Baseball has always been a game of precise measurements. Sixty feet doesn't mean much, but 60'6" means everything. Otherwise random numbers—4,256; 511; 762; .406—have historic significance. The game’s high-tech era has us grasping a new breed of figures, such as exit velocities, projected distances and spin rates.
So perhaps it's no surprise that we would want to see how the men who produce those numbers measure up in other ways too. In a year in which Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (5'6") is going head-to-head (sort of) with Yankees rightfielder Aaron Judge (6'7") for the AL MVP award, we felt it was time to take a long (or short) look at the game's biggest (or smallest) stars, one inch at a time.
Below are our choices for the best player at every height, from the 5'6" Altuve, tied with two others for the shortest player in the majors the past two years, to the 6'8" Dellin Betances, who is shorter than only two other players. Before getting to the full list, a few notes: Heights are those listed by Baseball-Reference.com. All stats are through Monday, Aug. 14, and we are including a mention of the total number of players at that height to have appeared in at least one game in 2016 or '17. Only performances in those two seasons were used to guide our decisions. And finally, because there are three heights at which only one player has appeared in both seasons, those players are the default choices:
5'7": Terrance Gore, Royals, OF—He's played two major league games all season and just 17 last year, but with Jimmy Rollins now retired he's the only one at this size who has appeared in each of the past two seasons.
6'9": Alex Meyer, Angels, RHP—He may be out for the year with a shoulder injury and at age 27, the former first-round pick has still appeared in just 22 big league games.
6'10": Chris Young, Royals, RHP—Randy Johnson he ain't. The 13-year journeyman has been knocked around for a 7.50 ERA this season.
Now here are the rest of the picks: