Good morning, baseball fans!
If you had told me in 2017, or 2018, or 2019, or really at any point in Brandon Belt’s career that the so-called “Belt Wars” would be over in 2021, I would have assumed that would be because Belt was no longer on the team. I’ve been quietly making my peace with the idea of Belt not being a Giant anymore basically every year when the trade rumors would arise.
I was certain, coming into the 2021 season, that this was it. Because it was the last year of Belt’s contract and it didn’t seem likely that the team would keep him around. It seemed as though he was always going to be third priority behind the face of the franchise, Buster Posey, and the hometown hero, Brandon Crawford.
Little did I know that Belt would go on to have a career calendar year, keeping up his pace from 2020 and even improving on it. But that’s exactly what he’s done. Grant Brisbee wrote about it over at The Athletic:
Since the start of the 2020 season, Belt has played in 139 games. Over that span, he’s made 521 plate appearances and hit 34 home runs, with a .278/.386/.581 slash line. His 158 OPS+ since the start of 2020 ranks fourth in baseball among players with more than 500 plate appearances, just ahead of Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
That’s not just good or OK. It’s literally one of the best hitters in baseball for over a full calendar year now.
And if the Giants had any sense, they’d lock him into another contract asap before he can hit free agency. He’s 33, and hitting the ball better than he ever has, and when asked he says he thinks he’s only just coming into his prime.
Extend that man now, Giants. Don’t wait.
Also, over the weekend, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post wrote an article about the Giants’ season thus far and what has changed in the clubhouse under Gabe Kapler and Farhan Zaidi. Janes speaks with the coaching staff and players and gets to the root of what may account for some of the team’s success this year, in the uniqueness of the coaching staff and their approaches to preparing the players to succeed. Definitely worth a read.
What time do the Giants play today?
The Giants kick off a three game series against the Padres in San Diego tonight at 7:10 p.m. PT.