Even before the Boston Red Sox ponied up $95 million over five years, plus an additional $16 for a potential fifth year option for three-time World Series winner Pablo Sandoval, the two seemed like a match made in heaven. Sandoval would add some power in the middle of the lineup to protect David Ortiz and would add defense prowess to the third base position, a position that has been a rotating door in Boston for the past few seasons.
Sandoval’s ability to switch hit in the middle of the lineup is another thing that drew him to Boston, as it will add consistency to a lineup that was primarily inhabited right handed hitters by the end of last season.
Although the Panda’s numbers at the plate were fairly average during the regular season last year, his play drastically improved in the postseason, something that will be key for the Red Sox this season if they make it. Here are a few stats of his last season, and the potential over/under for those numbers this season.
2014 Hits: 164
I’m going to take the over on this one. Fenway is absolutely a hitters ballpark. With his ability to switch hit, Sandoval should have no problem with getting more than 164 hits this season, his highest total since 2009 (189).
2014 Home Runs: 16
Again taking the over on this one. As a righty, the Green Monster is a hitters dream to pull over and the short porch in right is an easy clear for Sandoval. I would be surprised if he didn’t clear the 20 home run mark this season, a number he’s cleared only twice in his six year career.
2014 RBI: 73
For the third time taking the over. The addition of Hanley Ramirez as well as having Ortiz and Mike Napoli around you in the lineup should increase production across the board for runs batted in. Sandoval’s highest total came in 2009 with 90, that seems like a safe number.
2014 SO: 85
Taking the under with strikeouts for 2015. Sandoval struck-out a career high 85 times this season but also played the most games in his career with 157. Those extra few games do matter and with super utility man Brock Holt in the mix, Sandoval could see rest time a good amount this year. The under, in my opinion, will be very close to that 85 mark.
2014 AVG: .279
Taking the over over for this last stat. Sandoval has consistently been between the .275-.300 range in his career when it comes to batting average. I don’t think he will break the .300 mark for this season but will be pretty close to it.
The Red Sox will need Sandoval to have consistent numbers this season if they want to make it to the playoffs, and I believe it will happen in the Panda’s first year in Boston.