Bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it very much. Curveball, bats are afraid.- Pedro Cerrano, Major League 1989
Brandon Belt has struggled to hit the curveball this season. If there was one thing I would point to and say that is why he is struggling that is it right there.
According the the pitch type values from Fangraphs Belt has done well against fastballs but he has been destroyed on the off speed stuff. One curveballs he has been worth -0.53 runs below average per 100 pitches, on sliders he has been worth -0.64 runs below average per one hundred pitches and on change ups it is even worse where he has been worth -2.37 runs blow average.
When we look at things on the pitch fx level we can see his struggles even better.
Of the curves and sliders he has swung at he has whiffed on 35% of them. The funny thing is that he actually doesn't seem to be swinging at more pitches out of the strikezone on these breaking pitches than he does on other pitch types.
His overall O-Swing rate is 26.7% while even with a very stingy view of the strike zone on breaking pitches Belt has swung at 22.5% of pitches outside the strike zone. Pablo Sandoval he is not (with his career 44.9% swing rate on pitches outside the strike zone).
His batting average on curveballs is pretty pathetic too sitting at just .218 but he does redeem himself somewhat with getting the most with the balls he does have fall for hits go for extra bases and a .406 slugging percentage.
I am not sure what else he can do besides stay in the majors and just see more and more of them. At this point we are still talking about too few pitches to make concrete judgments on but going back to the minors is unlikely to much good hat is where one of the biggest differences between the minors and the majors.
Major League pitchers have Major League breaking balls and they don't often make mistakes with them like minor league guys.
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