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.
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.