Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval had a disappointing second season with the team. With no one in his way, can he rebound to who he used to be?
The Boston Red Sox had a big 2014 offseason, signing two big name free agent hitters. One struggled at first but displayed his power last season. The other was average in his first season and played just three games in the second. One is Hanley Ramirez and the other is Pablo Sandoval. You can figure out who is who. Can Sandoval overcome the obstacles and have a bounce back 2017 season?
Sandoval posted 103 home runs, 438 RBI and a .292 average in his first full six seasons with the San Francisco Giants. That’s about 17 homers and 73 RBI per season. Not too bad. He suffered a big drop off in his first season in Boston.
He played in 126, the fewest since 2012. Sandoval hit 10 home runs, 47 RBI and a .245 average. He had a 73:25 K:BB, about 2.92 strikeouts per walk. He finished as the No. 512 player on the Player Rater at the end of the season.
That is insane. As a result, he went undrafted in ESPN leagues last season.
And, if you were smart enough to stay away from him, you were rewarded. Sandoval played in just three games, going 0-6 in seven plate appearances. He recorded four strikeouts and one walk.
There was also an embarrassing incident of his belt breaking on his swing. You can see it here.
Sandoval missed practically the whole season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He is expected to make a full recovery from surgery and be ready by Opening Day.
Entering this season, Sandoval is the only third baseman on the roster. The Red Sox traded utility player Travis Shaw for Tyler Thornburg. They still have Josh Rutledge and Brock Holt, but neither played well enough to be considered for the starting job.
Barring any setback or new injury, Sandoval will have the third base job to himself and guarantee 140 starts. A starting third baseman has some value in any league.
Sandoval ranks outside my top-20 third baseman, and possibly even the top 25. I don’t think he’s draftable as a starter in standard leagues. It’s a stretch in deeper or AL-only leagues. If the reports are true and Sandoval is in better shape, then there is a chance he could rebound nicely and finish inside the top 20.