Brandon Belt’s Broken Thumb
Dodger pitcher Paul Maholm broke Brandon Belt‘s thumb with an inside pitch in the second inning of the Giants’ 3-1 victory. It’s obviously a huge loss for the Orange-and-Black, and we’ll see how the Giants find a way to replace Belt’s big bat and above-average first base defense.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman suggests Buster Posey, Mike Morse, Hector Sanchez or Joaquin Arias as replacement options and mentions a possible call-up of Adam Duvall from AAA Fresno. I think the Giants’ best option is to play Posey at first base and call up catcher Andrew Susac to platoon with Sanchez at catcher until Belt comes back in six to eight weeks, depending on the seriousness of the break.
Susac is currently batting .339/.431/.565 at AAA Fresno. Unfortunately, he’s only played in 18 games at the AAA level because he just came back from an injury that kept him out of the line-up for two and half weeks. In an ideal world, Susac would be left at Fresno to develop, but the Giants need someone now, Susac is hot, and Susac obviously wouldn’t feel badly about a major league call-up.
Adam Duvall clearly has major league power — he’s currently tied for the Pacific Coast League’s home run lead with 11. However, his on-base percentage there (.329) indicates that at this moment his on-base percentage in San Francisco would likely be under .300. He’s definitely an option, but I’d rather see Posey playing every day at 1B with Sanchez and Susac splitting the catching duties. Posey will hit like a true 1Bman, and he’ll probably hit better not having to suffer the aches, pains and minor injuries that are part of a catcher’s every-day life.
The idea of either Arias or Sanchez at 1B makes no sense at all, because the Giants would be giving up way too much offense at that position. Morse could play first with Juan Perez and Gregor Blanco getting more playing time in the outfield, and the Giants calling up another pitcher, maybe Heath Hembree who really should have been promoted before George Kontos or Jake Dunning based on their respective performances at Fresno this year, to fill the roster spot. However, neither Perez nor Blanco has hit a lick this season, which again creates the problem of no offense at an offense-first position.
The guy playing best at AAA Fresno right now is Joe Panik, who has a fine .386 on-base percentage. However, the Giants have no need for another middle infielder in San Francisco, and Panik would be best served playing every day in Fresno until September call-ups.