Disappointing Sandoval homers thrice 

September, 5, 2013
San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval is listed on his player card at 240 pounds, and perhaps that’s accurate, but I’m taking the over. Kung Fu Panda, as he is affectionately known, has battled weight issues in the past, and it’s likely affected performance, but there’s no question the guy can hit when he wants to. We saw it last October when he smacked three home runs in Game 1 of the World Series -- two of them off Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander -- and again Wednesday when he took three different San Diego Padres right-handed relief pitchers deep for another mammoth performance.

[+] EnlargeSan Francisco's Pablo Sandoval
Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY SportsTwo of Pablo Sandoval's six career regular-season multihomer games have come at Petco Park.
In between those three-homer games, Sandoval has been a modest disappointment, but that shouldn’t come as much surprise. Sandoval has done this to the Giants and fantasy owners before, you know. He was an eighth-round choice in ESPN average live drafts this season, sure to be somewhat overrated from his 2012 playoff success, and entered Wednesday outside the top 15 third basemen on the season Player Rater, worse than Matt Dominguez and Kelly Johnson, among others. Sandoval has hit for batting average and power in the past -- occasionally simultaneously -- and he’s certainly capable of being worth that top-100 pick in 2014 as he enters a contract year. It appears he simply needs to control his weight.

On Wednesday, Sandoval, who had hit a mere two home runs since the start of June, put on his show in one of the more extreme pitcher’s parks in the sport (Petco Park), a reminder that with him it’s rarely about external challenges, but personal ones. He’s battled injuries this season to his back and feet, and certainly his weight could have played a role there, too. This will end up a relatively lost season for the Giants and their third baseman, but you know what each is capable of in the future. Despite his disappointing performance overall, Sandoval will be right back in my top-10 third base rankings in 2014 because he’s capable of doing so much more. Let’s hope he doesn’t make us wait until next September to show us.