This will be your weekly Brandon Belt post. Also, I’m writing under the influence of cold medicine, so this could be interesting.
Well, well, would you look at that? It’s a mistake to read too much into small samples (and a three game series against the Astros is definitely in the realm of SSS), but I’m going to push that aside for a second and enjoy Brandon Belt’s last few games. Why? Because I want to, dang it. After hitting like a all-glove shortstop for most of the year, Belt suddenly found his power in the Houston Series — hitting a home run in each game after being held homer-less in his previous 48 games.
Belt entered the Houston series batting .224/.340/.328; he exited the series with a much more palatable .238/.353/.403. In three games, Belt went 4-10 with three home runs, two walks, and one strikeout. You can see from the ISO graph — a measure of a player’s power — that Belt added 63 points to his ISO. What does it mean for Belt? Well, it’s hard to say. You can’t read too much into three games, but I can say that it was great to see Belt drive the ball. For long stretches of this season he’s been a singles hitter with a good OBP. However, for most teams, the offensive demands of a first baseman are much higher than just a singles hitter with a good OBP.
It seems pretty clear that Belt should see an uptick in his playing time. He started against a LHP twice in the Houston series — coming into the series he had exactly one start against a LHP in 2012 — and while we would probably expect Belt to have a tougher time against LHP, he’s never really had a dramatic split against southpaws. In short: let him play. Belt’s swing has been a subject of debate this year, and it seems to me that steady, consistent playing time is just what the doctor ordered for a player looking to make an adjustment; you can’t make adjustments from the bench.
Belt’s still far from a sure thing. But, for now, it looks like the Giants are willing to give him an extended look at regular playing time. Doing so will benefit both Belt and the Giants.