Brandon Belt Injury

Brandon Belt, the first baseman for the Giants, has informed Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area that he will have season-ending knee surgery tomorrow. The team advised surgery earlier in the week, and the 34-year-old made up his mind to have it done after deliberating for a few days.

Inflammation in that knee has forced Belt to the disabled list many times this season. This is not the first time Belt’s joint has caused him trouble; he has already had it operated on twice and drained several times.

 

The 12-year MLB veteran was candid about the knee’s future health in an interview with Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle last week. Belt said to the Chronicle that he might retire for good if the knee ailment were really severe. However, in a conversation with Pavlovic today, he emphasized that he plans to keep playing as long as he is able. The answer is “it depends.

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If I can get my knee healthy and strong again, I plan to play next year,” Belt added. When I had this operation in 2015, I recovered quickly. What I’m hoping for is that… I’ll play if I can get it as good as I did in 2015, but I’m not going to risk being mediocre every time out. It remains to be seen.

A big reason the Giants haven’t been able to match their 107-win season from last year is Belt’s precipitous decline in output this year. He struggled at the plate, posting a.213/.326/.350 line with eight home runs in 298 at-bats.

Belt has dropped more than six percentage points in his hard contact rate from last year’s 44.8% when he hit 29 home runs. Given that he hit.285/.393/.595 in 2020 and 2021, it’s hard to believe that his knee problems weren’t contributing to his woes.

Still, Belt’s age and injury record make it difficult to predict his future performance. The longtime Giant will be a free agent after the season. Belt accepted a qualifying offer last November and is currently making $18.4 million, but he will almost certainly take a price reduction when he goes out on the free market.

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Career

After his junior year of high school, Belt was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the fifth round (147th overall) of the 2009 Major League Baseball draught for a signing bonus of $200,000.

Brandon Belt

After graduating from high school, he began his professional career with the San Jose affiliate of the Giants at the High-A level, where he was a midseason All Working with the Giants’ coaching team,  he improved his swing mechanics and soon rose through the organization’s minor league ranks. In 2010, he was one of the Giants’ best prospects after batting.352/.455/.620 with 23 home runs and 112 RBIs over three levels.

Both Baseball America and the MiLB Organization recognized his stellar play for the Fresno Grizzlies in 2010, the Class AAA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.

When he was a member of the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League’s East Division, he was recognized as a Rising Star and selected to the league’s All Prospect Team. Belt represented the East in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game. He was considered the third-best first baseman prospect by MLB.com before the 2011 season.

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