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Giants top prospect Brandon Belt likely headed for Triple-A

Feb 4, 2011, 11:17 AM EDT

Brandon Belt

Last year Brandon Belt led all minor leaguers in OPS during his first pro season, batting .352 with 76 extra-base hits, 22 steals, and 93 walks in 136 games while playing at three different levels, but yesterday Giants general manager Brian Sabean indicated that the 23-year-old first baseman will likely begin 2011 back at Triple-A.

Sabean didn’t rule out Belt forcing his way into the team’s Opening Day plans, but made it clear to Chris Haft of MLB.com that the 2009 fifth-round pick will be facing an uphill battle:

You don’t want a young player, or potentially a player that’s going to burst on the scene, [coming] to spring training and [having] no chance. You have to give them some hope that you’re going to be open-minded. Having said that, I probably expect him to start in Triple-A, and we’ll be conservative. But you can’t kill his enthusiasm or his will to want to make the team. He’ll have to force his way into this mix through his performance.

San Francisco didn’t call up Buster Posey until May 29 last season and he was an even better, more MLB-ready prospect than Belt, so most likely he’ll have to beat up on Triple-A pitching for a couple months before potentially taking over as the Giants’ first baseman and pushing Aubrey Huff to left field.

  1. loungefly74 - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    great news…just bring the kid along slowly making sure he doesn’t get shell-shocked. also, maybe do a “big-brother” program with him hanging out with Posey so he can show Belt the ropes once he joins the team…:)

  2. thelucasjj - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    Belt had good minor league numbers and did real well in the fall league. However his strikeouts increased with his jump to triple A. Unless his spring warrants it, a start in triple A may help him adjust better to major league pitching.

    • paperlions - Feb 4, 2011 at 12:16 PM

      Yeah, there is no better way to adjust to major league pitching that by facing AAA pitching. If Belt has nothing more to learn in AAA (which I admit, may not be true), there is no reason to send him back there.

  3. sayheykidwschamp - Feb 4, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    This is Sabean being Sabean. He suppresses rookies, that aren’t pitchers. He was forced to play Sandoval because of his production, he was forced to bring up Posey because Molina was deteriorating quickly, and now he will again be forced to call up Belt because we need his bat. The pitchers are a different story with Lincecum, Cain and Bumgarner getting called up early. Whethe rthe reasoning is to stave off the Super2 payday or if he wants to stay with the old vets (which fans consistently rip him for…playing old overpriced brokendown vets)…it will be interesting to see how Belt’s performance in ST changes Sabean’s tune.

    This is what he said last year about Posey!
    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/05/10/sabean-triple-a-baseball-isnt-very-good/

    “Triple-A baseball isn’t very
    good,” Sabean said. “I’m going to tell you that right now. Especially
    from a pitching standpoint. Anybody who can pitch is in the big
    leagues.”
    That was Sabean’s response when asked why Posey hitting .345 hasn’t earned him a promotion. I’m sure his AAA pitchers — including top prospect Madison Bumgarner — appreciate that. I’m sure Posey appreciates that. I’m sure the front office for the Fresno Grizzlies and all of the people who buy tickets to see them appreciate that.

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