Oh, How the Hefty have Fallen

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Fat-Sox.JPGOnce you get past the initial weirdness and divisive nature of the White Sox acquiring Manny Ramirez; it's hard to think the offensive upgrade should bolster their somewhat slim playoff hopes. Harriet Williams may just have waited too long to pull the trigger as their once-vaunted bullpen is suddenly a huge question mark.

When last we checked in with the Sox 'pen, they were striking out batters en masse and holding together the surprise of the season's first half. Fast-forward to today and they're leaking oil and coughing up leads left and right. The formidable setup tandem of J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton both landed on the disabled list last week. Briefly excellent fill-in Erick Threets seemed to finally be healthy and pitching well, which of course means he needs Tommy John surgery and misses the next full year of baseball.

Obese walking punchline Bobby Jenks avoided the disabled list after a slight injury, opting to struggle worse than the waistband of his XXXXL underoos, even blowing a three run lead last night! Jenks, who spent much of the season trying to give his job away, is safe for another two weeks thanks to the dearth of viable options remaining with all their body parts in tact. Nearly all the remaining bullpen arms are rookies, including young lefty Chris Sale - picked by the Sox mere weeks ago in the June amateur entry draft!

While the injuries and subsequent bullpen chaining calamity hugely affects their performance, I think the dearth of fat guys is what's really getting the White Sox down. Thanks to the power of the internet (namely the great Carson Cistulli of Fangraphs) and the ingenuity of nerds the world over, we now see just how fast baseball's relievers really are.

This incredible document lists nearly all eligible relievers by their Body Mass Index; in addition to showing the bullpen's BMI z-score, or standard deviations above the median weight. Turns out the fattest bullpen in baseball is also one of the best, with the bulbous Dodgers pen weighing (massing?) at more than two full deviations above the norm fatness.

The notoriously chunky White Sox check in second with the best bullpen in baseball (The Fathers) sliding in 11th. Can we conclude that fat pitchers are better pitchers? Of course we can(n't)! There must be a connection between bullpen quality of obesity, beyond the constant sitting and snacking. Please to enjoy the list of fat guys, with full credit going out to Twittermeister Mark Hedjuk. Reveal in the knowledge that dangerously unhealthy weight problems haven't stopped these guys become top-flight athletes and millionaires. Living the dream!


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12 Comments

Chris Sale is approximately 7'4" and around 120 lbs so he really brings down their collective BMI.

Good point, BCTF. Sale is totally a twink.

Interesting that Chris Sale is the slimmest pitcher in the game.

Manny Ramirez is going to bring tons of enchiladas with him from L.A. to fatten up that 'pen and get 'em back on top.

It might be time that jolly ole Bobby Jenks shave that thing off of his chin.

Does the Phillies' BMI include Mike Zagurski? If not, then we might have a new #1.

Out of the 211 players tallied, 165 were deemed overweight, 22 of which were classified as obese. 78% of RP are fatties? Can we get elliptical machines in the MLB bullpens, please?

That spreadsheet is a heckler's dream.

@Nick
I am sure most of those obese RPs are lazy minorities.

I might do a follow up piece, comparing how many good fat pitchers relative to bad. Or I might just throw a box of Krispy Kremes into the Dodgers bullpen and watch the frenzy.

Drew,
My vote is in favor of option B... especially if you have a camera. The ensuing chaos would be horrifying and incredible at the same time...

....and can you get Vin Scully to do the play-by-play, er eat-by-eat?

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