Being the first week of 2016 there's a good chance that you’ve made a few resolutions. And, as the year is still a mere 5 days old, there’s also a good chance that you’re still sticking to those resolutions. I’m no different. I’m trying to pack a lunch for work rather than getting take out on a daily basis. I’m also trying to drink more water and floss daily. My fourth resolution, however, is less common. I’m trying to gain weight.
I’ve always been a pretty skinny guy. When I started high school, I stood 5’2" and weighed about 90 pounds. Over the next five years I grew 15 inches but added little in terms of weight. Looking back at old pictures over the holidays, it was pretty clear that, despite a healthy appetite, my metabolism was fighting against my body, trying its best to make me collapse into myself like a dying star.
All of this is a likely far-too-personal introduction to a list of players dear to my heart: The MLB All-Skinny Team. I’ve taken height and weight from Baseball-Reference for each position (minimum 50% of time spent at the position) and calculated each player’s Body Mass Index (BMI), which can be used as a surrogate for body fat. This measure isn't without its flaws. In particular, it breaks down at the high end in individuals where the muscle to fat ratio is high. However, it is less problematic as a tool to identify skinny players. So, without further delay, I’m pleased to present you with my heroes, the 2015 All-Skinny Team.
Catcher – Caleb Joseph (6’3", 180 lbs, 22.5 BMI, -3.10 zBMI)
After toiling in the minors for parts of eight seasons, Caleb Joseph finally got a shot with the Orioles in 2014. Since then, over a season’s worth of plate appearances (630) Joseph has swatted 20 HR and posted an ISO of .154, which was nearly 10 percent above league average - all with a standard BMI score (zBMI) that is more than 3 standard deviations from the mean.
First Base – Don Kelly (6’4", 190 lbs, 23.1 BMI, -2.87 zBMI)
Unfortunately, Kelly saw only 2 PA for the Marlins last season before breaking a finger and heading to the DL. This was small potatoes compared to his second injury of the year, which saw him go under the knife for Tommy John surgery in July. At 35, it seems unlikely that Don Kelly will return to The Show.
Second Base - Luis Sardinas (6’1", 150 lbs, 19.8 BMI, -3.04 zBMI)
Things. Just. Got. Real. Sorry for the spoiler, but Luis Sardinas takes the award for the skinniest player in the Major Leagues last season. Along with Dilson Herrera and Ronald Torreyes, Sardinas rounded out the trio of 150 pounders at the position last year, but he was three inches taller than his other light compatriots. Sardinas made it into 36 games last season. To the surprise of no one, probably, Sardinas showed little in the way of pop, logging just a single extra base hit (a triple) in 105 PA. More weight, fewer reps, Luis. At least that’s what I’m counting on for 2016.
Third Base – Matt Duffy (6’2", 170 lbs, 21.8 BMI, -2.25 BMI)
Matt Duffy may have come second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting last season, but he’s easily the MVP of the All-Skinny team. Duffy got it done all over the diamond, putting solid hitting (116 wRC+), defense (12 DRS and 12.7 UZR at third base), and base running seasons together. Duffy stole 12 bases in 2015 without being caught a single time. Did his thin frame help him avoid the tags? Probably not, but it might have!
Shortstop – Miguel Rojas (6’0", 150 lbs, 20.3 BMI, -3.11 zBMI)
While Luis Sardinas may hold the crown for the skinniest position player last season, Miguel Rojas was the skinniest relative to his peers at the position, narrowly edging out Caleb Joseph. Rojas hasn't shown much in the minor or major leagues at the plate or on the basepaths. Fans of the spindly shortstop will need to hope his glove is as impressive as it showed over his two cups of coffee in the big leagues, as it will likely be his ticket.
Left Field – Henry Urrutia (6’5", 200lbs, 23.7 BMI, -1.81 zBMI)
Henry Urrutia narrowly edged out fellow free swinger Eddie Rosario to grab the title of skinniest right fielder in 2015. Not only is he the tallest player on the team, but he’s just one of two to top 200 lbs. Urrutia has seen only 94 big league plate appearances since signing with the Orioles in 2012. With their current lack of outfield depth, 2016 could be the year that Urrutia puts the hundred dollar MLB per diem to good use on a regular basis.
Center Field – Billy Hamilton (6’0", 160 lbs, 21.7 BMI, -2.37 zBMI)
Billy Hamilton isn’t the first of his name to play in the Majors. He likely won’t even finish his career with as many stolen bases as the first Billy Hamilton, or be as accomplished at the plate. One thing he does better than old Billy Hamilton is be skinny. While old Billy and new Billy are listed at the same weight, new Billy has 6 inches on the star who broke into the league in the late 19th century. Way to go, new Billy!
Right Field – Josh Reddick (6’2", 179 lbs (plus one lb of beard), 23.1 BMI, -2.19 zBMI)
Josh Reddick is actually tied with Dariel Alvarez for the skinniest right fielder in the league last season. I could have used any number of tie breakers for this one. Plate appearances, games played, WAR (any of them), all would have put Josh at the top of the list for skinny right fielders. Instead, I chose Reddick because of his facial hair, which I’m speculating weighs at least a pound.
Reddick is easily the most accomplished player on the list. He can hit for power, has decent speed, runs the bases well, and plays a solid outfield defense. Unfortunately, the rangey right fielder is best-described as oft-injured, having topped 145 games just twice in his seven-year big league career.
Designated Hitter – Jimmy Paredes (6’3", 200 lbs, 25.0 BMI, -1.36 zBMI)
In a pool of decidedly un-skinny players, Jimmy Paredes floats effortlessly to the top of the list. He also joins real-life teammates Caleb Joseph and Henry Urrutia on the All-Skinny team. If you count Dariel Alvarez, which you shouldn’t if you read the blurb on Josh Reddick, the Orioles have the skinniest player at four out of nine positions. Is this the new market inefficiency?
Starting Pitcher – Severino Gonzalez (6’2", 155 lbs, 19.9 BMI, 2.90 zBMI)
Yes, there was a starting pitcher skinnier than Chris Sale in 2015. Two in fact! Both Gonzalez and Jesse Chavez (20.5) came in skinnier than Sale (20.8). The good news for Sale is that both of these pitchers should probably be in the bullpen based on their 2015 numbers. Will The Condor take the title of skinniest starter in 2016?
Relief Pitcher - Carl Edwards (6’3", 170 lbs, 21.2 BMI, 2.59 zBMI)
Carl Edwards used to be known as CJ Edwards, whom you may remember as part of the package that brought Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers. This season, Edwards made his first appearance in the majors for the Chicago Cubs as a September call-up. Now just 4.2 innings in, he's already made history as a member of the 2015 All-Skinny Team. Better watch yourself, Carl, it's all gonna catch up with you once you turn 25.
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Matt Jackson is a featured writer for Beyond the Box Score and a staff writer for Royals Review. He promises that he's getting enough to eat but you can still buy him groceries if it makes you feel better. You can follow him and his weight gain saga on Twitter at @jacksontaigu.