Kyle Schwarber made a quicker-than-expected recovery from ACL surgery and then, after an Arizona Fall League rehab assignment, was shuttled up to Cleveland for the World Series. But that’s not all he has done.
Schwarber is now the latest ever Best Shape of His Life All-Star. Or so says Kris Bryant, talking to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com:
“We’ve seen first-hand the work that he’s putting in and how hard he’s been going . . . Honestly, I saw him out — maybe a couple weeks after his surgery — and he’s moving around, walking. And I’m like: ‘Dang, this guy’s not human. How? I saw your leg bend in half, and you’re walking around. This is unbelievable . . .(It’s) watching him dripping with sweat every single day. Every single day, this guy is drenched. I feel like he’s in the best shape of his life (now). There was no doubt in my mind that he could do it. It was just a matter of if they let him.”
May as well just forfeit now, Indians. No way you can deal with an October BSOHL guy.
Every offseason we keep track of the Best Shape of His Life guys, but we usually forget about them once the season starts. At best we chuckle a few months later when the player struggles and then blames it on having too much muscle or not enough body weight or something. The BSHOL cliche and the assumptions inherent in it are all basically silliness anyway so it’s not like it lends itself to intense scrutiny.
Sometimes, though, a BSOHL guy actually improves and, occasionally, that’s worth mentioning. One BSHOL guy who looks good so far this year is Aaron Sanchez of the Blue Jays. Who, in January, talked about bulking himself up and adding 25 pounds to help forestall the sort of breakdown he lad last year in the form of a lat injury which ended up shifting him to the bullpen. As one of our most senior commenters, ProudlyCanadian notes in the ATH comments, back in the rotation now, Sanchez has done pretty darn well in the early going. Over 20 innings he has allowed only three runs and has struck out 20.
Maybe that extra size and strength is doing him wonders. Maybe, like last year, it’s just the case that he’s a strong starter. I dunno. Here’s hoping that in his case, and in the other BSOHL cases, improved performance follows improved bodies and mindset.
It’s been a bad day for guys who are allegedly in The Best Shape of Their Lives. First Nick Swisher was cut by the Braves, a mere month or so after claiming to be in the BSOHL, bro. Now Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton has been sent down to Tacoma.
What? You don’t remember Paxton claiming to be in the Best Shape of His Life? Or some coach or his agent claiming it for him? Understandable. Because the claim wasn’t made until today. As he was being sent down. Here’s his manager, Scott Servais:
“He has not had a great spring — he will be the first to admit it. I tip my hat to him — he worked his tail off this off-season, probably got in the best shape of his life. I thought his stuff in yesterday’s game in the first inning, he was getting after it. He just wasn’t getting the results and this is a results-driven league.’’
It’s tough out there. Even for our greatest physical specimens.