Brandon Belt Will Have A Breakout Season, And This Is Why…

Credit: Steven Robles - SF Giants Rumors

Credit: Steven Robles – SF Giants Rumors

In a very forgettable season for the San Francisco Giants, there were few bright spots in 2013. One of those bright spots was Brandon Belt. Belt was one of the top three hitters for the Giants and was very productive all around, but I believe he didn’t reach his full potential. Belt was a 4 win player while hitting .289/.360/.481 and “belting” 17 home runs. He also had a 139 wRC+ and a .365 wOBA. Many people would consider that a breakout season for him, but I think he will be even better in the coming year. At 25 years old, Belt has the makings of being a star for the Giants. No, he isn’t going to hit 40 homers and drive in 100 runs, he isn’t that type of player, but he is the kind of player that gets on base at an excellent rate and has good power while playing very good defense. He has the potential to hit .300, get on base at a .385 clip, hit 25 homers, and steal 15 bases. I predict we see Belt do that in 2014.

In 2013 on a trip to play the Philadelphia Phillies, Belt talked to Phillies’ slugger Domonic Brown. Brown gave him advice and told him that he had similar problems his first few years in the major leagues. He told Belt to grip the bat differently and Belt said that clicked in his mind and he decided to try it himself. That helped him greatly and Belt ended 2013 with very solid numbers. In 2014 the Giants project Belt batting in the three spot of the lineup behind infielder Marco Scutaro and ahead of catcher Buster Posey.

Belt is the first baseman that nobody is talking about and I think that will change in the next few years. He is young enough and has the potential to become an All-Star at his position. Belt is going to be a huge part of the Giants for the near future and their playoff hopes can hinge on how he produces in a power-lacking lineup.

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~Randy Boyles

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7 Comments

  • Anthony says:

    I agree with your assessment and that Belt started putting it together after midway thru last year.
    Also not to forget he is a great defender so if he puts it together offensively this year then we are looking at an all star.

    Also don’t forget Crawford who also is putting it together. These 2 blossoming along with the whole team and the Dogders will be looking to waste some more money

  • Nice assessment of Belt, I totally agree. I would also note that once he picked up that tip from Domonic, he hit at an elite level for the rest of the season.

    I would also add that technically, to clarify for those who were not aware, the tip actually came from the Giants coaches, who had been advising Belt to do that for a while. The Giants batting coach, noting that Brown had a breakthru year, astutely talked with him about it, I think at the All-Star game, if I remember right, and realizing the similarities with Belt, then asked Domonic to speak with Belt.

    What sold Belt on finally changing, though, was not that Brown did well with the change, but that the change happened pretty quickly for Brown, so he figured he would give it a shot for a little while and if it didn’t work, he would go back. And, of course, it worked and he kept on doing it.

    What I’ve thought of Belt is that he’s a Votto-lite if he develops the way he can: good BA, good OBP, good slugging, 20-30 HRs, 10-20 SB, plus good defense to boot. So I agree that 2014 should be his breakout year.

    That is why I have been hoping the Giants sign him to a long term contract, a la how they did it with Bumgarner, getting him cheaper now, than suffering through arbitration paying through the nose, after he hits it big.

  • Oh, and I agree about Crawford with the other commenter. He was already having a breakout season, hitting around 800 OPS, which is great for a SS, made even better with his great defense, when he injured his two fingers sliding into second. If he has his health in 2014, I expect him to break out as well.

  • He BETTER have a breakout season, b/c I’m getting tired of hearing about his potential and then only seeing it in Aug and Sept.

  • ScottA says:

    I think the Giants’ biggest problem this year, assuming the team is healthy, will be Scutaro’s inevitable decline with age. We saw the beginning of it last year. I think that’s why the Giants are keeping Arias AND Abreu around, they’re hedging their bets at 2B. (And why I hope Joe Panik developes quickly, down in the minors.). Right now, the Giants should start batting Crawford in the second spot and move Scutaro down to seventh; Crawford really likes batting higher in the order and I think he’ll have a breakout year offensively if he sees better pitches, too.

  • Randy Boyles says:

    @Nathan Belt was one of the top three offensive players on the Giants last season. He performed well in every month, but happened to really excel in the second half of the year.

    @Scott Although Scutaro did decline offensively and defensively as the 2013 season went on, he was still a MUCH better hitter than Brandon Crawford. Batting Crawford second in the order might boost his numbers a bit, but he still doesn’t get on base even almost enough to hit that high in the order. Hitting Pagan leadoff and Scutaro second is still the best option for the Giants. Let’s also not forget that Scutaro was injured last year with mallet finger.

  • I like your assessment of Belt. He is the most undervalued of the Giants players. He had an OPS of .841 last year which made him the most productive Giants hitter in terms of slugging and getting on base. Those two things are very correlated with creating runs! I agree that he can do more, but most fans do not realize what they have in Belt. The world is full of biases. He is discounted for being goofy and emotional (crying when he was first bought up). Real men are supposed to be like Posey (Mr. Serious) and like Pence who gives inspirational speeches. But if you throw all biases aside, he is the bargain on our club. His WAR last year was 80-90 percent of Pence and Posey and they both will be making $12-18 million each a year in 2014. He should get his $3.6M in arbitration and I only wish I was his agent! This will be a better year, but in fact, last year was his breakout year. In order for him to get true recognition from many Giants baseball fans, he will have to deliver a WAR of 5.0 which is All-Star level and I am rooting for him!