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MLB Power Rankings: The 50 Least Athletic Players in the League

Dmitriy IoselevichSenior Analyst IIIJune 21, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: The 50 Least Athletic Players in the League

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Baseball players are professional athletes, but just because they get paid big money doesn't mean these guys can go out and run a marathon.

    In fact, some baseball players are notorious for not taking good care of their bodies simply because they don't have to. Baseball isn't technically a contact sport, and if you're a good enough pitcher or hitter, it doesn't really matter if you can't field your position or win a foot race.

    The players on this list aren't all oversized men who wouldn't know a diet if it hit them in the face (think Cecil Fielder or Babe Ruth). Some are well past their prime and can't move laterally or vertically. Others have too much body and not enough frame to support it.

    Whatever the excuse, these 50 men are the least athletic players in baseball.

     

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50. Heath Bell, RHP (San Diego Padres)

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    Bell, 33, can pitch with the best of them, but at 6'3" and 260 pounds, he's more likely to win an eating contest than a foot race.

    Although, on the plus side (pun intended), he's never committed an error in 400 games.

49. Andruw Jones, OF (New York Yankees)

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    Jones used to be one of the best all-around athletes in the game back in the early part of the 21st century when he was piling up Gold Gloves like they were Skittles.

    However, it's been a solid four years since the future Hall of Famer was a full-time starter, and at 230 pounds, he's beginning to put on some serious weight. The 34-year-old is now nothing more than a part-time outfielder and pinch-hitter.

48. Chipper Jones, 3B (Atlanta Braves)

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    Andruw Jones' former teammate in Atlanta hasn't aged particularly well, either. Chipper is still in incredibly good shape (6'4", 210 pounds), but repetitive injuries have robbed him of almost all his speed and agility.

    At 39 years old, he doesn't have much left.

47. David Hernandez, RHP (Arizona Diamondbacks)

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    Hernandez, 26, has had a breakthrough season for the Diamondbacks as a late-inning reliever, yet he's still a robust 250 pounds on just a 6'2" body.

    To the righty's credit, he put his weight to good use with 9.8 SO/9 IP this season.

46. Takashi Saito, RHP (Milwaukee Brewers)

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    Saito is on the wrong side of 40 and may have thrown the last pitch of his short MLB career. Whether or not he ever makes it back to the mound, the righty still won't be wowing anyone with his athletic prowess. 

45. Pablo Sandoval, 3B (San Francisco Giants)

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    At this time last year, Sandoval—otherwise known as "Kung Fu Panda," "Fat Ichiro" or "Round Mound of Pound"—might have been No. 1 on the list.

    However, the 24-year-old made vast improvements to his diet and training regimen over the offseason and is now one of the better all-around hitters in the league—at least when healthy. At 5'11" and a svelte 240 pounds, Sandoval still has a long way to go, but odds are his prime is still ahead of him.

44. Todd Helton, 1B (Colorado Rockies)

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    Helton can hit the crap out of the ball and is an outstanding defender. We all know that.

    What you might not know is that he hasn't stolen a base since 2006 and has just 36 over the course of his career. Considering he's now 37, that's probably how many with which he'll finish his career.

43. Lance Berkman, OF (St. Louis Cardinals)

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    Berkman, AKA "Big Puma," AKA "Fat Elvis" was always a designated hitter trapped in the wrong league. Nobody ever bothered to complain because the guy could absolutely rake, but Berkman is not the kind of guy you'd expect to show up on SportsCenter's "Top 10 Plays."

42. Matt Albers, RHP (Boston Red Sox)

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    The Red Sox overhauled their bullpen this past offseason and loaded up on oversized relievers. The only move that's paid off so far is the $875,000 they gave to Albers, a 28-year-old righty who stands 6'0" and weighs in at around 225 pounds.

    And no, that's not 225 pounds of muscle.

41. Billy Butler, DH (Kansas City Royals)

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    Butler, 25, is a fine hitter and might even be a great one. However, at 6'1" and 240 pounds, he won't be fooling anyone into thinking he's a track star.

    With mega-prospect Eric Hosmer now in the majors, Butler has been relegated to full-time DH.

40. Arthur Rhodes, RHP (Texas Rangers)

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    Rhodes has had an incredibly successful career, and for all we know he could pitch into his 50s.

    But if you've watched how the 41-year-old lefty moves in the field these last four or five years, you might suggest he take an early retirement.

39. Darren Oliver, RHP (Texas Rangers)

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    Oliver, 40, is in a similar position to Rhodes, his teammate in Texas. Oliver can still get batters out and even has a couple of saves on the season, yet his lateral mobility is very limited.

38. Jason Kubel, DH (Minnesota Twins)

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    Kubel is one of those major league players who has carved out a career exclusively using his bat. His 6'0", 220-pound frame has helped him hit 97 home runs in six seasons, but it hasn't done much for him in the field or on the basepaths.

37. Magglio Ordonez, OF (Detroit Tigers)

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    Remember when Ordonez was one of the most feared hitters in baseball?

    Remember when he could run without his legs looking like they were made out of Play-Doh?

    Aging is an ugly thing, and the 37-year-old has just about run out of fuel.

36. Jeff Mathis, C (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)

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    As far as catchers go, Mathis isn't a complete waste. However, this is still one of the worst all-around players in the game.

    Mathis' career batting average (.198) is still below the Mendoza line, and he's questionable defensively with an error in nearly a tenth of all his games.

35. Adam Dunn, DH (Chicago White Sox)

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    Dunn is the poster boy for sluggers without a true position. He finally made it to the AL this season, where his defensive deficiencies can be hidden, but that doesn't mask the fact that he's a poor athlete.

    At 6'6" and 285 pounds, that shouldn't be surprising.

34. David Ortiz, DH (Boston Red Sox)

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    Ortiz, 35, gets a bad reputation because he's a big guy (6'4", 230 pounds) and plays the field maybe 10 times a year.

    He's actually decent defensively and moves well for someone his size, but there's a reason the Red Sox use Ortiz exclusively as a DH.

33. Carlos Lee, OF (Houston Astros)

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    Lee, otherwise known as "El Caballo," was a 5-tool player earlier in his career. Then he got old, signed a gigantic contract and promptly began putting on weight.

    The 35-year-old weighs in at a robust 265 pounds, which, for a 6'2" outfielder, is a bit frightening.

32. Octavio Dotel, RHP (Toronto Blue Jays)

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    Dotel, 37, has stuck around the majors for a long time, and even though each time he was given a chance to close, he proceeded to forget how to pitch. Dotel doesn't have too much left in either his arm or his legs, and it's only a matter of time before he calls it quits.

31. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B (Boston Red Sox)

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    Gonzalez might be the best hitter on the planet and is a workout warrior.

    But man, is the guy slow!

    I watched Gonzalez warm up before a Red Sox game recently, and he moved like molasses. He's stolen all of two bases in his career, and it's a wonder he even has that many.

30. Jason Giambi, UT (Colorado Rockies)

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    Giambi, 40, was always a terrific hitter, but now that he's in the latter stages of his career, he's fallen off the deep end defensively, offensively and especially athletically. 

    Giambi is up to 240 pounds and counting, although it's shocking he's never hit home runs at such an extreme rate (seven in 53 at-bats).

29. Carlos Silva, SP (Chicago Cubs)

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    Silva looks like he could eat a hamburger, a chicken, a pig and every other animal in the farmhouse. The 32-year-old righty has ballooned to 6'4" and 280 pounds over the years.

    Silva might want to cut back on the fries if he ever wants to make it back to the majors.

28. Matt Stairs, 1B (Washington Nationals)

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    Raise your hand if you knew Matt Stairs was still active.

    Now raise your hand if you know how big he is.

    If you guessed 5'9" and 200 pounds, then either you're lying, or you're a devoted Nationals fan.

    The 43-year-old is still hanging onto his major league career by a thread, although even during his prime he was never much of a physical specimen.

27. Jim Thome, UT (Minnesota Twins)

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    Thome, 40, has been relegated to pinch-hitter status this season despite earning some MVP votes last year. He last played the field in 2007 and hasn't played more than three games anywhere on the field since 2005 when he was still in the National League.

    There's a reason you never see Thome playing first base.

26. Jeff Fulchino, RHP (Houston Astros)

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    Fulchino is a right-handed reliever for the Astros who also happens to be one of the biggest players in baseball.

    The 31-year-old measures in at 6'5" and 285 pounds—or about the size of a tight end. Except I'm willing to bet Fulchino won't be running down any passes any time soon.

25. Kila Ka'aihue, UT (Kansas City Royals)

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    Ka'aihue, 27, might have one of the best names in baseball, but he's not impressing anyone with his talent, or lack thereof.

    The ironic thing is that the 6'4", 235-pound native Hawaiian has actually played more games at first (57) than DH (23).

24. Rod Barajas, C (Los Angeles Dodgers)

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    Barajas is one of the more respected catchers in the game because he knows how to call a game and generally fields his position well.

    However, this is also a guy who has all of two steals in his 13-year career, and at 6'2" and 250 pounds, he's not the type who can score from second on a single.

23. Joba Chamberlain, RHP (New York Yankees)

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    Compared to some of his teammates, Chamberlain (6'2", 240 pounds) is actually in pretty decent shape.

    The issue is that he's 25 and has shown no signs of trying to slim down. With a 2.83 ERA in 27 games so far this season, the Yankees probably aren't complaining.

22. Brad Penny, SP (Detroit Tigers)

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    Speaking of oversized right-handers, Penny just continues to add on the pounds. He's not quite as big as Chamberlain (6'4", 230 pounds) but he's much older (33) and much slower. 

21. Dioner Navarro, C (Los Angeles Dodgers)

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    It's really hard to pack 205 pounds on a 5'9" frame, but Navarro has managed to do so and still keep his job as a part-time catcher. It's hard to see the 27-year-old get any better, especially since his offensive numbers have plummeted each of the past four years.

20. Vladimir Guerrero, DH (Baltimore Orioles)

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    Guerrero, 36, was an incredible athlete earlier in his career and just narrowly missed joining the 40-40 (HR-SB) club in 2001 and 2002.

    That's an awfully long time ago, though, and Guerrero has been a full-time DH since 2009. He won't be stepping on the field any time soon.

19. John Buck, C (Florida Marlins)

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    Ranking catchers in terms of athleticism is a little like ranking bikini models in a beauty contest—you just can't go wrong.

    Buck, 30, is a respectable hitter, but is laughably slow.

18. Gerald Laird, C (St. Louis Cardinals)

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    Laird is two inches shorter and about five pounds lighter than Buck, so this seems like a fair place to put him. He's also a few months older, yet has played 150 less games than his former division rival.

17. Joe Blanton, SP (Philadelphia Phillies)

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    Blanton might not be the most talented pitcher on the heralded Phillies staff, but he's certainly the biggest.

    At 6'3" and 245 pounds, Blanton is a big dude who knows how to throw his weight around. That almost makes up for being paid less than half of what his teammates make—almost.

16. Jon Rauch, RHP (Toronto Blue Jays)

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    At 6'10" and 290 pounds, Rauch is probably the largest player in baseball.

    That's not a terrible weight for someone that big, but when's the last time you saw an athletic baseball player who looked like he could post up Kevin Garnett? Lankiness is not a good athletic quality.

15. Travis Hafner, DH (Cleveland Indians)

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    Pronk has been trying to resurrect his career for about five years now, and after a promising start to 2011, he may have to go back to square one.

    That's bad news for a 34-year-old who doesn’t have a position and tips in at 6'3" and 240 pounds.

14. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (Detroit Tigers)

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    Nobody doubts Cabrera's hitting ability (though his drinking ability is always up for debate). Yet, it's still only a matter of time before the 28-year-old is relieved of his glove and made into a full-time DH.

    Cabrera's .984 fielding percentage is among the worst for all first basemen.

13. Jack Cust, DH (Seattle Mariners)

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    Cust, 32, is one of the slowest players in the game. Not surprisingly, it's rather difficult for a 6'1", 245-pound man to move around. 

12. Jorge Posada, C (New York Yankees)

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    So much of the attention surrounding Posada was about how he couldn't hit anymore.

    Well, in case no one's noticed, he can't really do anything anymore. The 39-year-old might dislocate his knee if he ever tried to get behind the plate again.

11. Bartolo Colon, SP (New York Yankees)

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    Moving from one Yankee to another, Colon has probably made one too many trips to McDonald's.

    The 38-year-old righty weighs in at 265 pounds and, get this, he's only 5'11". To Colon's credit, he's been pretty successful despite looking like a meatball.

10. Tim Wakefield, SP (Boston Red Sox)

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    Wakefield, 44, is the oldest player in baseball, and you can see each of those years weighing down on him each time he tries to cover first base.

    The Knuckleballer is in remarkable shape for someone of his advanced standing, but it won't be long before he needs a wheelchair just to get to the mound.

9. Ronnie Belliard, IF (New York Yankees)

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    Belliard has the honor of being the only middle infielder on this list.

    At 36, the long-time second baseman is an obnoxious 210 pounds on just a 5'9" body (for reference, that's 30 more pounds than Dustin Pedroia). Belliard does have 43 career steals and was once a passable defender, but there's no way he'll ever be mistaken as an "athlete."

8. Carlos Zambrano, SP (Chicago Cubs)

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    Big Z is a sizable 6'5" and 270 pounds. That body is a big part of the reason why Zambrano has racked up a 122-78 career record, and nobody's suggesting he has to get in better shape.

    Still, it'd be nice to see him care a little bit more about his team, especially since he's now on the wrong side of 30.

7. Bobby Jenks, RHP (Boston Red Sox)

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    Jenks, 30, found himself in Ozzie Guillen's doghouse because he was fat, stupid and ineffective. So far in Boston, Jenks is 3-for-3 and seems to be putting on even more weight to compensate for his complete inability to throw strikes.

    As of now, the 6'4" righty weighs in at 275 pounds, and he may be joining the 300-pound club in a couple of months if he stays on the disabled list.

6. Prince Fielder, 1B (Milwaukee Brewers)

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    Fielder is the epitome of a non-athletic baseball player, but he's actually not that hopeless.

    True, it's hard to do much when you're just 5'11" and still weigh 275 pounds, but the 27-year-old slugger has held his own as a first baseman, and he keeps swinging a big bat.

    The big concern with Fielder is if he'll be able to do anything defensively once he ages and loses some of his natural quickness, at which point he would likely move to No. 1 on this list.

5. Jason Varitek, C (Boston Red Sox)

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    Watching Varitek attempt to prove that he still belongs in the major leagues has been a painful hobby for Red Sox fans the past three years. His bat speed is gone, his foot speed was nonexistent to begin with and he can't catch more than one game a week without breaking or spraining something.

    Varitek's value to Boston is not as an athlete, but as a clubhouse leader.

4. CC Sabathia, SP (New York Yankees)

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    Sabathia holds the unofficial crown of heaviest player in baseball. At 6'7" he's not quite as tall as Jon Rauch, but he matches the Toronto pitcher pound for pound at close to 290 apiece.

    Like Zambrano, Sabathia is the type of pitcher who relies on his size to generate velocity. Still, all those pounds haven't done him any favors when it comes to fielding his position, and it's only going to get worse as the 30-year-old ages.

3. Yadier Molina, C (St. Louis Cardinals)

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    Molina, 28, is the youngest of the Molina brothers and has been the full-time catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals for seven seasons now.

    However, even though he's a good hitter and knows how to manage a pitching staff, the word "athlete" isn't what you would associate with the 5'11", 230-pound Puerto Rican.

2. Jose Molina, C (Toronto Blue Jays)

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    Jose Molina is three inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than his younger brother, Yadier, and is quite a bit slower.

    However, he's not nearly as slow as the now-retired Bengie Molina, who would've been No. 1 here if he was still active.

    The scary part? Bengie is actually easily the smallest of the three catchers at just 5'11" and 190 pounds.

1. Jonathan Broxton, RHP (Los Angeles Dodgers)

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    Broxton, 27, is the only known active member of the 300-pound club in baseball. All that fat didn't seem to bother anyone when the righty was dominating opposing hitters as the Dodgers' closer, though.

    But now that he's little more than an overpriced setup man, it's easy to criticize him for all of L.A.'s problems. Maybe if the 6'4" Broxton stopped eating for an hour or two, then Frank McCourt actually may be able to afford payroll. 

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