A Look Into Patrick Sandoval
Patrick Sandoval will be in the Los Angeles Angels rotation for the 2020 season, you may have heard his name from time to time in passing but it seems as if people don’t know a lot about him. Don’t worry SP Streamer has your back! As you go throughout this article just keep in mind we have a small sample to go off of, albeit enough to make an opinion on him.
In 2019 Sandoval spent most of the year in the minors playing AA and AAA ball. He excelled in AA posting a 3.60 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 38.6 K%. As he moved on to AAA he didn’t impress as he produced a 6.41 ERA, 1.97 WHIP, and 21.9 K%. Sandoval eventually got the call to the majors despite his struggles in AAA and ended up with a 5.03 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, and 24.9 K% in 39.1 innings of work. All of this isn’t very impressive and I purposely left out the worst part, the walks. His BB% in order from AA to the majors was 8.4%, 11.6%, and 11.2%. Sandoval clearly has a walk issue and that is something to worry about, but more on that later.
Trouble With The Fastball
The weakest part of Sandoval’s arsenal is his four-seam fastball. The following numbers are all pretty rough, it produced a .457 xwOBAcon, .302 batting average against, .254 ISO, and 7.5 Barrel%. Looking at the heat map below, you can see how when he hits the zone he leaves it right in the middle. His fastball does get to 96 MPH at times and if he can get it up in the zone more it could become a viable pitch, especially since it has some rise to it.
Filthy Breaking Balls
This is Sandoval’s best pitch and my goodness is it awesome. It was top six among all changeups during the time he pitched in xwOBAcon (.260), ISO (.043), SwStr% (24.9%), and Barrel% (0.0%). Pair that with an awesome .196 batting average against, 37.0 O-Swing%, and great command, we could be looking at one of the better pitches in the league.
These two pitches are paired together since they were thrown less than 100 times and the sample size is very small. His curveball is definitely a lethal pitch but it does come with some worries. It posted a crazy good .063 batting average against and only let up a 3 wRC+, yes 3. But the 11.1 Barrel% shows that when hitters connect, they really connect. It also came with a crazy .000 BABIP. All not good, but it does have some nice vertical break and room for growth. The slider was only thrown 66 times last year and has some nice horizontal movement but can be inconsistent.
Stuff vs Command
Eno Sarris (my hero) put out a poll recently saying what is more important for a pitcher, command or stuff? Going against the grain from the poll I would say stuff. Sandoval has the stuff to be a good pitcher but the command isn’t there yet. I think the high strikeout upside supersedes that as he had a 13.5 SwStr% and 24.9 K% in the majors. I see a young pitcher who needs to refine some mechanics but has really good “stuff” and a solid base to build off of.
Where Do We Go From Here?
While you should gravitate towards pitchers with good fastball's Sandoval still has great draft value. In the last month based on NFBC Sandoval's ADP is 452, he is going after Casey Mize, Sixto Sanchez, Zach Davies, Corbin Burnes, and Jake Arrieta. I would have no problem taking him over Davies. Sanchez, and Arrieta. Also, remember he is only 23 and if he makes a minor adjustment or two you could end up with a lot of draft profit from taking him. Or wait and see if he goes undrafted and add him to your "keep an eye on" list. Thanks for reading and as always, feel free to reach out!