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Leave Brandon Belt Alone Already; Or, know when small sample size strikes and when it doesn’t.

April 10, 2011

What do you do with a much touted prospect who is hitting .179/.281/.321?  Well, when it’s eight games into the season, you calm the hell down and look beyond the slash line.

Splashing Pumpkins and Bay City Ball have covered several of the factors that give me as much faith in Brandon Belt as I have, so I’ll keep this fairly short and sweet.  At least by my standards.

Was I hoping, after that second game home run to dead center at Dodger Stadium, that we’d be in a different place with Belt right now than we are?  Of course.  The reality is, though, that the fundamentals are there when you look at the measures of his plate discipline.  Belt’s O-swing% so far is 22.7 on the season and Buster Posey‘s, for reference, is 23.3%.  His Z-swing% is 69.2.  He’s swinging at the right pitches, and we’ve established his swing mechanics are there.  Frankly, he’s getting hammered on the high inside pitches and as soon as he plugs that hole in his swing, we’re going to see those numbers shoot up and fast.  Given his ability to make adjustments last season as he blew threw the minors, I don’t have a hard time believing that if we all calm ourselves for a bit, he’ll be right where we want him to be.

The harder question is whether Belt should stay on the roster when Cody Ross comes off the DL.  Call me sentimental or irrational or what have you, but I think sending Belt down would be the wrong call on multiple levels.  There’s all the non-baseball reasons of the fan uproar that would ensue and the message it sends to young players, and then there’s the very basic reality of how he’s playing.  He raked in the minors, he’s struggling now because he’s against big league pitching and no amount of work in the minors is going to really change the fact that he’s going to have to work through this at the major league level.  Leave him where he is, give him some rope to make those adjustments, and we will have a legitimate power force in the heart of our lineup to go alongside guys like Posey and Sandoval come summer.  Send him down and we’ll likely be having to go through this same song and dance when he gets called back up, which could well be at a far less convenient time to let him go through that transition than April with 153 games ahead of us.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2011 2:26 am

    Seriously. At least he’s batting better than Pujols!

    • April 11, 2011 8:54 am

      And he’s got a better SLG than Jeter and nearly a better line just overall, so the panic is premature by a lot, I think.

  2. Dodger Fan permalink
    April 13, 2011 10:00 pm

    Belt gets more calls than a hooker in Vegas. He’ll be back in the minors within the next two weeks.

    • northern california permalink
      April 18, 2011 3:32 pm

      You are hi-larious. Hey where did DeJesus go?

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