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8/11/1986 (30 y, 6 m, 12 d)
$95M / 5 Years (2015 - 2019) + 1 Option Years
Sandoval will not participate in the World Baseball Classic for Team Venezuela, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. (2/17/2017)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Looking at the numbers, it's not easy to figure out how Sandoval does what he does. He swings at everything in sight (43.6% reach rate, an eye-popping and league-leading number) and yet he doesn't really strike out (14.5% in 2009, 12.6% career). You'd think he'd have to have superb contact rates but neither his in-zone contact (87.7% in 2009) nor his overall contact rate (82.4% in 2009) was on the first page of the leader boards in those categories. Instead, the Kung Fu Panda does it like Ichiro – with BABIP – despite not having the same physique. His career BABIP is now .356 (Ichiro's is .359), while his career xBABIP is .317. Some of the magic comes from hitting more ground balls than fly balls (44.9% GB, 36.5% FB in 2009), which also mitigates his power somewhat. But if Sandoval can continue to be a BABIP outlier, he will remain valuable.
The Year Ahead:
Operation Panda is underway and Sandoval has already lost 10 pounds this offseason as he tries to slim down by hitting the weights extensively for the first time in his career. If he combines a slimmer body with a little less hack-tastic approach at the plate, there's some room for projection still. On the other hand, Sandoval's magic includes a lot of ground balls and he may already be near his own personal power ceiling. A plus batting average and 20-odd home runs plays well at third base, and losing the weight should help keep Sandoval at the hot corner. If he ends up at first base, his dynasty value takes a hit. In the end, it's all about BABIP with Sandoval, so despite his great personality, his value is tied to a volatile statistic. There's risk here. (Eno Sarris)
The Kung Fu Panda posted a disappointing follow-up to his phenomenal 2009 season, with the nadir coming when he watched most of the World Series from the Giants' bench. Over the long haul of the season, he saw his numbers regress from a .330 BA to .268, and 25 home runs to 13. Sandoval struggled with high fastballs all year, and failed to drive the ball like he did in 2009. Astute observers will note the ugly dip in Sandoval's BABIP, from .350 to .291. One might counter that with the observation that only 7% of the fly balls he hit turned into home runs, down from 14% in 2009. If he had muscled a few more of fly balls outside the playing field, his BABIP and overall production would have looked a bit more respectable. On a more positive note, most of Sandoval's component percentages -- strikeout, walk, contact, line drive -- were consistent from 2009 to 2010. The Giants have been pushed him to take his conditioning seriously this offseason. He seems to have heeded their words and manages to recover his power stroke, he's a reasonable bet to bounce back in 2011. (Patrick Newman)
The Quick Opinion:
Sandoval hunkered down and hit the gym this offseason. We'll see if the slim Panda hits like the fat one did in 2009.
After hitting .315 with 23 home runs and posting an OBP of .357 last season, Sandoval’s dismal 2010 is but a distant memory. And just imagine how much better a year it would have been had he not missed more than a little over a month with a broken hamate bone in his wrist, an injury that often hinders power after recovery. The portly third baseman, lovingly referred to as Kung Fu Panda, will continue to man the hot corner for the Giants in 2012, and expectations are fairly high. His walk rate of 6.9% is particularly special, but he doesn’t strike out a lot (12.9%) and makes above-average contact. A lack of lineup protection hindered him for most of the season, but hopefully that won’t be a problem again this year. Consider Sandoval a top-five fantasy third baseman. (Howard Bender)
The Quick Opinion:
Sandoval returned to form last year producing numbers almost as strong as his 2009 campaign -- .315-23-70 -- and did so despite a wrist injury that shelved him for over a month back in late April. With a full season in 2012 and a better surrounding lineup, the potential for the 25-year-old Sandoval could be even greater this year.
Sandoval battled weight and injury problems all season. He started hot, with a.316/.375/.537 line before leaving a game on May 2nd with a fractured hamate bone in his left hand. Doctors removed the fractured bone, just as they had on Sandoval's right hand, when he suffered the same injury in 2011. From his June return until the end of August, he hit only .265/.314/.403 with three home runs; worse, his .299 batting average on balls in play proved that it wasn’t just fluke luck. His post-injury power drought shouldn’t really have been a surprise, given that Sandoval had similar problems at the plate after returning from surgery in 2011. In his first 165 plate appearances after returning from the 2011 procedure, he hit .289/.327/.461 before turning up the wick to an elite .335/.373/.634 over his final 210 plate appearances. This year, Sandoval started to shake off the rust in September, hitting four homers en route to a .286/.364/.448 slash. Sandoval's power emerged in a big way in the postseason, which wasn't any help to fantasy owners in 2012 but may be an indication of things to come in 2013. (Wendy Thurm/
The Quick Opinion:
Look for Sandoval to get back to 2011 physique and conditioning. With both hamate bones now gone, barring other injuries -- and in light of his performance during the World Series -- look for Sandoval to return to his 2011 form, when he hit 23 home runs and slugged .552.
With no hamate bones left in his hand to break, Sandoval had a relatively solid year with respect to health in 2013. He played in 141 games and while he posted peripherals fairly close to his career averages, he only hit 14 home runs and posted a career-worst .139 isolated slugging percentage over 584 plate appearances. There was nothing out of the ordinary with his swing rates and he was actually making more contact than he had in the four season prior. There wasn't even anything out of line with his batted ball data. So where did the power go, and more importantly, will it ever return? You'd like to think that maybe the weight issues, which are rectifiable, are are the reason, but then how do you explain such meaty greats as Mo Vaughn and the Fielder family? For Sandoval though, the weight is a detriment as evidenced by the two seasons in which he hit 20 or more home runs. He was much lighter in both those seasons which seemed to help with his bat speed and ability to turn on pitches with greater power. If he can get back onto a weight-control program and show up to spring training in better shape, then there's definitely hope for him to return to the days of a .200-plus isolated slugging percentage. If he remains the larger guy he's been, then you should probably expect something more in the 15-homer range with an average hovering somewhere between .275 and .280. Perhaps a daily reminder that he's in a contract year will help keep him from loitering around In-and-Out Burger. (Howard Bender)
The Quick Opinion:
Over the last five seasons we've seen a Tale of Two Pandas. There's the (relatively) svelte Sandoval who his for a .300 average with 20-plus homers and then there's the bigger one who hits fewer than 15 home runs with an average that sits at least 20 points lower. Given the fact that this is a contract year, the hope is that 2014 sees the former. If he's smart, then he'll take the extra poundage off, have a strong year and cash in next offseason with a big free agent contract. After that, he'll have more than enough dough (literally and figuratively) to keep himself happy.
One of the biggest free agent signings of the off-season, Pablo Sandoval moves from the vast confines of AT&T Park in San Francisco to cozy Fenway Park, joining a stacked lineup and offering hope for his beleaguered right-handed swing. The looming Green Monster figures to save Sandoval some outs, turning lazy fly balls into singles and doubles as only the Monster can. With the Panda, it is always a question of how long his free-swinging approach can hold up. The notorious bad-ball hitter needs to bounce back after a season in which he posted a career low walk rate (6.1%) and career low power numbers (.136 isolated slugging and .415 slugging percentage). His new park surely will help, and the Red Sox robust lineup will pad his baseball card stats, but there is reason for concern that he's trending in the wrong direction. The dire state of the third base position right now offers a different view, as Sandoval is still just 28 and offers and one of the four or five best offensive options at the hot corner. He won't come cheap but Sandoval offers the same 5x5 rewards as always. (Drew Fairservice)
The Quick Opinion:
The new Red Sox third baseman is tons of fun for fans but concerns about his free-swinging shelf life are founded. His move to a friendly offensive environment helps paper over an otherwise worrisome decline.
Woof. Sandoval was supposed to provide an offensive and defensive boost to the Red Sox roster. Instead, he had his worst season by a mile. Actually, he had the worst season of any major leaguer. A bat that was 25% worse than league average, a glove that was one of the worst in baseball, and bad base running equaled negative two wins of 'production.' The switch-hitter popped all 10 of his home runs against right-handed pitching. In 82 plate appearances, he had just three extra base hits versus lefties. It's a continuation of a career long platoon trend. Perhaps Sandoval should take a page out of Shane Victorino's book. He ditched the switch-hitting game (although he always says he's going back to it). For those who expect the good kind of regression, there aren't many areas for improvement. He hasn't really hit for power since 2011, and his .270 batting average on balls in play was only a little unlucky. Maybe he'll inch his walk rate back towards his career rate. Since he's a famous free-swinger, I wouldn't bet on it. (Brad Johnson)
The Quick Opinion:
The FX show You're the Worst was probably made in homage to Sandoval's 2015 season. In the always tough American League East, the Red Sox cannot afford to be patient if he remains terrible. They have unproven alternatives too.
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Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:34 AM ET
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