Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Skeptical Take on Sandoval's Weight Loss

With the turning over of the calendar to 2011 and Spring Training on the horizon (37 days) the annual deluge of "best shape of my life", "worked out with a UFC trainer", "became a vegetarian", "swam 10 miles everyday" stories are getting kicked into high gear by beat writers around baseball.

The first one out of the gate for the Giants came out yesterday regarding Pablo Sandoval and his weight loss this off season. Last season it was Camp Panda and Aaron Rowand riding his mountain bike everyday and the year before that was Barry Zito doing log toss with Brian Wilson across a canyon in So Cal. Take with a grain of salt and look at the bigger picture.

Before I sound like an ass let me just say that it is great that Sandoval is losing weight and that I hope that for his health that he learns new habits that he can keep going and live a much healthier life style.

I have been working on getting in better shape myself 10 pounds lighter since the World Series and I understand the work that you have to put in and that it is hard to break old habits when trying to form new healthy ones that you want to have for the rest of your life. You might even say that I am in the best shape of my life. I would watch out for me next year in the blogging world because I am going to light it on fire.

Anyway back to Sandoval here, it is great that Sandoval is losing weight however it is not just the weight that was an issue last season and it is entirely possible that it wasn't even a major contributor.

The root of Sandoval's struggles are an unknown, it could have been the extra weight but it is not like he was small in 2008 and 2009 or even April when he hit the cover off the ball. It could have been a sophomore slump where pitchers made adjustments to him and Sandoval hasn't adjusted back. It could be that he had numerous off field issues that were distracting him and effecting to on field performance. It could have been a string of bad luck after a season of great luck. The Dodgers may have sold there soul (yeah right like they even had one) to curse Sandoval thinking that this team would fall apart with out him.

When there are so many different variables and possible things that contribute to performance it is really difficult or even impossible to say with any certainty what will happen. It could have just been random variation around Pablo's true talent level that is somewhere in between this year and last year. Only time will tell and attempting to forecast these things makes one wrong more often then are right.

With so many variables at play it is not like there is some formula that you can derive that says Batting average = 0.5(pounds lost)2. Don't be fooled into that line of thinking, his weight loss is good for him and I applaud but it is not a magic bullet for his struggles

So go ahead and be skeptical about Pablo it is OK and it does not make you a bad person. It is even OK to be cautiously optimistic that he could bounce back.

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