San Francisco Giants: 5 bold predictions for the rest of the season
2. Brandon Belt will hit 20 home runs on the season
This is easily the craziest of my predictions. Even after his pinch-hit home run earlier this week, Belt still needs eight more in the San Francisco Giants last 53 games to reach 20.
He’s been in one of the worst slumps of his career and some have questioned how much is left in the tank. Since moving into the leadoff spot, Belt is hitting a meager .226/.305/.280.
It’s difficult to know whether the slump is caused by his lineup position, or if it’s just a coincidence. Regardless, while the team went on their offensive tear, Belt was left behind.
Still, I’ve always been on Brandon’s side of the Belt wars. We have seen these lows before. However, he’s shown us time and time again that he can put together impressive stretches as well.
Furthermore, a number of statistics suggest that Belt has suffered from some bad luck that’s hurt his power output.
Obviously, playing in Oracle Park means that Belt will have a below-average home run-to-flyball ratio (HR/FB%), but Belt’s 8.8 HR/FB% on the season is easily the lowest of his career since becoming an everyday player. He’s due for some positive regression.
According to FanGraphs, he is also hitting more fly balls than ever in his career, while making hard contact at one of the highest rates of his career. If he continues those trends, it will eventually pay dividends.
The Giants will need it. While they were an offensive powerhouse for a stretch, we’ve seen their production regress over the past week. A hot stretch from Belt may be necessary to keep their lineup afloat.