and 106 RBIs.

Cliff Lee was the most dominant pitcher this year going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA, 4 complete games, and 2 shutouts. It has always seemed that the companies favor offensive players rather than pitchers for their covers. Lee (along with Hamels) would seem to be most likely starting pitchers to capture a cover this year should that trend change.

Just announced as AL Rookie of the Year, Evan Longoria hit .272 with 27 homeruns and 85 RBIs and is probably the most recognizable Tampa Bay player. He would represent a young and exciting team that did the unexpected of winning the AL East and making it to the World Series.

It was another stellar year for Albert Pujols who went .357 with 37 homeruns and 116 RBIs. Pujols has been on the cover of 2K’s The BIGS and also EA’s MVP Baseball 2004 which could make him less likely to be used again as lately the companies have been going for fresher faces.

As unlikely as it would be to have a closer get the cover, Lidge is joined by Francisco Rodriguez as deserving of consideration. K-Rod is being talked about in MVP discussions as he broke the record for saves in a season collecting 62 of them.


The third possibility from Milwaukee would be CC Sabathia. He was a true ace following the trade going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA, 7 complete games, and 3 shutouts. The Brewers needed every one of those wins to make it into the playoffs. The downside to Sabathia is he is a free agent and the companies would prefer to have the cover art completed by announcement time.

A couple more Rays could be thrown out there. BJ Upton came into his own in the playoffs and had a regular season comparable to the one that got Jose Reyes MLB 2K8’s cover, only Upton shined through the divisional and league championship playoff rounds while Reyes was coming off a late season Mets collapse. And while David Price only had 14 innings in the regular season he became a household name in the playoffs.

Carlos Quentin had a huge season batting .288 with 36 homeruns and 100 RBIs helping the White Sox to an AL Central title. I’m not sure he is a big enough name yet though to beat out some of the others who have been mentioned.

Former MVP Justin Morneau hit .300 with 23 homeruns and 129 RBIs. He did have an alternate cover for The BIGS which gives him a relationship with 2K. For some reason I just don’t get the feeling he would be much in the running for a cover this year despite all that.

After being traded to the Dodgers Manny Ramirez put up big numbers and helped them to the playoffs and into the NLCS. He was the cover athlete for MVP 2005 and is a free agent which reduces the chances he’ll be selected by either company.

Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins would be an intriguing option but he wouldn’t likely be recognizable enough. His .305 average, 35 stolen bases, and 33 homeruns amounted to a very impressive season.

Lance Berkman had another very good season hitting .312 with 29 homeruns and 106 RBIs. Playing for the Astros keeps him on the outside looking in.

Dustin Pedroia is another name that could be tossed out in MVP talks. His 213 hits tied with Ichiro for most in the majors as he has been cited as a primary reason for the Red Sox success this past season. I’m not sure he is flashy enough though and people are growing tired of the Boston and New York teams being so heavily represented.


MLB 2K9 – Prince Fielder

MLB 09: The Show – Josh Hamilton