With the arrival of players this week in Port St. Lucie, fans got their first look at the likes of Ruben Tejada and Lucas Duda, who arrived in noticeably better shape with a full-time role on the line in 2014. Both players, amongst others, spent much of their winter training at a fitness camp in Michigan. The results are obvious, which each player appearing leaner and stronger.
How that translate on the diamond remains to be seen, but there is something else worth keeping an eye on. These guys deviated from their normal offseason workout routine. Its fair to assume that each put in significantly more effort this winter in years past. How will that impact then as the year drags on?
The Major League Baseball season remains a six month long grind that sees players put their bodies through quite a bit. There is little rest as the season progresses. Its possible that Tejada and Duda, neither of whom enter camp on their normal rest, could struggle to keep their energy up in spite of being in better shape. Could that result in injuries and/or poor play as spring drags into summer? What impact could that have on the rest of the team if they can't contribute as expected?
This isn't to say that their offseason efforts were unwarranted. Both players appeared slow and out of shape last season. A regimented workout routine will likely serve them well over the remainder of their careers, but that doesn't mean it won't impact this season in a negative fashion. I expect better play from each as the spring gets under way, but I still wonder what happens in the long run.