Sometimes Major League outfielders gain weight during the off-season and it is spun in a positive way. They bulked up so that they have better endurance for the long grind of the 162 game season, or so the thinking goes. Josh Hamilton is an example of that narrative this year, as he reportedly tacked on 20 pounds of muscle to help his performance this year.
In other cases, we are just left with the impression that the player let himself go and gained the bad kind of weight. That was the story with Mike Trout last year (how did that work out?) and it’s apparently a story with Los Angeles Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig this year.
Puig, age 23, reported to camp 26 pounds heavier than he was at the end of last season according to Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles. That puts him at running-back-worthy levels at 6’3″ and 251 pounds.
“We don’t feel it’s going to be a problem, but we’re paying attention to it, put it that way.”
This matters mostly in the context of how the world processes any news about Puig: each story becomes a commentary on his character, his maturity, etc. Of course he didn’t help things with a reckless driving arrest this off-season. Now this will become another reason to question the head on his shoulders.
Like Trout, Puig’s status as a phenom is predicated largely on his freakish athleticism. As such, I hardly think it will be a problem for him to shed some weight. It is only a problem insofar as it puts his name back in the news cycle for a potentially negative reason.