A picture is worth 1,000 words and this picture of Pablo Sandoval confirms that theory. Looking at the picture, Sandoval went a little heavy on the sweets this off-season— from the looks of that gut.
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Health has always been a concern for the Kung Fu Panda and has often lured teams away from the third baseman. Listed at 5-foot-11 245 pounds, Sandoval looks more like a high school football offensive lineman than he does the starting third baseman for the Boston Red Sox.
There is no doubt that Sandoval can play the game, but being in tiptop shape is one of the requirements for big time athletes. Boston invested $95 million in Sandoval for five years of his services and right now, he does not look to be in shape for the season— let alone five years from now.
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A switch hitter, Sandoval has yet to touch upon his weight issues, but instead he is looking to improve his splits. Hitting just .199 with an abysmal .244 OBP off lefties last season, Sandoval looks to improve his bat from the right side of the plate. As a lefty on the other hand, Sandoval dominates right-handed pitching and hit ..317 with a .363 on-base percentage last year.
If Sandoval is not in shape, or if he fails to hit lefties, Brock Holt is always an option to make a few appearances. In 208 at-bats against lefties, the super utility man is a .282 hitter with a .332 OBP, making him a viable option even if Sandoval does improve against lefties. Together the two could definitely make an impressive platoon at the position and although fans hate to hear the word “platoon” used with big name players, it might just be the Red Sox best bet.
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Of course one way Sandoval could avoid his struggles as a right-handed hitter is to avoid the problem. Perhaps if he abandons hitting from the right side entirely, he could see his splits improve.