Back in 2015, the 28 year old Pablo Sandoval signed a lucrative 5 year, 95 million dollar contract to be the everyday third baseman for the Red Sox. At face value this helped the Sox a ton, being able to move on from the always under performing Will Middlebrooks. For the first two years, Pablo has been, a disappointment to say the least. He played in a 126 games in 2015, but posted a .245 batting average alongside a disappointing 10HR/47RBI’s. Then he missed pretty much all of last season with a shoulder injury, leaving the Sox with Travis Shaw who can mash right-handed pitching all day but is below average against lefties. After shipping Travis to Milwaukee for relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg, the Sox have essentially put all their eggs in one basket, and that basket is Pablo Sandoval.
As I write this article on April 13th, the Sox suffered a 12-5 loss to Baltimore. Pablo, a bright spot in the Sox lethargic offense on the night, was able to drive the ball out of the ball park on an 0-2 count. Last week, he did the same driving a three-run blast to the opposite field off Francisco Rodriquez. Pablo has slimmed his weight down, stayed healthy(fingers crossed) and has looked decent at third, despite two errors thus far that simply just looked to be trying to dust the cobwebs off a shoulder that’s seen minimal action in the last calendar year.
Why do I believe Pablo is so important to the Sox lineup?
It’s simple, the loss of David Ortiz. Nobody on this Sox team is going to put up anywhere close to the kind of production that David had brought to the lineup for so long. However, the Sox need to have “production by committee” as I like to call it, and that basically is, a few players are going to need to put up good numbers collectively to reach the production of Ortiz. Moreland, Sandoval, and Leon/Vasquez are guys to look at most of all however.
In his San Francisco days, Pablo was a two time all-star, a mainstay in the Giant’s lineup, and a good hitter for them. His time in San Fran saw him as a career .294 hitter, with 106HR/462RBI’s, over the course of seven seasons. Pablo may be getting up in age but if the Sox want to a take a shot at the World-Series in a win-now mode, Pablo is a crucial part of that.