Before we explore today's topic, I need all of you readers out there to do me a small favor. Close your eyes and picture your definition of the word "athlete."
In my case, I see a man or woman in top shape who exercises regularly and takes care of themselves with a daily dietary regimen. They know that their job requires their fitness to be A1, and anything less than that is unacceptable.
Unfortunately, in baseball, some players didn't get that memo, notably Prince Fielder (pictured), who has been on the hefty side his entire career. Yet, despite tipping the scales at a number quite more than what is ideal for them, some of our favorite portly baseball players are actually phenomenal athletes who are more than just big bodies with even bigger bats.
Here are 10 who we salute today.
Jones stands 6'1" and is on the hefty side of 225 pounds, having always been on the chubby side throughout his career. Still, his athleticism speaks for itself. In a career that is currently in its 17th season, he won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves from 1998-2007.
Seeing as how he won those awards playing centerfield, one of the hardest positions in the game, his skills as an athlete are unquestionable.
Like Jones, Morales is also 6'1", 225 pounds. A lengthy recovery from a 2010 leg injury has limited him to DHing this year, but he's still a better athlete than one would think at that size.
You see, while Morales is a first baseman by trade, he has also spent some time in the outfield. As an ex-outfielder myself, I can safely say that you need to have great cardio and be in good shape to play any of the three positions.
Though playing there wasn't Morales' full-time job, team management clearly trusted his athleticism enough to let him have a few games there.
Sabathia is a pitcher, not exactly a position that requires tons of fielding, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he moves extremely well for someone his size.
At 6'7", 290 pounds (a weight that always seems to be changing), he fields weak grounders as well as someone half that size, something much appreciated by Yankees management and the fans.
Cabrera tips the scales at 6'4" and the heavy side of 240 pounds. Still, despite not being the most toned of athletes, he plays great defense in the field and has been a contender for the Gold Glove at first base before, having made just 33 errors from 2009-2011.
Fielder is a big teddy bear at 5'11", 275 pounds. With a build like that, one would think he is solely a power hitter with little to no work in the field.
Yet, despite having the third-lowest range factor among first basemen this year, Fielder has played 39 of his 40 games at first base this year. The crazy part is that after the Detroit Tigers signed him during the offseason, they chose to move Miguel Cabrera to third base despite him being a better defensive option at Fielder's position.
That said, Fielder is clearly doing something right in the field.
At 6'2" and a slightly chubby 225 pounds, Gonzalez moves with the finesse and grace of someone much lighter.
Don't believe me? Well, just ask his three Gold Gloves!
Youkilis isn't the heaviest at 6'1", 220 pounds, but he was still big enough at one point to earn a spot on this list.
More importantly, he took home a Gold Glove in 2008 despite not being Mr. Slim-N-Trim.
Well, there's no other way to say this.
Anyone 6'2", 241 pounds and can play outfield as well as first base can be on my team any day!
At 5'11", 242 pounds, I think it's obvious as to why Sandoval is known as Kung Fu Panda. Still, he's good enough in the field that the Giants trust his range enough to start him at third base every day.
Combine his decent fielding abilities with his ability to hit for a great average, and it's clear that he's a better athlete than he appears to be.
He's 5'11", and he tips the scales at a rotund 230 pounds, though he does a good job of hiding it. Despite that, Molina has won four consecutive Gold Gloves.