#Hot Corner

When getting UP CLOSE isn't close enough

Last weekend at the SABR Analytics Conference, they were giving away packs of 2013 Bowman baseball cards. I restrained myself until the end, when I saw a whole bunch of cards just laying around. That's when I loaded up.

Many of the cards are very shiny; sparkly, even. Which makes me like them less.The backs are sorta fun, though. These guys really don't have many stats, since most of them were drafted just last summer. So everybody's got three text sections: Résumé, Skills, and (best of all) Up Close.

The problem, of course, is that most baseball players are not, aside from their freakish physical talents, all that interesting. But I read the backs of all 50 non-duplicate cards so you don't have to, and discovered (for example) three examples of freakish weight gain. And only 30 pounds. Not 20, not 40. 30.

Boston's Ty Buttrey grew five inches and added 30 pounds after entering high school.

Colorado's Eddie Butler gained 30 pounds of strength over three years in college.

Kansas City's Sam Selman added 30 pounds of beneficial weight during college career.

Other things I learned ...

Philadelphia's William Carmona has one sister, Pittsburgh's Barrett Barnes has one older brother (Willie) and Detroit's Jordan John has two brothers!

Atlanta's Steven Schils admires Justin Verlander, Atlanta's Mike Dodig tries to emulate Mark Teixeira, and Atlanta's Lucas Sims is a lifelong Atlanta fan.

Baltimore's Branden Kline grew up as a Red Sox fan, but his parents were diehard Baltimore supporters.

Now, I know what you're saying ... "Rob, they can't all be that boring."

You're right. They can't be. Last June, the Orioles used the fourth pick in the amateur draft on LSU right-hander Kevin Gausman, who (we learn) enjoys science-fiction movies. No, that is not interesting. But this is!

Ate four powdered donuts between every inning in college -- a tradition that began in middle school.

Turk Wendell used to brush his teeth between every inning, but this a lot better than that. I know guys don't throw complete games any more, but what if Gausman did throw one as a professional. That's 34 powdered donuts! Sure, it's too late for Hostess. But just imagine the fun Vin Scully would have.

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