KFC Panda

According to Buster Olney’s friend, Pablo Sandoval was eating Cheetos and washing them down with Mountain Dew for breakfast during the World Series. Cheetos and Mountain Dew. Word has it the Giants are telling Sandoval that if he doesn’t get into shape, he’ll start the season in the minor leagues. Even if he does get into shape, I still won’t be investing in Pablo.

Look at what we were told last off season:

11-16-09 Henry Schulman describes Pablo Sandoval’s grueling daily workouts as the Giants try to get him to lose weight and learn to eat properly. With a host of others, including Giants head trainer Dave Groeschner and strength and conditioning coordinator Ben Potenziano, infielder Pablo Sandoval climbed Phoenix’s Camelback Mountain on Thursday, 54 minutes up, 38 minutes down, and thought he was done for the day. Then, Potenziano gave him the bad news: another weightlifting circuit and 30 more minutes of cardio. “He was a little poopy-pants the rest of the afternoon,” Potenziano said. “He wasn’t his happy self.” Later in the article it’s noted that Sandoval did the climb 35 minutes faster than a previous effort. He’s lost 12 pounds so far in an effort to get back to 250 pounds.

If the World Series couldn’t motivate Pablo, what will? I fear the only thing that will make Pablo “see the light” is a heart attack.

Another problem I have with Pablo is his plate discipline. He swings at too many pitches outside the zone. His 44.6% O-Swing% was 15% higher than the league average. Pablo does have an above average ability to make contact with pitches outside the zone, but this still makes him a risky buy. Players who do not wait for good pitches are prone to streaks and slumps. One bad slump and you know Pablo will seek solace inside a bag of Cheetos.

It remains to be seen if Pablo can reproduce the season he had in 2009. His 14% HR/FB% was double what he produced in 2008 (7.7%) and 2010 (7.0%). He did hit 23 HR in 2008 (12 HR in high A, 8 HR in AA, 3 HR in the majors) so his 2009 HR total shouldn’t be viewed as a fluke, but I do find it somewhat difficult to forecast his HR/FB% for 2011. I’m also somewhat skeptical of his .350 BABIP in 2009. Sure he had a .356 BABIP in 2008 (145 At Bats), but he also had a 25.9% Line Drive Percentage to go along with the high BABIP. In 2009 his LD% was merely 18.6%. Smells fishy… or should I say cheesy?

That’s enough Pablo bashing for me today. I will be interested in seeing what happens with his conditioning and strength training, how it affects his hype/ADP and whether or not people will be expecting a large bounce back, but that’s about all the interest I have in the KFC Panda at this point. I’m a manager who likes to invest heavily at the 3B/CI position, I’ll look for a safer/better choice.