SF Giants: Three takeways from the first two series of the season
2. Brandon Belt is off to a hot start
The Giants have some holes to fill in the lineup following a pair of departures in Buster Posey (retirement) and Kris Bryant (free agency). Brandon Crawford and Mike Yastrzemski both are off to slow starts, but another left-handed bat is off to a hot start.
Brandon Belt has typically struggled in April as he has posted an .819 OPS in the first month throughout his career. His bat typically warms up along with the weather, but this year looks like it will be a different trend.
The 33-year-old accepted a $18.4 million qualifying offer in the offseason and the early returns have been promising. Interestingly, Belt battled knee inflammation in camp and he did not record a hit during the Cactus League, so there were some concerns over his level of pereparedness.
However, he has quieted any concerns as he has slashed .438/.526/.875 (306 OPS+) with two home runs, three RBI, and four runs in 19 plate appearances. This includes a strong 15.8 percent walk rate, which is a trait that Giants fans have come to expect from the lefty.
These numbers continue a trend that has taken place in recent seasons with Belt. After many strong years at the plate, the left-handed slugger has emerged as one of the best hitters in baseball since Gabe Kapler and his coaching staff took over.
Since the start of 2020, only Juan Soto (171 wRC+) has produced a better mark than Belt (167 wRC+) in terms of wRC+. It has been a remarkable transition for Belt and the hope is that he can stay healthy in 2022.