Panda Power is real in Boston

Red Sox 3rd baseman Pablo Sandoval might finally be ready to live up to his contract after two poor seasons.

 

One of the biggest questions going into this season for the Red Sox was Pablo Sandoval. Could Sandoval get back to his old form? Could he get away from the 2016 nightmare? Something drastic needed to happen and immediate results were a necessity. This spring did just the trick.

When Sandoval signed his five year $95 million dollar contract with the Red Sox prior to the 2015 season, some thought this could work. Sandoval theoretically could have been seen as the best option to man the hot corner since Adrian Beltre or Mike Lowell. In two seasons since coming to Boston, Sandoval has been greatly underwhelming. Since 2011, Sandoval’s numbers have steadily been declining. His best season came in 2009 when he hit .330/25/90/5. Before coming to Boston, Panda’s batting average had never been below .265. Fast forward to 2014, his last season in San Francisco, he slashed a .279/16/73 line. Including his injured shorted season last year, Sandoval hasn’t tried stealing a base in four years.

In Sandoval’s two seasons in Boston, Pablo Sandoval hit .242/10/47/0. Not the numbers we’d expect for $38 million dollars. Here’s to hoping that the next $19 million doesn’t go down the drain either. Sandoval after 2016 vowed that 2017 would be different. It better be. I don’t think our fans could handle another dumpy season for that kind of pay. We’re all praying for a change, yes there’s more meaning behind that.

Insert pre-Spring Training Pablo Sandoval for 2017.

PabloSandoval2.jpg

 

At first glance, you’re looking at someone who looks healthy, in shape, and ready to play ball. Showing up early to practice and get to work also was a great sign and vote of confidence. Panda is ready to play. This is not the same guy we saw for two seasons. Sandoval has been lauded for admitting his mistakes and is ready to turn the page. I’m ready for a Cinderella story especially now with David Price sidelined and Drew Pomeranz now injured.

Panda has absolutely dominated Spring Training. Compared to what he’s done in Boston, this is a new man, literally. Sandoval ranks 1st this Spring with 13 runs knocked in just 14 games played. Panda came to party in his last game against Minnesota. The Sox won 12-5 and Sandoval played a huge part hitting two out of the park. The first was a belt high pitch on the inside of the plate ripped for a solo home run to right-center field. His second was letter high and an absolute shot, a 3-run bomb to deep right field. A two homer game for Panda for the first since September 4th 2013 when he hit three against the Padres. Sandoval added two doubles in today’s 7-4 win against the Orioles.

So far this Spring, Sandoval has been one of the better hitters with a .349/3/13 line. It’s a vast improvement from a year ago with a .204/2/7 line. Even his OBP/SLG/OPS line has gotten better from 2015 to 2016. Sandoval’s numbers jumped from .231/408/.639 to .364/.628/1.014. With only two weeks left before the season begins, Sox fans can rest assured that the Panda is ready. These numbers along with Mitch Moreland’s are two major signs that the boys from Bean Town are ready.

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