MLB's 7 Most Deceptive Bodies
Scouts in the majors always seem to rave about guys that are "built" to play baseball. What I mean to say is, some players are knocked because their bodies are not quite in the best shape or they are not as blessed as an Albert Pujols type.
Despite their shortcomings or Rubenesque frames, these are the players that are able to impress despite an awkward appearance.
Don't judge these guys on looks because it will come back to bite you later.
Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox
Alexei Ramirez is a wiry little guy that doesn't look like much at the plate but packs an incredible wallop.
Ramirez's swing is sweet, and he crushes the ball out of the ballpark. In his rookie year, Ramirez hit 21 homers, of which four were grand slams. The four slams were a record for rookies.
It's hard to believe that a 175-pound shortstop that looks like a twig could crush so many bombs, but Ramirez's body of work after has proved that he is no fluke.
Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs
Soriano has my favorite swing in all of baseball. He is very similar to Alexei Ramirez. Both play in Chicago. Both are incredibly thin. Both tear the cover off the baseball.
Soriano has already hit seven home runs this year because of his beautiful stroke. It looks like he just flicks the bat, but he is able to fire the ball deep into the outfield.
Soriano's résumé is incredibly strong. He has 321 home runs in 10-plus major-league seasons. His ridiculous 40/40/40 season in his one season with the Nationals shocked the world. It's fun to watch Alfonso's smooth swing as it sends ball after ball into the seats.
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers
Prince Fielder is a big fellow. That's pretty clear.
What's not clear is that he is incredibly agile underneath that hefty shell.
Fielder is one of the slickest-fielding first basemen in the league due to his hard work and surprising athleticism. Don't doubt his physical skills.
I'll never be caught saying that I'm surprised a 275-pound monster has the ability to hit the ball hard. What I will say is that he is very fast on the bases considering he is so large. You remember his inside-the-park home run. He moved with the speed of 12 Bengie Molinas.
Be scared of Fielder's quickness.
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
Tim Lincecum's nickname is one of the most fitting in sports. He really is a freak.
The prototypical right-handed pitcher is a tall power arm, normally a guy that is 6'4" with a smooth delivery.
Lincecum is generously listed at 5'11". The crazy number is that he only weighs 165 pounds. That's why it is such a shock that he can throw upper 90s heat.
Tim is the perfect physics problem for college students. How does a tiny guy like that put that much force behind the ball? The answer is simply torque. Lincecum is incredibly flexible, and his stride while pitching is around seven feet long. That is a full foot more than his height. Using so much of his body, Lincecum generates a ton of momentum and can use more of his body to add to the power of his pitch.
It would be cool to see a guy the size of Randy Johnson with Lincecum's windup. More height and weight could generate more power and maybe rival a certain lefty to be named later's velocity.
As it stands, Tiny Timmy has racked up two Cy Youngs and a World Series victory, so his résumé is bigger than he is.
Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
No pitcher surprises as much as Aroldis Chapman. It's not just that a left-handed pitcher is throwing this hard. The shocking thing is that a human is able to throw the ball 105 mph (or potentially 106 depending on what you believe).
Chapman threw the fastest pitch ever recorded last September and potentially topped it here in April, but while there is dispute as to what is the fastest ever, it is clear that Aroldis throws the ball hard enough that it is a blur to hitters.
One of the fears of a fastball is that it is straight and doesn't move. Chapman doesn't need movement at those speeds. His stuff is lightning and comes from a pretty slender body as well. It is shocking and thrilling to watch.
Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners
Ichiro is one of the best hitters to ever play the game and is a lock to enter the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. That's hard to believe coming from such a tiny guy.
Ichiro has overcome a lot to become a superstar in the majors. Many thought that the small, Japanese player's skills would be overmatched when he came to America after dominating Japan. Ichiro silenced doubters pretty quickly by winning Rookie of the Year and MVP in his first season, all while notching over 200 hits, a feat he has never failed to accomplish.
What's incredible is that this small guy can hit the ball hard or soft. It's not surprising to see his speed, but his strength is incredible.
A testament to his strength is his incredible arm. Ichiro's throw to nail Terrence Long at third will forever be remembered as one of the greatest defensive plays in the history of the game. It leaves many in awe when such a small man releases such a rocket.
Tim Collins, Kansas City Royals
I mentioned that the prototypical pitcher is tall. Tim Collins is anything but. The incredible rookie is just 5'7" but has the chutzpah of someone much bigger.
Collins looks like a child on the mound. He is just so unbelievably short. That's why it is so awesome that he is even in the majors.
Collins has fought hard this year and has struggled with control, but he has great potential. His height may be an advantage as he deceives hitters. With fewer walks, Collins could be the Muggsy Bogues of baseball.