With the internet abuzz with news that Pablo Sandoval has usurped Mets' third baseman David Wright as an All-Star game starter, few, if any, have noticed the man who came in second for NL first basemen.
Clearly Brandon Belt was the beneficiary of some extreme voting from the San Francisco constituency. And, while his near election to a starting role in the 2012 All-Star game is rather generous, it does speak to how far Belt has come as a player in two partial seasons.
With Aubrey Huff constantly injured and Brett Pill back in the minors, Belt is relishing his first opportunity as a regular starter. His slash line of .263/.370/.436 has room for improvement, but it also shows a batter starting to truly get comfortable in the majors.
Meanwhile Pablo Sandoval, the infamous All-Star, is back from his second lengthy injury in as many seasons. He's shown flashes of slugging moxie, but coupled those flashes with cold streaks and poor choices in the field and at the plate. When all is said and done, Sandoval remains an incomplete player pushing the patience of a front office that feels it's waited long enough for the Panda to establish himself.
Trends are a fickle science, but with the way things look at present, it's entirely conceivable that Brandon Belt will ultimately have a higher ceiling as a player than Pablo Sandoval. Let's look at five factors that support this claim.