The organization drafted him, developed him, and he turned into a star right before San Francisco’s eyes.
His time with the franchise has been a smashing success, as he has contributed to two World Series titles.
But unfortunately, there are no guarantees that Belt’s run with the Giants will continue in 2022.
The 33-year-old is a free agent this winter, and after his impressive 2021 campaign, he figures to attract interest from a handful of teams.
He did his stock a massive favor by having a career year in 2021.
Belt’s 2021 Season In A Nutshell
The 2021 season was Belt’s 11th at the MLB level.
Given his contract status, he likely knew it was going to be a pivotal year for him.
And he didn’t fail to deliver.
He was held to 97 games due to injuries, but he finished the regular season with a slash line of .274/.378/.597.
He registered a massive OPS+ of 160 and wRC+ of 158.
The former fifth-round pick smashed 29 home runs, 14 doubles, and two triples despite missing a good chunk of the season.
Brandon Belt hits his 4th HR in the past 3 games to tie it! pic.twitter.com/Qa93vtRaA3
— MLB (@MLB) August 8, 2021
Had he played all year, he could have finished around 48 home runs.
Needless to say, that’s absurdly impressive.
By almost every measure, the 2021 season was the best year of his career.
Is Belt Getting Better With Age?
Every player’s career lifecycle is different, but with Belt, a very unique trend seems to be forming: He might be getting better with age.
The veteran had an unbelievable showing during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, batting .309 with a 1.015 OPS and 177 OPS+.
He finished 16th in the MVP race.
Over the last two seasons combined, he’s batting .285 with a .988 OPS and 165 OPS+ over 148 games.
He has launched 38 home runs, 27 doubles, and three triples during that span.
Brandon Belt, last 2 seasons combined:
— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) September 28, 2021
This is elite production, and teams are going to be willing to pay a high price for it this winter.
What Are The Odds That He Returns To San Francisco?
For any Giants fans hoping to see Belt back with the team in 2022, here’s some good news: San Francisco is reportedly going to make it a priority to try to retain him.
“President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi made it clear that retaining Belt, who has developed into one of the top hitters in baseball over the past two seasons, will be a priority for the Giants,” wrote Maria Guardado of MLB.com. “San Francisco is likely to extend Belt, 33, a one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer, but that wouldn’t preclude the two sides from potentially working out a longer-term deal this offseason.”
It remains to be seen which team the star will land with for the 2022 season, but this certainly sounds encouraging from a Giants perspective.
San Francisco’s lineup wouldn’t be quite the same without Belt.
The Giants did have the seventh-best run-scoring offense in baseball in 2021, but without Belt, San Fran would be losing a great deal of production.
We’ll have to wait and see how this situation unfolds.
But one thing is for sure: Belt has a lot to be proud of after his last two campaigns.