Batting Order Position: Fifth
Opening Day Age: 33
Uniform Number: 24
Has he ever fallen on his face while playing baseball?: Yes.
Apparently, last September, he knocked himself silly while running out a ground ball. According to ESPN:
"The Rangers' cleanup hitter fell flat on his face behind first base after failing to beat out his inning-ending ground ball to shortstop. Byrd got up gingerly and walked toward center field, but nearly collapsed while the Rangers' training staff attempted to help."
Is Victor Conte in his contacts list?: Yes.
A very interesting story by Steve Henson at Yahoo! Sports revealed that Marlon is a current customer of the former BALCO owner, who now does business under the name Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning (SNAC).
"Byrd’s daily regimen normally doesn’t waver. He takes Aerobitine before batting practice, then again shortly before the game along with two or three Vitalize pills. He takes ZMA when he returns to his hotel room for the night.
An hour before games, Byrd also takes a special formula Conte calls a pre-competition packet that includes six capsules, two powders and a sublingual dosage of the cell fuel adenosine triphosphate (ATP) obtained from a lab in the Ukraine."
Conte has strenuously pointed out that no customers of SNAC have ever tested positive for PEDs currently banned by the MLB.
Baseball-Reference.com's Most Similar Batter: Reed Johnson (weird, huh?)
Why we might like him:
- He is really similar to Reed Johnson.
- He has had three straight seasons with an OPS over .800
- Doug Glanville says, "Marlon is a battler. He's got a great work ethic. This is a guy who I worked with tirelessly in spring training. We talked a lot. He can run it down (in center field). He makes his routes. He's very precise, goes hard after everything. He's a grinder."
- He is really similar to Reed Johnson and will be playing every day.
- He has never had a season OPS over .800 when not playing home games in the exremely hitter-friendly Ballpark in Arlington.
- Keith Law says, "He replaces Milton Bradley and Bradley's replacements, but even with the off year Bradley was more productive for the Cubs on a rate basis than Byrd was in Texas."
What Cubs Blogosphere Thinks of Him:
- The Cub Reporter - "Decent offensive production for center fielder, terrifying home/road splits over the last 3 years including a major drop in power, walks way too little and at best an average center fielder. Feel the excitement."
- Another Cubs Blog - "There were cries from a majority of Cubs fans about Byrd's contract, which is only 3 years and $15 million. I was disappointed to see such a reaction to not only a very small amount of money these days, but to a contract that was obviously a good one for the Cubs... He's worth nearly $10 million in 2010 and paid only $3 million."
- Bleed Cubbie Blue - "He wasn't my first, second or third choice. All we can do is hope that the next three years will be a repeat of Byrd's 2008 and 2009 seasons. Otherwise this is a waste of money."
- Desipio - "It’s not that Marlon Byrd is a terrible player, he’s not. He’s also not that good. He’s not a guy you need to sign in December, and he’s sure as hell not a guy you need to give a three year contract to."