Give Pablo A Chance

After his poor 2015 season, the Baseball Prospectus 2016 Annual projected Hanley Ramirez to slash a respectable .274/.341/.460 with 20 HRs, the final line of his write up said:

“now he’™s moving to first base, where the ball will come his way even more often. What could possibly go wrong?”

With regards to his move to first base, four errors is what went wrong. What went right was his .286/.361/.505 slash line with 30 HRs. Players can rebound, even those who become disliked or despised in Boston. That crowd, that public, that talk radio, does not make life easy for those struggling.

So, we come to the latest victim, Pablo Sandoval. The discussion of his weight at Spring Training in 2015 was a welcome distraction from the deflated balls chat that had swamped New England and the internet as a whole. But it was also a disappointing distraction from the guy who had just signed for 5 years and $90m. However, in 2015 he hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 HRs (His most being 25 in 2009), he posted a WARP of -1.4. Below replacement level, but maybe we could put this down to signing such a huge contract and relaxing a little…too much at Dunkin’ Donuts or one of the other eateries around the Boston area.

In 2016 as Spring Training rolled around again, the Boston Globe released the first pictures of Pablo.

Clearly, this wasn’t the start the Boston faithful were expecting.

During the 2016 season, Pablo went on to break his belt whilst taking a swing…

*INTERLUDE*

pablo

*INTERLUDE ENDS*

… and then land on the DL (The belt and the DL stint were not related), that was literally his entire season. Initially he was on the 15-day DL for a strained left shoulder, which then shifted to the 60-day DL when surgery was required. Pablo disappeared from memory as the Red Sox marched onto a divisional title, until ultimately being swept by the Indians.

So the question is, what will Pablo Sandoval be like next year? Well, the Baseball Prospectus 2017 Annual has him slashing .274/.330/.426 with 16 HRs. But something I would like to ask, what is Pablo Sandoval like after spending time on the DL? Well, thanks to The Baseball Cube we can see how many times he has been there. Only 5 times in 7 years prior to his latest stint, so this shouldn’t take too long.

In 2012, he spent over a month on the 15-day DL from the start of May to the start of June. During the months of June and July (Before he went back onto the DL) he hit .288/.335/.461 with 3 HRs and 18 RBIs. His next return from the DL in August saw him turn in a disappointing .249/.314/.356 but his 4 HRs (All in Sept/Oct) and 30 RBIs were very welcome for obvious reasons.

In 2013 his next return from the 15-day DL at the end of June (After a rehab in San Jose that saw him hit .667/.667/.1.667 in 6 ABs), Pablo rolled through July hitting .272/.346/.424 with 1 HR and 15 RBIs. He dropped in August but then rebounded once again come (of course) September time.

He spent most of the 2016 season staying very quiet and keeping out of the way while Travis Shaw had some success and some very big failures in the place of the Panda. During the offseason between ’16-’17 we have seen numerous videos of Pablo weight lifting, swinging bats and conducting some serious fitness regimes. Pablo has shown he can come back from the 15-day DL and produce almost straight away. This time it will be very different as it will not only be his first time back from the 60-day DL and 6 ABs short of a full season out, it will be back into the cauldron that is Fenway Park.

Will the Boston faithful give Pablo the chance to prove himself, like Hanley managed last year? They really should. If not, then Pablo should probably take heed of the comments in the Baseball Prospectus 2017 Annual.

“If he struggles again, well, someone get this man Carl Crawford’s number.”

Ouch.

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