Had the Giants drawn up a best-case scenario back in spring training for Brandon Belt's first full season, it still wouldn't have been this good.
Belt added to his unbelievable season yesterday, hitting a 2-2 pitch over the right-center field fence for a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 14th inning to give Double-A Richmond a 5-3 victory.
Between Richmond and high Class A San Jose, the 22-year-old first baseman is hitting .369/.465/.636 in 482 plate appearances. His OBP leads the minors and his slugging average ranks third behind Dodgers first baseman John Lindsey and Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia, both of whom have the advantage of playing in charitable parks in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.
Dustin Ackley, 2b, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma): Ackley chipped in two more hits yesterday, going 2-for-5 with a double. After a rough start with Double-A West Tenn, Ackley is hitting .299/.408/.447 in 373 plate appearances since May 1.
Eric Hosmer, 1b, Royals (Double-A Northwest Arkansas): Hosmer's turnaround year continued yesterday, when the 20-year-old went 2-for-5 with a double and a triple. His .342/.415/.569 batting line in 487 plate appearances is even more impressive when you consider that he's spent most of the season playing his home games in Wilmington, one of the worst parks in the minors for hitters.
Rubby de la Rosa, rhp, Dodgers (Double-A Chattanooga): De la Rosa struck out seven and allowed two runs (one earned) in seven innings yesterday. It was an impressive start for the 21-year-old prospect on the rise, the first time in four Double-A starts that he had allowed an earned run, raising his ERA to 0.36 in 25 innings.
Andrew Brackman, rhp, Yankees (Double-A Trenton): With a dreadful 2009 behind him, Brackman has seen his fastball climb back to the low-to-mid 90s. He struck out four and walked one in six shutout innings yesterday, another good sign for the 24-year-old.
J.J. Hoover, rhp, Braves (high Class A Myrtle Beach): Hoover, who turns 23 tomorrow, allowed two runs (one earned) in six innings, striking out eight with one walk yesterday. There's a lot of effort in Hoover's delivery, but he's able to repeat it and throw strikes with fringe-average to average stuff, which should give him a major league role in some capacity, possibly the bullpen.
Adys Portillo, rhp, Padres (short-season Eugene): Things haven't come easily for Portillo since he signed two years ago for $2 million. With a 6.00 ERA and 33 walks in 42 innings, Portillo has struggled this season, but at 18 he's also one of the youngest players in the Northwest League. Portillo did allow four runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings yesterday, but he also struck out a season-high eight batters, giving him 44 on the year.
Edwin Escobar, lhp, Giants (short-season Salem-Keizer): Escobar signed with the Rangers out of Venezuela the same year as Portillo, though Texas shipped him to the Giants just before the season began to keep Rule 5 lefty Ben Snyder and put him in the minors. Escobar, 18, has been one of the Northwest League's more promising young pitchers and had his best outing of the year yesterday, striking out seven with two walks in six scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 4.14 with 56 strikeouts in 50 innings on the season.
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