2011 New Year’s Resolution: Freddy Sanchez, work on bunting
At first glance at the stats, it may look like Freddy Sanchez is an adequate bunter.
Last season, Sanchez had eight sacrifice hits, tying a career high. He ranked sixth among non-pitchers in the NL for sacrifices. He had an 89 percent success rate on his sacrifice attempts, also a career best.
However, this success rate stat only includes bunts in play that did not advance the runner or bunt strikeouts. It does not include ABs in which a batter failed to get a bunt down early in the count, then later swung away.
There is not stat that we found for failing to bunt early, then swinging away. And MoreSplashHits can remember several ABs from Sanchez that went exactly like that, particularly in the postseason.
Sanchez led the Giants in SHs with eight. However, the Padres — attempt with similar offensive deficiencies as the Giants — had three hitters with seven or more SHs last season, led by David Eckstein’s 12.
When he was with the Pirates, Sanchez was often the team’s leading hitter and not asked to sacrifice much, only once attempting more than six. But as the Giants’ No. 2 hitter, he has been, and will be, asked to advance the runner with a bunt.
Sanchez knows how to handle a bat, evidenced by his success rate of advancing runners when he wasn’t bunting.
Last season, he made a productive out in 43 percent of his opportunities, well above the MLB average of 33 percent. He successfully got a runner home from third with less than two outs 63 percent of the time (MLB avg. 51 percent). He advanced a runner from second with no outs 49 percent of the time (MLB avg. 43 percent).
So Freddy, work on your bunting this spring. That is your resolution.