Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Belt stays in the bigs, but for how long?
Firstly, I'm sorry for being a slacker. I haven't written much all winter. Truthfully, up until now, I haven't really found anything worth writing about. We basically had the same team coming back after we won it all. I was just basking in our championship's glow, wishing the offseason would never end.
The big news heading into Thursday's opener in Chavez Latrine is that our newest golden goose Brandon Belt has made the roster, leaving Travis Ishikawa the odd man out and his future as a Giant in limbo.
Ishi is a solid backup player, so if he doesn't wind up in Fresno, either by his own doing or otherwise, he will probably find himself backing up a defensive liability somewhere in the majors.
As for Belt, I can't say I'm surprised that he made it. The injury to RF Cody Ross to begin the year basically opened up a spot for Belt to show he belongs. Our newest lanky Texan first baseman (Huff being the other) did everything right in Arizona. His .282/.338/.479 line was excellent, as were his 3 dongs and 13 ribeye steaks, which were good for 2nd on the team-- both categories tied with Pablo Sandoval (another good sign).
The real question remains... is Belt here for good? When Ross Returns, does Huff move back to 1B? Then what? Does Belt get sent to Fresno to play every day?
The Giants have never wavered with their blue chippers recently. When Bumgarner and Posey were called up, even two years ago in September, they stayed on the roster. Sending young guys up and down is not ideal, but then again, it's less than ideal to have Belt spending time riding pine when he could be playing every day as a member of the Grizzlies.
As I see it, there are three scenarios:
1) Belt beasts around and makes himself indispensable, giving Bochy yet another good problem to have.
2) Pat Burrell struggles to find his stroke early on, Ross comes back, and Huff moves to LF, leaving Belt at 1B, at bare minimum against right-handers.
3) An unfortunate injury occurs to one of our OFs, leaving Belt in the same scenario he's in now.
If I had to wager an educated guess, and that's what I'm not paid to do on this site, I'd say that Belt meets and/or exceeds all of our expectations. This guy has done nothing but crush pitching at every level since entering the minor leagues. This meteoric rise is no fluke, and he's shown repeatedly that he belongs at the highest level. And there's no level higher than starting first baseman for the WORLD EFFING CHAMPIONS.
Godspeed Belt. Godspeed.