As of late, the Giants’ lineup looks suprisngly … competent? Here’s the current lineup sorted by adjusted on-base plus slugging (OPS+):
A few thoughts after looking at that:
- Melky Cabrera is amazing, but you already knew that. Melky’s hitting like someone grafted bits of Ted Williams onto a cyborg Tony Gwynn. It’s a beautiful thing.
- Sandoval, Posey, Pagan, Belt, and Blanco have all been quite good with the bat. Pagan’s season, while it’s been up and down, really has been a nice surprise. He started off so poorly, but has been a much better hitter than the first few weeks would have indicated.
- Gregor Blanco has been one of my favorite Giants this year. His combination of OBP-ability and defense has been a treat.
- Brandon Belt’s OPS+ of 130 nearly matches Buster Posey (131) and Pablo Sandoval (136). And that’s amazing for a guy that, by all accounts, sports talk radio left for dead in May.
So, yeah, Brandon Belt is hitting quite nicely — maybe the most pleasant surprise of late. Belt’s June has been full of positive indicators. He’s striking out less than ever (14.6%) and he’s walking a ton (18.8%). Belt’s first three at-bats in last night’s win over the Angels were very impressive. Belt saw 11 total pitches over the first three ABs; he walked twice on eight straight balls; fouled off the 10th pitch; and on the 11th pitch — Belt’s third AB — he roped a double into RF.
Belt’s a bit of a Rorschach Test — depending on how you view him, you’ll see what you want to see — but I think even when he was “struggling” he was showing positive signs: plate discipline, most noted. And it goes without saying that if the Giants want to contend this year, they’ll need Belt to be an average – or above-average – player. I won’t go into full blown Belt Love Mode, but this post does a nice job of highlighting some of the good points about Belt’s year.