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Brandon Belt quietly finding success in 2013

Aug 15, 2013, 7:15 PM EDT

Brandon Belt AP

During his rapid ascent to the Majors, Giants first baseman Brandon Belt was ranked as highly as the #23 overall prospect by Baseball America prior to the 2011 season.  Promoted that same year, Belt took a while to get kickstarted in the Majors. His wrist was fractured on a pitch thrown by Cardinals reliever Trever Miller on May 31 and didn’t return until July 19. He had only limited power between his return and the end of the regular season.

Giants fans, for the most part, were running out of patience with Belt. They wanted results, and they wanted them quickly. Any excitement that had been generated by Belt dissipated and only the most patient stuck with him through the adversity. That patience has been rewarded as he has played quite well throughout the 2013 season. Belt, with a solo home run in today’s victory over the Nationals, boosted his OPS to .826, the fourth-best mark among National League first basemen (min. 300 plate appearances), trailing Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, and Freddie Freeman.

2013 has been disappointing for Giants fans, but the breakout season by Belt — the team’s second-best hitter behind Buster Posey — should be encouraging at least.

  1. remertion - Aug 15, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    Last I checked, the giants didn’t lose today…

    • Bill Baer - Aug 15, 2013 at 7:45 PM

      Pretty sure Base Ba’al made the Giants win just because I put this in the queue when Rafael Soriano got the second out.

  2. emmanzep13 - Aug 15, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    belt sucks he is and was over rated he sucks he sucks

  3. okwhitefalcon - Aug 15, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    “Break out season”?

    Unless said “break out” was done at a wet paper bags expense, then yes.

    Ease off the hyperbole, you’re cruising at “break out” neck speed…

  4. sisqsage - Aug 15, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Belt needed more seasoning in the minors in 2011 and wouldn’t have made the team out of spring training save for Cody Ross getting injured and starting the year on the DL. Belt had some rough patches with a hole in his swing at Scottsdale, which was quickly exploited in the majors and he didn’t make it out of April on the big club. He got called up and sent down like two more times that year, which has to hurt your psyche and confidence to no end. If he started that year in AAA and was allowed to mature and pile up some big stats that would have saved a lot of pain and frustration for everybody. He was decent in 2012 and has always been good with the glove. This year he started out with a stomach virus and lost like 15-20 pounds, zapping his power for the first half. Always seems to be something with this kid. Now he is healthy and has made some nice adjustments with his swing, leading to a big power surge over the last month or so. Don’t forget: the kid is 6-5 with a quick, sweet swing and has learned to pull the ball. There’s a lot to work with BB. His journey so far just shows how hard it is for most young players to be successful.

    • skerney - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      Finally someone said it. Fellow Giant’s fans like to bellyache about Belt’s “treatment” in 2011 but the truth is he only made the club because Ross pulled his calf in the Cactus League. Then fat Aubrey Huff, the new erstwhile right fielder, was exposed as the worst belly flopping OF’er in baseball history. Belt then flopped at the plate and mercifully went down when Ross came off the DL, shifting Huff back to 1B with Ross in the OF. Then Belt came back up and Trever Miller broke his wrist necessitating a rehab assignment. Then Belt came back up and has been up since.

      I really, really like Belt. His ceiling is high, he’s cheap and under team control for a long time. He’s the best defensive 1B SF has had since JT Snow. The problem is after the world series win millions of Giants fans tuned into a reality show and had their hearts melted by his Cal League numbers and his crying in Bochy’s office. “You wanna beer? Grab a beer.” To most fans he was their favorite a reality show contestant rather than a prospect that needed more AB’s above A+. To Giants fan his demotions were the equivalent of Belt getting voted off the island.

      I think Belt is for real now and I couldn’t be happier

  5. yankeepunk3000 - Aug 15, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    sisq. Couldn’t agree more. another year under his belt I’m sure he will become a more solid first basemen. People don’t get how hard it is to have power in that ball park. He will gradually in the next two years improve and become a strong presence in the middle of the line up

  6. tablescrappy - Aug 15, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    He’s succeeding in spite of how the giants handled him. Good for Belt.

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