Saturday, February 10, 2007

Freddy Sanchez - An Optimistic 2007

This is Part Three of an Optimistic Look at the 2007 Pittsburgh Pirates. Today’s section features Freddy Sanchez. Keep in mind that these are not my realistic predictions for these players. This is a best-case scenario, something for the hopeful fan to dream about as we approach the upcoming season.

Freddy Sanchez does something amazing, as usual.

This one will be fun. Freddy Sanchez, as we all know, had a career season in 2006. He went from a utility infielder in April, to an All-Star in July, to the NL batting champion in October, delivering crucial hits on what seemed like a nightly basis. He posted a line of .344/.378/.473, and also led the league with 53 doubles. He notched his 200th hit on the final day of the season.

Many see the statistics dropping dramatically for Sanchez in 2007. I personally do not expect it to happen, as he is a model of consistency. He has always put up solid numbers in the minor leagues and he did not use a hot stretch to inflate his impressive 2006 stats. Those stats are broken down by month below:

April: .333/.347/.542 .889 OPS
May: .360/.397/.509 .906 OPS
June: .380/.421/.540 .961 OPS
July: .301/.342/.408 .750 OPS
August: .355/.395/.473 .868 OPS
September/October: .327/.351/.402 .753 OPS

You might be able to see where the nickname Steady Freddy comes from. Until Sanchez “slumped” to a .301 average and .750 OPS in July, he was absolutely dominating the league. He quickly responded by hitting .355 with an OPS of .868 in August. Freddy owned left-handed pitchers, with an average of .442. He posted a .386 average with RISP, .421 with RISP and two outs, .364 with men on, and .400 with men on and two outs. I might be going overboard with the splits here, but I can’t get enough of the numbers that Sanchez put up in 2006.

Freddy enters 2007 as a regular for the first time in his career. He will not have to fight for playing time, and he has successfully shed the tag of utility infielder. For the first time, he will have the luxury of relaxing and doing what he does best: spraying line drives all over the outfield. He may still be moved all over the infield on defense, but that did not seem to have an effect on him at the plate in 2006 (I will not bore you with those splits, but I assure you that there is quite a bit of consistency in them). Expect Freddy Sanchez to continue to be a force in the Pirates’ lineup in 2007.

2007 Statistics: .351/.393/.495


James said...

Being a Pirate fan I am always filled with this optimism you write about, but as a Pirate fan I am used to being horribly let down by the end of May.

I don't see any reason Every Day Freddy will fall off from last season, and his production is vital to the order. I don't expect another batting title but I do expect his consistency to remain. I am looking forward to seeing him and Bay anchor this line-up (Adam too?).

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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