Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Picimg_giants_66f1
Pablo Sandoval has missed significant time in each of the last two seasons, and in the year before that he was underwhelming to say the least. His 2009 campaign, his first year as a full-time starter, was easily his best as Sandoval put up top-50 numbers, and now all fantasy owners really want is a modicum of stability. I’ve always thought of Sandoval as a switch-hitting version of Vladimir Guerrero. In his prime Guerrero had more speed and more power than Sandoval does, but they have very similar approaches at the plate. Since 2009, Sandoval has swung at 42.2% of pitches outside the strike zone. Data that’s available for Guerrero says he offered at 43.7% of pitches outside the zone. The league average nowadays is between 28-29%. Over that same span, Sandoval has made contact with 77.9% of these swings versus Guerrero’s rate of 72.4%. The league average is between 63-64%. In fact, since 2009 only A.J. Pierzynski and Sandoval have swung at 40%+ of the pitches they see outside the strike zone and made contact with at least 70% of them. The point here is this: Sandoval swings at a lot of pitches and puts a lot of balls in play, and as a result he doesn’t always make the best contact. In his four full seasons he’s never had a line drive rate at league average or higher, and his infield fly rate has been worse than the league average in the last three years (last year peaking at an abysmal 15.1%). He’s a raw player, and that raw hitting approach is reflected in his extremely volatile stat line. When healthy and playing every day, Sandoval has a great chance at putting up a very useful fantasy line, but his unrefined approach will be very frustrating to the average fantasy player, particularly those in H2H leagues. At a Glance Strengths: BA, RBI, SLG, OPS Neutral: R, HR, OBP Weaknesses: SB, PA Player Comparisons Best-case scenario: Aramis Ramirez (MIL) Likely scenario: David Freese (STL), Kendrys Morales (SEA), Matt Wieters (BAL) Worst-case scenario: Delmon Young (PHI) Pablo Sandoval 2013 Fantasy Projection Projecting playing time for injured players is never easy, so we went semi-conservative with Sandoval by projecting 134 games and 542 plate appearances. Because he’s able to keep his strikeout rate down, around 13%, he has a good chance to hit for a nice average, but Sandoval has certainly shown the tendency to make poor contact and generate a lot of easy outs. His line drive rate has been on the rise, last year finishing at 20.1%, but again, his approach gives me pause before projecting another year of improvement. Overall, I’d say Sandoval should have a BABIP around .300, and that should yield an average in the .290s. Of course, we’ve seen him do much better (.330) and much worse (.268) in the span of four years. Last year’s down home run numbers on a per-game basis can primarily be attributed to his infield fly rate. While Sandoval hit fly balls at about the same rate as always (36.6%), his infield fly rate was almost four percentage points higher than usual. I’d expect that 15.1% infield fly rate to fall a little, and I’d also expect his overall fly ball rate to go up a tad. Combined, Sandoval should find himself back at 20+ homers, though health is again the limiting factor there. Batting third in front of Buster Posey and his .315+ average should provide plenty of protection for Sandoval, and I’m of the opinion that Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro make up one of the game’s most perfect 1-2 pairings atop the lineup. Pagan isn’t the best OBP guy, but he gets on base about 34-35% of the time with plenty of speed, and Scuataro is one of the hardest batters to strike out, which makes him the perfect two-hole option. Sandoval should find himself with plenty of RBI opportunities thanks to their combined efforts. Like I said in the intro, though, Sandoval’s sporadic play will make him frustrating in H2H leagues, and I’d much rather target him in roto formats. Tweet
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Klay Thompson takes knee to head from Ariza

DeSean Jackson skips Redskins OTAs, goes to Cavs game

Texans to be featured on HBO's 'Hard Knocks'

WATCH: Ducks score controversial goal

Report: Ray McDonald arrested for violating restraining order

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Braves, Dodgers complete six-player swap

USA Soccer, CONCACAF losers in FIFA’s ‘World Cup of fraud’

Report: Tom Brady suspension appeal date not set yet

Are the St. Louis Rams setting up Nick Foles for failure?

LeBron: Didn't see Cavs reaching Finals at start of season

Pete Carroll: Communication with Russell Wilson is ‘great’

Lil B takes credit for Harden's terrible game, lifts curse

Riley Curry steals show at postgame news conference

Warriors beat Rockets in Game 5, advance to NBA Finals

Kentucky fan in Louisville has 38-1 sticker on car

Nick Kyrgios talks sex before tourneys, dating female players

Jared Dudley: 'Melo is most overrated player in NBA

Garrick Sherman bashes NCAA in epic drunken Twitter rant

Adrian Peterson denies reports that he wants to be traded

Report: Bulls players told Tom Thibodeau will not be back

Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders "gets it"

Bucs DE George Johnson is a dog show enthusiast

The 3-point shot has become a divisive metaphor in the NBA

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

USA Soccer, CONCACAF losers in FIFA’s ‘World Cup of fraud’

The 3-point shot has become a divisive metaphor in the NBA

Corey Crawford is the weakest link for the Blackhawks

Star player missing OTAs? Keep calm...

Transfer rumors: Drogba, Pirlo and Gomez linked to MLS

Cano's slump: The good news, bad news

Disappointments of the MLB season

UGA wants SEC to ban transfers with misconduct issues

Long's great reaction to Bears releasing McDonald

Crazy stats from the NBA Playoffs

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout

Bears cut McDonald after incident

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.