Flexibility is a valuable tool in Fantasy Baseball. Flexibility… meet Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants.
Sandoval appeared in 41 games for the Giants in 2008 as a 21-year-old (now 22). The Venezuela native has filled a number of positions for the organization over the past five seasons since coming over to North America, including first base, third base and catcher. During his time in San Francisco, Sandoval played 17 games at first base, 12 games at third base and 11 games at catcher – which makes him eligible at all three positions in many fantasy leagues. Defensively, he is below average at the infield corners and is better behind the plate, although his game calling and receiving both need work.
Offensively, Sandoval projects to hit for a high average, but with modest power (although that has improved each of the past three seasons). He has a career minor league line of .303/.342/.445, which is really nice for a catcher but not as much for a corner infielder. In his Major League debut, Sandoval hit .345/.357/.490 in 145 at-bats with three homers (an ISO of .145) and rates of 2.7 BB% and 9.7 K%. Given the offence built up around him, Sandoval is not going to set the world on fire by driving in a ton of runs, or by scoring a lot of runs (He’s also 5’11”, 245 lbs so he’s not going to be stretching those singles into doubles on most nights).
With Bengie Molina entrenched as the starting catcher in San Francisco, Sandoval likely won’t see the majority of his at-bats at catcher in 2009. However, both the first base and the third base jobs are wide open in San Francisco, which bodes well for Sandoval’s playing time and makes him a great option towards the end of your 2009 draft.
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