First Week of Pablo Sandoval + A Look to the Future
Last week, I wrote about the return of Pablo Sandoval to the San Francisco Giants, and how I was looking forward to seeing him attempt to resurrect his career with the team that drafted him.
Now, 9 days and 8 games later, I think it is a good time to look back and see how the team has fared since he has returned. The team has won 5 of the 8 games since he has returned, and he has gotten several key hits for the team. He hit a double that jump started a rally in his first game back, and the Giants would go on to win the game in Extras. He also hit his first homerun for the team yesterday, against the Washington Nationals’ Ace, Max Scherzer.
Of course, the team has been winning games for a lot of reasons, not just the decent hitting of Pablo Sandoval. During the last 8 games, the giants have had an ERA of 3.64, which is a full 85 points lower than it has been all season. They have seen excellent performances from Madison Bumgarner, Ty Blach, Chris Stratton, Jeff Samardzija, and even Matt Moore got in on the action, tossing 7 innings of 2-run ball with 9 strikeouts.
Mark Melancon and Jarrett Parker have both returned from the DL, which has also provided a nice boost for the team. Parker has been fantastic since his return, hitting .297 with 5 doubles, 1 home run and 8 RBI’s. Melancon has only pitched in one inning since his return, and it was a shutout inning in which he allowed one hit and struck out one batter. His return has not been as impactful as Parker’s because of the re-emergence of Sam Dyson.
Look, I have no idea what happened to Sam Dyson during the beginning of the year in Texas. He was awful, he went 1-6 with an ERA of 10.80 and subsequently blew 4 saves. The team traded him to San Francisco for practically nothing, and he has been spectacular since he joined the Giants. He is 1-1 with a 2.13 ERA and has 9 saves in 10 tries.
The team is doing pretty well since the arrival of Pablo Sandoval, but is this necessarily a good thing?
Of course, I love to watch my team do well and win games, but if the team keeps winning games, and manages to crawl past the padres into 4th place in the NL west, it may lull the front office into a lazy offseason, during which, they will fail to make major changes to a team that desperately needs it. The more the team wins, they will also fall farther down in the draft next season, which is not as big a deal as a poor offseason would be, because the Giants have proven that they can get great players in the first ten picks (i.e Buster Posey at 5th, Tim Lincecum at 10th, Madison Bumgarner at 10th).
The team does need to add a force to the middle of the lineup. With the exception of Jarrett Parker, the team’s outfield is getting older, so I would expect them to go and attempt add a power hitting outfielder this winter. The team also needs some more starting pitching depth, because it is unlikely the team will hang onto Matt Cain after this season, and Johnny Cueto could potentially elect to leave the team this winter too.
The Giants will also have a nice core group of relievers next season as well. They will have the duo of Sam Dyson and Mark Melancon at the back of the bullpen, which could be one of the most formidable duos in baseball. They will also have a full season of Will Smith, who will join Hunter Strickland, Kyle Crick, and Derek Law. The bullpen has potential to be as good as it's ever been next season.
All in all, it has been great to see the team find success during the first 8 games of having Pablo Sandoval back. Hopefully the team can find some success, and potentially play the role of spoiler in the NL West and help other teams catch up to the Rockies and Diamondbacks in the Wildcard.