Don’t You Forget About Me: Brandon Belt

This video is simply silly bad.  Just silly.

Baseball is as guilty as any sport or form of entertainment when it comes to out-of-control hype machines.  It is nearly impossible to predict with complete accuracy how a young player will handle the jump to the big leagues or how they will pan out in the long run.  We as baseball fans, and more importantly fantasy baseball fans, have impossibly short memories.  Prospects are here today, gone tomorrow.  We overdraft a hyped young’n only to have him flounder in the big show, then we forget about him.  The process is very frustrating.  However, it also leads to the delightful subset of players known as the post-hype sleeper.  Post-hype sleepers are a greatly valuable fantasy commodity.  They’re the change found in the couch.  The beer in the very back of the fridge.  You know they’re there, but they’ve been pushed to the back of your mind, only to be stumbled upon later when you least expect it- and probably need it.  But not for you, clever fantasy baseball-person, you.  You’re getting ahead of the curve.  You haven’t forgotten.  You lie in wait, mock drafting, plotting, scheming.  You know there is value to be had with these gently used former shiny prospects.  Where these players were reached for last year, they’ll slide to the later rounds in 2012.  So dust off your 2011 Baseball America preview, get your notepads ready, I’m going to squeeze some knowledge juice from my mind grapes.

this is belt feeding a giraffe. because it is on the interweb.

Don’t you forget about: Brandon Belt

I in no way mean to say that you don’t remember who Brandon Belt is or what kind of prospect he is/was.  If you’ve ended up on the dregs of the internet and landed on this site, you’re either a baseball devotee or I tricked you with a misleading #tag.  Either way, I’m not assuming you have no idea, rather, I’m planting the seed for your upcoming drafts Inception-style so you remember Belt before your counterparts.

Belt is a great example of the roulette game of drafting.  Taken in the 11th round in both 2006 and 2007 drafts (by the Red Sox and Braves, respectively), before being taken in the 5th round by the Giants in 2009.  He was not a big-name prospect but hit his way onto everybody’s lists, with an astoundingly impressive 2010 through three minor league levels (23 homers, 112 RBI, 22 steals, .455 OBP) and what scouts like to call an ‘advanced approach’ (93 BB, 99 K).  Despite the success, most were surprised when the Giants started him off in the big show in 2011, thereby eliminating a year of arbitration.  He struggled in the majors both in the spring and when he was called back up in the summer.  However, he demonstrated the same skill set in his 200+ at-bats in AAA, so it is not as though his 2010 was a flash in the pan.

He has a great eye, which is usually a good sign for a young hitter even when they struggle, sneaky power (43 2B, 23 HR in the minors in 2010) and should be given ample opportunity in the still-punchless San Francisco lineup.  I’ve seen several projections that have him hitting over 20 homers, despite a .270-ish average.  I’d bet he starts out slow again, as he continues to adjust to the majors, but given his rapid trajectory through the minors he seems to be a quick learner.  The 20-homer power is legitimate.  So are the double digit steals.  Bill James has him hitting .266 in 2012.  That is a reasonable, conservative estimate.  However, given an expected plate discipline improvement (that is common among smart young hitters), a .280-.290 average is not an outrageous progression.  Given that his ADP is 204.4, he could be an absolute steal as a backup 1B in almost every draft.

Don’t you…. forget about Belt…. Don’t, don’t, don’t… doooooooooonnnnnnnn’t (fist pump, slow-motion, freeze-frame)

yes. this.

-w

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Filed under first base, MLB, outfield, Posted, Sleepers

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