Not ready to give Panda the thumbs up

Posted By on April 25, 2011 12:06 pm

So far it sure looks like the 2011 Pablo Sandoval Revival has been a success. He looks good at the plate and better than last year in the field. Physically, he looks more like a ballplayer and less like, well, a ball. I believe that he’ll end up doing much better than he did last year.

But (there’s always a but), we need to still be aware of something. Here is Sandoval’s monthly production, from last year:

2010 BA OBP SLG OPS
April/March .368 .433 .575 1.008
May .234 .275 .342 .617
June .234 .305 .340 .645
July .232 .302 .295 .597
August .312 .348 .560 .907
Sept/Oct .224 .274 .313 .587

Get my drift? Even in his miserable year, it took more than a month for him to fall apart. So even this hot start (.319/.382/.565, with an OPS of .947) is too small of a sample size to be confident he can sustain it. Last April he was better than he is now, and look what happened.

I won’t be sold that Sandoval is going to be an above-average offensive producer until he’s finished the whole season at an above-average level, but he’s off to an encouraging start. I wrote just before opening day that I figured Sandoval would be good for an OPS of .830 this year, which was right between ’09 and ’10, and I still think that’s a reasonable landing spot for him when it’s over.

Comments

One Response to “Not ready to give Panda the thumbs up”

  1. RoneFace says:

    Point very well taken, and I’d agree that it’s far too early to declare that the Panda is back. However, I think it’s fair to say that he looks better than at almost any time during 2010. The big difference for me is that he seems to be getting to pitches he wasn’t getting to last year, specifically the high fastball. The other improvement seems to be a better eye at the plate. He’s taken more first pitches already this year than in the rest of his career combined (or at least it seems like it). In general he seems like a much more confident hitter both with his swings and his takes. The big test will be how well he can maintain that confidence if and when he falls into a slump.

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