Predicting the Giants Key Stat Leaders in 2013

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Home Runs: Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval has the power to easily surpass the 30 home-run mark. Yes, even at the pitcher friendly AT&T Park, where left-handed power is a rarity.

In five years at the major league level, Sandoval has hit more than 20 home runs in a season twice (2009, 2011). Remarkably, in 2011 he hit 23 home runs in just 426 at-bats and less than 500 plate appearances.

Feb. 25, 2013; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) hits a double during the third inning against the Chicago White Sox at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Sandoval has shown flashes of power, to be sure, but his track record is a bit shaky. He’s certainly strong enough to blast 30, but his strength is weakened by the fact that he isn’t very selective, which results in plenty of weak fly outs and ground outs. His durability isn’t all that impressive either, evidenced by his low at-bat totals over the past two years.

So, here’s the barometer: If Sandoval garners at-best 550 at-bats in 2013, there’s a good chance that he can hit 30 home runs. Unfortunately, the odds aren’t in his favor, as ZiPS projects him to have just 495 at-bats in 2013, and in turn, hit a mere 18 home runs.

That projected total is skewed by his injury history, and ZiPS is likely forecasting another injury to arise in 2012—not such a bad bet. The upside for Sandoval is that both of his hamate bones are gone for good, and he can’t re-injure them.

If all goes well, expect a big year in the home run department for the “Panda.”

Projection: 33 home runs