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Friday, February 17, 2012

Spring Preview: Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey

Here we are, just 48 hours from pitchers and catchers reporting to Scottsdale, and baseball fever is starting to spread throughout the Bay Area. As we began in Wednesday's post, we'll continue our player preview as we try and get through all of them before players start arriving and practicing so there's actually baseball to talk about. Anyway, onto "The Panda" and Buster!

Pablo Sandoval, 3B: The Giants rewarded Pablo Sandoval pretty handsomely this offseason, committing to him for 3 years and showing him they have trust in him to keep his body in shape and game at an optimal level. I don't think they have a thing to worry about cause I believe Pablo learned his lesson by riding the pine in the 2010 playoffs, a move that he admitted woke him up and put his career on the right path. All it's done since is turn him into a mature ball player who now understands how easily you can lose your job at this level if you don't perform. It also helped that he dropped like 45 pounds before last season started, and even though he isn't quite as light this time around, I still expect the same Panda to show up at camp and very similar production to his 2011 and 2009 campaigns. Actually, had he not missed 6 weeks in 2011 with that broke wrist bone, he would have been on pace for 32 homers and 94 RBI. Pablo came up as more of a gap-to-gap power guy, but his pop has dramatically increased over the last few years and it wouldn't surprise me the least to see him hit the 30 HR+ benchmark in 2012. As with another guy we'll be talking about very soon (Mr. Cabrera), the key for Panda will be to keep that excess weight down during the season. He'll always be a heavy-set dude, but he can play that way and as long as it's not effecting his range at third. It should be noted that a healthy Buster Posey coupled with an inevitable turnaround from Aubrey Huff will help so all the pressure isn't on Pablo to be on the HR and RBI threat out there, and that should improve his numbers as well!

2012 Prediction: 149 G, .321 Avg, 29 HR, 92 RBI, 74 R, 38 2B, .345 OBP%, .567 SLG% (.912 OPS)

Buster Posey, C: Now this is the real tough one, like with Freddy, cause we really don't know what kind of workload Posey will get or if he'll have any set-backs, which hopefully he won't. The Giants really need this kid out there, as it showed in 2011, and if he's healthy and playing well, it really takes effect on the rest of the offense and alleviates some of the pressure off guys like Huff and Panda. Not only is his presence in the lineup irreplaceable, but Giants pitchers missed throwing to their favorite target last season as well, and although their stats wouldn't show it, they missed throwing to their all-star caliber catcher. Not only is this guy a tremendous hitter, but they keep him behind the plate because A. He knows the game like the back of his hand B. Pitchers understand this and have complete faith in his game-calling ability C. The dude is one of the best defensive catchers in the game! He's going to get a lot more time at first base this year to give that leg as much rest as possible, and I'd also look for a lot of exits in the 7th inning of games the Giants have in the bank, just to save those legs whenever they get the chance. Buster's such a good athlete though, and his recovery is going to script, so I'm expecting him to be ready to contribute in a big way by the opener. If he has to spend half his time at first base the first month, that's just fine, they just need to ensure the kid is healthy and can give them 140 games this year.

2012 Prediction: 132 G, .295 Avg, 23 HR, 82 RBI, 67 R, 32 2B, .387 OBP%, .510 SLG% (.897 OPS)
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 2:12 PM, Blogger hilarie said…

    "All it's done since is turn him into a mature ball player who now understands how easily you can loose [sic] your job at this level if you don't perform."

    Except he played across the diamond from Aubrey Huff. Who did not loose [sic] his job despite being the worst 1b in MLB. While Sandoval did loose [sic] his job despite not being anywhere close to worst 3b.

    So if Sandoval learned anything about survival and success from last season -- he sweated for a couple months with Triple Threat while Huff smoked cigarettes and watched Captain Kangaroo -- he learned that if you don't remind Bochy of Bochy in every way you've got to work a lot harder to keep a job.

  • At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Raul Rekow Jr. said…

    Great read my friend, I am glad to see someone else is predicting Pablo to have .900+ OPS. I think Pecota had himunder .900 OPS.I have yet to post my predictions for the season but here is a basic line:

    .314 BA/ .368 OBP/ .558 SLG/ .926 OPS

    I look forward to reading more of your blog!

    If you ever get a chance I would love to have you check out my Pablo Sandoval blog:


    Thanks and keep on blogging!

  • At 5:23 PM, Anonymous Carl Eddison said…

    I hope Posey can play in more than 132.. 145 would be sweet, especially since he can play some first and get removed from games after his 3 ab's, at least early on.

    It will be like the good ol days with Barry Bonds and even Pat Burrell, play em till the 7th and bring in defense. In Posey's case though, it would just be to limit his innings in the field.

  • At 5:41 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Hilarie, if you get into more of the intricacies of baseball, you'd know that Huff didn't "loose" LOL (thanks for picking that up, auto-check does it and I didn't re-check this one yet sine it was just published, but find it funny you seem almost angry at it, hope it's all in fun!) his job for the very simple fact that he was getting paid $10 million a year.

    In 2010, Sandoval was a young player making 450K, he had no obligation to play and it was the playoffs and he was outta shape and not performing, simple as that. If Huff were making $1 million last year, or performed in 2010 like he did in 2011 (when he was making peanuts), believe you me, he would not still be a Giant and would have lost his job to Pill or someone else in a second and would have been sent packin' or at least to the bech (he's got value and he was supposedly a clubhouse king until last year)!

    So your logic makes a little since on the surface, but unfortunately baseball contracts are guaranteed and it's not that simple. The game is a little tougher than just "cut a $10 million player when he's slumping"! Why do you think Zito's still wearing a SF uni? It's not for veteran influence, I'll tell you that much!

  • At 5:46 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…


    I'd take .928, not sure Pablo will have that high of OBP though unelss he hits .330.. He simply doesn't walk, but maybe he adds more of those to his arsenal this season!

    That dude gets selective, look out NL pitching! He's already a monster, probably one of the top-10 hitters NL pitchers would least want to face.

    I'm not too worried about Pablo, he had a sophomore slump kind of, but he's over it and he's ready to dominate from now on. I just hope Posey's healthy and ready. Same with Freddy. They need those guys' RH bats more than anything.

    A big reason why I'm an advocate of Magglio Ordonez is because the Giants need right-handed sticks and Maggs can still rake lefties. I'd love to see him platooning w/Nate and Angel in the outfield.

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