The Kung Fu Panda looks slimmer and in shape, but can he string together a few seasons of consistent play?
Sandoval made a name for himself in 2009, when he batted .330 and hit a career-high 25 home runs. He disappeared during the 2010 season, largely missing out on playing time as the Giants made their historic World Series run.
Then, in 2011, Sandoval batted .315 and cut his strikeout total by nearly 20, showing more patience at the plate. He made back-to-back All-Star Game appearances in 2011 and 2012, and slammed pitcher Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers for three home runs in the first game of the World Series. However, injuries plagued Sandoval in 2012, and he only played 108 games in the regular season.
The importance of Pablo Sandoval returning to form and playing like he can and should is huge for the Giants. The Giants lineup is actually pretty potent this year: Angel Pagan, Sandoval, Buster Posey, Mike Morse, Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence solidify a deep-hitting batting order.
Sandoval is a key component in the Giants offense and could take it over the edge into top-of-the-league territory this year.