Ah, spring training. Every year, baseball fans flock to Florida and Arizona to see their favorite teams getting ready for the upcoming season. It’s the only time of year that every club is in first place, and even when your team is not expected to compete, there’s still something magical about the mystery of the months to come.
Take Matthew Boyd, for instance. Boyd is coming off the best season of his young career, a 2.1 rWAR campaign in which he threw a career-best 170 1⁄3 innings. He isn’t resting on his laurels, though; Boyd revamped his offseason routine this winter, and is coming into camp 15 pounds lighter than he was last season. His secret? He is exercising more and eating better than you or I.
Boyd underwent DNA tests to determine what foods his body reacts to better and what health conditions he might be predisposed to genetically. He had his heart rate and other vitals tracked to determine workout recovery and optimal sleeping patterns.
Some changes were obvious, others more individualized. With help from McKee, Boyd adjusted his diet to take in more monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and grass-fed beef. He cut out whole grains and pasta and added more vegetables. He added more fish to his diet. He also tracked when and where he ate his meals.
Here’s hoping these changes result in Boyd’s first 200-inning season, and a much better season from him (and the Tigers) than the projection systems think.
Speaking of guys in great shape...
Casey Mize is also getting on the “let’s get ripped” bandwagon.
Most of Mize’s focus in workouts was on strengthening, adding weight and muscle to prepare for the longer grind of a pro season. He was up to 225 pounds as of December, while lowering his body fat.
One source close to BYB used the term “jacked” when they saw Mize in Detroit last December. Also of note: general manager Al Avila mentions that he wants to see Mize in Double-A this year, but the early season weather in Erie might influence their decision.
Let’s fix baseball!
With Major League Baseball recently debating rule changes for the upcoming season and the MLBPA responding with vague references to changes in the amateur draft structure, the debate on tanking (and how to stop it) has become a hot button topic again. MaizeandBlueWahoo wrote a great FanPost with several different ideas on how to fix baseball, including draft reform. Over at Baseball Prospectus, Sung Min Kim documented how the Korean Baseball Organization’s (KBO) structure rewards teams that try to win.
Know thy enemy
The Tigers may not compete in the AL Central this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep close tabs on what the other four teams in the division are doing. Matt Lyons of Let’s Go Tribe begrudgingly previewed Indians camp, and Zack Meisel of The Athletic looked at a potential 25-man roster for the Tribe. While you’re busy subscribing over there, check out Rustin Dodd’s preview of Royals camp, where they are projected to win 71 games. The Twins are busy doing a lot of nothing, while South Side Sox is previewing Chicago’s Opening Day roster.
And if you would like to consume your updates in audio form, our friends at Sox Machine churn out an excellent podcast every week.
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Around the horn
Our friend Emily Waldon chatted with Tigers assistant general manager Dave Littlefield. FanGraphs has more draft and prospect rankings than we know what to do with. The Athletic is doing fantasy baseball now. Baseball America has 50 freshman you should know, if you’re into college baseball. Currently available free agents would make a pretty good baseball team.