Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Curious Case of Brandon Belt

Baby Giraffes need love
World Series Champion

NL Player of the week

Grilled Cheese Sandwich maker

Loveable Animal nickname

How can you not love this guy?

And yet, Giants fans somehow find a way to blame this guy for all the Giants' struggles and they probably blame him for the economy and Justin Bieber among other disasters.

I have never before seen a Giants player that has been such a lightning rod for criticism as I have with Brandon Belt, and yet even prior to his magical stance, grip and batters box position change, he had been 3rd on the team in OPS (on base % plus slugging %) and 3rd in home runs.  After this little run of his he's now tied for the team lead with home runs at 14 and 2nd in OPS.

You know what that means right?  Brandon Belt is the 2nd best offensive weapon on this team!  Let me rephrase that... if you take ALL the Giants and line them up against a wall in order of best bat to worst bat, the best bat would be Buster Posey, and rubbing elbows with him would be the Baby Giraffe, Captain Awkward himself, Mr. Brandon Belt.

So why the nearly baseless criticism?  Okay here's something: the guy strikes out... a lot.  Belt has struck out in 26.8% of his at-bats in his major league career.  But hey, it's not like he's not trying to get better, this year his percentage is down to 23%, still higher than the league average, but he's better than last year, and last year he helped us win a World Series!

Okay, what else?  Some say he's just not clutch, strikes out at the most inopportune times.  His average this year with runners on base is .297 and he's hit 4 homers with runners in scoring position.  But wait!  Belt has 14 homers on the year, you're saying he has 10 homers with no runners on?!  Preposterous!  Yes... but he also owns a .400 on base percentage with runners in scoring position, so he works the count and gets walks if not the hit we all want.

Meanwhile, golden boy Buster Posey has hit .308 with runners on this year and a whopping 0 home runs with runners in scoring position.

Part of the reason people seem to hate Brandon Belt is that he was touted to be the next "Buster Posey."  In 2010 when Buster came up to the big leagues, he sparked the team to a World Series championship run and won the Rookie of the Year.  So naturally when Brandon Belt burned through minor league pitching in 2010, experts were saying that he might have the same effect that Posey had when he became the everyday first baseman.

What we all forget is one simple fact.  Buster Posey is really really good.  There's a reason he was rookie of the year and won MVP and 2 World Series rings.  Posey is a once in a lifetime type of player.  Brandon Belt is not.  He's an above average player with the potential to be a very good player and he's only 25.

When people were calling for Brett Pill and rejoicing when Pill would have a good game, they forgot that Pill is a career minor leaguer and already 29.  If the Giants thought they had a can't miss talent in Brett Pill, they would've given him an everyday spot in the lineup regardless of where he played.

All these arguments seem to fall by the wayside now that Belt has seemed to figure something out and is the hottest hitter on the Giants right now and the lone bright spot on an otherwise unwatchable team.  So lay off the Baby Giraffe, the awkwardness is working.

Laws of the Day

Belt is hitting .417 in the month of August with 3 home runs and an OPS of 1.318.

No comments:

Post a Comment