Counting the Pinstripes

The always brilliant and entertaining Uni Watch attempts to answer the following question:

Will CC Sabathia, with his prodigious proportions and preference for a loose, baggy fit, be wearing the most pinstripes of any player in Yankees history?

Read the whole article to find out the answer. (Does Sidney Ponson play spoiler? You might be surprised.)

This got me to thinking about the actual sizes of the players on the
Yankees. My guess is that on average the Yanks have the tallest and
heaviest starting rotation in baseball, and one of the biggest teams in
general. First, that rotation is ridiculously tall. Most rotations are
tall, but there's usually at least one crafty undersized dude who is
considered the cerebral one of the bunch (My guess is that there is an
inverse relationship between the height of a pitcher and the perceived
intelligence of that pitcher among media types and fans). That rotation
is also hefty. Sabathia and Joba most definitely will not be sitting
next to each other on the team's charter flights.

The Yanks are
less over-sized when it comes to their positional players, but they are
still above average. The Yanks probably have one of the largest
starting infields with A-Rod and Jeter both above average for their
positions. Cano is heavier than most second basemen. If Nick Swisher
is, indeed, the starting first baseman, then the Yanks give back some
size. There's always hope that Richie Sexson comes back though. If the
Yanks get Mike Cameron, the outfield becomes average sized. Right now,
it's below because of Gardner in center. Still, the team seems big
compared to most, especially compared to Boston, which I speculate is
the smallest team in baseball.

I have a theory that Theo Epstein
prefers small players. Perhaps this is Bill James's influence. Recently, I was
reading The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract when I came
across this in the entry about Yogi Berra (the best catcher ever by the
way):

But perhaps, just perhaps, the short, powerful body is actually the
best body for a baseball player. Long arms really do not help you when
you're hitting; short arms work better. Compressed power is more
effective than diffuse power,

A cursory look at the Sox
roster shows that the team is undersized at a number of positions. What
stands out to me is how the team's most recent additions (whether from
the farm, free agency or trade) tend to be smaller players. The
second-year player and MVP Dustin Pedroia is famously undersized and
now famously great. Jed Lowrie is skinny, recalling the body type of
Bill Mueller. Theo, for some inexplicable reason, lusted after the
scrawny Julio Lugo for two seasons. A ton of money was thrown at JD
Drew, who to my eyes, looks very small for a right-fielder.

This
all could be a figment of my imagination, but Boston's roster seems to
be getting smaller, and the Yanks seem to be getting bigger. Will that
have any effect on where the teams are headed for the next few years? No. Will it affect the way we think about our teams? No, most likely not. Except in extreme cases, we do not notice the sizes of our players. In fact, if we met them in person, we might be surprised by how much bigger or smaller they were than we expected. So what's the point of this post?

To not talk about the hot stove for one second.

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