In 2010, Brandon Belt (talk about a perfect baseball last name) went from being a virtually unknown prospect to being mentioned as one of the best players in Minor League Baseball.
After being drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 Amateur Draft out of the University of Texas, Belt burst onto the scene by batting .352 with 23 home runs and 112 RBI in three different minor league classes, finishing in Triple-A Fresno.
Brandon Belt's Triple-A debut in late August was right in my backyard. I wouldn't have been able to call myself a Giants fan if I didn't make the 15-mile trek down I-80 to Sacramento to see Belt with my own eyes.
In his second at-bat, Belt crushed his 20th home run of the season over the center field wall. Talk about making a first impression. I'm not a scout by any means, but Belt seemed to have a very disciplined approach and a great swing.
How great of a swing does Brandon Belt have? Former Giants star Will Clark said, "He has a better swing than I did." That's high praise from one of the most beloved Giants of all time.
San Jose hitting coach Gary Davenport said, "I'm amazed how he lays off pitches at such a young age. Like Barry Bonds, when the ball is two inches of the plate, he's not going to swing at it." He also went on to say that Belt's skills at first base are of J.T. Snow's caliber.
The approach of Buster Posey, swing of Will Clark, patience of Barry Bonds and fielding ability of J.T. Snow.
Can expectations be any higher?
Recently, Chris Haft reported that the Giants are going to give Belt a shot at a starting role in the Opening Day lineup. Maybe he'll be ready, maybe he won't. I know we're all excited about watching another Buster Posey-type talent every day, but we might need to take a step back and temper our expectations. After all, he only has one professional season under his belt.
Whether it's on Opening Day or somewhere down the line, the future looks bright for Brandon Belt and the San Francisco Giants.