Pablo E. Sandoval (Kung Fu Panda) #48 3B
Born August 11, 1986 in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela
Pablo E. Sandoval was (born August 11, 1986, in Puerto Cabello, Carabobo, Venezuela). Sandoval is 5’11″, 235 pounds, and throws right-handed. Sandoval is a switch hitter, Nick named “Kung Fu Panda” and is electrifying from both sides of the plate.
Sandoval signed as an undrafted free agent in 2002. As a catcher he began his professional career in 2004 with the AZL Giants, hitting .266 with no home runs and 26 RBIs in 177 at bats.
In 2005, Sandoval was used almost entirely as a third baseman while playing for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. Sandoval hit an impressive .330 with three home runs and 50 RBIs. In 2006 he slumped to a .265 batting average. He had one home run and 49 RBIs with the Augusta GreenJackets that year, splitting time between first and third base. In 2007, Sandoval played for the San Jose Giants, hitting .287 with 11 homers and 52 RBIs, while splitting time between catcher and first base.
In 2008, Sandoval spent time with the Single-A San Jose Giants and the Double-A Connecticut Defenders, before being called up to the majors. In 273 at bats for San Jose, he hit .359 with 12 home runs and 59 RBIs. In 175 at bats with Connecticut, he hit .337 with 8 homers and 37 RBIs. In total, Sandoval hit .350 with 20 home runs and 96 RBIs in 2008. Capping off a superb Minor League Career.
The San Francisco Giants called up Sandoval to the majors on August 13, 2008. He debuted the next day, August 14, 2008. In his first MLB plate appearance, he hit a sacrifice fly for an RBI. He got his first hit in his next game, August 16, on his way to going 3-for-5. Sandoval hit his first MLB home run on August 27, off of Livan Hernandez of the Colorado Rockies. On September 19, 2008, he received the nickname “Kung Fu Panda” from teammate Barry Zito, after a play on where Sandoval scored a run against the Dodgers by jumping over the tag of catcher Danny Ardoin. Sandoval scored from second base on a single by Bengie Molina. In 41 games with the Giants in 2008, he hit .345 in a 154 at bats. Sandoval blasted 3 home runs and drove in 24, striking out only 14 times.
In 2009 spring training, he batted .457, leading all batters with 80 or more at bats. On May 12, 2009, Sandoval hit his first walk-off home run to beat the Washington Nationals 9-7. After 73 games played, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler wrote that Sandoval had made the most impressive transition from the Giants farm system since 1986 when Will Clark and Robby Thompson were rookies.
On July 6, 2009, Sandoval hit his first career grand slam at AT&T Park against the visiting Florida Marlins.
On July 30, 2009, Sandoval hit his first home run into McCovey Cove on Willie McCovey’s 50th anniversary of his MLB Debut with McCovey in attendance. Pablo Sandoval also made Giants history for most hits by a Giants switch-hitter in a single season with 189 in 2009.
Sandoval finished the 2009 season with the second-highest batting average among NL hitters, at .330, and finished seventh in NL MVP voting.
In 2010 Sandoval hit .268 with 13 homeruns, he also drove in 68 runs. Though in a bit of a slump from his previous season, Sandoval would help surge the Giants offense during their World Series run.
Entering 2011, the Giants made a publicized campaign called “Operation Panda,” which was aimed at getting Sandoval into better shape during the offseason and shedding the extra pounds. “Operation Panda” worked masterfully, with the third baseman losing 30-plus pounds, and more importantly, it led to results on the field for Sandoval. After a subpar 2010 season, Sandoval returned to 2009 form. He got off to a good start in 2011 but however suffered a broken hamate bone in late April and missed 4â€“6 weeks. On July 10, 2011, Sandoval was selected to the National League All-Star team. In his first All-Star at bat, Sandoval hit an RBI ground-rule double and NL won 2011 MLB All-Star Game.
On September 15, 2011, Sandoval hit for the cycle at Colorado against pitcher Jhoulys Chacin. He had (in order) a two-run HR in the 1st, single in the 2nd, double in the 5th and a triple in the 6th. On September 19, 2011, Sandoval earned his first career “NL Player of the Week” Award. In 2011, Sandoval hit .315 with 23 home runs and 70 RBI’s, which is a significant improvement from 2010. He only had 462 at-bats which is a lot less than his other at-bat season totals in 2009, and 2010.
On April 26, 2012, Pablo Sandoval hit a single in the 4th inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. This was the 19th consecutive game since Opening Day in which Sandoval had a hit, setting a Giants franchise record for longest consecutive hitting streak to begin a season. The previous record – of 18 games – was set by Johnny Rucker in 1945. On July 1, 2012, it was announced that Sandoval had made his second All-Star team, as starting third baseman for the National League. On July 10, 2012, at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, Sandoval highlighted the N.L.’s five-run opening inning with the first bases-loaded triple in the history of the Midsummer Classic.