Things I have a hard time believing about Brandon Belt in 2012: Although he had an OPS+ 21 points higher in 2012 (124-103), he had fewer HR in 472 PA (7) than he did in 209 PA in 2011 (9). Odd, but after all the tinkering and lineup madness that has been done with him, you just got to be happy that he is at the very least recognized for being good with the glove at 1B, although he remains a polarizing figure amongst the fans because a lot of them have a love affair with a catcher not just whose name is not Buster Posey, but also Hector Sanchez.
Another idea tinkered with when it came to Brandon was having him play in LF, and when you’re not sure if you’re going to make a big league roster, you will play wherever the team thinks they need you, and adjust Belt did, although luckily he only needed to log some time there for four games in ’12. With the signing of Andres Torres, and the having of Gregor Blanco and Hunter Pence as well, I beg to the masses that you put away the idea of a regular Belt in the outfield. Emergencies, sure, but regularly, put it to bed, please.
Belt saw less than twenty games started in the each of the months of April, May, and July. He had six 2B, thirty-six hits, and an OPS+ of 114, 82, and 35, respectively for those months. Belt started more than twenty games in June, August, and September and hit all of his home runs in those months, eighteen 2B, seventy-seven hits, and an OPS+ of 162, 147, and 144, respectively. While it is true every professional athlete needs to deal with the cards he is dealt, and some players will go on hot/cold streaks, I think it’s also fair that a priority to give a player playing time should be made if he’s the better player, and to Bochy’s credit, he made it with Belt, even if the baby giraffe struggled in the NLDS and the World Series at the dish.
Brandon Belt’s name has floated around in trade rumors, but the Giants really have few viable options at either corner right now to replace him or Pablo Sandoval. Guys you see on the Giants “top prospects” list like Adam Duvall and Ricky Oropesa are both a ways away and shouldn’t be counted on to do what Panda and Baby G do/will do in 2013. However, in 2013 we’ll likely get to re-start the Hector vs. Belt debate again, and I promise to try and be on my best behavior, although I’m sure it’s not obvious whose side I am on.