Best San Francisco Giants of the 2010s: 8. Brandon Belt
By Joel Reuter
For the past eight seasons, Brandon Belt has served as the primary first baseman for the San Francisco Giants.
The San Francisco Giants selected Brandon Belt in the fifth round of the 2009 MLB draft out of the University of Texas.
He hit .323/.416/.523 with 28 extra-base hits and 15 steals during his junior season, improving his draft stock in the process after going in the 11th round of the 2006 and 2007 drafts.
He made his pro debut until 2010 and exploded onto the scene, hitting .352/.455/.620 with 43 doubles, 10 triples, 23 home runs, 112 RBI, 99 runs scored and 22 steals while splitting the year over three levels and reaching Triple-A.
That stellar performance made him the No. 1 prospect in the San Francisco Giants farm system and the No. 23 prospect in baseball heading into the 2011 season, according to Baseball America.
He continued to move quickly and made his MLB debut on March 31, 2011, spending 63 games total with the MLB squad and hitting .225/.306/.412 with 16 extra-base hits for a 103 OPS+ and 0.9 WAR as a rookie.
From there, he took over as the team’s everyday first baseman in his age-24 season, displaying stellar on-base skills and strong defense at first base to help offset his lack of a prototypical power profile.
After a 4.2 WAR season in 2013, Belt put together the best season of his career in 2016 when he batted .275/.394/.474 with 41 doubles and 17 home runs. That earned him his first and only All-Star Game appearance and a career-high 4.6 WAR.
He was signed to a five-year, $72.8 million extension at the start of the 2016 campaign, and he still has two years and $32 million remaining on that deal heading into the 2020 season.
Despite never logging a 20-homer season, Belt has been a consistently valuable player, racking up 22.8 WAR since breaking into the majors.
As the everyday first baseman and No. 6 hitter for the 2012 and 2014 World Series champion squads, Belt has earned his spot inside the top 10 of our 50 best San Francisco Giants players of the 2010s.
Check back here regularly as we count down the 50 best San Francisco Giants of the 2010s.