Prospect of the Day: Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants
A year ago, Brandon Belt was a relative unknown, a fifth round pick in 2009 from the University of Texas, who had yet to make his pro debut. Now, he's on the Opening Day roster. Scouts always knew he was a solid athlete, but his college performance was never spectacular. The Giants retooled his swing in pro ball, and the results last year were stunning: a .352/.455/.620 mark with 43 doubles, 23 homers, 93 walks, and 22 steals accumulated between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. He hit .282/.338/.479 this spring for the Giants, and scouts believe the progress he made last year is for real. He always had good plate discipline and is more athletic than most first basemen, but the shorter swing he adopted last year enabled him to close up his past weakness against inside pitches. Given his rapid rise, there could be some bumps and bruises and a slow start is always quite possible, but Belt has everything needed to be a long-term lineup mainstay.