Thursday, August 05, 2010

Give Me Another Belt, Barrkeep: Brandon Belt

Brandon Belt is the Foppert or Runzler of 2010, rising up fast, either in the system and/or in prospect status, in no time at all:

Tm Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2 Teams A+-AA 105 377 79 139 34 10 15 84 19 8 70 73 .369 .469 .631 1.100
San Jose A+ 77 269 62 103 28 4 10 62 18 7 58 50 .383 .492 .628 1.121
Richmond AA 28 108 17 36 6 6 5 22 1 1 12 23 .333 .405 .639 1.044
1 Season 105 377 79 139 34 10 15 84 19 8 70 73 .369 .469 .631 1.100
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/5/2010.

As you can see, he hit very well in Advanced A San Jose and then basically did not miss a beat in rising to AA Richmond, hitting a robust .333/.405/.639/1.044, with 5 HR in 108 AB, 12 walks and 23 strikeouts. Not great ratios there, but doable.

And he did this despite not being a highly viewed prospect at the draft - some felt that he was an overdraft, that is, the Giants probably could have waited a few rounds and still picked him up - and he did not even make Baseball America's Top 30 Giants prospect list for the 2010 season.  Reportedly, the Giants tinkered with his batting mechanics and apparently hit the proverbial home run with Belt.

Similar Production by Similar Age Comparison

I strongly believe that age makes a big difference in how you evaluate how a prospect is doing in the minors, and the best way of seeing that is going into recent prior seasons and finding players who hit similarly at the same age or younger. I think that gives us fans a view into how good he might become when he reaches the majors, and at minimum, provides a pool of similar players.  This was how I got really excited over how well Sandoval did, and why I think 2010 is only a bump in the road for the Kung Fu Panda.

YR Age G AB HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2008 Matt Wieters 22 61 208 12 38 29 .365 .460 .625 1.085
2010Brandon Belt 22 28 108 51223.333.405.6391.044
2009 Brandon Synder2258201102745.343.421.5971.018
2009 Pedro Alvarez2260222133459.333.419.5901.009
2010 Domonic Brown2265236152951.318.391.602.993
2009Ike Davis2255207132660.309.386.565.951
2010 Ryan Kalish224115082821.293.404.527.931
2005 Dustin Pedroia216625683426.324.409..508.917
2005 Ryan Zimmerman 20 63 233 9 15 34 .324 .406 .508 .917
2008Pablo Sandoval21441758820.337.364.549.913

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
Generated 8/5/2010.

Clearly, Belt is much different in that he is doing it in a much smaller sample than anyone else, but the others' sample is relatively small as well, nobody put in more than 66 games.  But at the same time, he is that much higher a performer than most of the rest as well, so he could drop down a bit and still match the others.

Overall, he compares very favorably with the players here who achieved similar numbers in AA, and many of them have gone up to the majors did OK or better, and at minimum, were highly ranked/rated by the prospect experts.  Matt Weiters was considered one of the best prospects in baseball and Domonic Brown, when he was brought up just recently to the majors, was considered the top prospect in the minors (after the graduation earlier of Jason Heyward, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, among others), as well as Pedro Alvarez.  Pedroia, Zimmerman, and Sandoval are considered some of the best young hitters in the game today.  Only Synder has not done much in performance in the majors or highly ranked.

Analyzing what Belt has to do just to match each of the above hitters in performance, he does not have to do that much (relative to what he is doing now)  to match Kalish (.190/.403/.238/.641), Sandoval (.343/.349/.403/.752), Zimmerman (.320/.336/.432/.768), Pedroia (.318/.407/.412/.819), and Ike Davis (.283/.366/.485/.851).  And remember, both Sandoval and Zimmerman were younger, so that is why Belt does not have to do as much, both being younger, was not quite as developed yet.  He still has to hit relatively well to catch up with Brown (.305/.380/.570/.950), Alvarez (.333/.431/.544/.975), Synder (.355/.438/.548/.986), and Weiters (.400/.512/.610/1.122).

And that appears to be the dividing line, he is probably more like an Ike Davis than the elite prospects in the group he has to catch up with (except for Synder).  Then again, Ike Davis has done pretty well himself in the majors this season, he probably would be a strong contender for Rookie of the Year if it were not for standout performances from Jason Heyward, Jaime Heyward, and now Buster Posey.

But each player is individual, so it is not correct to say that Belt will necessarily do as well as any of these players if/when he makes the majors.  But I do feel that this is a good way to get a feel for what he might do by looking at same aged hitters with similar performances in the past.  That table above is very encouraging.

Spot Open in 40 Man Roster

With Bautista DFAed and Wellemeyer re-joining the team as long relief (and 5th starter once the Giants decide to shut down Bumgarner as a starter), as announced today, there is now a spot on the team's 40 man roster.  I think the Giants are envisioning that spot in case someone falls to them via the waiver wire.

But as the team with the second best record in the NL, they will be the second to last among NL teams to put in a waiver claim on NL players (15th) and second to last among all teams to put in a waiver claim on AL players (29th).  Of course, since it is a blind process, they will have to make their claims without any knowledge of whether any other team ahead of them on the waiver claim list has already claimed him first.  It is doubtful that anybody will fall to them, and the only team they need to block right now is anyone that they think San Diego might want, which would be starting pitching, though should any player go all the way through, as many high priced under-achievers probably would have, then they would be free to negotiate with the waiving team as to a trade.

So it is very possible that the Giants might have a spot and no waiver person to put on it.  Should that happen, I think the Giants will use the spot to bring up Brandon Belt for a September call-up.  They are really tight on 40-man space, so if that spot is used, then Belt most probably will not get the call-up.  But if they should end up having that spot free, I would have to think that they will take the opportunity to bring him up and check him out in the majors, as the Giants have indicated an interest in a left-handed bat and Belt is a lefty.

The Trade that Fell Through, The Fallen Prospect 

As reported by Baggerly late last night, the deal that fell through on the trade deadline day was a trade for the Mariner's closer, ex-Giant David Aardsma, for whom the Giants were looking to give up two minor league prospects, from a list of minor leaguers that reportedly included Ehire Adrianza.  How his star has fallen!  He has not done that well at all last season and this season, but is still young so I have hope, but clearly the Giants don't think he's necessary for our system any more.  And not that Crawford has done that well either, so SS looks pretty low on depth now for the Giants again, unless they try to put Burriss back there again.

Now, if Aardsma can make his way through waivers, and he might since his ERA is high (though good peripherals) and he's probably owed another $1M still but he is still controlled for two more years, the Giants could try to revisit the trade again.  The Mariners might have backed off on their demands by then, or might have become enamored with one of the prospects on the Giants list with more due diligence and scouting.  Something to keep an eye on.

3 comments:

  1. BA discuss Belt: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=10004

    Pretty good info and stats:

    "Had the Giants drawn up a best-case scenario back in spring training for Brandon Belt's first full season, it still wouldn't have been this good.

    Belt added to his unbelievable season yesterday, hitting a 2-2 pitch over the right-center field fence for a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 14th inning to give Double-A Richmond a 5-3 victory.

    Between Richmond and high Class A San Jose, the 22-year-old first baseman is hitting .369/.465/.636 in 482 plate appearances. His OBP leads the minors and his slugging average ranks third behind Dodgers first baseman John Lindsey and Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia, both of whom have the advantage of playing in charitable parks in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Also, don't recall if I mention, but JT Snow loves Belt's defense, says Belt is the first true 1B on team, which must have hurt Ishikawa to hear, given how well he has played defense at 1B.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Forgot to mention, also mention of Edwin Escobar, LHP we got from Rangers for Snyder in pre-season:

    "Edwin Escobar, lhp, Giants (short-season Salem-Keizer): Escobar signed with the Rangers out of Venezuela the same year as Portillo, though Texas shipped him to the Giants just before the season began to keep Rule 5 lefty Ben Snyder and put him in the minors. Escobar, 18, has been one of the Northwest League's more promising young pitchers and had his best outing of the year yesterday, striking out seven with walk walks in six scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 4.14 with 56 strikeouts in 50 innings on the season." (Sic)

    He really looks nice as a prospect.

    ReplyDelete

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