Brandon Belt has been on the radar of die-hard San Francisco Giants fans since the start of the season when he established himself, at least statistically, as the best hitter in the entire organization.
What's hard to believe is that the guy can sustain his amazing performance because it just is never done much past high school and to a lesser extent college.
At High Single-A ball in San Jose, Belt had a .383 BA, 1.121 OPS, 10 HR, 18 SB, 62 RBI, and 62 Runs in 77 games. These are ridiculous numbers at any level of baseball.
By comparison, in 2009, Buster Posey for the same team and in the same league had a .326 BA, .967 OPS, 13 HR, 6 SB, 58 RBIs, and 63 Runs in 80 games.
Similar numbers, but with a .60 point lead in BA and .150 point lead in OPS, one of these guys' numbers are significantly superior to the others, and it's not Buster Posey!
That's an extraordinary phenomenon to think about.
Instantly, skeptics will point out that Belt is 6'5", 195 lbs., and anecdotally players with that build seem to rarely if ever sustain long, productive Major League careers.
It seems like tall guys need to bulk up and become power hitters. But there are some exceptions to this less than scientific observation of mine.
Off the top of my head, the best example is Darryl Strawberry, the 6'6", 190 lbs. fellow lefty, who was on course to have a career like Barry Bonds.
Drug and personal issues derailed him, but when healthy in mind and body, he was a monster for opposing pitchers and teams. His tall, lean stature never prevented him from being highly productive.
So why did I write this article now and not a month or two ago?
Well, it is only High Single-A Ball data, so it's impossible to draw a direct line to success at higher levels.
But now with Belt's promotion to Double-A Richmond and his instant domination of the pitchers there, it's becoming impossible to ignore.
In 11 games, he has a .409 BA, 1.277 OPS, and 5 HRs. Ridiculous.
He seems to be better than Travis Ishikawa, Brett Pill, heck, maybe even Aubrey Huff and Posey.
Despite being picked 147th in 2009's draft, the former Texas Longhorn is putting up serious first round numbers that deserve commendation.
Here's hoping we see him in San Francisco in September.