A.J. Ellis Getty

A.J. Ellis is in The Best Shape of His Life

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While Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis didn’t come right out and say it, this comes right out of the BSOHL playbook.

According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Ellis said today that he lost 15 pounds over the winter. The 32-year-old dropped the weight because he wants to take on a bigger load behind the plate this year and catch between 120-125 games.

Ellis has functioned as the Dodgers’ primary catcher over the past two seasons. After catching 131 games (128 starts) in 2012, he dropped down to 113 games (109 starts) last year because of a stint on the disabled list with a strained left oblique.

Mike Moustakas is in The Best Shape of His Life

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Provisionally anyway. No actual declaration by Moustakas, but he is a strong candidate for BSHOL status during spring training:

Of course, the entire enterprise of BSHOL watches we’ve undertaken here at HBT may be working against us. Because now the reporters of BSOHL status are wary of stepping into cliche, and may thus be underselling what used to be unequivocal BSHOL declarations:

 

Better to be a victim of one’s own success, of course, than to never have had success at all. That is, if you consider coming up with a silly winter time waster like BSOHL stuff a form of “success.”

Danny Espinosa is in The Best Shape Of His Life, regrets playing through injury

Danny Espinosa AP
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We have a new member of the BSOHL club and his name is Danny Espinosa.

During an appearance at NatsFest today, Espinosa told Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com that he hired a personal trainer this offseason and feels stronger now than he’s ever felt. However, there was an interesting quote among the typical offseason hyperbole, as Espinosa also said that he regrets playing through a broken wrist last season:

“I shouldn’t have [played]. But at the same time, I’m not the doctor reading the film. So yea, I shouldn’t have been playing on a broken wrist the whole year. Like I said, if you’re told you have a bruise, you play through a bruise. Everybody plays through bumps and bruises. I wouldn’t have played if I knew I had a broken wrist. I shouldn’t have been playing at all.”

Espinosa injured his right wrist when he was hit by a pitch in mid-April last year, but the Nationals kept putting him out there and he hit just .158/.193/.272 with three homers and a 47/4 K/BB ratio through 167 plate appearances prior to landing on the disabled list in early June. The 26-year-old returned to game action within two weeks with Triple-A Syracuse, but he struggled to the tune of a .216/.280/.286 batting line in 75 games and wasn’t recalled when rosters expanded in September.

Now that he’s apparently back to full health, Espinosa has been told by general manager Mike Rizzo and new manager Matt Williams that he’ll have a chance to win the starting second base job back during spring training. Anthony Rendon, who hit .265/.329/.396 in 98 games as a rookie last year, will obviously have something to say about that.

Matt Harrison is in The Best Shape of His Life, Part II

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Or, at the very least, good shape:

This is the second report of Harrison’s weight loss this offseason. He has a long way to go to pass Pablo Sandoval as the all-time BSOHL King, but two in one winter is pretty darn solid.

(thanks to Patrick Burns for the heads up)

CC Sabathia may or may not be in the Best Shape of His Life

CC Sabathia Getty
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Crazy pic of CC Sabathia at a wedding over the weekend:

But, before you go acting all shocked, go read Ken Rosenthal’s column, in which Sabathia tells him he really hasn’t lost a ton of weight. Rather, he’s just toning up and stuff. It’s possible our reaction to this pic may be a function of seeing Sabathia in pants that fit as opposed to his physical fitness. Dude wears gigantic uniform pants.

Either way, I’ve always remained interested in Sabathia’s fitness level. Or at least the discussion about it. A lot of people remain convinced that a little extra weight on Sabathia, especially since so much of it appears to be in his legs, is actually good for his pitching because it provides a strong base and all of that. This past season he seemed to be carrying around less bulk than usual and some have attributed his lack of effectiveness in 2013 to that.

I’m not sure any strong or informed conclusions can be drawn from any of this. And even if his weight is a factor, I feel like, as is the case with every other pitcher, arm health and fatigue and all of that factor in.  Sabathia has a lot of miles on the odometer at this point. He’s not a machine.