Giants fans either love Brandon Belt, or they hate him as a player. When it comes to the veteran first baseman, there's no gray area.
Really, after 10 years in the big leagues, there's no arguing that.
In 2020, however, it had to be hard for anyone to be a Belt hater. The 32-year-old finished with career highs in batting average (.309), on-base percentage (.425), slugging percentage (.591) and OPS (1.015) while playing 51 games in the 60-game regular season. That's what lands Belt as the first baseman on MLB.com's All-Underrated Team.
"It wasn’t until the 2020 season that Belt belted the ball like a prototypical power-hitting first baseman," MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince wrote. "His .591 slugging percentage was the best of his career by 110 points, and his expected SLG was even higher (.598). Combine that with one of the highest walk rates in the big leagues (16.8 percent), and Belt was the total offensive package."
Belt finished 16th in NL MVP voting last season. He was worth 2.1 bWAR, and big part of that had to do with his power production. Belt's 178 OPS+ was 39 points more than his previous high. His expected slugging percentage was in the 96th percentile, his hard percentage was in the 84th percentile and his barrel percentage was in the 97th percentile.
What also makes Belt unlike most first baseman is his strong eye at the plate and ability to get on base. His walk percentage was in the 97th percentile, as was his expected weighted on-base average.
Fans have been frustrated in the past with Belt's lack of power at times, his health issues and tendency to keep the bat on his shoulder with two strikes, but it was hard not to love the version of Belt that was on the field nearly every game last season.