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Brandon Belt's early struggles

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David Banks

Brandon Belt is 6-for-43 on the season. I'm tempted to say that he's 6-for-40 on the season because the first three at-bats were against Clayton Kershaw while Belt had cholera. Those didn't count, you animals! But, right, he's 6-for-43.

Let's first revisit Voros's Law

Anybody can hit just about anything in 60 At Bats.

Is Buster Posey mediocre now? Is Brandon Crawford the best player on the team? Both of those things might be true. Both of those things probably aren't true. So of course you're not supposed to read too much into the first two weeks of the season.

That said, Bochy suggested he could sit Belt on some days if he continues to struggle, putting Buster Posey at first base.

oh dear god make it stop what is this why no no no no

There wasn't a direct quote from Bochy, so it's kind of hard to parse the exact context. But it isn't very ambiguous. After another torrid spring, Brandon Belt has had a rough two weeks, and now it might be time to talk about WHAT TO DO.

Since that article on the 12th, Belt has played and even picked up a should-have-been-game-winning hit, so it's not time for the torchforks yet. Just a manager offhandedly grumbling about options in response to a hypothetical scenario presented by a writer.

Still, if you want to see what a .182 batting average on balls in play looks like, here you go:


Out.


Out.


Out.


Out.


Out.

If those all go for hits, Belt is hitting .256 on the season -- not good, but not what's-wrong-with-Belt? worthy. And if it's a bit much to suggest that every hard-hit ball should be a hit -- that's not really how baseball works -- note that Belt hasn't had many cheap hits. Hitters should expect to get a couple of those.

Now pretend Belt gets all of those hits up there and two of his grounders to the right side get under the glove of a diving second baseman. Again, that's not what should have happened, necessarily, but pretend they did. Belt would be hitting .302. He would have seven extra hits on five line drives and two grounders, and he'd be hitting .302.

And your evaluation -- anyone's evaluation -- of him wouldn't change a lick in this hypothetical scenario. At least, it shouldn't. The outcomes shouldn't always change how you feel about a player's approach. And Belt's been hitting the ball pretty hard.

After those initial struggles, Belt had a couple of rough games where it seemed like he was pressing, but that's just a blogger crawling into a baseball player's head, which usually isn't a useful exercise. The larger point: This is why we don't pay attention to small samples. If the difference between .140 and .302 is seven hits ... there probably isn't a big difference between .140 and .302 yet. Especially when the player in question is hitting the ball well.