Giants' Belt, Theriot flying under the radar 

July, 3, 2012
Three San Francisco Giants players were voted in as National League All-Star starters over the weekend, and there was a bit of controversy surrounding the choices. Personally, I have no issue with overzealous fans stuffing ballot boxes so they can see their hometown heroes compete next week in Kansas City. Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey are having nice seasons, and, well, Pablo Sandoval has a really cool nickname ("Kung Fu Panda") and is hitting .300, although he has missed much time. Hey, be happy Brandon Crawford and his .610 OPS weren't voted in to start. He finished second at shortstop.

Regardless, Cabrera, Posey and Sandoval are three of the four universally owned players on the first-place Giants (Angel Pagan is the other), and I'm pretty comfortable with each of them in the second half of the fantasy season. Of course, none of those fellows was among the top three offensive players for the Giants in June. Instead, Ryan Theriot, Brandon Belt and Gregor Blanco -- Giants, but not necessarily giants -- enjoyed success in June, and it's worth noting that those three are owned in roughly 75 percent of ESPN standard leagues combined, with Belt accounting for most of that total.

Belt really is on the verge of becoming a valuable fantasy option, every bit as much as Chicago Cubs newcomer Anthony Rizzo. Belt's plate discipline is critical, and he leads the squad in walks. He showed off his power in the minor leagues, but it really hasn't translated yet to the big leagues. Or has it? Belt, a left-handed hitter, has four home runs off southpaw pitchers in only 41 at-bats this season, for a .756 slugging percentage. Not only does it prove he never should have been platooned in the first place, but it's a nice indication of things to come. Only seven left-handed hitters have hit more home runs off lefty pitchers, and each of them has double the at-bats versus lefties compared to Belt. Of course, how do we explain the big goose egg in the home run column against right-handed pitching?