Tag Archives: Brandon Belt

Season Preview: Playoffs and Awards

With less than a week until opening day, here’s my predictions for the playoffs and the major awards as well. I already gave my division winners in each division preview post, but here’s a recap:

NL: San Francisco, Milwaukee, Philadelphia
AL: Texas, Minnesota, Boston

My two wild card predictions are Atlanta and Tampa Bay. As a result, here’s my playoff matchups:

Atlanta vs. San Francisco
Milwaukee vs. Philadelphia
Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota
Texas vs. Boston

I think that San Francisco and Philadelphia will both just have too much pitching not to advance in these matchups, and will face each other in the NL Championship. On the other side, I think that Tampa and Boston will be the top two teams overall in the league, and will advance to the AL Championship

Tampa Bay vs. Boston
San Francisco vs. Philadelphia

In the AL Championship, I think that the Boston lineup will be just too much for Tampa, despite potential flaws in the Boston pitching staff. In the National League, the addition of a 4th ace by the Phillies may be too much for the Giants, but it will definitely be a series that is built around pitching.

Boston vs. Philadelphia

In what appears likely to be the top offensive team facing off against one of the best pitching staffs in recent memory, I think that Philadelphia would likely defeat Boston. Off the top of my head guess makes me think it will take 6 games.

Awards Predictions

Here’s my picks for the major awards:

AL Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hellickson
NL Rookie of the Year: Brandon Belt
AL Cy Young Award: Jon Lester
NL Cy Young Award: Roy Halladay
AL Most Valuable Player: Evan Longoria
NL Most Valuable Player: Ryan Braun
AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon
NL Manager of the Year: Ron Roenicke

Season Preview – NL West

We’re up to the last division left to review with the NL West. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central, AL West,  NL East, and NL Central.

Last Year’s Records
San Francisco – 92-70
San Diego – 90-72
Colorado – 83-79
Los Angeles – 80-82
Arizona – 65-97

Notable Additions

Arizona – Xavier Nady, Russell Branyan, J.J. Putz, Melvin Mora, David Hernandez, Kam Mickolio

Colorado – Matt Lindstrom, John Maine, Jose Lopez, Ty Wigginton, Felipe Paulino

Los Angeles – Marcus Thames, Matt Guerrier, Jon Garland

San Diego – Brad Hawpe, Cameron Maybin, Jorge Cantu, Aaron Harang

San Francisco – Miguel Tejada

Notable Losses

Arizona – Ryan Church, Adam LaRoche, Mark Reynolds, Brandon Webb

Colorado – Miguel Olivo, Clint Barmes, Jeff Francis

Los Angeles – Russell Martin, Ryan Theriot, Scott Podsednik

San Diego – Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada, Chris Young

San Francisco – Jose Guillen, Edgar Renteria

My Thoughts

Arizona – Under the leadership of new GM Kevin Towers, the Diamondbacks have already begun the process of rebuilding by trading away Mark Reynolds and letting Adam LaRoche and Brandon Webb leave via free agency.  They seem extremely unlikely to compete this season, but will look for improvements from Justin Upton and Stephen Drew.

Colorado – The Rockies spent their offseason spending money on contract extensions, as both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki were signed to long term contract extensions. The team also did well to re-sign some of their free agents, most notably Jorge de la Rosa. This really seems like a team to me that has the chance to compete for the division title, providing they get a few breaks to go their way. They will look for a repeat performance from Ubaldo Jimenez and improvements from Jhoulys Chacin and Dexter Fowler as well.

Los Angeles – With the ownership situation in a state of partial disarray, the Dodgers didn’t really go out and spend a lot of money this offseason. They did resign free agent starter Ted Lilly, but otherwise did not make any large acquisitions. The pitching staff is excellent, but they will look for a bounce back season from Jonathan Broxton as the closer. The Dodgers are another team that seems to me like they can compete, providing they catch a few breaks.

San Diego – The biggest news out of the Padres this offseason unfortunately was the trade of star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. They have cut payroll down to a very minimal amount at this point, and could look to move closer Heath Bell if they fall out of contention. I am not seeing a repeat of last year’s 90 win performance out of this group of players, but I don’t think they are necessarily going to be terrible either. They will look for Mat Latos to build on his excellent 2010 season and try to take another step forward, but there’s a lot of questions after him in the rotation.

San Francisco – The reigning World Champions only had one slightly major acquisition (Tejada), but did well to resign Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff. Their pitching could conceivably be better than last year, with Madison Bumgarner making a full season of starts this year. 2010 NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey will be up for the full season this year, and top prospect Brandon Belt is not likely to be in AAA for very long either. This is a team that could compete for the NL crown again.

Overall Thoughts

The NL West has the Giants at the top, and then a lot of question marks behind them. I honestly think that any of the teams at 2 through 4 could finish in any order in those spots.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. San Francisco
2. Colorado
3. Los Angeles
4. San Diego
5. Arizona

Prospect Review – Brandon Belt

The next prospect up to be reviewed is Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants.

The Basics
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
How Acquired: Drafted by the San Francisco Giants out of the University of Texas in the 5th round of the 2009 amateur draft.
Age as of 4/1/11: 22

Scouting Reports and Statistics
The Baseball Cube

Tm           Lg  G  AB  R   H HR RBI SB BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG
SanJose    CALL 77 269 62 103 10  62 18 58 50 .383 .492 .628
Richmond     EL 46 175 26  59  9  40  2 22 34 .337 .413 .623
Fresno      PCL 13  48 11  11  4  10  2 13 15 .229 .393 .563

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2011.

Prospect Ranks
Deep Leagues: #3 (First Basemen – 2011), #13 (Overall – 2011)
Project Prospect: #6 (First Basemen – 8/2010), #6 (Overall – 2011)
Bullpen Banter: #3 (First Basemen – 9/2010)
Baseball America: #4 (Eastern League – 10/2010), 2011 Team Rankings Not Released Yet
John Sickels: #1 (SFG – 2011) A-
Baseball Prospectus: 2011 Team Rankings Not Released Yet
Scouting Book: #5 (First Basemen – 2011)
Top Prospect Alert: #1 (SFG – 2011)


Belt was drafted in the 5th round of the 2009 draft by the Giants, and while he was viewed as a solid prospect, he was not really considered anything special. After checking through some of the 2010 pre-season prospect rankings out there, I couldn’t find a single one that listed Belt as more than a fringe prospect. The thing that stands out at that time was that he wouldn’t be making his professional debut until 2010. He started his season in the offense heavy California League, and despite this put up a ridiculous .383/.492/.628 line with 10 homers, 62 rbi, and 18 stolen bases in just 77 games. He was called up to AA Richmond in early July, and continued to crush the ball with a .337/.413/.623 with 9 homers, 40 rbi, and 2 stolen bases. He even saw time at the end of the season in AAA, hitting 4 homers in just 13 games.

One of the thing that stands out to me about Belt is how excellent his plate discipline is. Even back in his college career, Belt has consistently had around a walk per strikeout, and finished 2010 with 93 walks and 99 strikeouts. I also find it interesting that he managed to steal 22 bases last year as well.

Belt has made the transition to a full time hitter, as he was previously drafted as a pitcher by the Braves in 2007. He has been playing 1B primarily, but has also played some outfield in the minors as well.


Belt seems most likely to start 2011 in AAA for the Giants, but I could see him being in the Majors by midseason. I think he’s going to have to force the issue with his play though, as the Giants resigned Aubrey Huff to a 2 year contract, and Pat Burrell to a 1 year contract as well. Belt seems more likely to be up in 2012 though.

Prediction for 2011

.290/.380/.550, 22 HR, 95 RBI, 15 SB (AAA)

Expected ETA

Late 2011, more likely 2012 though.

More Information

Scouting Report by Paul Sporer
Project Prospect Scouting Report (8/2010)
You can find some video of his swing here.