Sandoval proving to be valuable commodity

Pablo Sandoval has become a power hitter, slugging 10 home runs since June 5th.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Pablo Sandoval, a.k.a. Kung Fu Panda, was always expected to hit for a high average, but over the last month the San Francisco Giants' third baseman/first baseman/catcher has added power to his repertoire.

If he is eligible at catcher in your league (see your league rules since he has only started three games there this season) he is becoming even more valuable every day.

Sandoval has become a power hitter, the Giants only power of late, slugging 10 home runs since June 5th. That makes him the league leader among catcher-eligible hitters during that time. He also has the No.1 OPS (1.221) and he's batting .390 to boot.

Even if your league has a more restrictive policy towards positions and Sandoval is only eligible at third base, he's still No.2 in HRs (Mark Reynolds has 11), No.1 in OPS and No.1 in batting average over the past 30 days.

Although the 22-year-old Venezuelan slugger grew up using the "Vladimir Guerrero School of Hitting" as his guide (swing at anything you can reach), he has actually become much more selective this year. In last year's late season call up, Sandoval walked just four times in 145 at bats. So far in 2009, he's walked 23 times in 283 at-bats while hitting a stunning .332 for the year.

Yesterday was a perfect example of how the weak-hitting San Francisco offense depends on Sandoval to produce runs. The team had eked out a 1-0 lead for pitcher Matt Cain, but Sandoval made it a lot easier on the All-Star pitcher by coming through with two outs and the bases full with his first career Grand Slam. He now leads the team in HRs and RBIs as well as batting average.

For the season, Sandoval's overall rank among hitters is No.48, not bad for a player who had a preseason Average Draft Position (ADP) of 184. By year's end, he'll likely be one of the top candidates for the 2009 TSN Best Bargain Award.

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