Pablo Sandoval Proving He Can Be the Giants' Long-Term Answer at Third Base

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IMay 20, 2009

DENVER - MAY 07:  Third baseman Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants plays defense against the Colorado Rockies during MLB action at Coors Field on May 7, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Giants defeated the Rockies 8-3.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

In the days following the spring semester and the end of my college career, the task of killing time has been something that has become increasingly difficult as the days go by.

My most recent adventure for something fun to do took me to Google News and entering random names to see what interesting factoids and news tidbits I could find. Big Panda was one of the first and as a result, my findings were actually somewhat interesting.

With the site saying that Pablo Sandoval is "no long-term answer at third," it got me thinking ... why can't the Panda stake his claim and be the Giants' answer at third?

Now, in all fairness, this website is a fantasy baseball website, so they probably just take into account what Sandoval means to the third base position in terms of with the stick. But still, to declare that Sandoval can't the Giants' answer at third doesn't really make much sense especially when you consider how far he has come in just under 40 regular season games this year.

Of course, his bat will get most of the attention, and it's hard to ignore it. A .308 average despite swinging at pitches at his eyes on a regular basis is pretty remarkable. His stats, other than his batting average, almost mirror what he did in August and September last season after he was called up from Double-A Connecticut, and that includes a terrible start to 2009.

In a lineup that doesn't have much punch at all, Sandoval provides that youthful enthusiasm that the Giants need right now. With a team struggling, what more do you need than another person who plays the same way that Tim Lincecum pitches?

No complaints here.

Even though he is hitting, which we all knew he could do with ease, it's his progress with the leather is why his status as the Giants' third baseman should be set in stone.

Coming into Spring Training, Sandoval's defensive question marks were almost as big as his 245 pound frame. His physical size and lack of regular playing time at one position during his minor league career and cameo with the Giants in 2008 were legitimate reasons to think that the Panda couldn't hang at third.

Yeah, that's changed.

Sandoval is by no means a Gold Glove winner right now at third, but he sure as hell isn't a butcher at the hot corner. His frame makes it look like he has no range whatsoever and could be something a speedster could take advantage of.

Not only did he bust his tail in the spring, he works on it pretty much every day and it's so incredibly clear that the guy has a future at third base.

And the best part is with all the improvement he has made this season thus far, he's still learning the tricks of the trade.

Would you believe me if I told you Sandoval was the only Giants infielder who hasn't committed an error this season?

With the Giants having their top hitting prospect, catcher Buster Posey, possibly just a year away from making an impact in the majors, Sandoval's best option, and the Giants' for that matter, to keep his bat in the lineup on an everyday basis is to have him at third base.

Sorry folks, Posey is the catcher of the future – end of story.

And there's no reason to begin that he won't continue to improve as he gets more games in the majors under his belt. He's walked more than he did last year in fewer games, so one can only assume that all aspects of his game will keep to get better.

He might not look like Alex Rodriguez in a postgame interview, but the Panda is proving he can hang in all aspects of the game.