2. Will The Kung Fu Panda Bounce Back?
Okay, I’ll try not to beat up on Pablo Sandoval too much here. Maybe I’d be less prone to complaining about his -0.9 WAR season if it weren’t the first year in a 5-year, $95 million deal. He had his worst offensive year, by far, introducing himself to the Fenway Faithful. His OPS was 81 points lower than his previous career-low and he had only his second season of OPS+ under 100 (in 2010 he had a 99, but a sickly 76 in ’15). He also had his worst year defensively since his first full season in 2009. In both of those seasons, he had a -11 DRS. His 15 errors are his second most in a full season – 18 errors in 2013 – and came in 118 less innings of play. Granted, he did miss 36 games due to myriad nagging injuries and the occasional day off.
In three previous seasons with the San Francisco Giants, from ’12-’14, Sandoval averaged 2.6 WAR. What is a reasonable expectation moving forward for Pablo? Will he be able to avoid those repetitive injuries when diving into the hole attempting to snare grounders? Can he come into Spring Training slimmer and more focused?
It would appear that the one larger question concerning Pablo is actually a collection of numerous questions. Together, they form a Voltron-like quandary.