Everything is Brandon Belt. The trees, the air, your cat, your new TV, your video game console … they’re all Brandon Belt. I thought about starting this post by just writing Brandon Belt? Brandon Belt. Brandon Belt? Brandon Belt!
I recently joked on Twitter that Brandon Belt might be the most interesting Giant I can recall in recent memory. For whatever reason, he seems to draw the ire of fans from both sides of the discussion, and he’s created something of a split among the fan base.
There are those who seem him as a blocked prospect; a player that’s flashed above-average talent at times. And there are those that see him as a failed prospect – already – and who would much rather see guys like Brett Pill, Aubrey Huff, or Hector Sanchez playing first base. Belt is interesting because, to me, he seems like a pretty inoffensive player. And yet he seems to drive everyone crazy. (Though, I have to admit, I thought the same things about Fred Lewis and I still remember those battles.) He strikes out a lot – or at least he’s doing so right now – but he’s shown a patient approach that, for the Giants, goes against the norm. If there are two things the Giants love in a hitter, it’s batting average and not striking out. Belt doesn’t really do either of those things well. I think in his best years he’ll be about a .270 hitter and he’s going to strike out. Could he improve? Yes, it’s quite possible. Could he stay the same? Yes, that’s also possible. I’m by no means a prospect/player development Edward Cayce, so take my opinions with huge grains of salt.
Chances are if you like Belt you’ve been referred to as a member of the “OBP Crowd*” or something similar. In the other side’s eyes, you’re a spreadsheet sorting, number crunching, pocket protecting uber-nerd that’s never seen an actual baseball game and that prefers to watch the baseball through some weird Matrix-like existence. If you dislike Belt, the other side probably thinks you smoke RBIs each day while freebasing large, heaping piles of grit. This thing has really gotten pretty stupid.
*Side opinion: The phrase “OBP Crowd” might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
Like most things, the real truth is probably between both sides. Has Belt struggled? Yes. Is he a better option than the glut of Huff-Sanchez-Pill? Yes, it’s very likely. Should he inspire this much of a kerfuffle? No, no, no. We need to step back for a second, stop trying to be body language experts, and look at everything with clear eyes. He’s a young player. He’s struggled some at times. He still has the chance to be very good. He’s probably the best option at first base right now. Hopefully the Giants understand that.
Take a deep breath. Exhale.
Now, please calm down.