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Pablo Sandoval: Don't Sleep on Kung Fu Panda in 2013

Ray Guilfoyle profiles Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval and recommends buying in 2013.

Christian Petersen

If you are a big baseball fan like I am, you probably watched Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval become the fourth player in baseball history to hit three home runs in a World Series game on Wednesday night. I am a Dodgers fan as you already know, but if I had it my way, the MLB season would be year round. Unfortunately that is not the case. For me the offseason doesn't start to get long until January due to all the hot stove talk. I used to be a fan that watched a ton of baseball during the season and if the Dodgers did not make the playoffs, my attention turned to college football and the NFL. Not anymore.

Today, I am going to profile Pablo Sandoval, and it is not because he hit three home runs in a World Series game. A few of us are collaborating on consolidated 2013 position rankings to start in early November and I can't remember where I ranked Sandoval, but I am sure I would rank him a little higher after taking a closer look at him. I am sure he will be ranked low in many position rankings elsewhere next year because of the drop in his performance in 2012, but that presents opportunity for you, the loyal Fake Teams reader.

Sandoval's overall numbers were disappointing in 2012, as he hit .283-.342-.447 with 12 HRs, 59 runs and 63 RBI in 396 at bats, but digging deeper, you have to remember that he missed a month of the season due to a fractured hamate bone in his left hand. Hamate bone injuries tend to sap power from hitters, and it sapped Sandoval's power as well. Prior to the injury, he was hitting .316-.375-.537 with 5 HRs, 6 doubles, 16 runs and 15 RBI in 95 at bats. He returned in June and hit just 7 HRs the rest of the way after missing some time due to a hamstring injury.

I wonder what kind of year he would have had if he had not fractured the hamate bone in his left hand for the second time in two years. He hit all of 3 home runs in June, July and August combined, but September looked more like his April than his June through August struggles. Sandoval hit .286-.364-.448 with 4 HRs, 5 doubles, 12 runs and 17 RBI in 105 at bats. So, in just about two months of the season, he hit 9 of his 12 home runs, 11 of his 25 doubles, 28 of his 59 runs, and 32 of his 63 RBI.

One thing you should know is this. Sandoval does have a weight problem, and I think we will hear this offseason that the Giants will demand he lose say 25-30 pounds. They weren't happy with his weight gain during the season, so he should report to spring training in great shape.

I could see a very nice rebound season from Sandoval in 2013, and he could be had much cheaper than in 2012. I could see a 25 HR, 85-95 RBI, .300+ BA season from him in 2013. That is assuming he plays more than 120 games, which he hasn't done since 2010. He has played just 117 and 105 the last two seasons, so a healthy and an in-shape Sandoval in 2013 could outperform his draft round pretty easily next season. I will be targeting Sandoval in most of my leagues in 2013.