Will Pablo Sandoval’s Weight be an Issue?
This winter, Pablo Sandoval signed a 5-year, $95 million contract with the Boston Red Sox. The three-time World Series winner has come under recent fire for a not-so-flattering picture surfacing of him with his ample belly. People quickly took to Facebook and Twitter to mock the All-Star third baseman. Although Sandoval is officially listed as 5″11, 245 pounds, everyone can see those numbers are pretty generous. However, does it really matter?
Last year, Sandoval showed up to the Giants Spring Training Facility significantly lighter. That year, Sandoval hit .279, with 16 home runs and 73 runs batted in. Although he had modest numbers, Sandoval started extremely slow and did not heat up until the end of the season. When he has been heavier, Sandoval has been more consistent throughout the season. It is important for fans to remember that these men are extraordinary athletes. Some players, such as David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval, and Prince Fielder, are able to play at an extremely high level even with the added weight. Some players, most notably John Lackey, have come under fire in the Boston area for showing up to Spring Training overweight. While Sandoval is clearly overweight, I do not think it matters that much, if at all.
Regardless of how Sandoval starts the season, it matters much more about how he ends it. Sandoval has always been known as one of the great postseason hitters. In his ten postseason series, Sandoval has hit .344 with an OPS of .935. In the future, Sandoval’s weight is something that Red Sox fans need to keep an eye on. As he becomes more comfortable in Boston, his play has to stay at its high level in order for Sox fans to be okay with his tubbiness. Even if his weight stays the same, as he becomes older, it is much more likely that Sandoval becomes the designated hitter after David Ortiz retires. Sandoval can show up to Spring Training 400 pounds if he is able to man his position and hit like he has in the postseason.
Fortunately and unfortunately, this is what it is like to play baseball in Boston. Because Boston has one of the most knowledgeable fan bases in all of pro sports, they often critique and over analyze like they own a 51% share in the team. Welcome to Boston, Pablo Sandoval.