Friday, February 26, 2010

UNBELIEVABLE: Sandoval Can Do Better with Better Eyesight

I was listening to KNBR this morning, to the early parts of the Pablo Sandoval interview with Brian Murphy when the big news bomb came out: Pablo Sandoval was diagnosed to need glasses and he will be wearing them all the time this coming season. Murph asked him what the difference is with the glasses, and Kung Fu Panda (I love baseball nicknames!) said that he can now see the pitches better!

Giants Thoughts

Obvioulsy, if he can see the pitches better, he should be able to hit better. That also might help explain why he was swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, he just couldn't see them well enough. But he hit .330/.387/.556/.943 with poor eyesight, can you imagine what he could do now that he can see the pitches more clearly?!?

This should also help him with his fielding as well. Now that he can see the ball better coming off the hitter's bat, he should be better able to react sooner to the batted ball, and get to them better. This would allow him to get to more balls and be a better fielder overall. Plus, he should see 1B better too and maybe his throws will be that much better (though this is probably only marginal improvement compared to being able to see the batted balls better).

Overall, we could see a new and improved Pablo in 2010, as scary as that may be for the opposing team. He can now see the pitched ball better, helping him see rotation and all that better as the pitch is coming in. He has also worked this off-season on laying off the pitches that are harder to handle, while waiting for the pitches that he can do something with and maybe hit a homer. He can now see batted balls better, which should improve his fielding at the hot corner, which is called that for a good reason, and why improved eyesight should help his fielding. He could have a monster season and that improvement would come from not just because he is young, as I'm sure a lot of non-Giants analysts would call it after the 2010 season, pontificating about how youth improves (hasn't worked for Francoeur or Loney or Russell Martin) with age, but more likely from his improved eyesight.

More importantly, why is it so hard for a team's training staff to figure out when hitters cannot see well? When it is one of the most important things that affect their overall performance, as it affects how they see the pitched ball as well as the batted ball (can you imagine if an outfielder had this vision problem?)

This is not the first Homer "Doh!" moment with the Giants regarding a medical issue. There were other players who needed glasses (though their names escape me now) and I recall Scott Eyre needing help with his ADD, which helped with his concentration and he was a much better pitcher after that. Maybe this is not unusual for baseball teams or even pro sports teams, but I don't really follow any team like I do the Giants, so I don't know.

And I understand that the player is culpable in this case as well. He should have mentioned his problem with his sight (or back or shoulder or elbow) beforehand. But the procedures should be put in place to check for conditions that could hinder a ballplayer, a checklist to go through, so that you don't just rely on the ballplayer, who ultimately just wants to play, damn the consequences sometimes (like with Jesse Foppert, sniff...).

5 comments:

  1. It's not so easy to diagnose, say, a mild astigmatism. I tested 20-20 or better my whole life with one, but as I aged and mostly as I started spending eight hours a day doing fixed-focus work in front of a computer, it finally reared its head in terms of mild eye fatigue at the end of the day. At Sandoval's age, I still thought I had perfect eyes, and if I didn't labor at a monitor, I still might.

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  2. It is possible that the trainers test players' vision once each season, during spring training. Things can change over the course of a full year. Panda may have been borderline for needing glasses last spring but has now crossed over that border. Hmmm, I imagine he is going to need some whopping big frames to fit his melon...

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  3. wcw, that's true for old fogies like me, but Pablo is 23.

    Junkie, I thought of that, but if he was borderline, then as the Giants I would have then had regular verbal checks to see how it is going with him. And maybe they did and he didn't notice the difference because of the gradual change, but this is not the first time something like this has happened.

    In any case, I guess I should have made it clearer that the bigger news to me is that Pablo could have a better year than last year if he's seeing the ball more clearly now.

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  4. I wouldn't too much into this. It's just another one of those "best shape of his life" Spring Training type of stories.

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  5. I'm really glad he's getting used to his new glasses from the beginning of Spring Training, aren't you?

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