There is little doubt that conflict has played an enormous role in the shaping of mankind. However, in advance of Wyld Stallyns creating a utopian future with their truly excellent electric guitar shredding, I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I write that humanity has found an interim consensus in their all encompassing love of San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval.

Put simply, he’s the greatest human in existence. Need evidence? Here you go:

They call him Kung Fu Panda for a reason, and I’d be lying if I tried to suggest that no part of Sandoval’s appeal has to do with his most prominent physical feature: his huskiness. Despite working hard to make that feature less prominent ahead of last season, as the year wore on, the prominence returned, as mentioned by an overwhelmingly abundant number of websites.

Perhaps the only thing more unfounded than this fashion of weight watching is how broadcast booths refer to Sandoval’s weight as being the cause of success or failure for every single play in which he’s involved. If he extends to make a diving catch off a line drive at third base, it’s obviously due to his off season conditioning. If he strikes out swinging, it’s clearly due to the fat in his core not allowing him to rotate properly, thereby slowing his bat speed. It’s rather fantastic how former players and people with good sounding voices automatically become qualified kinesiologists when handed a microphone and an outlet for their opinions.

This coming season promises to be no exception. Already, amid reports from last week suggesting that Sandoval is looking even “thicker” than when the 2011 season ended, the following quote was extracted from Giants manager Bruce Bochy :

He knows he has some work to do.

Yes, sadly, in mid-February, this is what constitutes baseball news.

From there,  Carlos Alberto Zambrano of Lider en Deportes collects the following quote from Sandoval,

I’m not interested in what people say about me. I’ll shut their mouths when spring training begins. That’s the date when I need to arrive in shape.

Then, Craig Calcaterra of HardBall Talk attempts to shape some sort of contention between the player and his manager, suggesting that:

No matter how much fat is on those bones, something tells me that Bochy isn’t going to take too kindly to being told that Sandoval is going to shut his mouth. I mean, they won a World Series without Sandoval being particularly effective. Something tells me that Bochy would be willing to try it again if he was sufficiently pissed off about it.

And so it begins.

I understand that we’re all bored and not all of us have the journalistic integrity to pull off poorly photoshopped Valentine’s Day cards featuring outrageously bad puns, but attempting to stir up controversy because of comments that are in no way directed toward a specific person is ridiculous.

There is absolutely no controversy here. And I’d suggest that anyone thinking that Bochy would be willing to attempt writing out a lineup without Sandoval likely didn’t see a whole lot of Giants’ games last season. Of the seven batters on the team last season that collected more than 300 plate appearances, Sandoval provided approximately 20 more batting runs above average, 113 more OPS points, 52 more wOBA points, and 35 more wRC+ than the next closest player. Not the average player. Not the worst player on the team. The next closest player.

This is both beautiful and hideous, depending on how you look at it:

Comments (11)

  1. I’m pretty sure Sandoval is one of the players who can “play fat” because he’s been fat for a long time. Like Prince.

    I mean fat guys don’t hit for the Cycle. Okay they do. Sandoval and BENNJJIIEEE

    • It’s so hard to judge these guys long term based solely on their weight because in the case of Sandoval and Fielder, no one has ever played baseball with frames like that. It’s silly to say definitively one way or the other about how weight gains or losses might affect them.

      • For sure. Why does it seem like fatty’s who carry their weigh well have issues, but the fatty’s that don’t are fine. At least its something I’ve noticed.

        But I love Panda.

      • Sherlander and I have been wondering aloud for months if Travis Snider sudden drastic weight loss has contributed to his mechanical issues. These guys have built their swings on their body type. Sandoval has one of the prettiest swings in the game and it’s perfectly tuned to his shape.

        • Same with Fielder. It would be an interesting .gif study for someone with ALOT of time, pure numbers study would suffice (still lots of googling for weight loss changes).

          Same with Adam Lind. He was chunky, leaned up abit, changed it to more muscle and hasn’t been the same since.

  2. I see quite a difference in Prince and Pablo. Prince tries to eat healthy and shake the unhealthy label attached to him. He conciously has mentionted he works on his diet and he takes pride in his hustle. This is in response to being compared to his father, which he absolutely detests. He is dead set in avoiding the same early career fate of his pops.

    Pablo on the other hand, has to be forced into taking care of himself. Only when he was banished to the minors for putting up poor/avg numbers with his inflated body did he realzie he had to make a change and get a little healthier. Even then, every off season it’s the same story with this kid.

    Prince has drive. Pablo does not.

    • But do we know this? Genetics play a huge role in both cases and to be fair, we don’t know if his struggles that second season had anything to do with his weight. Nobody would suggest that Jason Heyward’s second-year slump was weight related so why do we automatically assume that Sandoval’s was. There are any number of factors that could have led to that.

      Just because the Giants have been public about telling Sandolval to get in shape doesn’t mean he needs them to force him; and for that matter we don’t know if the Brewers were doing the same thing to Prince. We can’t speak about things like drive and determination because we’re not watching these guys work day in and day out.

      • We’ll never know for certain.

        Twitter and social media is helping expose some players to a certain extent, but your right. We don’t know if the Brewers were hammering Prince behind the scenes whereas the Giants were more vocal about it.

        Prince could have easily pushed this perception out there to get that 200 milly contract (or his agent anyway).

  3. Finally someone that makes sense! Great posting Dustin and great point about there not being any controversy here. I will definitely start following your stuff.

    If you or anyone else here has a chance, I have a blog dedicated to Pablo Sandoval including daily news updates and in depth analytic analysis. I talked about this topic more or less as well and I agree….no controversy here!

    sfpandablog.com

    Raul Rekow Jr
    SFPandaBlog.com

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