San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt has been in a bit of a funk at the plate recently. And when I say funk, I mean a 2-27 drought at the plate since the All-Star break. And as CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly reports, Belt could be in danger of being relegated back to Triple-A Fresno because of it, which would be an egregious error on behalf of the Giants front office.
Could the Giants swap Belt with Brett Pill at Triple-A Fresno? Could they unearth a first baseman on the trade market? Or could they move Pablo Sandoval to first base and try to acquire a third baseman?
Sure, these are all viable options, but all come with repercussions as well. Bringing back
40-year-old 27-year old AAAA player Brett Pill will certainly not be a better option. Even though Pill is hitting .282 with four home runs, 14 doubles and 27 RBIs in 36 games in the power-driven PCL this year. But it's still the PCL, not the Show.
Pablo Sandoval at first? Terrific, that means more Joaquin Arias in the lineup, who last I checked isn't much more of a threat at the plate than Belt even on his worst day.
Yanking a guy like Belt back into the minors will devastate his confidence, or what semblacne of it he has at the moment. Just look what he told reporters after Sunday's game:
"That's part of the problem," Belt said. "Some of that stuff creeps into your mind. The battle is to keep those thoughts out of your head and play baseball."
"It's just more mental than anything, probably," Belt said. "It's not fun. I've been through it before. You just have to see the light at the end of the tunnel and believe you'll come out of it. You start guessing too much instead of seeing it and hitting it."
He's currently searching at the plate, but he has the tools to be a good hitter. You don't have a 10 game span in June hitting .452 with 3 home runs and 10 RBI without knowing what you are doing at the dish. He's a cerebral guy, and sending him to Fresno will just stir up more mind games for him in my opinion.
Hopefully the Giants can see that light at the end of the tunnel for their 24-year old first baseman. They already are short on roster options with Hector Sanchez and Huff injured, so rocking the boat now seems a bit arbitrary. He just needs to gain some confidence, and not against the likes of Triple-A pitching.
"I've moved up levels and struggled before," Belt said. "It's always been a confidence issue. It's always been a mental thing for me. Once I get that mindset right, it sorts everything out. That helps, knowing I've done it before and I can do it again."
If they are going to show patience with guys like Brandon Crawford, than they have to realize the potential lying in wait with Belt. The problem is the team's brain trust may be running low on equanimity.
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