Thursday, July 26, 2012

What to Do About Brandon Belt?

I have given indications over the last couple of years that I remain unconvinced that Brandon Belt is a sure-fire, can't-miss, 100% legit future force.  Nothing this season has convinced me otherwise.  He is a big guy with a big looping swing who can't seem to find a breaking pitch to save his life.  Therefore, any lefty who can get ahead of him with whatever pitch finds a way to get him out with changeups, sliders, & curveballs outside of the strike zone.  Going down the stretch with Brandon Belt does not seem like a great plan.  Huff, of course, isn't the answer, either.

That said, given that the rest of our lineup seems to have settled into some form of quasi-consistent production (we're even getting decent contributions from Theriot & Crawford), 1B is a problem.  While I still maintain that our #1 pre-Trade Deadline need is some bullpen help, perhaps we should be in the market for a 1B or even a lead-off type OF (with an OF, we could play Melky some at 1B, plus Posey at times).  In the lead-off OF category, Victorino is available, plus Denard Span.

Of course, if Panda is out for an extended period, we've got other problems.

I read that the Giants were interested in Indians' Closer Chris Perez, but then nothing more on that.  Anyone heard anything on that topic?


M.C. O'Connor said...

I haven't heard anything connecting the Giants to any particular guy. I expect they will try a few things. Panda's injury is a big one, someone (like Belt) will have to step up. They will pick up a reliever, I think. And a guy with some pop who can come off the bench/spot start at the corners. Assuming such a person exists. They don't have a lot of trade chips and I hope they keep this Stratton kid they drafted number one.

Zo said...

"I remain unconvinced that Brandon Belt is a sure-fire, can't-miss, 100% legit future force."

I agree. Where we differ is that I do not think that the solution is to find some other, better first baseman. Brandon Belt has huge upside potential. There is a reason that he has had a lot of playing time and Brian Sabean has said, "We are absolutely committed to Brandon Belt's development." The reason is not because the brain trust has suddenly reversed themselves on the veteran/rookie love quotient. So to get another first base guy, you basically jettison that upside potential (or park it on the bench), and also pay through the nose for that other, unknown but really good first baseperson.

The Giants have won 9 of their last 12 games and are in first place. Their problems are not large and panic moves are not the answer. We could probably use some bullpen help, but that is a tweak. What I find more alarming is that LA apparently believes they are floundering, and are willing to throw money around so that they can make a big splash for the new ownership. Zack Grienke and Josh Johnson are reportedly for sale and those guys are really good. It would be just like Jeff Loria to sell Johnson for some future debt obligation and MLB to trip all over themselves approving it because it's LA.

nomisnala said...

I think Belt is super talented and needs unbroken up playing time to figure it out. Once he does, watch out. Look at Rizzo last year with the Pads, he hit something like 143, and struck out all the time. Now this year with the Cubs he is hitting over 300. Belt has only 1200 to 1300 professional plate appearances. Let Belt play he will come through and by Mid August and September he will tear the league up. Durocher let Mays play when he was lost, and he figured it out. Now Belt, does play a wicked first base, he has an arm like a fastball pitcher, and he will hit. Even Pujols was hitting under 200 for the first 6 or 7 weeks of the season. You have to recognize talent where it exists. He is not Lance Niekro, or Dan Ortmeier, or even Todd Linden. He is a legit, really talented guy in a youthful slump. His OPS at home for heavens sake is over 800.

Ron said...

Sorry, not convinced ... He played College ball at a very high level, so that makes up for lack of low minor league level AB's. His stance is stupid & his swing is way too long. He needs to re-work the whole thing. Then, he might have a chance. I agree that he is a very good 1B. I would love to be wrong on this one. I just don't think that he's going to suddenly blossom in the next 2 months. Next year, maybe.

Shankbone said...

I think Belt can contribute with his defense and baserunning. His bat is a work in progress that nobody really knows what the end result is. I haven't looked up the obp during his slump, but I imagine he could do with a look at the 2nd spot in the order. Boch may not want to give him the honor though, it's generally reserved for good contact hitters.

His low overall pro AB's definitely are a factor. We haven't had a nice glove at 1b since snow in his prime. Now I know that shouldn't be the first or second priority... But belt is cheap and he is here. You got a lemon, take the obp and quit harping on what he might be, make the best use of what he is now.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Belt is not yet 25. And how many "sure-fire, can't miss" prospects have you seen in 40+ years? Not many, I imagine. I don't think anyone in this group has ever given Belt that label, and even the most enthusiastic Belt fans I've seen out there on the inter-tubes have never given him a 100% absolute guarantee of success. This is the big leagues, NO ONE is a sure thing.

I think the Giants are doing their best with him. He's a tough case, LOTS of potential (great minor league numbers, flashes a great play) but maddeningly inconsistent. The problem is if they don't go with Belt, who do they go with? He's what they have and I don't see anyone on the radar out there that's a better choice.

You have to give the Giants credit for "going for broke" with Crawford, HSanchez, Belt, Blanco. That's a hell of a lot of unproven ML talent. Imagine this club with Tim Lincecum pitching as well as, say, Ryan Vogelsong. Hell they'd be up by ten fucking games!

Belt's our guy, man. Sink or swim with him, I say. Lots of 24-year olds struggle in the bigs. We got spoiled with Buster and Panda being good from day one. Most guys aren't like that.