It's always fun to think about how other professional athletes' skill sets would translate to the Spartan Race course. When trying to figure out which baseball players would make the best Spartans, we decided to turn to Eric Byrnes, a former major league outfielder and accomplished runner/racer. (If you haven't listened to his podcast with Spartan founder Joe De Sena, do yourself a favor and listen to it immediately.)
The 10-year MLB veteran told us which six major leaguers would make great Spartans, and why. We've also included highlights that showcase what tremendous athletes they are. (If you watch just one, make it the Mookie Betts catch.)
Aaron Judge, Yankees - Right Field
The Player: A physical specimen, Aaron Judge cracked 52 homers in his first full season in the big leagues. He hits the ball a long, long, long way. Not only is he a prolific slugger, but he's also a talented fielder with solid speed and a very impressive arm.
Why He'd Kill It on the Spartan Course: "You can't say the word Spartan and not think of Aaron Judge," Byrnes says. "He's 6'7", built like a Greek god, and his athleticism is off the charts. Obviously his height and weight would work against him on any Spartan course, but just the mere presence of this dude would instantly make Spartan a legit spectator sport."
Josh Reddick, Astros - Right Field
The Player: Josh Reddick may not have the name recognition that the other stars on this list do, but it's not for a lack of talent. With a Gold Glove to his name, he tracks down pretty much everything in right field and seemingly never gets tired.
Why He'd Kill It on the Spartan Course: "Josh has shown Spider-Man-like skills climbing outfield walls," Byrnes says, "and his body is lean enough to be one of the few MLB players who can build a legit endurance base and potentially take on the Ultra distance. Reddick is also a pro wrestling superfan. (Ric Flair is his idol.) Needless to say, headbands, mankinis, and Wooooooo! are just a part of who Josh is, and they perfectly align with the Spartan wardrobe and rallying cry."
Mookie Betts, Dodgers - Right Field
The Player: The Most Valuable Player in the American League in 2018, Mookie Betts does things in the field that make your jaw drop. (The catch below is completely ridiculous.) With tremendous speed and the smoothest of hands, he gets to everything in his relative vicinity. Oh, and he can hit, too. The four-time All-Star hit .346 and ripped 32 homers in 2018.
Why He'd Kill It on the Spartan Course: "He is quick, agile, and possibly the best all-around athlete in the game," Byrnes says. "Betts is light enough to go long if he had to and fast enough to hang with anybody on a shorter course. Oh yeah, Betts is also a world-class bowler with several 300 games under his belt. That wide-range skill set can't hurt."
Alex Bregman, Astros - Third Base
The Player: Alex Bregman isn't as physically gifted as other star players, but he's made the most of his talent and size and become one of the best players in the league. His catlike reflexes in the infield, terrific patience, and better-than-you'd-expect power make him special.
Why He'd Kill It on the Spartan Course: "Like Betts, his size would work to his advantage and his athletic skills are incredibly refined," Byrnes says. "Most importantly, Bregman possesses the mental fortitude to withstand whatever obstacles he would encounter. Put simply, this dude is a savage. He belongs on a Spartan course."
Mike Trout, Angels - Center Field
The Player: Mike Trout just won his third MVP award, and he's not yet 29. He's the best player in the world, and might end up being the best player of all time. The eight-time All-Star is a true five-tool player: He possesses elite speed, power, arm strength, smooth hands, and a consistent bat.
Why He'd Kill It on the Spartan Course: "The ultimate combo of speed and strength would give him an edge unseen on a Spartan course," Byrnes says. "His size (240 pounds) would definitely work against him on a longer course, but on a short course the world's most humble superstar would flat out DOMINATE."
Max Scherzer, Nationals - Starting Pitcher
The Player: Perhaps the most fierce competitor in baseball, Max Scherzer is coming off a run in which he led the Nationals to their first World Series title. (He did so while dealing with neck issues, no less.) Don't be fooled by the fact that he's a pitcher: In addition to his blazing fastball and precise command, Scherzer is a remarkable athlete.
Why He'd Kill It on the Spartan Course: "A former teammate of mine with the Arizona Diamondbacks, take one look at Scherzer and you will feel like you have already seen him out on a Spartan course," Byrnes says. "His enthusiasm and intensity are unmatched by anybody I have ever played with in my life. He is one of the few pitchers that runs long distances in between starts, so his endurance could possibly be the best in the game right now. I'm not sure how his 98 mph fastball would translate to the spear throw, but gosh damn I'd love to see it."