Giants Need Brandon Belt’s Bat Back


The 2014 MLB season started out well for the San Francisco Giants and, in particular, for Brandon Belt.

Belt was coming off a season in which he posted 17 home runs, 67 RBI, while batting .289 and holding an on-base percentage of .360. This was the year that the sky would be the limit for the 26 year-old Giants first baseman.

Belt jumped out to a fabulous start to the 2014 season, racking up nine home runs and 18 RBI in the first 35 games of the season. All signs were pointing towards Belt holding the middle of the potentially potent Giants lineup together, until injury number one on the year occurred on May 9th against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Belt was hit by a pitch on his hand, resulting in a broken thumb and a 51-game absence from the lineup.

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A ray of sunshine shone through the clouds upon the Giants season when Belt returned to the lineup on July 4th. Belt hit a long two-run home run to take the lead in the top of the 10th inning in his second game back from the DL and followed his performance that day with a two-RBI game the next day in a pair of wins over the San Diego Padres.

The sunshine was soon clouded once more, just 11 games after Belt’s activation when he was struck in the head with a stray ball during a pre-game infield practice session resulting in Belt suffering a concussion. The Giants pulled him during the third inning of a game in Miami on July 19th.

Belt missed the next 13 games, before returning for a second time from the DL on August 2nd. This return would only last a whopping five games before Belt began to feel dizziness and was once more put on the 7-day concussion DL on August 6th. He has yet to return to the lineup since he was placed on the DL for the third time this year.

It may not look like Belt is having a significantly great year number-wise as he has 11 home runs, 24 RBI, and is slashing .237/.296/.446, but the Giants are 32-19 with Belt in the lineup and are 36-43 without him.

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  • The Giants have used a combination of Buster Posey, Michael Morse, Adam Duvall, and Travis Ishikawa at first base. Posey has done by far the best at first base with Belt out of the lineup, hitting .372/.419/.500 in 24 games at first. Morse has played the most games at first base out of the four and is putting up decent numbers of .313/.350/.504.

    The problem with having Posey and Morse at first base is that their positions are left void and are then filled by replacements such as Hector Sanchez/Andrew Susac and Gregor Blanco respectively.

    The platoon of Ishikawa and Duvall is serviceable but does not add a significant offensive boost at what is typically one of the more offensively formidable positions. Duvall has played 18 games at first base and is slashing .190/.230/.328 which is nowhere near MLB standards. Ishikawa is slashing .255/.275/.511. His slugging percentage is solid, but it’s difficult to compare that to guys like Posey and Morse who are getting on base so much more often than Ishikawa.

    At this time Belt remains a few weeks away from a return, but he has been able to resume working out, according to If the Giants are able to get him back by the early part of September, it could prove very beneficial in their playoff run as every game starting on September 9th is a divisional game.

    If the Giants want a spark to their lineup and push them through this rut they are currently in, they will need their power hitting first baseman back in the lineup as soon as possible.