To be a professional athlete, you generally need to be in pretty good shape. You have to jump high, run fast, and be able to do various other movements depending on your sport. In fact, some of the most impressive physiques on the planet belong to professional athletes. However, there are also athletes out there who really aren’t that athletic at all. When it comes to baseball, you can get away with carrying around that spare tire of a midsection and still be good at your job.
Don’t think we’re hating with this article — far from it! Some of these players have had amazing moments and even strong careers in the Big Leagues. You don’t have to look and move like Usain Bolt in order to throw 99 mph or crush dingers. But when it comes to the typical definition of “athletic”, well… let’s just say these 15 players probably wouldn’t fare well in the decathlon.
15. Lucas Duda
While he is a pretty solid hitter for the Kansas City Royals now, you can’t say Lucas duda is a great athlete. He is a very large man at 6’4″ and over 250 lbs, and doesn’t offer teams a lot with his speed or defense. In fact, he had to transition from an outfielder into a first baseman midway through his career, in part to reduce his defensive liability. His power is great (he’s had multiple 30 home run seasons), but he is a liability almost everywhere else on the diamond and is dreadfully slow. In fact, Duda has just five stolen bases in over 800 MLB games.
14. Adam Dunn
Think of Adam Dunn as an older and less athletic version of Lucas Duda, which is saying something. While he is retired now, Dunn will always be remembered for two things — his incredible power at the plate and ridiculous throwing speed from the outfield. Oh, and also for his strikeouts. He struck out A LOT, leading the league on four different occasions. He stands at 6’6″ and weighs nearly 300 lbs. As you could imagine, he wasn’t very athletic with that frame, but he was very good at hitting the ball far.
13. David Ortiz
While he no longer plays, David Ortiz was a fan favourite and certifiable legend during his long tenure with the Boston Red Sox. However, throughout most of his career, he did little other than hit the ball. While he would play at first base every now and then, he wasn’t exactly known as a fast guy with good reflexes. He was normally put at the DH spot, which was perfect for him. He was very immobile almost everywhere on the field, including the trot around the bases after a home run, which could take him nearly 30 seconds. Despite being limited in the areas of speed, mobility, or agility, he made up for it where it matters most — the man could flat out hit.
12. Kendrys Morales
While Morales currently plays DH almost exclusively for the Toronto Blue Jays, he had played first base and even in right field at different points in his career. He used to be a more athletic player earlier in his career, but now it’s quite painful to have to watch him play defense and run. In fact, Morales is so unathletic that he injured himself celebrating a walk-off grand slam in 2010, which led him to miss nearly two years of action. He is already in his mid-30s, so don’t expect to see him do much else other than hit the ball for the rest of his career. We wouldn’t expect that he gets too many starts in the field for the Jays, and he is probably one of the slowest guys in the entire league when it comes to running on the basepaths.
11. Tommy Hunter
Standing at 6’3″ and weighing in at around 250 lbs, Tommy Hunter is an intimidating force on the mound. While being an unathletic pitcher isn’t quite as uncommon as some different positions, it is still pretty surprising to see a guy who looks like he chugs beer on the couch while watching sports actually head out to the mound in an MLB game. Hunter has bounced around to many different teams during his short MLB career thus far, and is currently a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. He previously had a strong season playing setup man for the Tampa Bay Rays closer Alex Colome, pitching to a 2.61 ERA in 2017 — the lowest of his career.
10. Billy Butler
Billy Butler is currently a free agent, but he’s also didn’t play a single game in 2017 because nobody would offer him a job. So he may be forced into official retirement soon, but he was a former All Star and had proven himself to be a great hitter at times. Unfortunately, he wasn’t known to be good at much else on a ball diamond. The reason for this is for his relatively pudgy 6’1″, 240 lb frame and his general lack for athleticism. Also, when a players’ nickname is “Country Breakfast,” you can generally assume he’s not going to be the fastest or most athletic guy on the field. Butler definitely wasn’t. Despite that, he won the Silver Slugger and Edgar Martinez Awards in 2012, his career best in most major hitting categories.
9. Jim Thome
Like many other players on this list, Thome was largely known for his bat, rather than his glove or his foot speed. Thome retired a couple of years ago, after having a career that spanned over two decades. He has over 600 home runs in his career, putting up RBIs and a solid slugging percentage. But other than that, he didn’t do much. The last few years of his career, Thome was stuck simply pinch hitting or being the DH, because he wouldn’t have been anything other than a liability on defense as a fielder. His 19 career stolen bases in 22 seasons (and only two in his last dozen years in The Show) should give you an idea of his speed. Even still, his prowess with he stick made him a five-time All-Star and often garnered him MVP votes (although he never finished higher than fourth in MVP voting).
8. Jonathan Broxton
While there are a lot of large men in the MLB (as you can see), no active players are as large as Jonathan Broxton. He is the only known member of the 300 lb club (although some websites have him listed at 285). Despite his weight, he was still able to be a very incredible closer for the Dodgers between 2008 and 2011. However, as he got older and his velocity slowed (and he became even more unathletic), he bounced around between few different teams, never really sticking. While he is currently a free agent, he might still be able to find a home at some point in 2018.
7. Jason Giambi
Jason Giambi first suited up in the Bigs back in 1995 and hung up his cleats for the final time in 2014. While he was a great power hitter, Giambi is basically the dictionary definition of “unathletic.” Over the last decade or so of his career, Giambi didn’t play defense except for the odd start at first base. His throws were rough, he was incredibly slow, and his fielding wasn’t very good either. His swing also got much worse over his career, leading to some incredibly sad and unathletic strikeouts over his career. Don’t let that distract you though, because he was a feared hitter in the prime of his career — five All-Star appearances and was named AL MVP in 2000.
6. C.C. Sabathia
While C.C. Sabathia is a very large man in every sense of the word, it didn’t really hold him back as a pitcher. At 6’7″, the towering Sabathia weighs in at almost 290 lbs and uses this size to his advantage to generate velocity. However, the weight hurts his fielding mightily as a pitcher. Despite his, the 37-year-old is quite durable and has been a member of the Yankees for the last near-decade. While Sabathia doesn’t do a lot of running on the field, when he does you can just see how unathletic he looks. Maybe teams should just start bunting towards him and forcing him to make a play. He’s been solid on the bump, though — six All-Star seasons and a Cy Young award in 2007, plus finishing as high as sixth in MVP voting. Oh, and that World Series ring with the Yanks from 2009.
5. Brian McCann
If you were to see Brian McCann walking on the street, you might think he is just another rugged man who enjoys watching sports with a plate of wings and a bowl of nachos in front of him. However, not only is he a great ballplayer, but he is a member of the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros. So while he is good, he doesn’t need to be as athletic as some (as he plays catcher), so it’s okay that he holds a little bit of extra weight. As a catcher, McCann is a seven-time All-Star and regularly hits for decent power numbers. Just don’t ask him to play center field or leg out a triple.
4. Albert Pujols
This is sad because Albert Pujols used to be THE best hitter in baseball for many years. However, his career has been on a downturn over the last few seasons and people are starting to see how unathletic he has always been. See, people don’t notice things like sub-par fielding ability or the fact you’re slow as molasses if you’re belting 40-plus homers a year and regularly putting up OPS numbers over 1.000. But now that Pujols isn’t doing those things, his unathletic play everywhere else on the diamond is becoming much more apparent.
3. Pablo Sandoval
At 5’11” and (up to) 270 lbs, with the nickname of Kung Fu Panda, Pablo Sandoval definitely deserves a spot on this list. While he has actually improved his diet and training in the past few years, he is still pretty unathletic compared to most players. Unlike many on this list, though, he actually plays third base fairly frequently — a dramatic difference from the likes of other elite players manning the hot corner like Manny Machado or Nolan Arenado. However, if you need any evidence of his athletic inability, look no further than him falling while trying to run the base path a few years back. After a few (expensive and unproductive) seasons with the Red Sox, Sandoval is back with the Giants now, where he was a playoff hero in 2012 and 2014. We are interested to see how he will do, since he’s still just 30-years-old.
2. Prince Fielder
Of all the positional players in MLB history, very few have had the physique of Prince Fielder. He is less than six-feet tall and nearly weighed 300 pounds. He had a very limited skillset in baseball, but the little he could do, he was incredible at. Fielder could hit long balls with the best of them (leading the NL with 50 in 2007), but really couldn’t do more than that — even his batting average was nothing special. He would put in the effort, but his lack of coordination and athleticism held him back. His power numbers still led to six All-Star appearances, but Fielder was forced to announce he was leaving baseball in 2016 due to serious back injuries. He hasn’t officially retired due to contract technicalities, but it’s unlikely the big man will ever play again.
1. Bartolo Colon
The fact that Bartolo Colon is still in the MLB is a miracle. Colon got his start in 1997 and is still playing to this day (although his current deal with the Rangers is only a minor league one, with no promise of actual Big League starts). He was a very good pitcher in his prime, even winning the Cy Young in 2005, but he has never been very athletic. This is partly due to the fact he is less than six-feet tall and weighs about 265 lbs. He is nearly 45-years-old at this point. If he had to do anything other than pitch, there is a good chance he would be the worst in the majors at it. While it is impressive he is still playing at his age, there is no doubting he is one of the most unathletic players in recent memory. However, “Big Sexy” is probably one of the greatest nicknames in baseball, so we enjoy the hell out of every Bartolo Colon moment we get.