Friday, April 24, 2009

Pablo Sandoval -- Cold Start, Bust, or Bad Luck?

A few days ago I was checking in on my fantasy roster and spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out what in the world was wrong with Pablo Sandoval. After almost a full month, he was hitting south of .250 with an OPS of .626. I knew he might struggle this year, but I thought he would at least come out hitting about .270 or .280.

So, I decided the best thing to do would be to break down some stats, and see if there was some kind of pattern. Here's what I came up with.

  • Sandoval and the Giants have played against 4 teams this year. Of those teams, the L.A. Dodgers have one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball, allowing opposing hitters to post a .223 batting average so far this year. Not surprisingly, Sandoval is hitting just .231 against Dodgers pitching.
  • With a .760 OPS allowed on average by National League pitchers, the Diamondbacks (.747), Padres (.751), and Brewers (.765) have all looked good to average on the mound this year. Sandoval has an OPS of .900 or greater against both the Brewers and Diamondbacks, but an OPS of .300 against the Padres.
  • During a 1 for 17 stretch from April 10th to April 15th, Sandoval faced Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Chad Billingsley, and Clayton Kershaw and dropped his average from .364 to .179.
  • In his last week of play, Sandoval is hitting .444 with just 2 strikeouts and and OPS of 1.150.
  • After his first 28 at-bats, Sandoval had just 5 hits and an OPS of .472. Over his last 40 at-bats, Sandoval is hitting .375, and has raised his OPS to .769.
It looks to me like Sandoval is mostly back on track after a very rough start to the season. When he's playing against teams with average to poor pitching he's making them pay for it, and his strikeouts aren't piling up like they were at the beginning of April. Obviously, he's struggled against guys like Peavy and Billingsley (not exactly unexpected), but as soon as the Giants begin play against non-division teams Sandoval will get some time off from the relentless onslaught of N.L. West pitching.

Final verdict? I think Sandoval will be fine. He might go a few games without much production here and there, but he doesn't seem to be a very sporadic hitter. He makes contact often, and is playing very well right now. His power numbers are still low, but given the fact that he's only 22 years old, there's not much need for concern. A year or two from now, his doubles will start carrying a bit farther, and his home run totals will start matching what he put up at AA ball last year.


James said...

Hey what's up buddy? When do you guys get done for the year?

Got a request for you

Colby Rasmus vs. Jordan Schafer

Who's performing so far?

They are about the same age, and Schafer is about 50 games behind Colby Rasmus in terms of development?

Even though it's a small sample size, Rasmus is making better contact Schafer has def shown more power in the bigs so far. Plus Schafer is drawing walks at a descent rate.

Can you compare their minor league stats (year-by-year?) and provide your opinion on the future of the two players?

Brad Stewart said...

Adam -

I am the president of Front Office Sports Enterprise, an online sports media company. I would like to speak with you via email.

Can you please email me at


Brad Stewart

Adam G said...

Hey James and Brad, thanks for the comments. Brad, I e-mailed you as requested, and James I'm sorry I haven't got to your previous request about Tommy Hanson. If I get some time I'll try and cover the Schafer/Rasmus comp, but in case I don't get to it soon, I'll just say for now that Rasmus has a lot more power potential and I expect a much more inspiring career from him.