Not so long ago Manny Machado was on a record-setting doubles pace, hitting 38 in 83 games through the end of June to put him in the mix to potentially top Earl Webb’s longstanding record of 67 in 1931.
And then Machado stopped hitting doubles.
He has just one double in 20 games this month, including 15 consecutive games without a double. During that double-less streak he’s also hit just .219 with a .575 OPS overall, so not making a run at Webb’s record is secondary to Machado simply showing he’s human at age 21.
Machado still leads baseball with 39 doubles, but he’s dropped into a tie for 21st place on the all-time list through 103 team games. Webb’s record is safe.
Corey Dickerson of the Tampa Bay Rays wasn’t a super huge guy or anything, but he’s going to be smaller this year: he told reporters today that he’s lost 25 pounds. He attributes it to a new diet and a workout regimen and says it’ll help him with his running, swing and throwing.
Dickerson had a down year in 2016, so if losing 25 pounds is something he thinks will work for him he’s got nothing to lose. Of course the best way for him to improve his numbers is to convince the Rays to trade him back to Colorado, but that’s not likely.
As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.
We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.
James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:
Spring training is less than a month away, folks!