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Should Pablo Sandoval Be an All-Star?

Look, we're not about to besmirch the name of any of the NL's three all-star third baseman, particularly since we get to watch one of them a disproportionate amount of time right over at Navy Yard. That being said, the man who finished sixth in the voting for this year's NL squad could easily have made just as strong an addition to the team as the five guys who finished in front of him.

San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval entered the season as a curious aberration -- some fantasy leagues made him eligible as a third baseman, catcher and first baseman -- but little more. Across a first half of the season that's been better than anyone could reasonably have hoped for, Sandoval is second only to the starter at his position, New York's David Wright, in batting average (.338). Somehow, he's already in double-digits in home runs, despite just three in his admittedly small sample size last year. In that first campaign for the 23-year-old, he played 41 games and hit three homers. So far this year, he's hit 11 in 75 games. That's a pretty stark improvement. His OPS is even better, at .955, a factor due in large part to his positional-best .567 slugging percentage, as enumerated all too fully here.

It's hard to feel that Sandoval's candidacy is essentially being undone by his image, that of a free-swinging flippant fielder, who belongs at third base about as much as a gorilla belongs behind the counter of a French kitchen making crepes. He's there because he needs at-bats, but as the season wears on, Sandoval is proving that he may deserve that spot at third base a lot more than people think he does. He has only two errors so far this season, and while his range is understandably still limited, he does get to enough balls to have an impact on a game.

So, why isn't Sandoval getting a lot more consideration for a spot he deserves more than some of the guys who are on the all-star roster (perhaps at a different position, since Wright, the formerly alluded to Ryan Zimmerman and ageless Chipper Jones are all more than worthy candidates)? More than anything else, it might be his physique and style of play. Sandoval is a scrapper who doesn't fit into any jigsaw puzzles. He doesn't have nice, sharp corners, only round ones. And when he swings with abandon, he looks like a younger, pudgier Vladimir Guerrero, though even Sandoval won't swing at pitches that bounce in front of the plate.

Should Sandoval have been granted an all-star nod? It' a pretty compelling case, isn't it? What do people think? And what more could he possibly have done to earn a spot on the squad?

By Cameron Smith  |  July 7, 2009; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  Giants  | Tags: All-Star Game, Giants, Pablo Sandoval  
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Comments

He is certainly deserving and seems like a personality and an image that the game needs.

Posted by: mjwies11 | July 7, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, he's going to get in on the "final vote" thing. I saw him play during the Giants series at NP and I was not blown away. In fact, some times watching him play was funny. Yes, for someone with very little experience at 3rd he is doing pretty well. By the All-Game is for "the best", not the "best at learning a position". I'd like to see someone else get that final spot.

Posted by: LurkerNowPoster | July 7, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

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