Body Type and Performance of Elite Cuban Baseball Players
Wiliam Carvajal, MS, Andrés Ríos, MD, Ivis Echevarría, Miriam Martínez, Julio Miñoso, MD, Dialvis Rodríguez, MS
Introduction Appropriate stature and adequate somatotype are not the only attributes determining athletic performance, but they are important prerequisites forsports participation and success. However, there is scant literature on baseball players’ kinanthropometric profiles and their association with performance. Given that Cuban baseball players have been among the world’s top performers in recent decades, characterization of their morphological features linked to their performance may contribute to developing the evidence base in this area. ObjectiveDescribe the kinanthropometric profile related to sports performance of elite Cuban baseball players, classified by playing position. Methods Body composition, somatotype, proportionality, and performance were measured in 100 elite baseball players grouped by playing position and performance. Data from the 2002–2003 baseball season was gathered for players participating in the 43rd Cuban NationalBaseball Series (November 2003–May 2004). Slugging percentage (SLG) was used to measure performance of all players except pitchers, whose performance was measured as end-of-season win-loss record. Mean and standard deviation values were calculated for anthropometric and performance results, presented in tables for comparison. ANOVA and MANOVA analyses were applied to determine magnitudes ofdifference between the variables studied, as well as statistical significance of the differences established (p≤0.05 and p≤0.01). Results Performance and body type varied by playing position, and statistically significant differences were found in performance, body
composition and somatotype variables between some positions. No significant differences in proportionality were found. First basemen andoutfielders (center, left, and right fielders) were the best offensive players with the highest mean SLG, body weight and muscle mass values. Infielders (second basemen, shortstops, and third basemen) had the lowest mean body weight and adipose tissue mass values, as well as the lowest mean SLG. Catchers had similar mean weight, height, muscle mass, and adipose tissue mass values as first basemen,outfielders and infielders, but a low mean SLG similar to that of infielders. Pitchers were morphologically similar to players in all positions, but significant morphological differences were found among pitchers with different performance levels. Better-performing pitchers (≥.600 winning percentage (Wpct)) were significantly heavier and more mesomorphic than lower-performing pitchers (7; ratingsof 0–2.5 are considered low, 3–5 moderate, 5.5–7 high, and >7.5 very high. Body Proportionality The following ratios were used as proportionality indicators: Relative biacromial breadth (RBAB) = biacromial breadth x 100 / height Relative biiliocristal breadth (RBCB) = biiliocristal breadth x 100 / height Relative wrist breadth (RWB) = wrist breadth x 100 / height Relative upper arm length (RUAL) =upper arm Length x 100 / height Relative arm length (RAL) = arm length x 100 / height Relative lower leg length (RLLL) = lower leg length x 100 / height Relative leg length (RLL) = leg length x 100 / height All measurements were made in centimeters (cm) following the standards recommended by the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK). Performance terminology usedin data collection and analysis GW: Number of games won by a pitcher in one season. Wpct (winning percentage): Ratio of games won to total games won and lost by a pitcher in one season. This indicator is synonymous with pitcher efficiency. Pitchers’ 2002–2003 end-of-season Wpct was obtained for this study. SLG (slugging percentage): Total number of bases run per hit by a batter, divided by his...