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  1. “Matt Stairs (!) – San Diego” – death rofl…

    Comment by Melkmizzle — February 25, 2010 @ 12:06 pm

  2. Dave, what about Baker’s post on Junior?

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/mariners/2011132706_mari20.html

    Maybe not best shape of life, but the rhetoric is there.

    Comment by Nic — February 25, 2010 @ 12:12 pm

  3. I think shaving would take care of the weight for Stairs.

    Comment by RonDom — February 25, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

  4. The funniest part of all, Matt Stairs might actually be in his best shape ever.

    Aka he actually went to a gym and after staring in bewilderment at the treadmill for an hour, started his workout regime.

    Comment by Joe R — February 25, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

  5. What about “I learned a new pitch?” That’s a little bit less common, but still one of the story lines repeated each spring—usually with nothing coming from that new pitch when the season starts.

    Comment by CJ — February 25, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

  6. Here’s another one – Pat Burrell is “leaner than ever”

    http://tampabay.rays.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100222&content_id=8111784&vkey=news_tb&fext=.jsp&c_id=tb

    Comment by Benjamin — February 25, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

  7. I wrote about a related topic the other day in a post about Zobrist. I didn’t exactly reference the “best shape of his life,” but talked a little bit about the closely related story we hear every spring training: “he changed his approach.” This could be a new pitch, a different stance, changing the batting stride — whatever it is, there’s always a lot of emphasis on how it’s going to make the guy a better player, as if he’s going to unlearn all the habits he’s had since little league.

    Anyone have examples of that kind of story this preseason?

    Comment by lincolndude — February 25, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

  8. Dave,

    If you don’t mind, going forward would you be able to distinguish between the Mets and the Yankees?

    When it comes to any and all things health/conditioning related, the Yankees don’t want to catch whatever it is the Mets are infected with by association.

    Thanks!

    Comment by One favor — February 25, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

  9. Does Jason Heyward putting on 20 lbs of muscle count? I mean, at his age it was forecast that he’d keep filling out, so I’m not sure where “best shape of his life” intersects with “age-related growth”.

    Comment by Temo — February 25, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

  10. Holy crap… was just watching Hot Stove on MLBN and they showed Soto, claiming he lost 40 pounds. I believe it. He was unrecognizable. Looked like a completely different person.

    Comment by alskor — February 25, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

  11. I actually did this for the 2008 and 2009 seasons over at Fantasy Ball Junkie. My model was very crude, but it ended up showing nothing. I used simple Marcel projections, and because of the data I had, I had to do an adjusted RC for the true season data (which made most guys underperform their RC projections…nonetheless, that shouldn’t matter much since it’s a relative difference for each player). In general, it seems that the players who are mentioend in the media are different to begin with, but that once controlling for the projection, the projection confidence we have, and the players’ age, any difference we see pretty much goes away. Here’s the link:

    http://www.fantasyballjunkie.com/?p=2857

    Comment by Millsy — February 25, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

  12. Charlie Manuel hooked up with NutriSystem or something. He looked good in that blue suit.

    Don’t know if that will increase his Zips projection for mound visits, however…

    Comment by Megary — February 25, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

  13. I remember watching a Cardinals series against Milwaukee c. 2002 in which Matt Stairs made four diving catches in three games in LF. It was some weird mix of painful, hilarious, and Kafkaesque.

    Comment by gnomez — February 25, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

  14. Sadly, many baseball players are way out of shape. In terms of conditioning, they can’t even approach physically-demanding activities/sports such as soccer, basketball, and running. Their sport is more skill than athletic ability.

    Comment by chinocochino — February 25, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

  15. Cabrera taking serious steps to deal with an alcohol problem sounds more like a legitimate story to me than a “wow, he’s in great shape” take.

    Comment by stormhit — February 25, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

  16. In addition to the “best shape of his life” story, there’s the story about how past season the player was concentrating on the wrong. The variant is how the old team/old coach emphasized things that were unimportant and now the player is with a new team/new coach who is a better fit/understands what is really important.

    Which now brings us to Carlos Silva, where he is now happily separated from the Seattle Mariners and their overemphasis on conditioning and fitness.

    Cubs fans can only hope that he is now in shape to eat innings.

    Comment by Basil Ganglia — February 25, 2010 @ 2:34 pm

  17. I’m really surprised more players don’t drop 20 pounds or more over the course of a grueling 162-game season + 32 spring training games and hours of daily pre-game workouts and all. Baseball isn’t the most physically demanding sport, but there’s plenty of running and sweating.

    Comment by Glanzer — February 25, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

  18. When I saw that Delmon Young had reportedly lost 30 pounds I laughed for a long time. Why do you wonder? I laugh because last season an article came out that reported he had lost 20-30 pounds.

    Comment by adohaj — February 25, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

  19. Howard has probably lost 50 pounds over the past two years.
    this is a picture taken this week
    http://goo.gl/Bjcc

    30/30?

    Comment by BATTLETANK — February 25, 2010 @ 3:49 pm

  20. Can you also do a series on the players in awful shape? I nominate Silva the Hutt.

    Comment by Eddie — February 25, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

  21. Randy Ruiz of the Blue Jays…

    Comment by Chase — February 25, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

  22. fwiw, soto does look considerably smaller. he’s the only dude on the list that i saw and said “holy shit.” looks half the size he did last year.

    Comment by airlifting — February 25, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

  23. Evan Meek added 8 pounds of muscle and says he will hit 100 MPH this year:

    http://community.post-gazette.com/blogs/pbc/archive/2010/01/13/minicamp-day-1-meek-the-monster.aspx

    Comment by ToddSm66 — February 25, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

  24. Yadier Molina and David Freese need to be added for the Cardinals.

    Comment by gandriole — February 25, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

  25. I’ve heard interviews on the radio about Freese being in the best shape of his life, but I couldn’t find an article on it.

    Comment by Big Steve — February 25, 2010 @ 11:37 pm

  26. http://www.globe-democrat.com/news/2010/feb/16/david-freese-story/

    Comment by gandriole — February 26, 2010 @ 6:37 am

  27. Blaine Boyer of Arizona dropped 22 pounds in the offseason…That automatically makes him the early favorite for NL Cy Young

    Comment by Chase — February 26, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

  28. Interesting look at Delmon Young here.

    http://tenthinningstretch.blogspot.com/2010/03/delmon-young-weight-loss-before-and.html

    Comment by David — March 4, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

  29. Markakis http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/bal-sp.orioles07mar07,0,7609341.story

    Comment by gandriole — March 7, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

  30. One more, Travis Hafner, an intriguing one, but one I don’t buy:

    http://www.cleveland.com/pluto/blog/index.ssf/2010/03/in_the_arizona_sun_things_are.html

    Comment by JayZ — March 31, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

  31. I have been to your site several times now, and this time I am adding it to my bookmarks :) Your posts are always relevant, unlike the same-old stuff on other sites (which are coming off my bookmarks!) Two thumbs up!

    Comment by Ernesto Gartin — May 9, 2010 @ 6:05 pm

  32. That really is something. Baseball is the only sport where you can have big belly and still earn millions from it. Some of the pitchers are really strong but I really doubt if they can move even just a little bit quickly.

    Comment by Dick — May 10, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

  33. Miguel Cabrera is already on the list, but … here’s Jim Leyland:

    “I think Miguel Cabrera is probably going to have the biggest year of his life. And I know for a fact — without getting into this situation — I know for a fact that Miguel Cabrera is in the best shape of his life. He’s stronger than he’s ever been and he’s quicker than he’s ever been.”

    http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/18/leyland-not-concerned-about-cabrera/

    Comment by redsock — February 19, 2011 @ 12:58 am

  34. You did a follow up on the hitters, but haven’t seen one on the pitchers yet.

    Comment by JoeIQ — February 22, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

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