Blog post caveat: It’s still extremely early in the season. I had to get that out of the way.
I’ve really enjoyed watching Brandon Belt work at-bats this season. We know that certain things like how often a player will swing at pitches tends to become reliable pretty early. And we should wait until we reach some of those mile markers before making any assertions. But, so far, it feels like every AB that Belt takes is a patient approach that rarely leads him out of the strike zone. As of today, Belt has only seen 92 total pitches in the majors. He’s only accrued 21 plate appearances. The SSS rule still, well, rules. But, I can’t remember the last 2 for 17 that looked this good (as I’m writing this post, the Giants are playing the Padres and Belt is 2-4 with a couple of singles).
I decided to do a quick plot of Belt’s plate approach this season by Swings and Non-Swings. It’s a simple plot. Swings are blue dots, Non-Swings are red dots, and I’ve also included a strike zone. As usual, the plot is from the vantage point of the catcher.
The graphic backs up what we’ve seen with our eyes that, in an admittedly brief time, Brandon Belt has yet to swing outside of the strike zone much. We should hold off proclaiming him the next king of OBP or plate approach, but the early indications are that Belt is a smart and patient hitter. It’s a total contrast to some of the past hitters and current hitters that the Giants have acquired. The book on Belt is still being written and, as they say, it’s about how you adjust to the adjustments that the league makes against you. Scouts have constantly praised Belt’s eye at the plate and it looks like the early returns are encouraging. Whether or not they are significant will get fleshed out as the season goes, but I’m still enjoying the heck out of his ABs.