The Braves will select Pablo Sandoval’s contract to the active roster today, manager Brian Snitker told MLB.com’s Mark Bowman and other reporters. Sandoval is slated to play third base in Atlanta’s starting lineup today.
Sandoval inked a minor league deal with the Braves a little under two weeks ago, just four days after the Giants released him. The Panda hit only .220/.278/.268 over 90 plate appearances with San Francisco this season, though as The Athletic’s David O’Brien noted, today’s transaction would seem to imply that Atlanta will put Sandoval on its postseason roster.
Austin Riley has been slowed by a quad injury in recent days, so the Braves could be turning to Sandoval for some additional third base depth beyond Adeiny Hechavarria. Johan Camargo and Charlie Culberson were both available at Atlanta’s alternate training site, though the fact that Sandoval got the nod might be indicative of how far Camargo and Culberson have fallen down the depth chart.
Or, maybe the Braves are simply hoping for some vintage Sandoval postseason magic. Sandoval has a .344/.389/.545 slash line over 167 career playoff PA, all with San Francisco from 2010-14. The Giants’ three postseason appearances in that span resulted in three World Series titles, with Sandoval collecting Series MVP honors in 2012 after hitting three homers in Game One of the 2012 Fall Classic.
It has been a while since Sandoval was that productive, though he did hit .259/.311/.466 in 548 PA for the Giants from 2018-19. The Braves would happily take similar offense in their lineup or coming off the bench in the playoffs as the team looks to capture its first championship since 1995.
Hech playing hella bad 3B defense hoped the door to let Panda in.
Yup, because he isn’t there for his bat.
As a Giant fan, I’m happy for the Panda. I’m not happy with Farhan Zaidi. Giants could have put Sandoval on the DL and let him figure things out in Sacramento; not saying that’s a legal baseball move but it’s done all the time for various reasons. It’s just not right that he’s potentially finishing his career and not with the Giants. Bad move Farhan, you don’t release 3 time WS ring winners who are beloved by the fanbase. Please make this right and bring him back to sign a 1 day contract or a minor league contract next year.
Figure things out? You’re talking like he’s a prospect. The guy is 33 and hasn’t been good for a while. What is gonna do? Magically transform himself at the age of 34, and overweight at that, into a different player? He is what he is… I’ll never get how fans refuse to accept that players age. How bad does he have to be for how long for folks to get that he’s basically done?
You’re missing the point and if you’re not a Giant fan I understand. It’s not about Sandoval figuring things out. It’s about respecting a player who was an integral part of 3 Championship teams.
I’m happy with what the Giants brass has done and the direction the team is going. The future looks bright. But releasing Panda is akin to sending a horse to the glue factory. No respect for the player or the fans who love him.
I absolutely get that. Pablo is an extremely likable guy. But picking him up in the first place when no one else would was due to nostalgia and respect already. If you wanna make the case they should’ve just rode it out with him til the end of the year, fine. I for one think there’s no room for such sentiments in baseball if you’re trying to win. But he’s done. My issue is with the absurd notion that he can “figure things out”. He’s done. Even if you’d kept him this year there’s no room on the team for him next year.
I am a huge Giants fan, and while it is sad to see a fan favorite postseason hero unceremoniously dropped, it was the right move.
The Giants’ postseason hopes literally come down to the final game of the season, so the brass didn’t have the luxury to keep an unproductive fan favorite around to hang onto a roster spot that could go to a superior player. And you are right, it’s an illegal move to put him on the DL for no reason, so that’s a moot point.
Giants probably won’t go to the post season. Panda on the roster of team capable of going all the way to the WS. Seems to me it, is turning out well for the Kung Fo….
wild bill tetley
The real takeaway, Dave, is the subsequent moves thereafter. The guys on this thread don’t understand that Zaidi wound up dropping Panda for Smoak and then dropped Smoak. But, you are missing one point here; Zaidi isn’t a baseball man. He is a numbers guy. His game plan for the Giants sucks so far and I expect total failure just like the rest of the ex-execs from Oakland. The plan after dropping Panda was flawed and short sighted to say the least.
What is wrong with the direction the Giants are heading? They have more depth in the farm system than they had in decades. The big club is competitive. And their salary obligations are falling. What is there to complain about.
wild bill tetley
What direction? Adding depth wasn’t difficult. The Giants are not competitive, clearly. You are the new Seattle Mariners; trying to compete and trying to rebuild and mastering none.
Why any fan would want their team to just outright lose is beyond me. Way too many fans now-a-days think a team needs to actively try and be at the bottom of the standings for a few years to rebuild their team. I commend the Giants approach, so sick of people trying to inject a losing culture just for a few lottery ticket draft picks.
There’s no minor league season to figure things out.
Look, I get why he was called up. But this better be a temporary thing and not carry over into the playoffs unless absolutely needed.
Yay the Panda! Braves are WS bounding now…
I don’t know why these posts don’t mention Sandoval’s strong pinch hitting numbers from 2019:
“But it was pinch-hitting where he truly shined. In 50 pinch-hit appearances, Sandoval went 18-48, with eight doubles, two home runs, and two walks, good for a slash line of .375/.400/.667.”
Cuz it’s a tiny sample size and means virtually nothing
That’s 50 games, almost 1/3 of a season. How many pinch hit appreances do you need for a sampling size? Lenny Harris sampling size?
50 games of one at bat per game. Just because it is difficult to accumulate large amounts of data on an issue, that doesn’t then make small amounts of data significant. If there’s not enough info, there’s not enough info. And yes, you may need an entire career of pinch hitting to make a solid evaluation. You can’t judge a hitter on 50 plate appearances whether it’s as a starter or as a pinch hitter.
Also, there’s no such thing as a hitter who is better as a pinch hitter. There are players who are worse coming cold off the bench but it doesn’t work the other way. Just happening to be good as a pinch hitter doesn’t cancel out the larger sample size of poor hitting. Often, small samples of data can be misleading.
You make some good points. I don’t think there’s a “set” number of at bat’s needed for a sampling, but I think, with us knowing the type of hitter Pablo has been and with his sample size, we can determine he’s a most likely a good pinch hitter, at least when compared to how pinch hitters usually produce.
I think there’s a certain type of hitter who makes for a better pinch hitter. You look at Pablo’s career numbers and he’s been pretty good in the clutch. He has good plate discipline and makes contact. Those three things help make him a good pinch hitter.
The thing is though, since there’s the DH, who on the Braves would he pinch hit for? I guess maybe Riley if he’s looking really bad, or if Ender somehow finds himself in the lineup (dear God I hope it’s only for late inning defense). But that’s it, unless the lineup gets funky. I’d rather have someone with some speed or defense off the bench than Panda if he’s just going to be used as a pinch hitter. Or an extra pitcher considering how bad the Braves rotation can be.
I don’t really believe in “clutch” but I can accept that using Pablo situationally as a pinch hitter could bring out the best of his talents; maximize his value.
This fuzzy, little bundle of calories is 3 for 16 Pinch hitting this year with 6 strike outs no RBIs – really?
Panda is NOT a small sample size…..musta got him away from the buffet…..
Are the Braves hoping for lightning in a bottle? It’s more like beer in a bottle. He’s actually starting today at 3rd! Oh Lordy! AA, tell me your crystal ball lit up on this.. .He’s actually the clean up hitter??????
Panda gets a lot of flak for what he’s done in his career
His weight problems make him an easy target for those looking to take a cheap shot.
Most folks are judged on what they’ve done recently. in their jobs when they get hired. This guy has done nothing this year.. I’m not giving him flak for what he’s done in his career, just this year. which is zip. Stop defending this guy for being out of shape & done. If he has 1 mighty Casey at bat left, then so be it. Braves gave up on Culberson, I don’t like that.
The Panda is still better than Culberson.
Yea I don’t get the love for Culberson… he’s 32 and has had exactly one not terrible season.
Culberson 2019 pinch hitting stats:
Good stats for a pinch hitter
2020 0/2 .000 not much of a chance for a pinch hitter. Not much of a chance at anything. Raw deal
See the above conversation on pinch hitting and why such stats mean virtually nothing. Sum up: No such thing as a hitter who is better when pinch hitting as opposed to starting. 53 at bats is too small a sample size for things to even out, the results are fluky and don’t undermine what the larger stats tell us.
“Stats mean virtually nothing” Do you want to rethink that statement? 53 pinch ABs is an enormous amount of pinch ABs in a year. Some players made a living out of it such as Smokey Burgess & Manny Mota. Some players are better at it than others & can rise to the occasion. Culberson was one of them. I think he should have received the opportunity instead of bringing in a wash up from somewhere else..
Ugh. An enormous amount of at bats in comparison is still a small amount. 53 at bats is not enough in any context. That’s not how math works. Not all stats mean something, you need a large enough sample size. Sample size is not relative. If a batter hits much better in 60 at bats on tuesdays does that mean you should start them every Tuesday? Not trying to be a jerk but, c’mon, have a basic understanding of how stats do and don’t work. (And no matter what stats say, a players skill level doesn’t suddenly get better when pinch hitting just cuz their stats look better in that small sample size.) But if you wanna believe in outdated, disproven concepts like “clutch” and that Culbertson magically becomes a better player cuz he’s in a tougher spot, I can’t stop you.
Lenny Harris – He collected 84 more plate appearances and 37 more hits in that role than any other player, carving out an 18-year career despite never getting more than 333 plate appearances in a season from 1993-2005. On Oct. 7, 2001, he broke Manny Mota’s all-time record with his 151st pinch hit.
You have to account for randomness. If you flip a thousand quarters a hundred times each, one of those quarters is likely to come up leaning noticeably towards heads. What does it mean? Nothing. It means with a large enough data pool you’re going to get some wonky stats. The more you flip the quarter the more things have a chance to even out. But again, go ahead and believe that Harris was one player as a starter but somehow magically much better as a pinch hitter. It’s all correlation with not discernible causation.
Randomness? Absurd. Enter Baseballs Best Pinch Hitters into your computer. It shows there are people who excel at rising to the occasion of pinch hitting. Matt Stairs hit 23 pinch hit home runs in his career, including 15 from age 38-42. Amazing. You think that’s a wonky stat? I can see we agree to disagree.