Brandon Belt, Cactus League hero (USAT Images)
If it's March, it must be time to re-hype Brandon Belt. The kid is destroying Cactus League pitching, again.
As of this writing, Belt is hitting .417/.432/.861(!) with four homers and nine RBIs in his 37 plate appearances. He was a monster during exhibition play in 2012, too, going 28-for-74 with three bombs and eight doubles.
Belt's spring power surge didn't actually carry over into the regular season last year, you'll recall, as he hit only seven home runs over 145 games. But modest power has always been part of the projection. Belt delivered 76 extra-base hits across three minor league levels in 2010 (including 23 homers), and he cleared the fence 17 times in 2011, splitting time between Triple-A and the majors. He hit the ball plenty hard for San Francisco last year (25.6 line-drive percentage), though not usually on a trajectory that benefited the fantasy community.
[Baseball 2013 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]
This spring, Belt's home runs have been hit against a rogue's gallery of pitchers: Blake Beavan, Louis Coleman, David Huff, Donnie Joseph. We can't ignore the quality-of-opponent issues that pop up in February and March. Still, it's nice to see Belt raking again this spring, no matter the degree of difficulty.
Belt has been a dirt-cheap player in fantasy so far, with a Yahoo! ADP of just 250.4. He lasted until Round 15 in the 14-team Friends & Family draft, selected in the neighborhood of Reddick, Hart, Kubel and Ethier. Belt won't offer the power you'd find in a standard-issue fantasy 1B, but he'll assist in steals, a scarce trait at his position. Think of him as a low-cost alternative to, say, Eric Hosmer (meh power, sneaky speed). Don't neglect him on draft day.
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