When the Phillies took Cord Sandberg in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft the consensus was that they had gotten a late first round talent. It has been a mixed bag since as Cord had a rough first two years (.585 and .612) and so far 2015 has not been much different as he is hitting .256/.301/.332 on the year. However, he is now hitting .300/.330/.456 in June and .389/.390/.417 in July, a combined span of 38 games. The early reports on Sandberg have been poor this year, with no tool rating as at least average which is a far stretch from the 5 tool player he was after his draft year. The question is what is he doing different that could explain this difference.
Let’s start with the spray charts, here is April and May (Charts from MLBFarm.com):
And here is June and July:
Just initial looks it looks like he is hitting the ball harder, showing a bit more power the opposite way. Let’s see if the contact is played out in the batted ball numbers over that time.
So the numbers say he is hitting the ball more (and likely being more aggressive at the plate) and is at very least elevating the ball more. The Phillies have had some success with fixing issues by getting guys to work the other way (Maikel Franco, Kelly Dugan, Jose Pujols) so we will see if going to the other way a bit more will help Cord.
Looking at other factors of the profile, Cord shows almost no home/road split which is unique for those playing home games in Lakewood. What is very concerning is his left right split. He is hitting .204/.269/.269 vs LHPs and .279/.316/.361 vs RHPs. That is a very concerning trend for his long term future so it is definitely something I will be watching going forward.
It is hard from looking at the stats to see anything definitive that points to Sandberg turning things around as much as the triple slash would suggest. We will see what the opinions are of him over the next two months. The BlueClaws weekend series vs Rome will be in MiLB.tv giving at least a small glimpse into some game action.
Image of Cord Sandberg taken by Baseball Betsy