But the most interesting piece of information to come out over the weekend was perhaps something that came out the day before, Friday's Media Day. In fact, it may (or may not be) the most important piece of information to come out regarding the Giants this offseason: in addition to dedicating this offseason to improving his physical condition -- an endeavor that it at least appears he has been quite successful in --Pablo Sandoval claims he has worked some with one Barry Bonds to improve his plate discipline.
In that sentence, the word "some" becomes the key. To what extent Pablo has sought guidance from Bonds is unknown. What's more, it's not all that clear how much of ones plate discipline (or complete lack there of) can be improved by the tutoring of another, even if the teacher happens to be the Greek God of plate discipline.
Here's what the always insightful (and always hilarious) Mr. Craig Calcaterra had to say:
And it will also help sate my curiosity about whether one can actually teach plate discipline or if it’s simply an innate thing borne of intelligence and quick decision making and what not. I mean, there have been very, very few batting eyes better than Barry Bonds’ batting eye in all of baseball history.So: how much has Sandoval actually worked with Bonds and how much can one actually expect to improve by learning from another? It's an interesting topic. Bonds may or may not help, whether he has or has not spent a great deal of time with Sandoval this offseason. That being said, Pablo has the potential to have a profound impact on the Giants' offfense this season. His 2009 campaign was revelatory, his 2010 disappointing and forgettable. I'm rooting for this kid, not only as a Giants fan, but as a fan of a person who's passion and enthusiasm is contagious.
If Bonds can impart even a fraction of his ability to Sandoval, it could have some pretty big implications. After all, you often hear about guys saying they’re going to work on their plate discipline in spring training or whatever, but how often do they go to a plate discipline master to do so?
Thanks to a couple of links from Rob Neyer -- in both his previous space ESPN.com's SweetSpot and his current one, SBNation -- in the past week or so, as well as a bunch of other places including Fangraphs by way of Dave Cameron, I was approached by Dave Studeman of the Hardball Times (THT) to become a regular contributor on his site. I was absolutely thrilled and have taken him up on the offer.
I should appear there about once a week, and I'll be covering all of Major League Baseball. If you're not just a fan of the Giants and have enjoyed my writing here, this should be great news for you. I've had a desire to write about the MLB instead of just my favorite team for some time, and this gives me the perfect opportunity to do so.
Here's my inaugural piece at THT on Ryan Zimmerman: The most underrated player in baseball.
Thank you dear reader, I sincerely hope you will continue to read me both here and there.