With spring training games in full swing, the MLB's pre-season is a perfect time to size up your favorite players and learn about the type of work they put in to get better during the off-season. For some, it's a noticeable increase in bulk. For others, it's a dedication to agility and being better around the base paths. And for Pablo Sandoval, it's sitting on the couch and eating pizza.
All jokes aside, today's best MLB players are young, hungry and clear about the value of taking no days off, even when they're away from their respective facilities. We scoured the corners of the internet to find out what some of your favorite players have been doing during the winter months, and to hazard a guess on whether it will translate to a breakout 2016 season.
We already showed you the Washington Nationals star doing crazy Bodyweight Squats while balancing on an exercise ball, but the man who led the National League in batting last season got it done in the weight room this off-season. Following a month of rest to heal his body after the season, Harper got right back in the gym, deadlifting 500 pounds and hitting a 55-inch Box Jump. Harper is a beast in the weight room, and at just 23 years old, he's poised to become one of the best players ever.
Having once graced the cover of ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue," Giancarlo Stanton maintains an unquestionably high fitness level. How he gets there, though, is much less flashy. Stanton has been known to travel to a sand dune measuring 200 meters long with a ridiculous 60-degree incline. His trainer pushes the Marlins star to run sprints and cone drills up the dune, sometimes while wearing a weighted vest. No wonder Stanton generates so much power from his legs. This looks like one of the most brutal lower-body workouts a person can do.
Swimming has immense benefits for any athlete. It works all parts of the body and intensifies your conditioning. Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has taken full advantage of the pool for almost five years.
"[I swim] just to get in good shape," Rizzo told STACK. "I really get my body prepared for a long season and for an extra month hopefully. I swim once or twice a week. It's good for my joints, good to keep me loose while I'm really tightening up my muscles."
Rizzo and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant make a formidable 1-2 punch in Chi-town, and it's nice to see Rizzo taking his "face of the franchise" status seriously.
During his three seasons in the majors, the Los Angeles Dodgers' eccentric outfielder has excited more than his share of controversy, from hot dogging it in the field to showing up late to the ballpark—and his fitness has always been a concern. But at least according to his Instagram, the Cuba native has been putting in work this off-season, apparently to ensure that questions about his unexplained weight gain will not have to be answered in spring training.
Puig has posted several videos of himself getting after it this off-season, many including variations of a Weighted Sled Pull and Push. Puig also posted a video in which he appears to be squatting a decent amount of weight, though his form is so atrocious we can hardly encourage it. Still, it's the thought that counts, right?
Puig is off to a hot start in spring training, which is probably not a coincidence.
When you're pushing yourself to build on a rookie season good for second in Rookie of the Year voting and trying to cement yourself as the shortstop of the future for the Cleveland Indians, you could do worse things than work out with a Hall of Famer. That's what Lindor did by linking up to train with former Cincinnati Reds great Barry Larkin this off-season. Under Larkin's watch, the young phenom worked out for two to three hours a day. He's also been at the Indians training complex in Goodyear, Arizona, performing Lunges, Jumps and other lower-body exercises to get his legs right for the long season ahead.
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