Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Belt's turning point -- July 23

This Fangraphs article is a bit wonky but it makes a good point that Brandon Belt began to hit much better last season when he concentrated on hitting line drives, which he did at an astounding 33.3% rate. Eno Sarris explains -- 


It looks like Brandon Belt knows what he’s talking about. He certainly found a line drive swing in the second half — 33.3% is an elite number. He hit fewer fly balls, the ball didn’t go as far, and he didn’t hit as many home runs as he might have with a more fly-ball heavy approach, but he certainly found the frozen ropes.
Now the difficult part, at least for Giants fans: A 33.3% line drive rate is not sustainable, most likely. For batters with more than 1500 plate appearances over the last three years, Joey Votto leads baseball in that statistic with a 25.5% number. And Votto himself defies the findings that suggest that line drive rate is one of the flakiest stats — its year-to-year correlation was the worst among the most common hitting metrics. Even though it was great that Belt found a line drive stroke that worked for him in the second half, he probably also was doing something that he’ll find difficult to replicate exactly the same way again.
But maybe he doesn’t have to. His line drive rate for the year (25.6%) is not as much of an outlier. And all of Belt’s seven home runs came in June and September. Perhaps a year full of this newfound approach will lead to more power outbursts as he gets comfortable in his role as the starting first baseman of the Giants. It’s certainly preferable to the funk he found himself in on July 22nd, 2012.

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