So last night ESPN’s Keith Law sent out this tweet, which didn’t paint a positive picture among the Giants fans I follow. While one could say that it’s too early to make those types of statements, it is obvious that last year the Giants handled Brandon Belt pretty poorly from a developmental perspective, switching him between starter, bench player, and platoon mate. They also had him play LF and 1B, which also probably wasn’t a great thing. The end result was the Giants’ top hitting prospect was hitting for his at-bats on a team that desperately needed offensive production.
That brings us to 2012 and what the Giants may do this year. Obviously there is still a lot of baseball to be played, but right now the sense seems to be that Belt, projected by ZiPS to be the Giants’ 2nd best hitter, seems to be battling with Aubrey Huff, Brett Pill, and Nate Schierholtz for the starting LF and 1B jobs (I assume Melky Cabrera is starting in either RF or LF). My preference is obviously the title of the post, which would mean Schierholtz would move to the 4th OF role and start if someone is ineffective or gets injured.
The reason I want Belt to play LF instead of 1B is due to the fact that 1B looks to be a crowded position. Besides Huff and Pill, Buster Posey will likely need to play some games at 1B to not rush his recovering ankle. Also, while Belt isn’t a great defensive LF, he is a decent athlete who should improve with reps at the position, and considering that the last two years the main guy who has played LF for the Giants is Pat Burrell, Belt would be an upgrade. Giving Belt an everyday spot in the lineup and having him know he’ll be in the same position everyday, I believe, will give him some more confidence and could help him break out. Just my 2 cents.