2016 Bill James Projections: Pablo Sandoval

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2011: 117 games, .315 BA, .357 OBP, .552 SLG, 23 HR, 70 RBI
2012 projection: 144 games, .311 BA, .363 OBP, .525 SLG, 24 HR, 86 RBI
2012: 108 games, .283 BA, .342 OBP, .447 SLG, 12 HR, 63 RBI
2013 projection: 150 games, .298 BA, .356 OBP, .498 SLG, 22 HR, 88 RBI
2013: 141 games, .278 BA, .341 OBP, .417 SLG, 14 HR, 79 RBI
2014 projection: 140 games, .292 BA, .354 OBP, .466 SLG, 18 HR, 81 RBI
2014: 157 games, .279 BA, .324 OBP, .415 SLG, 16 HR, 73 RBI
2015 projection: 151 games, .287 BA, .344 OBP, .447 SLG, 18 HR, 82 RBI
2015: 126 games, .245 BA, .292 OBP, .366 SLG, 10 HR, 47 RBI
2016 projection: 147 games, .275 BA, .328 OBP, .424 SLG, 15 HR, 72 RBI

Here we are, two weeks from Opening Day(!), and there’s a serious discussion over who’s going to start at third base for the Red Sox. Pablo Sandoval will be paid $17.6 million in 2016, and he’s in serious danger of losing his starting spot to Travis Shaw, a 25-year-old making just above the league minimum. 

The Red Sox would gladly swallow Panda’s salary if it meant actually getting some production out of the third base spot – but do they have to dump Sandoval and replace him with Shaw to do it?

Last season wasn’t up to Sandoval’s usual standard offensively, but it was his abysmal defense that really hurt the team. Panda has never been a regular season powerhouse – his real strength has always come in October, but as the Red Sox learned, none of that matters when you’re out of contention by July.

Bill James and his team project Sandoval to bounce back to his normal production at the plate in 2016, which is to say just about league average, perhaps a smidge higher or lower depending on which category you look at. But it looks like the Red Sox might not be waiting around to see if Sandoval can get himself back up to average – offensively or defensively.

Travis Shaw is having a tremendous spring, and while Sandoval’s March production has been promising, the Red Sox are committed to putting the best possible starting squad on the field. That may or may not include Pablo Sandoval.

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