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Better know you Blue Jays 40-man: Brandon Belt

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Brandon Belt signed with the Blue Jays on January 9th. He turns 35 in April. A left-handed batter who plays first and DH. He has played a bit of outfield in the past, but I’d be surprised if he gets an inning out.

Last year he had a poor season with the bat, hitting just .213/.326/.350 with 8 home runs, 37 walks and 81 strikeouts in 78 games. He had knee issues all season and had surgery in early September.

In 2021 Belt hit (Belt belted?) .274/.378/.597 with 29 home runs, 48 walks and 103 strikeouts, good for a 2.7 bWAR. That’s the player we are hoping to see.

We were happy about the signing:

His role will likely be DH against RHP and playing first base when Vlad gets a DH day. If he hits like he has in the past, we’ll be very happy,

Nick Ashbourne has a post up on Sportsnet pointing out that Belt, in 2020 and 2021, was best in baseball at hitting breaking balls:

His .544 SLG vs. fastballs ranked 72nd among hitters who saw at least 500 pitches in 2020 and 2021. His .677 SLG vs. breaking balls and off-speed pitches led the majors.

Without the luxury of elite raw power, he absolutely teed off on anything that wasn’t a fastball in a way that he’d never done before — and failed to replicate in 2022.

We'll be very happy if he can get back to hitting the breaking ball as he did in 2020 and 2021.

Steamer doesn’t think he has a rebound in him. They have him hitting .222/.323/.411 with 14 home runs in 84 games (I guess that’s a bit of a rebound). I don’t know if the forecasting system takes injuries into account. Or if it just sees a guy who is 34 have a bad year and figures he’s aging out.

That’s the question. If his poor 2022 season was because of the knee issues, then the $9.3 million the Jays are spending on him is a bargain. If he has just old (I can relate), then we won’t be so happy.

Poll

If the over/under on Belt’s games played is 95 I’d take the

  • 59%
    Over
    (367 votes)
  • 40%
    Under
    (249 votes)
616 votes total Vote Now

Poll

If the over/under for Belt’s OPS is .750 I’d take the

  • 68%
    Over
    (404 votes)
  • 31%
    Under
    (182 votes)
586 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which of these players will hit the most home runs for the team?

  • 34%
    Belt
    (231 votes)
  • 21%
    Kirk
    (146 votes)
  • 40%
    Jansen
    (270 votes)
  • 2%
    Merrifield
    (15 votes)
  • 1%
    Biggio
    (10 votes)
672 votes total Vote Now

Poll

If the over/under on Belts games played at first base is 30 I’d take the

  • 42%
    Over
    (252 votes)
  • 57%
    Under
    (336 votes)
588 votes total Vote Now