We laugh at the Best Shape of His Life reports and we shake our heads in confusion at how someone like Jesus Montero can’t seem to take care of himself. But despite its status as an amusing spring training evergreen, player weight it a big deal to them and their teams.
Adam Kilgore wrote a story about it over the weekend. About how the balance is so critical for some players. A pound or two in either direction and they either aren’t at their optimum shape or else they at least don’t feel as though they are. In a world where men believe their performance is impacted by how long their socks are, it’s not at all surprising that so many of them would obsess on whether they weigh 197 or 198.
So yes, while it is fun to mock the notion of player weight being some rock solid predictor of a bounceback season, the subject itself is no laughing matter for most of these guys.
Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.
Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.
Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.
In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”