Here’s today’s Belt-less lineup:
There’s been a lot of talk about the hole in Brandon Belt’s swing. Supposedly, that hole is up and away for the young left-handed hitting (sometimes) first baseman. Funny thing, though, is that I don’t remember such a hole in his swing when he was consistently pounding balls to the left-hand side of the field in 2011. Thought it was one of his strengths.
Eno Sarris’ recent conclusions were that Belt doesn’t have such a hole. So what gives?
Anyway, I don’t expect to write about Belt much this season. Heck, as you’ve probably noticed, I may not be writing much at all. But if I did have the time, and if I was writing regularly, I probably wouldn’t be doing a lot of it on Belt. I expended what energy I had on the subject last season. So this post will be pretty straightforward; you can draw your own conclusions. My conclusion? I guess I just don’t get it: the continued, peculiar handling of Brandon Belt.
Is he the next Ted Williams? Nope. Is he the next Ike Davis, even? Maybe. Seems about right, with a good chance he’s even better. Whatever he is, though, damned if it doesn’t seem like he deserves a better chance to figure out what he is. Damned if it doesn’t seem the Giants deserve a shot to know what he is.
Here are several heat maps compliments of ESPN’s TruMedia. Each of them is for Belt and includes his hot zones from 2011-2012 on hard pitches and all pitches, filtering for batting average, isolated power (ISO) and line-drive rate (LD%). Make of them what you will.
Grant at McCovey Chronicles brought this hole up after the Giants’ forgettable opening series in Arizona. Belt started all three of those games for 11 plate appearances. In the 10 games since he’s had just 13 more. It’s gonna be tough for Belt or the Giants to figure out much of anything at that rate.