Friday, April 3, 2009

Pablo Sandoval Projections: The Remix

Yesterday I went over some numbers to try to illustrate why Pablo Sandoval is not the next Albert Pujols. I still don't think he's going to be as good as Pujols, but after digging through some stats and giving Sandoval's recent offensive breakout some consideration, I've decided that Sandoval might be a lot better than most people realize.

When I put up Pablo's numbers against Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, and Brian McCann yesterday, it looked like Sandoval might be on his way to a decent career as a Miggy Lite, or maybe a Venezuelan Brian McCann. Using his minor league totals, it certainly didn't look like Pablo was anywhere near as talented as Albert Pujols.

Using these numbers (which is what most projection systems go by), the relationship between Cabrera, McCann, and Pujols just didn't look right. After going over the stats, I noticed that prior to 20 years old, Cabrera and Pujols were both very mediocre hitters (Cabrera had very little power, and Pujols was a 13th round draft pick). Somehow, they both broke out at the age of 20 and went on to be incredible hitters. Since Sandoval seems to have taken the same offensive path, I think it would be much more accurate to use his stats as a 20 year old instead of his minor league totals (the same goes for Cabrera).

I'm not really sure why or how it happens, but some players don't put all their talent together until a couple to several years after high school. David Wright and Ryan Howard followed very similar routes, putting up mediocre totals until suddenly breaking out. It seems like Sandoval is following a similar route, so using his total minor league stats is probably the wrong way to go about analyzing him. Instead, I think a more accurate approach would be to use his numbers from his highest minor league level.

Going by these numbers, Sandoval will likely post a .300 average in the majors, with 25 to 30 home runs this year. Over the next 10 years, he's capable of hitting well over .300 with 30 to 40 home runs a year. It's a very basic approach, but I think it's more accurate than what most projection systems are predicting right now.

He still doesn't look like the second coming of Albert Pujols, but he'll do a very nice impression of Miguel Cabrera at times, and put up some very nice totals.
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Micah said...

Your previous post harped on his lack of plate discipline, and now you have noted a few players whos numbers got noticeably better after a couple of years. Do you think that there is a significant number of players with good numbers outside of plate discipline that are getting overlooked? Is the Billy Bean's next reservoir of untapped talent? Or is the ability to learn plate discipline after a few years something that is rare?

Adam G said...

That's a very good question. I've crunched a lot of numbers to see if I could find any indicators that might predict which players are most likely to see significant improvement in their plate discipline, and so far I haven't found anything.

I think just about any player can learn better plate discipline, but I also think a lot of players would rather improve their power numbers than their walk rate, and their plate discipline suffers as a result (maybe Andruw Jones?).

I'm sure Billy Beane and company have some very good theories about plate discipline, so if anyone runs across any articles on the subject, feel free to post a link. I might try and address the subject myself in the next week or so and see what I can come up with.

Thanks for the comment Micah.