Despite the clamor of a few Giants fans to move Pablo Sandoval to cleanup hitter, I feel strongly that he should remain in the three spot.
I realize that the Giants do not have the prototypical power hitter that other teams have and the natural inclination would be to move our best home run man into that spot.
But there are compelling reasons for not doing so:
The first and most obvious reason is that he will get more at-bats in the three spot. In fact, he would be one of only three players in the lineup guaranteed to get at least three plate appearances in a nine-inning game.
I don't have the exact stats, but it would be reasonable to assume that at No. 3, he would go to the plate 35-40 times more in a season than the No. 4 hitter.
As a Giants fan, there is NOBODY in our current lineup I would rather see at the plate.
Second, most teams have their best all-around hitter batting third. Consider:
Pujols, Utley, Manny, Longoria, Texeira, Dye, Lind, Zimmerman, Holliday, Victor Martinez, and Hanley Ramirez.
I'm sure there are others, but you get the point.
Third, Pablo appears to be comfortable where he's at. I would hate to see him go to the cleanup spot and feel that he needs to swing for the fences every time up.
He has a nice swing now and occasionally puts one out.
Finally, the Giants have been more successful this year than even the most ardent fans expected. All, or for at least most, of the year with Panda batting third.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
The ideal situation would be for SF to bring in a bopper to hit behind Pablo (without trading away our future).
But unless that happens, I say leave Kung-Fu Panda in the three hole and let's continue to marvel at our Giants amazing play so far this year.