Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Small Sample Freak Out


One of the things that has made Brandon Belt a special prospect compared to others that the Giants have had come through their system is that he has excellent plate discipline. Over his minor league career he has consistently posted walk rates north of 15 percent and over his multiple stints in the Majors last year posted a walk rate above 9 percent.

The Giants coaching staff saw this discipline (which must look extreme in the context of being compared to other Giants hitters) and thought that he was being passive and set out to get him to be more aggressive.

Being aggressive isn't a good or bad thing per se, it depends a lot on the player and what pitches are being swung at that weren't being swung at before and the type of contact that results. So if being more aggressive results in more strikes around the middle of the plate being swung at with solid contact then it is a good thing, if it results in more Aaron Rowand style flailing at sliders in the dirt, well that is obviously a bad thing.

Back to Belt, so far this spring he has said that he has made an effort to be more aggressive and it has been reflected in his rather un-Belt like walk rate of 5 percent. It hasn't hurt him too much because he has produced a .463 wOBA but I am still concerned about the scenario of him having bad luck with balls in play or his strikeout issues creeping up again and a depressed walk rate could really hurt his offensive value.

It is far too early to be freaking out about this because after all it is just 40 spring training plate appearances but let's just say that this is something that I am going to keep an eye on as the season moves along.

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