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Brandon Belt on Giants’ bench for fourth straight game

Apr 13, 2012, 1:18 PM EDT

Brandon Belt Getty Images

Apparently the Giants’ commitment to Brandon Belt as a regular lasted all of three games.

He went 1-for-10 with five strikeouts and has been on the bench for each of the past four games, including this afternoon’s matchup against the Pirates despite right-hander James McDonald being on the mound.

In fact, three of the four benchings have come versus right-handed pitching, so it’s not as if manager Bruce Bochy is simply shielding the left-handed-hitting Belt from tough southpaws.

There’s been lots of talk–or rationalizing, depending on your point of view–about how the Giants want Belt to make some major adjustments at the plate and he’s been hesitant to do so, but ultimately he’s a 23-year-old top prospect who’s crushed the ball at every level of the minors and was hardly disastrous in his 63-game debut last season (his OPS was higher than Aubrey Huff‘s, for instance).

Belt is a career .343 hitter in the minors and hit .378 this spring, yet Bochy is perfectly happy to keep him on the bench while playing Huff, Nate Schierholtz, and Brett Pill. Maybe the Giants are right and Belt won’t thrive in the majors unless he makes some key adjustments, but at some point he deserves a chance to show what he can do without worrying about an 0-for-4 game getting him benched for a week.

  1. seeingwhatsticks - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    You can’t blame Bochy for the fact that Pagan and Huff are so hot at the plate right now.

    • Jonny 5 - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:34 PM

      That word hot. I do not think it means what you think it means.
      3 for 15 and 3 for 23 at the plate isn’t hot. Or are you referring to how they look in their tight uniform pants?

      • seeingwhatsticks - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:37 PM

        Does nobody on this site recognize sarcasm?

      • jimbo1949 - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:44 PM

        Around here you need to use the sarcasm font to be sure.

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:56 PM

        I’ve been championing for a sarcasm font for months now. At least I had some lame “comedy” built into my reply.

        SARCASM FONT!!

      • jtorrey13 - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:10 PM

        In choosing a proper sarcasm font, one must look out for two things:

        1) Never, ever, ever use Comic Sans. That is a font purely for earnest, well-structured trips to Krazytown. (The second happiest place on earth.)

        2) Stay away from common fonts as commoners don’t understand the finer things in life like foie gras, sarcasm, plaid shirts, cynicism, craft beers and glasses that don’t serve any functional purpose.

        That said, can I interest you in a Lucinda Handwriting?

        Aubrey Huff is a future Hall of Famer, led the Giants to a World Series and should never be questioned. He’s like Stephen Hawking on the subject of physics, only less agile.

      • jtorrey13 - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        Well, that HTML tag didn’t work. Oh, I may use HTML tags for style? Thank you comments. You’re so helpful. (If I could put inflection into my comments, you would hear the appropriate sarcasm inflection.)

    • brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:16 PM

      I guess I would have to add that if you point out that you are being sarcastic then no one gets it or they think your a tool

    • bigleagues - Apr 14, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      If Buster Posey didn’t get out to the Red Hot start as he did in 2010, mark my words the Giants would still be running a Molina/Whiteside like tandem out there. Same thing with Sandoval. And if KFP had his 2010 season in 2009? Forget it.

      They dicked around Schierholtz for 3 seasons (a rare LH batter who hits LHP better than RHP) in favor of older less productive, lesser defender veterans and now that Schierholz is approaching 30, suddenly Bochy is on the record stating that he thinks its important to find Nate AB’s by moving getting Huff time at 1B.

      I’ll let you all in on a little secret (it’s actually no secret) … Sabean HATES to put trust in young positional players. Bochy appears to be his comrade in arms in that regard. There are those in the organization that disagree.

      I like Aubrey Huff. Always have. But he sucks now in so many ways its hard to quantify to a rational baseball person why he is getting preferred playing time over Brandon Belt.

      IMAGINE, if the Red Sox, for example took a similar tact with Dustin Pedroia in 2007.

  2. gldfngr38 - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    I don’t think the issue is with Pagan insomuch as Pill and Schierholtz taking away Belt at bats

    PS: Bruce Bochy looks like William H. Macy in Shameless nowadays. Dude’s just given up.

  3. simon94022 - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    This jerking around of a guy who potentially be the best hitter on the roster is so stupid it hurts.

    • bigleagues - Apr 14, 2012 at 2:05 PM

      Even if his bat struggles early on – or even most of the season, he is a FAR superior defender to ANYONE else on that roster at Firstbase.

      This crap by Bochy/Sabean is just bizarre.

  4. bigoz71 - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    That is the Giants organizational philosophy. Signing overpriced mediocre veterans is a competition between Sabien and Coletti.

  5. Ben - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    For the love of god, just trade him if you’re not going to play him. Sitting on the bench is just going to cripple his development as a player.

    • phillyphreak - Apr 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      It’s almost like Sabean/Bochy had lots of conversations with Ruben Amaro on handling young talented players….

  6. rooney24 - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    I don’t get the man crushes on Belt, Heisey, and whoever else is not being played as much as someone would like. I know it is early, but the guy went 1-10 so far. Does his defense stink? Is he a pain in the arse? Is he a horrible base runner? Does someone else have good numbers against the pitchers they are facing?

    I think it is way too early to get too wound up in any of this stuff, whether who is doing well, who is doing poorly, who isn’t playing often enough. Give it a couple of weeks and see what happens.

    Otherwise, if you want to jump to early conclusions, name Josh Willingham your AL MVP, since he is your early HR leader and has a high BA.

    • sonoco - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      Belt is an outstanding defensive first baseman and last year Sabean described Belt as the best base runner in the entire organization. He needs consistent MLB plate appearances to get his swing going. Everything that was said by management during the spring about giving him the position and letting him run with it has turned out to be 100% horse excrement . . . . it seems punitive . . . or maybe there were assassination threats in Denver so they kept him off the field?

  7. skerney - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    I like Belt and want him to start everyday. But after watching every game this season, Cabrera or Sandoval are the Giants best hitters, not Belt. The diaper pissing from SF fans every time Belt sits is starting to get old. If you are surprised that Bochy is starting a struggling vet over a 24 year old, you must have come to this team recently. LIke September 2010 recently. This is how this organization works. I don’t like it either. But Belt isn’t the best hitter on the team and Bochy will give Huff every chance to play himself out of a job. It’s not fair to Belt, but let’s not act like we didn’t expect it. Also, every game the Giants lost this season has been because the starting pitching and defense took a crap, not because Belt was on the bench.

    • hackerjay - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      It doesn’t matter if you expect it or not, making the wrong choice is always worth ridiculing. I’m not as high on Belt as a lot of people are, but he’s obviously better then Huff at this point.

      And just because it hasn’t cost them a game yet this year doesn’t mean it won’t cost them a game later on.

      • skerney - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:32 PM

        When Huff starts costing the Giants wins, then I’ll join in the chorus. I think Belt should start against righties and lefties, but I lived in SD for ten years and watched Bochy do the same thing with the Padres. If Rey Ordonez wouldn’t have just quit at the end of Spring training 2004, Khalil Greene would never got a starting job. You’re right that the decision is open to ridicule, I’m just not surprised by Bochy anymore. I’ve watched it too long. Above all, all I really care about as a Giants fan is WINS not playing time for this guy or that guy. I don’t care. I want to win. Belts time will come, probably soon when Huff keeps stranding base runners like he did last week.

        This isn’t going to go on forever and soon we can bitch and moan about Wilson taking the starting job from Hembree, or Pagan/Blanco taking a job from Brown. Apparently that what we Giants fans do now.

    • bigleagues - Apr 14, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      Cabrera? You really believe that Cabrera is a better hitter than Posey?

  8. smcgaels1997 - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Can’t hit the inside fastball at the MLB level…major hole in that swing..teams saw it and exposed it hence 5 strikeouts in 10abs…he’s not getting a raw deal he’s hesitant to adjust..NEWSFLASH kid every at bat is an adjustment..example see Crawford.

    • Ben - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      He’s never going to learn to hit an inside fastball on the bench.

    • 5thbase - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      I agree completely. I saw some of his at-bats against the D’backs and there were strikes he saw that he’ll basically never hit unless he changes his approach. (Reminds me of Heyward in Atl.) Minor league pitchers by and large can’t make the pitch with consistency and I don’t believe they prep as much for individual hitters and they’re not backed by the same extensive advanced scouting. In the majors, once a flaw has been identified everyone is going to know about it and you’ll continue to get punished until you change.

      I think eventually he’ll come around and be a force, but if he’s not changing his approach in the cages between games I wouldn’t be excited about playing him either.

  9. redux23 - Apr 13, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    bochy asked belt if we was ok. belt told bochy that he is pressing right now. so bochy benched him to collect himself. that’s all there is to it.

  10. skerney - Apr 13, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    I just caught from twitter that Belt took himself out of the lineup. Is that true?

  11. ezthinking - Apr 13, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    This sounds alot like the Cubs fans that rode on Dusty’s back for not playing Cedeno. The plain fact is Cedeno sucks. Maybe Belt is an AAAA hitter.

  12. sjhaack - Apr 13, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    I remember two weeks ago when Craig wrote the post about him making the roster and being a probable starter, and I was confused and scared because he usually doesn’t write fiction.

    This is much more reassuring. Ruin those COF/1B huge prospect types, it is your birthright!

  13. simon94022 - Apr 13, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Following the team only since “September 2010″? In my case try June 1970.

    The Sabean-Bochy regime does A LOT of things right, such as drafting, development of pitchers, excellent coaching, organizational stability, and finding useful veteran role players off the waiver wire. This is not an across the board criticism. Overall the Giants are a very well run organization and unfairly knocked by Fangraphs and others who do not appreciate fully the human element of the game.

    But it is a fact that one thing the Giants do not do well is develop young major league position players. It is frustrating because the incredible pitching staff has created an opportunity to win, but that is unfortunately counterbalanced by the trotting out the likes of Huff and Burriss and Theriot day after day.

    • Ben - Apr 13, 2012 at 5:08 PM

      Barry Zito. ’nuff said.

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