MLB Power Rankings: Prince Fielder and MLB's 20 Best Overweight Players
Size does matter.
From Babe Ruth to John Kruk to David Wells, baseball has attracted many hefty players in its storied history.
With the end of the steroid era in baseball, we fall back in time to where some of the game's biggest stars compare belly size rather than bicep size.
The little-known Walter Young is the heaviest player on record in MLB history, when in 2005 he weighed in at 322 pounds. Although he wasn't able to put his massive size to good use, many of the heaviest players in today's MLB have managed to beat the odds and the competition.
Unsurprisingly, most of the players on this list made the cut as first basemen, designated hitters and pitchers, while some had brief stints in the outfield before putting on a few extra pounds.
Nonetheless, in their own ways, they have all made being overweight cool again.
In celebration of the countless bratwursts (and in some cases tofu) consumed by some of the game's greatest players, I now present to you baseball's 20 best overweight players.
20. Todd Coffey: Relief Pitcher (Washington Nationals)
Coffey, who weighs in at a generous 241 pounds, is by no means a superstar. The journeyman made the list for one reason: his awesome sprint from the bullpen to the pitcher's mound when entering each game (see video).
I was able to witness the sprint on numerous occasions during his tenure with the Milwaukee Brewers. Fans loved it, and he soon became a favorite around Miller Park.
With the 2009 Brewers, Coffey pitched to a 2.90 ERA in just over 83 innings.
19. Bobby Jenks: Relief Pitcher (Boston Red Sox)
Weighing in at a lofty 275 pounds, Jenks has seen his career spiral in a downward direction over the last two seasons.
Red Sox fans are probably already regretting the signing, as Jenks sits with an 8.64 ERA through the season's first month.
It makes you wonder whether a few extra pounds may be hindering his performance.
18. Carlos Lee: Outfielder (Houston Astros)
It appears the 264-pound Lee is in the denial stage of his weight gain, as he seeks reassurance from his teammates as to how he looks in his uniform.
In all seriousness, for a period of Lee's career he was considered one of the most feared hitters in the game.
He has been consistent throughout his career, hitting 24-plus home runs in each season since his rookie year in 1999.
He currently sits at 333 career long balls.
17. Jonathan Broxton: Relief Pitcher (Los Angeles Dodgers)
The 26-year-old Broxton weighs in at an even 300 pounds.
The portly pitcher has also seen his production decline in the last couple years—to the point where he may lose his job as closer if he doesn't find consistency soon.
Dodgers fans can only hope their closer and two-time All-Star returns to his 2009 form, where he pitched to a 2.61 ERA while striking out 114 batters in only 76 innings.
16. Yadier, Jose and Bengie Molina: Catchers (Cardinals, Blue Jays, Free Agent)
The Molina brothers are the tubbiest trio in sports. It comes as no surprise that they are also the slowest.
The fact that there are three of them definitely moved them up this list, as they combine for around 700 pounds.
With two All-Star appearances and three Gold Gloves, the 230-pound Yadier is undoubtedly the most successful of the Molina brothers.
Bengie, who currently remains a free agent, was mostly known for being the slowest player in baseball. His most recent player profile listed him at sub-200 pounds. I call BS.
The 250-pound Jose has been a backup for his entire 12-year career.
15. Francisco Cordero: Relief Pitcher (Cincinnati Reds)
At this point, the 245-pound Cordero has had the most successful career out of any closers on this list.
Barring an injury, the three-time All-Star should earn his 300th save sometime in May.
At 36 years old, Cordero is in the twilight of his career. He owns a lifetime 3.22 ERA and has averaged 39 saves per season since 2007.
14. Jim Thome: Designated Hitter (Minnesota Twins)
Although not the player he once was, the 250-pound Thome makes the list as a credit to his accomplished career.
Always a stocky slugger, Thome ranks eighth on MLB's career home-runs list and should surpass the 600 mark at some point this season.
He also ranks ninth all-time with 1,688 career walks.
Thome raked 25 home runs as a 39-year-old last season and has hit 30-plus home runs 12 times in his decorated career.
13. Carlos Zambrano: Starting Pitcher (Chicago Cubs)
When not attacking one of his own teammates in the dugout, Zambrano has proved to be a reliable pitcher for the Cubbies over the last decade.
Even though he appeared to struggle at times during the past few seasons, the 270-pound Zambrano has never posted a full-season ERA above 3.95.
After a league-mandated trip to therapy last season, Zambrano turned his game around and seemed to find control of his pitches.
His 1,441 career strikeouts rank second in Cubs history behind only Fergie Jenkins.
12. Lance Berkman: Outfielder (St. Louis Cardinals)
Berkman, who weighs in at a very generous 225 pounds, is a five-time All-Star who has hit 335 career home runs.
11. Pablo Sandoval: Third Baseman (San Francisco Giants)
It is surprising that the 240-pound Sandoval has the mobility to even be a third basemen, but he actually does a decent job covering the hot corner.
Known around San Francisco as "Kung Fu Panda," Sandoval would be much higher on this list if it were ranked based on potential.
After what seemed to be a breakout 2009 season, where the globular Sandoval batted .330 with 25 home runs, he had a very disappointing follow-up campaign in 2010.
After shedding a few pounds this past offseason, "Fat Ichiro" is off to a great start to kick off the 2011 season.
10. Billy Butler: First Baseman/Designated Hitter (Kansas City Royals)
Consistency is key when ranking the 240-pound Butler ahead of Sandoval.
The 25-year-old Butler has improved each season in the league and now seems to be a lock for a .300-plus batting average and ridiculous 40-plus doubles per year.
He will probably never hit more than 30 home runs in a season, but he should be good for a consistent 15-to-20 and could even reach the quarter-century mark given his yearly improvements.
9. Jose Valverde: Relief Pitcher (Detroit TIgers)
Jose Valverde's age helps him to surpass Francisco Cordero on this list. The 33-year-old closer hits the scale at a debatable 255 pounds.
Valverde holds a career 3.09 ERA and is two saves away from notching the 200th of his career.
From 2007-08, the two-time All-Star accumulated 91 saves.
8. Nelson Cruz: Outfielder (Texas Rangers)
Weight concerns were part of the reason the Milwaukee Brewers shipped Cruz off to the Rangers for Francisco Cordero back in 2006.
The 245-pound Cruz hit 55 home runs in only 236 games spanning the 2009-10 seasons. If he is able to stay healthy for a full season, Cruz could easily make a run at 40-plus home runs.
In order to keep his production at the plate, the Rangers could end up moving Cruz to the DH spot within the next couple years if he can't stay healthy.
7. David Ortiz: Designated Hitter (Boston Red Sox)
Ortiz may be winding down his career, but the 235-pounder rightfully known as the "Cookie Monster" is definitely going out swinging.
From 2004-06, "Big Papi" was arguably the most feared hitter in the American League, as he put up a combined 142 home runs and had 424 RBI.
The six-time All-Star has 351 career home runs and helped deliver two World Series championships to the Boston Red Sox.
6. Heath Bell: Relief Pitcher (San Diego Padres)
Out of all the burly relief pitchers on this list, Heath Bell takes the cake (no pun intended) as who I'd want closing out games for my team.
Weighing in at a hefty 260 pounds, Bell finally got his opportunity to shine once the Padres let go of Trevor Hoffman following the 2008 season.
In the closer's role the past two years, Bell has compiled a sub-2.40 ERA and 89 saves while making the All-Star team both seasons.
5. Adam Dunn: Designated Hitter (Chicago White Sox)
Dunn is a younger version of Jim Thome, but he has just as much pop in his bat.
The 285-pound slugger has been one of the most consistent home-run hitters in the game over the past seven years, never failing to reach 38-plus homers each season since 2003.
A move to the the AL should prolong Dunn's career and give him a good shot at reaching the 500-career home-run mark. The slow-moving Dunn was a huge defensive liability throughout his career as an outfielder and first baseman.
4. Ryan Howard: First Baseman (Philadelphia Phillies)
All of you Phillies fans who believe Howard is all brawn and no belly are very much in denial.
There is a reason that the 245-pound former MVP has attempted only 15 steals in his entire career, and it's not because the Phillies aren't a running team.
Regardless, Howard has proved to be one of the best sluggers in the game. From 2006-09, he averaged 49-plus homers and 140-plus RBI per season.
At 31 years old, it may be a stretch for Howard to reach 500 career home runs. He currently sits at 259.
3. Miguel Cabrera: First Baseman (Detroit Tigers)
I remember when a much younger (and lighter) Cabrera helped deliver a World Series championship to the Florida Marlins back in 2003.
With every passing season, Cabrera's numbers are increasing just as much as his waist size.
Still only 28 years old, Cabrera weighs in at about 245 pounds. At the pace he's on, by the time he turns 35 he should be plumped up to about 300 pounds and good for 50 homers per season.
At this point, Miggy has been able to keep his off-the-field issues from affecting his game on the field. If he is able to get his drinking under control, the five-time All-Star has a chance to surpass 500 career home runs and 3,000 hits.
2. CC Sabathia: Starting Pitcher (New York Yankees)
Sabathia is currently listed at 290 pounds but is most likely pushing the 300-pound plateau.
One of the most dominating pitchers in baseball, Sabathia has 159 career wins with a 3.55 career ERA.
Even with his large frame, the southpaw has been about as reliable as they come, notching 230-plus innings in each of the past four seasons.
Critics have said Sabathia's weight will begin adversely affecting his performance as he climbs in age. So far the 30-year-old has done nothing but prove doubters wrong.
1. Prince Fielder: First Baseman (Milwaukee Brewers)
Prince is King, at least on this list.
Fielder packs 280 pounds onto his 5'11" frame, making him by far the most rounded player in baseball. Hard to believe he is a vegetarian.
The portly "Prince of Milwaukee" will be one of the most sought-after free agents after the 2011 season, and rightfully so.
He has 162 home runs over the past four seasons to go along with 444 RBI, and at only 26 years old he has a chance to slam his way into the record books.
Although his future may be in the AL as a designated hitter, Prince has immensely improved his defense and is now more than serviceable at the position.
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