Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pablo Sandoval - Kung Fu Panda is ambidextrous

Pro Team: San Francisco Giants
Position: third baseman/first baseman
Number: 48
Height: 5'11"  Weight: 245 lb.  
Throws: Right-handed (since 9-years-old), but is naturally left-handed
Bats: Switch hitter  .303
Born: Aug 11, 1986, Puerto Cabello, Venezuela

World Series MVP in 2012
Pablo Sandoval took home the Most Valuable Player trophy following the San Francisco Giants' sweep of the Detroit Tigers, after hitting .500 with three home runs, a double and four RBIs in 16 Series at-bats.

Pablo Sandoval, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda, is a Major League Baseball player for the San Francisco Giants. Sandoval is an ambidextrous thrower, but only throws right-handed during baseball games.

Sandoval grew up playing left-handed in Venezuela. He reportedly started throwing right-handed at the age of 9, so he could play catcher. Note that Pablo is a switch hitter, which is somewhat common for a player who is ambidextrous.

Pitcher Barry Zito of the Giants started calling Pablo Sandoval, who was catching for him, Kung Fu Panda, after the overweight animated film character. Fans started wearing panda hats and giant panda heads to the ballpark - as seen at the 2010 World Series.

"Sandoval became conditioned to taking his hacks as a youth in Venezuela. He grew up playing tape-ball in the family garage with his older brother Michael, who went on to spend six years as a third baseman in the Minnesota Twins' chain.

"I just think he's a natural born hitter," Willie McCovey said. "I went out on a limb last year and said I think he's going to be another Albert Pujols. I know it's high praise, but that's kind of who he reminded me of when he first came up."

Sandoval's hefty frame conceals a natural athleticism; he's ambidextrous and can throw the ball accurately and with zip as both a lefty and a righty. But his range is limited at third, and the Giants are covered at catcher for the short term with Molina and the long term with top prospect Buster Posey. The consensus is that Sandoval will forsake both catching and third base for first base eventually. (Jerry Crasnick, ESPN)

Giants' present plans include Sandoval

Switch-hitter bursts onto scene, and will be starting third baseman to start season

Pablo Sandoval not only has baseball's neatest nickname, Kung Fu Panda has a World Series MVP award to go along with it.

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