What's causing Sandoval's trouble in field?


BOSTON - We saw Pablo Sandoval's weight come back to bite him (and the Sox) on the base paths Wednesday night, but how much is it affecting his fielding?

That's obviously a question we can't answer, but one can assume it's certainly not helping the Sox third baseman as he has dropped off defensively this season.

Going into Thursday's game, Sandoval was a −1.2 dWAR (defensive wins above replacement) through 89 games, tied for the lowest of his career with the 2009 season, when Sandoval played 120 games at third base, 26 at first base, and three at catcher.

Sandoval was a 0.6 dWAR last season with the Giants, playing 151 games with a .971 fielding percentage and 11 errors.

His fielding percentage this season is .944, and he's made 12 errors. The most errors he's made in one season is 18 in 2013 through 137 games (.940 fielding percentage, -0.4 dWAR). He could easily approach or even exceed 18 errors this season.

So what's the cause of this drop off? Perhaps Sandoval is playing a bit too far in?

"There's a comfort level with his positioning," John Farrell said. "Coming in on a ball has been a challenge for him. His comfort level is to play a little bit closer. He's been accustomed to the National League where a two-out bunt is not uncommon and sometimes even a two-strike bunt. Coming over here as we try and get him to move back a little bit -- there's a comfort zone that every player feels on the field defensively. That's still a work in progress."

There's also been some trouble with him going to his backhand, and though playing closer to the plate could contribute to that, the Sox feel that it could be his footwork, too.

"There's been some footwork that has been addressed, particularly in his pre-pitch setup," Farrell said. "There's been some detection of his first move is to come up rather than laterally. We've sat with him on video and reviewed it and continue to work on that in his pregame routine, and yet there have been some times it hasn't worked out on the field."

Sandoval, to the surprise of nobody, said his reaction time is the same as always and he has no trouble with going to his backhand.

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