Yesterday, we learned that Bruce Bochy has seriously considered playing Pablo Sandoval at all nine positions in a game.
Bochy said he talked to Pablo last year, when Giants were eliminated, about playing all nine positions in a game. It’s still an option at some point. “He’s the perfect candidate for it.”— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) July 14, 2018
Alex Pavlovic went on to write a whole article about the idea, talking about how much Bruce Bochy appreciates Pablo Sandoval and how he’s been a “model teammate” since rejoining the organization last season. He also noted that this has only been done 5 times in major league history (most recently, last season, when Detroit’s Andrew Romine did it.)
Buster Posey did the same thing back in 2008 as a member of Florida State, and in pretty much all cases it’s so that the player’s manager can set the player up to get attention the manager feels he deserves. On the major league level, this would come alongside the simple fact that a team would have to be out of playoff contention for it to make sense.
We can talk about all the low key signals the Giants have been sending lately about how they don’t think they’re in it this season, but in the meantime, let’s just stop and consider what it would mean for Pablo Sandoval to play all nine positions in a (presumably 9 inning) game. First, he’d have to play the outfield.
That could be tricky. It could be very, very rough. Maybe it’s an inning where Dyson pitches, meaning the only thing he’d have to worry about is not running into the wall chasing down a pitch that winds up a home run. The rest of Dyson’s outs would, theoretically, be on the ground or via a strikeout.
And the way I see it, the plan has to be all about Pablo’s stamina, especially once he leaves the infield. You want him to have fresh legs, but you also want to give your team a chance to win. So, here’s how I think it should go:
1st inning: 1B
It’s not an easy position (none of them are), but let’s start him off as easy as possible.
2nd inning: C
Test his legs early with the crouch and see if he can make it out of this scenario okay.
3rd inning: 3B
Give him a bit of a breather by putting him back where he normally is.
4th inning: 2B
Now start playing him up the middle. He’ll have to be more mobile, and after going from stationery to crouching to lateral movement again, he might be a little more stretched out / “elastic” to play effectively up the middle.
5th inning: SS
Now he’ll try it from the other side with, hopefully, some double play-turning confidence.
6th inning: CF
Get all the rough up the middle stuff out of the way because once it starts to get real late in the game the team’s margin for error disappears. Of course, if Pablo is doing this, then the game’s outcome matters far, far less, ultimately.
7th inning: LF
I think left field will be more difficult for him than RF, but not as hard as CF.
8th inning: RF
Here, he can just play the wall and bricks while guarding the line. Let Duggar wear the yoke in this inning, which probably makes the most sense anyway.
9th inning: The Closer
Finally, he ends at what appears to be his natural position. Maybe he’ll come into the game to close it out, maybe the Giants will be down 12-2. In any case, if you start the game with Pablo preparing to run a gauntlet, then he should have run the gauntlet. Getting 3 outs is one of the hardest things to do on the major league level. Pablo can probably make it look easier one more time.
What would your position plan be?