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A Closer Look: What Happened To Pablo Sandoval?

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In 2009, Pablo Sandoval hit 25 HRs, drove in 90 runs, and had a triple slash line of .330-387-.556. I projected that he would hit 30 HRs and drive in 100 runs this season, but he has made me look pretty bad to date. Kung Fu Panda is hitting just .263-.322-.382 with 6 HRs and 34 RBIs. He began the year hitting in the middle of the Giants lineup, but lately has been hitting 6th and 7th. And I don't blame Bruce Bochy for moving him down in the lineup.

He started the season off well, hitting .368 in April, but has hit .234 in May, .234 in June and is hitting just .186 in July. He was pretty consistent last season hitting .333 in the first half and .327 in the second half.

So what happened to Sandoval? Well, his BABIP of .289 is about 60 points lower than his 2009 BABIP of .350, and below his career BABIP of .331. His power has been virtually cut in half as judged by his .119 ISO vs .226 in 2009. His batted ball figures have fluctuated a bit, but not enough to cause any concern. His LD% has dropped from 18% to 16%, but his GB% and FB% have fluctuated by 1% in either direction.

His plate discipline does show a cause for concern as he is swinging at more balls out of the zone-43% vs 42%, and is not swinging at balls in the zone-77% vs 83% in 2009. His BB%-8.2% vs 8.1% and K% -14.6% vs 14.5%-hasn't fluctuated much this year vs last year.

Is it possible his 2009 season was a fluke? I don't think so, as he flashed 20 HR power in 2009 at A+ and AA. I think he has just been unlucky with his BABIP 40 points lower than his career BABIP, and think more balls will start falling for The Mound Round of Pound. 

It is also possible he is playing hurt, which is not surprising as he might be more out of shape than Prince Fielder. Either way, I think he can bounce back in the second half, but I am worried about the huge drop in power.