Numbers: Second Half Brandon Belt is Good
Aug 10, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt (9) high fives teammates after being batted in on two run RBI double against the Baltimore Orioles during the sixth inning at AT
It feels good to type that. Really, it does. Brandon Belt being good and giving less ammunition for the pro-Brett Pill camp is always something I look forward to, and Belt’s changed approach in the batter’s box hasn’t just been something for people to talk about, but the numbers in the second half have also brought about the proof in the pudding that the Baby Giraffe is busy building some confidence for 2014 when the Giants will be short at least one Barry Zito and the other pitchers should be allowed some rest, in case that whole “2 in 3” thing has made the stable’s arms tired.
You might be wondering how good this newer Brandon Belt is. Would you believe me if I told you that the second-half team leader in on base percentage, home runs, wOBA for players with more than 60 PA, etc. is the one and only Brandon Belt? Well, it is. He is not one we expect to lead such categories. Buster Posey? Yes. Hunter Pence, sure. World Series Pablo Sandoval, absolutely. Belt? It is a welcome piece of news.
August has been even more fun for anybody on the Giants named “Brandon” as both Belt and Crawford have been homering, getting on base, and helping the Giants not go 0-10 in August, which for this team, I feel is not an unattainable feat. They have managed to play .500 ball this month so far, and could win a series at home tomorrow for the first time since right after the All Star Break against the Diamondbacks.
If Justin Upton hadn’t been going all April on baseball, Belt would be tied for first with home runs in August (3) within the NL. He’s had the good fortune to have a Top 20 number in hits in the NL, and have twice the OBP in August of regulars like Pablo Sandoval (maybe not a big, fat surprise) and Marco Scutaro (a little more surprising).
Do we hope that this is the change that brings out a Domonic Brown-like burst in production for the Giants? Of course. There will always be Belt detractors, using Pacific Coast League numbers to boast about Brett Pill, and they will always be disappointed that Brandon Belt is not the first base version of Buster Posey.
As Belt belts, his supporters will grow louder, and the calls for Brett Pill to play everyday will be defeated. Perhaps Pill can be a useful role player, yes, but I’m not sure there are many professionals in the business (professional baseball people, not professional fans and keyboard warriors) that think Brett Pill is a regular, even if the Giants season in 2013 is not one for the remembering.