Brandon Belt in Left Field for the Playoffs?

Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Brandon Belt played left field on Thursday. Is this a good solution for the playoffs?

Nope.

Hey, I kind of like this new format. Write the headline, and sum up the point with a word or a sentence. Now you don't have to read the rest. Although it could be worse. This could be another Giants/Padres series preview. If I had to do another one of those, it'd look something like this:


Just look at that jackass. He looks like the kind of mutant that would have another set of teeth somewhere else on his body, like on the back of his neck, or behind both knees. Man, this guy annoys me. Screw this, I'm not doing another Giants/Padres preview. If I had to finish this, I'd snap. It'd go something like this:
Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy. Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy. Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy. Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy.
Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy. Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy.
Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy. Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy.
Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy. Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy.
Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy. Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy.Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy. Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy. Clayton Richard and no inter-divisional opponents makes Grant a dull boy.

But back to Belt playing left field. He started in left on Thursday, as this is the last call for mixing and matching before the playoffs. How did it go?


Nope.

It's ludicrous to base any decision off a single play. It wouldn't take me too long to find a play in which Brandon Crawford looks like he's playing with shoes on his hands. But you know what that play up there looked like? It looked like a route from a player who isn't used to left field. Which is what Belt is. He's had 58 chances in the outfield in his major-league career. He's had 104 in his minor-league career. When I ran that through Excel, I found that Brandon Belt has caught 162 fly balls during a game situation for his career.

This isn't to say that Belt can't be a good left fielder. I think he can. More than that, I think he can be a plus left-fielder, with above-average range and a strong, accurate arm.

This isn't to say that Belt shouldn't ever move from first. Pretend the Giants had a first-base prospect who was some sort of robo-Will Clark, but who couldn't play the outfield at all. Or pretend the Giants wanted to sign a premium free agent who played first. Alright, I lost you at "pretend the Giants sign", but work with me here. Belt moving to left field could be a good idea if it got another plus hitter in the lineup.

But it's not a good idea to play Belt out of position a) in the playoffs and b) in order to get Hector Sanchez in the lineup. I feel like ... this is a variation on a theme that's already been run into the ground a week before the playoffs even start.

I'll say this much: I like that they're even trying. If they really are committed to letting Lincecum and/or Zito have their personal catcher in the playoffs, it's worth a shot to see if Belt can play left. There's no reason to compound their bad decision by keeping Belt on the bench. It's like eating cereal out of a hat. You know it's a bad idea, but you can at least try to use a spoon instead of chopsticks.

There's just too much risk, though. There's too much risk, and there isn't nearly enough reward to having Belt play the outfield in the playoffs. If the alternative were Xavier Nady, it might be worth it if you were really convinced that Lincecum needs Sanchez. But the alternative is Gregor Blanco, who plays a magnificent outfield.

Brandon Belt is a first baseman. Buster Posey is a catcher. This is breaking news. They should remain at those respective positions in the playoffs. I'm glad Belt had trouble with that ball yesterday, actually. Maybe Bochy's thinking the same thing. We can only hope. Well, hope and complain on blogs.

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