After being named the 2012 World Series MVP for leading the San Francisco Giants to victory over the Detroit Tigers, there’s no question Pablo Sandoval is a great player capable of great things.
There is a question, however, of whether or not the Kung Fu Panda will be National League MVP material for the 2013 season. While he does have the talent, there are some considerations Sandoval will have to address in order to be a serious contender for the prestigious award.
The first consideration is consistency. While Sandoval certainly did not have a bad 2012 regular season, his level of play was nowhere near where it was during the post season. For example, during the whole 2012 regular season Sandoval hit 12 home runs, but in post-season play he hit six of them—three of which were in game one of the World Series against Detroit.
The second consideration is teammate Buster Posey. The Giants’ catcher was the winner of the National League MVP award in 2012. If Posey has another great season, it will definitely hurt Sandoval’s chances of being considered for the award; however, a great 2013 season by Posey will not automatically rule Sandoval out. It will just mean there will be one more name thrown into the MVP discussion. And since they’re on the same team, it will be harder to attribute the team’s success to just one of them.
Can Sandoval continue his 2012 post season’s high level of play into the 2013 season? While it may be nearly impossible to put up those kinds of stats on a nightly basis for an entire season, there are reasons to believe his 2013 season will be better than last year’s.
His high level of play didn’t end in October. In fact, The Kung Fu Panda also plays in a winter league in his home country of Venezuela. Here, he also lead his team to league victory by hitting home runs at crucial points of the championship series.
Sandoval is an extremely hard worker. He works hard because he wants to play well. This was evident in his campaign, known as “Operation Panda,” to get ready for the 2011 season. His 2010 season was a bust after his debut season in the majors, so Sandoval worked hard to lose weight and get in better shape. The plan worked and Sandoval’s play improved dramatically. What does this mean for the 2013 season? It means Sandoval is willing to put in the effort needed to play his best, which is the level he will need for MVP candidate status.
If healthy, it looks very likely Sandoval will be in the running for the National League MVP award at the end of the season. He will continue to work hard, and the high level of play he exhibited during the 2012 World Series shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.