Brandon Belt's buried value

The Giants' slugger and four other players who aren't being properly utilized

Updated: March 15, 2012, 3:01 PM ET
By Ben Lindbergh | Baseball Prospectus
 Brandon Belt Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesBrandon Belt could help give the Giants' struggling offense life, but not if they don't play him.

Every year, major league teams spend millions on evaluating and acquiring players from outside their organizations, whether they're amateurs eligible for the draft, professionals in another system, or foreign or domestic free agents available to the highest bidder. Sometimes, though, a potential source of improvement is already in house, overlooked in favor of a more experienced or higher-paid player who's no longer the best man for the job.

The following five presumptive bench players are too old or established to qualify as prospects but could be better than the veterans they'll be backing up at the start of the season. And if these teams don't get their act together, this decision could seriously cost them.

Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants

"Free Brandon Belt" has become such a popular refrain in San Francisco that Giants fans have taken to wearing it on their shirts. Belt entered last season as the Giants' top prospect and earned a starting spot at first base with a strong spring training.

Ben Lindbergh

Baseball Prospectus
Ben Lindbergh is the editor-in-chief of Baseball Prospectus. He has interned for multiple MLB teams and is a member of the BBWAA.