Forget Me/Forget Me Not: Can Brandon Belt Become A Viable Option In 2011?

Early on this season Brandon Belt was looked at like he could be a savior for the San Francisco Giants.  Unfortunately, he fell flat, hitting just .211 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 7 R in 57 AB before he fractured his wrist, placing him on the DL.

Now healthy, the Giants opted to send him to the minor leagues instead of bringing him back to the Majors (where they desperately need offensive help).  That’s what happens when you struggle so badly, but there certainly is reason to believe that he can not only return to the team shortly, but be a productive hitter in all formats.

Of course, the Giants could acquire an outfielder as the trade deadline approaches, which would certainly help to limit his potential impact.  At this point, however, they could decide that they will not give up the prospects necessary to bring in a Carlos Beltran, for instance.  Or, they could finally become frustrated with the performance (or lack thereof) from Aubrey Huff.  Either situation would result in them turning back to Belt, who has hit well since returning to Triple-A on July 4.

He has gone 10-35 with 3 HR, 8 RBI and 10 R over the past 11 games.  More importantly, he has just 7 K vs. 10 BB.  If he can continue to consistently make contact, the results will come.

Aubrey Huff, who has been the Giants primary 1B this season, is currently hitting just .235 with 9 HR, 46 RBI and 31 R.  While he’s struggling with a .257 BABIP, he is not long removed from a 2009 year where he posted a .260 mark and hit .241 with 15 HR.  He also has posted a HR/FB of 8.4%, a number very similar to the marks he posted in 2007 (8.5%) and 2009 (9.1%).

Unfortunately, we can’t conclude that Huff is definitely going to improve.  For a team that is desperate for offense, 1B is a position that they need to get production from.  Sure, they could shift Pablo Sandoval there (as they recently have), but that leaves Miguel Tejada playing 3B.  Is that something anyone wants to see?

If Belt can continue to hit for power, he easily could force the Giants hand.  In 2010 he hit .352 with 23 HR and 112 RBI in 492 AB across three levels, so don’t consider it impossible.  In other words, just because he’s struggled and been demoted, his name is not one fantasy owners should quickly forget.

He’s not likely going to be a high-level option, but if he gets recalled, he certainly could have value as a corner infielder in deeper formats.

Verdict: Forget Me Not

What are your thoughts of Belt?  Is he a player you have your eye on?  Why or why not?

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One comment

  1. Tom says:

    Having followed Belt’s career for quiet some time now I say he’s someone worth watching but only in shallow leagues. 1b is still a popular position, and Belt isn’t really that big of a power hitter as he has been in the minors. At best, I think he’ll end up similar to Nate Schierholtz but with a better average and OBP.

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