The San Francisco Giants' own Pablo Sandoval is having a break-out year in his first full season in the Majors.
Sandoval's bat has been among the best in the National League, his versatility in the infield an incredible asset.
Pablo's big grin and fun loving demeanor earned him the nickname "Kung Fu Panda" amongst his teammates.
Being relatively unknown around most of the league, Sandoval needs your help getting voted onto the 2009 All Star Roster.
Here are the top five reasons he deserves to play in the Summer Classic.
Like many players in the Giant's organization, Sandoval has been asked to play more than one position.
Sandoval was originally called up to spell Catcher Bengie Molina in late 2008. Right away he started raking the ball. His discipline in the box needed a little work, but he called a good game for his pitchers.
Starting Pitcher Barry Zito seemed to have built an early rapport with Sandoval. Zito's overall performance and numbers have vastly improved when being caught by Sandoval.
With Big Money Molina being the everyday Catcher and 2008's RBI leader for the Giants, Sandoval needed to adapt to stay in the lineup in 2009.
The Giant's brass were also eager to have Sandoval's bat in the line up everyday. The decision was made in Spring Training to move him to third base.
Sandoval has learned and played the position well. His four errors fielding the hot corner are greatly outweighed by his offensive numbers.
The Giants have also asked the Panda to play first base, while other teammates were either hurt, or out on bereavement.
If you ask Sandoval, he will say he can play center field if given the opportunity. And you know what? He's probably right.
Pablo Sandoval has quickly become the most dangerous hitter in San Francisco's line up.
It's easy to say "Anyone with a competent bat would shine with their line up..." But it is not so easy to do what Sandoval does.
Sandoval is switch hitter who has the ability to turn on almost any pitch. In fact, the one knock against him was he chased too many bad balls.
As I mentioned before, the Panda is a highly adaptable creature. In three months of baseball, Sandoval has made adjustments that takes other players years to make.
Even with his free swinging approach - Sandoval has hit above .300 for most of the year.
After seeing more big league pitching, the Panda has better plate discipline. His batting average climbed to a very deadly .340. Not bad for a 22 year old in his first full season right?
Currently Sandoval's batting average is .326 - still the highest among third-basemen in the National League. In fact, his average is more than .10 points higher than the next candidate.
In 291 at-bats in 2009, Sandoval has the highest slugging percentage among third-basemen in the National League.
Slugging as we all know is total bases a hitter accumulates in a number of at-bats. His .560 Slugging percentage is the product of his ability to rake out singles, doubles, triples, and homers on a consistent basis.
Sandoval has the most doubles for National League third-basemen. His 95 hits are third, while his triples and doubles are in the top five.
The Panda also has the ability to hit for power and get on base.
He leads the National League for his position, with a .939 percentage. The next closest is Arizona's Mark Reynolds—under nine.
In fact, for his position in the NL, Sandoval ranks third in on-base percentage. Combine that with his leading Slugging percentage—and you've got a deadly hitter with power and discipline.
His first career Grand Slam came just three days ago against the Florida Marlins.
The San Francisco Giants have built their team around Pitching. There's no debating that point. Just look at the success of their rotation.
With reigning NL Cy Young Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain making the All-Star Team, it is easy to overlook offensive contributions.
In an offense that still rates among the leagues worst, Pablo Sandoval stands out. His ability at the plate is a good reason why the Giants are where they are.
Yes, you can pitch the lights out, but I've never heard of a pro team winning with zero runs. Sandoval's 48 RBI are helping the pitching staff get the run support they have desperately needed.
Sandoval's glove and versatility was an integral part of the club's 10-game errorless streak in June. The Panda's adaptability in the infield has filled voids that would have been costly to the Giant's endeavor for a post-season appearance.
Maybe it's the Panda in the clubhouse that has his teammates rallying around him. His teammates are vying for his All-Star appearance, wearing stickers and signs reading "Vote for Pablo". His contagious big grin and kid like demeanor are a welcome sight in the Giants' dugout.
But let's not kid ourselves—Pablo can flat out hit. And for that reason, this guy needs to represent the National League for San Francisco at third base. The numbers are there, the argument makes itself.
VOTE FOR PABLO!!!
vote here: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2009/fv/ballot.html