Tipping the Scale: The Top 10 Most Overweight MLB Players
After watching San Francisco Giants' third baseman Pablo Sandoval backpedal in a futile attempt to get his foot on the third base bag in game 5 of the NLCS before eventually falling backward, one can't help but chuckle.
It's not that Sandoval is alone in his seemingly lack of athleticism. Baseball players certainly have an amazing ability to either hit or pitch a baseball, but when it comes to agility and general athleticism, there are a few of them who appear to come up short. Retired players like John Kruk, Cecil Fielder, and David Wells immediately come to mind.
Only in baseball could an athlete be borderline obese yet still be able to be a productive everyday player.
Here's a look at the ten current Major League Baseball players who appear to be the most out of shape.
Note: This list is in no way implying that these aren't great players. It's only a lighthearted look at the physiques of some of baseball's premier players.
10. Bengie Molina
When Texas Rangers' catcher Bengie Molina hit a 3-run homer against the New York Yankees in game 4 of the ALCS, he was quoted as saying, "Not a bad job for a fat kid who everyone makes fun of when he runs."
At least the 5'11'', 225 lb Molina has a sense of humor about his weight. Although he is widely regarded as one of the slowest baserunners in the Major Leagues, his stellar defensive play and average offensive skills have allowed him to remain in the league for over ten years.
Judging just by the appearance of Molina, one can't help but wonder if that 225 lb weight is completely accurate.
9. David Ortiz
David Ortiz has been one of the most successful designated hitters of all-time. Although he has been known to play first base from time to time, his snail like speed has forced him to play DH for the vast majority of his career.
At 6'4'' and 230 lbs, Ortiz has never been one to blaze the basepaths. With 10 stolen bases through 14 seasons, his teammates have been known to give him a healthy round of applause and laughter when he has been fortunate enough to swipe second.
Over the past couple of seasons, his tendency to come into the season overweight and out of shape has led to very slow starts. However, after he got some time under his belt and got into better shape, Ortiz proved that he is still a very capable hitter.
8. Andruw Jones
Believe it or not, when Andruw Jones came into the league with the Atlanta Braves in 1996, he had a reputation for being a very athletic and fast player. Even though he put on the pounds year by year, he was still able to win 10 consecutive gold gloves in centerfield.
Unfortunately, when the 6'1'' Jones arrived at spring training in his first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, his weight had ballooned all the way to 250 pounds. His complete disregard for his physical shape led to the worst season of his career and he was released a year before the end of his contract expired.
He has spent the past two seasons with the Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox and has had better success in limited playing time after getting his weight back down to 230 lbs. That's still a far cry from the skinny 19 year-old kid who made a name for himself in the 1996 World Series.
7. Jonathan Broxton
Over the past few seasons, Jonathan Broxton has gone from a good setup man to a premier closer. His 100-mph fastball has served him well in his tenure with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
At 6'4'' and 295 pounds, Broxton will never win any awards for his physique. Luckily for him, as a relief pitcher appearing in only about 70 games per season one inning at the time, his role as closer doesn't require him to do a whole lot of running.
6. Bobby Jenks
For the 6'3'', 270 lb Bobby Jenks, it's a good thing he plays for the Chicago White Sox because it allows him to wear a slimming black jersey in many of his games. He has definitely used the momentum of his husky frame to his advantage by regularly throwing the ball upwards of 100 mph and saving 173 games in his six seasons in Chicago.
Playing in the American League, Jenks has the advantage of the designated hitter rule meaning that he never has to run the bases. However, even though fans don't get to see the fat man run, manager Ozzie Guillen once called for Jenks out of the bullpen by spreading his arms out wide in reference to Jenks' husky frame.
5. Tommy Hunter
In only his second full season in the majors, Tommy Hunter was relatively unknown outside of Arlington before this year's ALCS. With his 6'3'' frame carrying 255 pounds, Hunter will never be confused for teammate Cliff Lee.
Once again, the fact that Hunter plays in the American League limits his duties to pitching and fielding the occasional groundball. If the Rangers do end up making it to the World Series fans may get to see Hunter run the bases after all as long as he's scheduled to start in a National League park.
It would interesting to see just how much speed a man of his size actually has.
4. CC Sabathia
Yankees' ace C.C. Sabathia is certainly one of the top starting pitchers in all of Major League Baseball. At 6'7'' and 290 pounds, he's also near the top of the list of heaviest players.
In his partial 2008 season in Milwaukee, Sabathia had his first and only opportunities to participate in both offense and defense. Surprisingly, he didn't appear to be quite as slow as his heavy load would predict. That could possibly be due to the fact that he was playing on the same team as another player on our list, Prince Fielder.
Although fashion experts will tell you that pinstripes are slimming, from the looks of the above picture, they don't seem to be quite slimming enough.
3. Jeff Fulchino
Many fans are probably wondering who this Jeff Fulchino guy is. He's really only spent two full seasons in the big leagues as a middle reliever, and with the success the Houston Astros have had the past two years, he hasn't had the opportunity to garner much national attention.
For those fans who have had the chance to see Fulchino pitch, the first thing most would notice would be his 6'5'' and 286 pound frame. Unfortunately, the above picture doesn't quite do justice to the size of his midsection, but pictures of this guy aren't exactly easy to find.
2. Prince Fielder
Milwaukee Brewers' first baseman has long tried to distance himself from his estranged father Cecil Fielder, but try as he may, he will never be able to separate himself from the physique he inherited from the man sometimes called "Heavy-C."
Although only last year Fielder was listed at 6'0'' and 260 pounds, recent reports have him instead listed at 5'10'' and 285 pounds. The latter of the two figures is likely much closer to the truth.
Fielder has shown tremendous power at the plate, hitting 192 home runs in only six seasons in the league. How this man has managed to steal 15 bases and hit an inside the park home run during that span is truly incredible.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about Fielder's considerable size is that during 2008 he became a vegetarian in an effort to cut back on his weight.
1. Pablo Sandoval
Anyone who has the opportunity to watch San Francisco Giant's third baseman Pablo Sandoval play defense or run the bases is in for quite a treat. Not only does Sandoval tip the scales at a hearty 245 pounds, but he packs all those pounds on his 5'11'' frame.
It's not that Sandoval is incredibly slow or unable to play defense, it's simply his rotundness and occasional clumsiness that make him fun to watch. Due to what teammate Barry Zito generously dubbed his "surprising agility," he gave Sandoval the nickname "Kung Fu Panda."
Debuting only three years ago and sporting a healthy .305 career average and 41 home runs in a little over two full seasons, Sandoval has the potential to have a long and great career. He will certainly be fun to watch for years to come.