May 27, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) hits a single to left scoring center fielder Angel Pagan (not pictured) during the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

How did Pablo Sandoval Break Out Of His Slump?

After a rough start to his season, Pablo Sandoval has finally turned the corner offensively. He has been playing incredibly well at the moment, and has come alive when the San Francisco Giants needed him most with Brandon Belt going down to injury, as well as Buster Posey seemingly falling into a slump of his own now.

First the stats.

In his last 15 games the ‘Kung Fu Panda’ has hit .386 with five homer runs and 16 RBI’s. That’s a vast difference from his awful start, where in the month of April he had a total of two homers and five RBI’s along with a .176 batting average. Add in last night’s game where he went 1 for 4 and added another RBI and that makes a difference of about .200 batting points as well as 12 more RBI’s.

In fact, his numbers are up across the board from OBP (on-base percentage) and SLG (slugging percentage) except for one, walks. So far he has walked only once throughout the month of May compared to 11 times in April. Coincidence?

It may just be that Pablo is not one of those guys who can be patient at the plate, and instead should be allowed to be aggressive. And oddly enough, even though he is less patient (in terms of walks), he still has less strikeouts this month (20) compared to last (13). This could be attributed to Pablo Sandoval’s ability to make contact on pitches anywhere in the strike zone.

Combine all of these things and it seems like when Pablo is allowed to be aggressive at the plate he can put balls in play. Perhaps this is because he can presumably jump on better pitches early in the count as opposed to more junk later in the count when he has to fight some of them off to get a decent one to hit.

Either way, a more aggressive Pablo means a more effective one. We can see this works out to be true as well when we look at pitches per plate appearance (PPA) for the months of April where he had 3.72 PPA compared to his offensively better May where it was at just 3.32.

So, it does indeed look like he has turned the corner, and manager Bruce Bochy deserved some credit. He stuck with the struggling Giants’ third-baseman even while many were clamoring for him to be benched, and in the end it paid off. Of course, with San Francisco’s bats being so hot he could afford to let Sandoval ride out his slump, but still Bochy’s decision seems to be a good one.

Whether it was his decision, or someone else’s, to allow Pablo Sandoval to be more forward at the plate it turned out to be a good one. Now though, the issue is whether or not he can keep it up, because as we all know Pablo is a streaky hitter. For the time being though here’s to hoping he can keep it up while Buster Posey continues to work out of his slump.

Tags: Pablo Sandoval San Francisco Giants

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