... Other great offensive prospects are in the AFL besides Harper. One of the most impressive is Brandon Belt.Giants Thoughts
(Gray) Some say he came out of nowhere, and he sort of did, as he's relatively new to hitting, being drafted twice as a pitcher. Kudos to SF staff for his development.
They changed his stance, hand position, in order to get the most out of his raw talent.
There are openings in SF in 1B and LF, he could make impact in 2011.
I (Law) love the way they changed his stance, he's more upright now, picked his hands up, more leverage in swing, can get bat to any spot in zone, good plate discipline, pretty good defensive 1B
I wanted to point this out for a few reasons. First, obviously, always good to hear good things about our prospects. Belt is arguably the Giants #1 prospect now, depending on how you view Wheeler's potential. He's definitely the closest to making the team as a starter. Nice to have him recognized by experts such as Keith Law. And they called him a great offensive prospect.
Second, I like the detail they gave in what he is doing right as a hitter. Don't always get to hear such information when prospects are described, period, and they gave a lot of detail that we normally don't get to hear about our prospects.
Third, wanted to point out that while technically it is true that the Giants have openings at 1B and LF for 2011, I seriously doubt that will happen. Huff loves the team too much to leave it over money and the Giants do not skimp in signing players they are interested in keeping, which Sabean alluded to previously, when a reporter asked or suggested that Huff might be traded to get prospects since he'll be a free agent. He got $8M each for 2 seasons when younger, he'll probably get something like DeRosa's 2 year, $12M ($6M per season) deal, maybe with team option year added.
Burrell already said that he'll accept a bench role in 2011, and that suggests that he'll sign for minimum money ($1-3M); he grew up Giants fan and clearly wants to stay on the team at all costs. Burrell staying would be another reason why Huff will re-sign. Together, 1B and LF are covered, plus Cody Ross, according to Sabean-speak, probably will be retained as well, giving us Torres, Ross, Burrell, Rowand, and Schierholtz in the OF already for 2011. No space for Belt in 2011, unless injury, sudden (and complete) change in heart, poor performance, or Belt just Babe Ruth's his way to MLB lineup (Huff can play 3B, LF, and RF too).
Misconception that Giants Don't Develop Position Players
Lastly, the Giants have been painted as a poor organization for developing position prospects because, well, they haven't really developed a position prospect for a long time (or at least a good one) until Pablo Sandoval came along, and I think that this discussion highlights that perhaps it is more a matter of not devoting their high draft picks to hitters, than of lack of ability to develop hitters.
Look at all the things Law and Gray describes that that Giants did with Belt. That does not happen randomly, it is a recognition of how to hit and adjusting the hitter to improve what he could do, within the constraints of his talents. There are so many adjustments noted that the Giants did to Belt, you can't do all that and hope to randomly succeed, you do all that because you have a methodology of how a major league hitter succeeds and mold the player to it.
And that is where most people complaining about the Giants ability to draft position players are missing something, something I've been trying to explain for the past 6-7 years about the draft: there is not a lot of obvious talent in the draft, except when you draft in the top 5 or so. And odds are not great there either, around 40-45% chance of finding a good player there, based on my study, not even flipping a coin odds.
And the Giants for the most part have used their first round pick on pitchers - with odds of around 10% for Cain's pick, around 20-25% for Bumgarner and Lincecum's pick range. And the odds get exponentially worse for the second round and on down the draft. They simply have not devoted many higher draft picks to position players until recent drafts, and still drafted pitchers early in Bumgarner and Wheeler.
So the real reason most position prospects don't work in the Giants farm system is because they are lacking a lot of qualities that make up a good hitter due to the fact that they are drafted many rounds later, and not because they are incapable of developing hitters. If you are fishing in an empty barrel, the reason you don't catch fish isn't necessarily because you are a bad fisherman.
And though one could say that the Giants lucked into Belt since he was a 5th rounder, but again to the points that Law and Gray made, an organization that is incompetant in developing a hitter would not have been able to make all those adjustments with Belt and get him hitting the way he is, one of the best offensive prospects in baseball. I would credit the Giants for identifying that Belt, in his unformed state as a hitter, since he was just recently converted from pitcher (funny since the Giants are semi-famous for converting position players into pitchers), had the raw talent to become a better hitter given additional instruction.
Given the Giants move to drafting more position players earlier in the draft - Fairley, Noonan, Culberson, Gillaspie, Kieschnick, Crawford, Joseph, Dominguez, Belt, Brown, Parker, Jurica - the Giants will probably be seeing more "success" in developing position players going forward, when, really, it is more an emphasis of their rare resources (early draft picks) on position players in recent seasons rather than the historic emphasis on pitching that they have basically hewed to since Tidrow took control of player personnel and development. And this new emphasis was marked by when John Barr took over scouting for the Giants.
World Series News
Bochy earlier announced the rotation (Home/Road) will be Lincecum H, Cain H, Sanchez R, Bumgarner R, Lincecum R, Cain H, Sanchez H. Probably best this way, get Lincecum and Cain pitch critical games 5 & 6. Also puts Lincecum mano-a-mano with Lee, giving us best chance to win game 1. Interesting stat I saw tweeted by Ranger's fan is that in Wild Card era, almost every team that won game 1 ended up winning the World Series.
In addition, Andres Torres sound like he's healthy and ready to play game 1. If he can hit like he was at the end of the NLCS, that would be a huge boost to our chances of scoring first and winning the World Series.