José Luis Sandoval
José Luis Sandoval Rodriguez (Borrego)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 175 lb.
- Born August 25, 1968 in Los Mochis, Sinaloa Mexico (the Mexico City Red Devils website and The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics list 1968 birthdates; the 1994 Baseball Almanac and MILB.com list 1969)
José Luis Sandoval has been the shortstop for the Mexico City Red Devils for almost two decades. Never a league-leading hitter, he has clubbed over 200 homers with an average around .300.
Sandoval debuted for the Red Devils in 1990, hitting .252/.315/.360. The next year, he batted .340/.394/.591 with 25 home runs and 90 runs to show impressive talent for a middle infielder. He hit .316 for the Naranjeros de Hermosillo in the 1992 Caribbean Series and made the All-Star team for the Series. He had hit .254/?/.415 for Hermosillo in the Mexican Pacific League season.
In 1992, the Los Mochis native hit .283/.342/.501 with 26 homers, 89 RBI and 12 steals (in 14 tries). He tied Larry See and Matias Carrillo for 7th in the Mexican League in home runs; of the top 9, 5 were former major leaguers and none was a shortstop. That winter, he batted just .205/?/.299 for Hermosillo.
Sandoval split 1993 between Mexico City (.274/.352/.407) and the Buffalo Bisons (.230/~.275/.354, 5 HR in 209 AB). It would be his only extended look at AAA baseball north of the border. In 1994, Sandoval hit .308/.358/.448 followed by a .311/.369/.446 campaign in 1995.
The shortstop batted .261/.308/.369 in 1996 for one of his weaker performances. He left Mexico City for one year, spending 1997 with the Saltillo Saraperos and batting .272/.354/.369. In 1998, he returned to the Red Devils to hit .281/.337/.403. In 1999, the 30-year-old batted .309/.373/.474.
Sandoval had one of his best seasons in 2000. He produced at a .333/.418/.605 rate with 26 homers and 105 RBI. He finished 7th in the Liga in runs batted in. Through 2000, Sandoval had hit .295/.357/.459 with 136 homers in 1,150 games in Mexico. That winter, he hit .256/?/.435 for Hermosillo.
In 2001, the old-timer batted .301/~.346/.446. He followed with a .257/?/.422 winter for the Naranjeros. The 2002 season saw him hit .298/~.374/.506. Some sources credit him with significant playing time for Solano of the Western League that year but this is likely incorrect as the Solano player named Jose Sandoval hit no homers and stole 19 bases; this Jose Sandoval had only reached double-digits in steals back in 1992 and had 4 steals in the 2000-2002 Mexican League seasons. He batted .265/?/.400 for Hermosillo in 2002-2003.
Sandoval hit .305/~.399/.531 in 2003; his 22 home runs were his 4th time to top 20. He tied Bubba Smith and Roberto Mendez for 4th in the league in homers as power production was down and was third in RBI, 4 behind leader Guillermo Garcia. His big hit of the season, though, was a single. In the last game of the Mexican League finals, he had a bases-loaded single in the 13th inning against Santos Hernandez to drive in the winner. He finished the day 3 for 6 with a run and 2 RBI. In the winter of 2003-2004, Sandoval hit .264/?/.359.
In 2004, the veteran batted .241/~.298/.388 for an off-year but he bounced back in 2005 with a .308/.402/.519 line with a career-high 32 doubles. He reached 200 career homers in Mexico, finishing the year with 208 in the Liga. In 2006, Sandoval hit .311/.377/.502. That year, he played for Mexico in the Olympic qualifiers (0 for 2, HBP as the back-up to Carlos Alberto Gastelum and the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games (.462, 6 R in 7 G for the Bronze Medalists).
In the 2007 Caribbean Series, Sandoval helped save the Naranjeros from the second straight winless Series by the Mexican entry when he singled home the winner in the bottom of the 9th against Venezuela. In the regular Mexican League campaign, he hit .326/.389/.483. Sandoval played for Mexico in the 2007 Pan American Games, going 5 for 12 with 2 walks and 3 RBI to lead the team in average and tie for the RBI lead. Mexico split Bronze with Nicaragua when the Bronze Medal Game was rained out.
Sandoval slipped to .271/.340/.375 in 2008, when he was either 38 or 39 depending on your source. It was his 17th season with Mexico City. A day before his birthday, he gave the Red Devils another title, going 1 for 3 with 2 RBI as they won the finals. He was named MVP of the finals.