If you are alive, which I assume you are if you’re reading this (if you aren’t, what is up to all the ghosts), you know ESPN loves talking about Aaron Judge, notably for his immense figure. If you have watched a Houston Astros game in the past six years, you undoubtedly have heard a minimum of five references that how short Jose Altuve is, and how inspiring he is to all the shorter people out there.
Inspiring stuff, Jose.
There are plenty of other players who are known for their physical presence or lack-thereof. 6-foot-7 freaks have certain advantages that scrappy-5 foot 8 guys do not have. The players who are just uber-gifted physically are often great, but we do not know how much of that is solely because their body. If Giancarlo Stanton was David Eckstein’s size, who knows if he would still be a solid player. Let’s find out.
Chris Sale-Bartolo Colon
Let’s just forget for a moment that one is left-handed and one is not. Chris Sale uses his 82-inch wingspan to give hitters an incredibly wacky look, flailing his skinny body around as he delivers an upper-90s fastball with tail. While Bartolo, does not. He resembles more of a glorified toad on the moad, floating up well-located glorified changeup.
If Chris Sale had to deal with that, day-in and day-out, he would not be the same. Bartolo could already throw hard when he was young, but if had Chris Sale’s frame, he would have throw premium gas. But, Bartolo knows how to use his body now better than anyone else in the sport. He would not be the same without his sub-6-foot, 285 pound frame. Both players would suffer from the change.
Yasiel Puig-Matt Stairs
Look at this. It may not look like it, but this is the peak human body. At least for Matt Stairs it is. The recently-retired star pinch-hitter did not look quite as imposing as the electric Yasiel Puig does. Matt Stairs does not really seem like the player who would change his play style too much even if given the greek-god body possessed by Puig. For example, Matt Stairs ain’t doing this no matter what he looks like.
A lot of what Puig does on the other hand is because of his sleek frame. He would still pimp singles, but if he was six inches shorter and considerably wider, the Cuban outfielder would not be able to make it work. He also could not chase down balls in the outfield or hit home runs in the World Series with essentially one hand. Nobody wins in this change either.
Pablo Sandoval-Andrew Miller
Can you name two more different players physically? One of the widest players vs. one the lankiest. Miller is eight inches taller and 45 pounds lighter. If these players switched bodies, just wow. First, Pablo would not stay lanky for long. Imagine a 6-foot-7 player as heavy as Sandoval is currently. A lot of power but a lot of strikeouts. More of the same for him. The real question is if Miller could use his new body weight for power to keep his fastball in the upper 90’s.