This is Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval as he appeared last season.
This is Pablo Sandoval now, courtesy of a pic he posted on twitter this afternoon.
Now, the shirt is a kinda baggy. There’s probably still some flab hiding under there. But at the rate he’s going, there might not be for much longer.
It’s probably not a coincidence that Sandoval has finally committed to conditioning as he enters his walk year in 2014. He’s just going to be 27 next season, and he could be in line for a big payday if he puts up numbers like he did in 2009 (.330/.387/.556) or 2011 (.315/.357/.552). With the way he had been going, he was probably going to be viewed as a first baseman as a free agent. However, if he can keep himself in pretty good shape, he should be able to last at third for at least a few more years.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: