Should Buster Posey Replace Pablo Sandoval in SF Giants Three-Hole?

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Should Buster Posey Replace Pablo Sandoval in SF Giants Three-Hole?
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Ten Points

1. Approach: Sandoval is a hacker and has always been. When he's hot, look out, but when he's not, it's uuuuugly, like the 7 outs on 12 pitches night .

Posey is the polar opposite, a patient, strategic hitter. He takes huge swings ahead, takes some off behind. He has a hit in every game since being called up, except against U-boat Jimenez.

In 2010, Posey sees 3.83 pitches per plate appearance. Sandoval, on the other hand, sees 3.26 pitches per plate appearance. And that's down from 3.44 last year.

The more pitches a hitter sees the better chance he'll see a pitch he can do something with.



2. Discipline:
Posey routinely works counts. In fact, he rarely swings at the first pitch, and because he's confident hitting from behind in the count, he's able to stick to his game plan.

Sandoval routinely swings at first pitches. Last year, when he was raking most of the year, he hit higher on both 0-1 (.383) counts and 1-0 (.519) counts than on 0-0 (.357) counts.

It's not intuitive to say he shouldn't swing at the first pitch, but statistically it is illogical to say he should swing at the first pitch.

 

3. Hitting With Runners In Scoring Position: Posey in 2010 (Fresno and SF): .328 BA; Sandoval in 2010: .183 BA


4. Strike While The Iron is Hot:
The Giants finally have a great 1-2 punch in Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez...they need a guy right now who will deliver while Torres and Sanchez are setting the table (no eating pun intended, Pablo, we know you're good at eating).

Plus, Posey is raking but getting almost no RBIs. Torres and Sanchez are much more likely to score on a Posey base hit than Huff or Uribe.



5. The Double Plays Are Killing:
Last year Sandoval hit into 10 all year. He's already at 15 right now and leading the National League. Posey has not hit into one this year on the big league club.



6. Protection:
Even though Molina came through versus Cincinnati after Baker intentionally walked (pitched around) Posey, better protection is needed other than the seventh hitter. Huff, Uribe, or Sandoval should protect Posey, otherwise, opponents will pitch around Posey more and more.



7. Vision: Sandoval has gone from no eye augmentation, to contacts, to goggles, back to contacts, and clearly he's been struggling this year with eye/vision issues. If Giants fans should pray for anything, it's Sandoval's eyes.

 

8. Being a Rookie Notwithstanding: Rookie status is not a valid reason to keep someone down in the order.

When Sandoval first came up he raked and instantly hit third. He became the king of the hackers—Molina, Rowand, Uribe all got hacked down.

When it's obvious, like it was with Pablo, then you've got to pull the trigger.

Now the Giants have "professional hitters" like Huff and Sanchez, and Posey appears to be the king of the professionals.



9. Fitness:
Posey might not be Jane Fonda, but because the Panda still eats too much and ironically refuses to eat bamboo, Posey gets the edge here.



10. Super Hero Status:
Sandoval is the Kung Fu Panda, but Posey is Ironman. Who do you think would win in a battle?

Once Posey does go in the three-hole, Bochy will have more and better options in making his lineup. And if Sandoval heats up Bochy should have no problem putting him back in the three-hole as mixing and matching has been his signature as Giants Manager. But overall, Posey will eventually hit third.

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