I'm certain the 2012 MLB season started out just the way Brandon Belt had envisioned it would. He started at first base for all three games of the Arizona Diamondbacks' series, receiving consistent playing time and 10 at-bats. Once the series was over, however, Belt was relegated to the bench and Aubrey Huff was taken out of left field and placed back at first base. Apparently, Bruce Bochy decided that the way Huff was swinging the bat was an improvement over Belt's one hit in those 10 at-bats. Huff, however, had just two hits in that series in the same amount of at-bats.
After watching both Huff and Belt start at first base in the first two games of the Philadelphia Phillies series, I can't say that either of them is the answer at first base at this point in time. Huff looked awful in his at-bats against Joe Blanton, while Belt looked like he was holding his own against Roy Halladay -- despite striking out twice while collecting a hit and a walk. I expect neither player to get the start on April 18, as the Giants face off with left-hander Cliff Lee. However, the main question that still remains is whether or not Brandon Belt will see consistent playing time with the Giants in 2012?
I honestly want the answer to that question to be, "yes," but I'm not sure if that is going to happen with Bochy at the helm. After watching Angel Pagan's early season struggles and seeing what happens when a player is given consistent playing time, I'd like to see Belt get more of an opportunity.
Bochy and GM Brian Sabean previously stated on April 8 that they would give Belt an opportunity to play at the major league level more consistently. So far, that hasn't happened. Perhaps they have been starting Huff to see what he has left in the tank at 35 or perhaps they are giving him one last chance to redeem himself before benching him in favor of Belt.
It truly feels, to me, as if the Giants are toying with Belt again. They seem to have closed off his stance a bit and may be trying to make him into a power-hitter. While Belt can hit for power, he is more of a gap-to-gap hitter than anything. If the Giants could come to terms with that, they could end up having a very serviceable first baseman that can hit and play above average defense for years to come. If they keep toying with him by saying one thing and doing another, they are going to ruin him.
The only way Belt is going to get better is by giving him consistent playing time. The yo-yo effect isn't going to do anything for Belt's confidence or his batting average.
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where fresh content is posted daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
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MLB.com. Giants vs. Phillies Recap Game 2. MLB 2012.
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