Is Pablo Sandoval Ready to Start Over?

Seemingly every time I unlock my iPhone, I see Pablo Sandoval. I’m not sure if that excites me, or merely worries me.

It’s all over social media. I’ll simply be scrolling through my Snapchat feed  when a story will popPablo Sandoval up and he will be working out with Miguel Cabrera. The next time I check my phone, Sandoval is live streaming his batting-practice on Instagram. There is reason to be enthusiastic, but I’m not sold yet.

Sandoval has hit a mere .242 in the American league thus far, and his on-base-percentage is under .300. He has not been spectacular defensively either, with 16 errors made in the field in just 129 games. The Red Sox should not be having issues at third-base, and Sandoval has under produced. He has been a disappointment so far, especially for a player who is still guaranteed some $40 million dollars.

Travis Shaw had potential in Boston. In his first full season in the big leagues, he showed promise in his somewhat limited role in Boston’s rotation of infielders. He hit 16 homers, 34 doubles and drove in 43 runs. Shaw only hit .242 last year, but what he did show was the capability to improve a clean swing that can drive balls to the pull side and gaps. Also, his ripe age of 26 made him even more appealing to me, personally.

Pablo Sandoval’s Role Moving Forward

Trading for Tyler Thornburg makes sense. We picked up a guy who has established himself as a dominant reliever in baseball for a player who may or may not have fit our system. Travis Shaw will now have a chance to flourish in Milwaukee, while Thornburg sets up Kimbrel in our bullpen. The Red Sox will now be forced to go ‘all-in’ on Pablo Sandoval because Shaw and Moncada are gone.

The numbers have not lied about Pablo Sandoval yet, as analysts have not projected him to be heavily productive at third base for this roster. Who knows what could happen? This is a guy who carried San Francisco on his back to a World Series title back in 2012. Watching him crush home-runs out of AT&T Park and seeing the pandamonium (yes, I went there) take place was an unbelievable experience for me, as a young baseball fan. Pablo Sandoval was the driving force of a World-Series-winning team just five years ago. It doesn’t sound like a risk at all when you put it that way, right?

Do Not Give Up On Will Middlebrooks

will middlebrooksTo the common eye, the Boston Red Sox are in a real hole when it comes to third base next season. Will Middlebrooks is struggling, Brock Holt is slumping and Garin Cecchini is not ready to take over the  big league job. Although Cecchini is an appealing option at third, he is still a few hundred AAA at-bats away from being ready for the big league level. As controversial as it may sound, Will Middlebrooks is the most likely candidate to win the starting third base job next season.
zoom lebron ambassador 4
Sure, he got demoted last year for having the lowest OBP in the league and sure he is not exactly hitting above the Mendoza Line this year, but it is not time to give up on Will Middlebrooks. Although a .182/.249/.260 slash line for the 26-year-old Texas native in 53 games may say otherwise, it is still way too early to give up hope.

Keep in mind—this is the same guy who clubbed a homerun once in every less than 20 at-bats in 2012-2013. This is the same guy who slugged .500 against lefties in that same time frame. Is he playing as well now? Absolutely not.
nike air max 360
Since the All-Star break, Brock Holt’s slash line has plummeted down to .219/.278/.271 in 45 games. A sub-.300 OBP is never a good sign, but Holt is still, nonetheless, a valuable contributor to a big league club. Perhaps he may take some reps at third base next season dependent on the performance of Will Middlebrooks early-on-in.

Middlebrooks will be spending some time in winter ball this offseason, but right now it is not apparent when or where. Of course giving him some extra at-bats will be beneficial, especially when he gets to work with different hitting instructors.  He may learn something new there or get back in a groove — at this point it could not hurt to try. Who knows? Maybe he finally gets to play in 140 games and unleash that 30-homerun power Bill James and many other great baseball minds dream of.