Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bloomberg Sports is High on Brandon Belt

Bloomberg Sports who last season brought their information systems and analysis to baseball has a piece about everybody's favorite Giants prospect Brandon Belt.

They are the latest place to throw their hat into the ring saying that he is the real deal and should be ready to make an impact as early as this spring.
In short, he dominated despite lacking much experience as a hitter. In 595 plate appearances across High-, Double- and Triple-A, Belt hit .352/.455/.620 and walked 93 times against 99 strikeouts. That's a 15.6% walk rate and a 20.1% strikeout rate, both excellent for a power hitter. Even in Triple-A, where he only accrued 61 plate appearances and 'struggled' with a .229 batting average, the rest of his triple-slash line looked just fine (.393/.563), and he walked 13 times against 15 strikeouts. He has an excellent idea of what to do at the plate.
The team sent him to the AFL to get more at-bats, and perhaps see if he was ready to play in the major leagues in 2011. Mission accomplished - Belt's .372/.427/.616 line looked excellent even in the context of the offense-first AFL. This is true of all of Belt's numbers. Even if you adjust for his slightly offense-friendly leagues, he has been excellent. Considering that his Double-A league, the Eastern League, was considered slightly pitcher-friendly in a recent study, there seems to be little left for Belt to prove in the minor leagues.
The last line there is something that I think that we need to focus on. "There is little left for Belt to prove in the minor leagues." This was specifically what Brian Sabean was looking for and he said that once he reached this point it would really force his hand.

So if you are on the bandwagon for seeing Belt in the majors this is a great sign.

The other thing that was really interesting from the Bloomberg piece is a little more background on his pre-Giants days. He was drafted out of high school as a pitcher but decided to go to the University of Texas where he spent a season as a reliever and then decided to focus on hitting.
In that second season at the university, he put up a .323/.416/.523 line (with 40 walks against 37 strikeouts) that caught San Francisco's eye. They drafted him, corrected his stance by asking him to widen his base and raise his hands, and set him loose on the minor leagues.
So the Giants saw the promise in Belt after only one season as a full time hitter. Knowing this a tip of the hat is in order to the Giants scouting department. They seemed to have found a true diamond in the rough with this one.

If your on Twitter you should definitely follow the The Crazy Crabbers. If you're not you should really consider joining, lots of good stuff going on there.

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