- "Sandoval is equally adept from either side of the plate, and he can pull the ball to hit for power or take pitches the other way. He shows a willingness to take what pitchers give him, and though he swings hard he shows good plate discipline."
- "Though he has arm strength and threw out 46 percent of basestealers with San Jose, his hands and lack of agility work against him at catcher. San Francisco also played him at both infield corners, but his squat body and limited athleticism don't profile well there either."
- "The Giants have liked Sandoval's swing for years.... With a strong, compact frame and a powerful, short stroke from both sides of the plate, he produced at all three stops."
- "He can really, really hit," an AL scout said. "I saw him again at the Futures Game, and he fit right in with the better hitters there."
- "He has a strong arm, but the scouts contacted for this list who had seen Sandoval catch didn't believe he could play there regularly in the major leagues. Two managers said Sandoval had problems just physically squatting behind the plate, while two AL scouts both used the same cliché: "He can't catch a cold.""
- "Interestingly, Sandoval is an ambidextrous thrower with nearly as much arm strength throwing lefthanded as he has righthanded. He would profile better defensively at first base if he moved there and focused on throwing with his left hand. He has seen time at both corner infield positions."
This should temper fans expectations on Sandoval, though I should note that BA has to keep a hard line on him, they didn't list him on their Giants prospects list for two years running, even after his good season in 2007, so they had their reasons for not putting him on their Top 30 list (luckily I didn't listen to them and drafted him in my Fantasy League) and are probably still holding to them.
One thing I found odd is the mention that has "limited athleticism" and "lack of agility". Most of the stuff I've heard this year was that he is more athletic than his body would lead people to assume. And anyone who has seen his two scores in the past week, dodging around the catcher to score critical runs, would have to say that his body belies his athleticism, it almost makes me think that whoever saw him saw him in limited play, because I would describe his scoring as almost balletic.
Particularly the one I posted on where he slide perfectly, PERFECTLY, to the foul side of the plate, dodging the catcher and then deftly reaching his hand out to touch home plate. Then again, the one where he scored and injured his quad (which would be understandable if you saw it), he lept in the air to avoid the catcher's tag then scrambled to touch homeplate and score and that was pretty good in itself. I don't say this to be mean, but it reminded me of Disney's Fantasia where there were dancing hippos who were extremely graceful. He was just that good.
There are not a lot of plays in baseball where I would call them a thing of baseball beauty but I would count both of Sandoval's slides among the top in my memory of Giants players, up there with Willie Mays' World Series catch and throw against the Indians, Shinjo's amazing throw (from a blown catch by the RF), much like Mays, he just grabs the ball and hurls it blindly with his back to home plate, to home plate (I still wish I kept the Tivo newscast for that play), any of Vizquel's numerous beauties, Snow's great plays at 1B, plus his score and snatch of Darren Baker. Call me an oddball, but I almost felt a tear coming to my eye watching Sandoval score, he couldn't have made a more perfect slide to score, the margin was that slim, and I was in awe.
Thus, I wonder how apt their suggestion that he stick to 1B is, as perhaps he is athletic enough to still handle 3B. Plus, if he's as good a hitter as he is, we could play him at 3B (though the times he did play there, his range was woefully poor in the majors, 1.42 Range Factor vs. 2.23 Range Factor for the league) in 2009 while the Giants try out Bowker and/or Ishikawa at 1B, then if they don't pan out, he could move to 1B (range factor poor there as well, but much closer to league average) for 2010, or even could be a roving utility player, getting regular starts at C, 1B, and 3B, much like we had envisioned for Velez.
If he's as good a hitter as he has shown, then even if we don't have a regular position for him, as long as we can play him regularly, there will be an AL team willing to trade good talent for Sandoval to be their DH at some point in the future. But I'm more hoping he can settle into one position and play a while for us.