Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pablo Sandoval's hot start

Pablo Sandoval is mashing this April, and he's not yet 25:

Overall, he’s hitting .328 with a .400 OBP and slugging .603. That’s good for a .423 wOBA. And, unlike last April, he doesn’t have an outrageous BABiP. Which isn’t to say it’s not well above average, it is at .341. But when you consider it was .382 last April and certainly not sustainable, and that his career BABiP is .325, his .341 mark so far this season seems more reasonable and less of a red flag.

What’s also interesting to me, though, is that he’s striking out roughly twice as often. His 20.7 strikeout rate is roughly double what he’s done in his career. But just maybe, that’s a good thing. Why, you might ask? Because he’s seeing more pitches so far. In 2008 when he came up, he saw 3.10 pitches per plate appearance, which is wholly awful. With a mark 3.44 in 2009 he improved it quite a bit, but it was still basically terrible. And he duplicated that with a 3.43 mark last season. But thus far in 2011 it’s been 3.80, and that’s sort of something to behold with the Panda. Anything approaching four pitchers per at bat seems like miraculous progress.

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