Last night, Pablo Sandoval hit against Trevor Cahill. The first two swings that Sandoval took were sub-Zito swings. Just awful. So on an 0-2 pitch, Sandoval obviously lined a 400-foot extra base hit.
How long can he get away with this approach? Once through the league, and then he'll have to adjust? Forever, as he's just a crazy, once-in-a-generation hacking god?
I swear, I'm leaning toward the latter. There was no reason he should have even made contact against Cahill. The first two pitches were out of the strike zone, both low and outside. Sandoval swung like he stole the wrong sign for both of them. And while the pitch Sandoval hit was a bad one -- a belt-high sinker -- he was probably just looking to protect. Sandoval has had low strikeout rates throughout his career, so he obviously has some idea how to protect the plate when he's behind in the count.
It's just that Sandoval's idea of "protecting" is probably different from anyone I've ever watched. Protecting for Sandoval probably means his brain tells him, "swing just as hard, but if you make contact, Pablo, your pituitary gland promised to release a whole bunch of endorphins, and those make you feel all kinds of good."
No point, really. As an internet baseball nerd, I'm required to have an appreciation of high walk rates, working the count, and getting on base. The part of me that subscribes to the orthodoxy has a sneaking suspicion that Sandoval will have to go through some rough times and adjustments to be a productive major league hitter. The part of me that loves watching Sandoval hopes that he's just a freak, and that what we see is what we get: a big, jolly hacker with a preternatural ability to make hard contact and a zeal for playing baseball. Which leads us to our...
...copy-and-pasted comment starter: How long can he get away with this approach? Once through the league, and then he'll have to adjust? Forever, as he's just a crazy, once-in-a-generation hacking god?