Marketing of a SF Giant - Brett Pill vs Brandon Belt, Bay Area Inbound
Baseball is as much about Marketing as any other business these days. And businesses are in business to make money. I get that. So do the SF Giants, naturally.
Even so, it makes me wonder why the SF Giants would send Brett Pill back down to AAA Fresno? I know they don't really need another first baseman. So maybe they need a strong player in AAA? But why send Pill down when he was batting .215 in the majors and Belt was batting only .228? Ok, if we are going on Batting Average, I guess Belt wins, by a little.
What was Pill doing when the Giants sent him back to Fresno? He was playing flawlessly in the field at firstbase and even played a little left field. He primarily started at 1st against left-handed pitchers with Brandon Belt getting the starting nod against right-handed pitchers.
I'm not criticizing the Giants, both Belt and Pill have been playing better now that they are getting more playing time, which would seem to indicate that they both needed to play more consistently to be on the top of their game. Neither seemed to be able to get hot taking turns in the starting line up.
But following that line of logic, it makes sense that Pill would be hitting a little below Belt since he didn't get as much playing time. In April of 2012 he played 3 less games than Belt (Pill 13, Belt 16), and in May of 2012 he played 6 less games (Belt 25, Pill 19).
My point being, that Pill has performed consistantly over the last 3 years, when he was starting in the AA and AAA. And given the opportunity to consistently start in the majors, he would excel as Belt did after Pill left.
During the last 3 years from 2009 in AA and 2010 and 2011 in AAA Pill has hit on average over the 3 years .295 with 155 hits, 36 doubles, 20 homeruns and 100 RBI. According to Wikipedia, he hit .298 with 19 home runs and 109 RBI in 139 games for the Connecticut Defenders in 2009. In 2010 and 2011, Pill played with the Fresno Grizzlies, the AAA affiliate of the Giants, hitting .294 and amassing 41 HR and 191 RBI over the course of two seasons. Prior to being promoted to the major leagues, on August 21, 2011, he led the Pacific Coast League with 101 RBI.
It makes me crazy to hear fans call in to sports talk radio shows and say, "Brett Pill has been here, for what?, 2 minutes," Reality is, he's been playing in the minor leagues for the Giants for 6 years and Belt has been playing 3, and I'm not sure of the relevance of that point anyway? But the facts are: Pill was drafted in the seventh round (206th overall) of the 2006 amateur draft by the Giants. Belt was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 5th round of the 2009 amateur draft.
Pill was promoted to the majors on August 31, 2011. He hit a home run in his first Major League at-bat on September 6, 2011 off Wade LeBlanc of the San Diego Padres, becoming the first Giant since Will Clark to accomplish that feat. On September 7, 2011, he joined John Bowker as the only Giant to hit a home run in his first two major league games; Pill is only the 22nd major league player to do so since 1919. After beginning the 2012 season with the Giants, both Belt and Pill's batting average were cooling slowly and on June 9, 2012, Pill was optioned to the Fresno Grizzlies.
Then, and only then, did Belt start hitting home runs, but Pill already had 3 HRs for the season.
I guess Belt has the whole "little giraffe" nickname thing (and hat sales) going for him. I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to market the RBI King, Pill "the Thrill", if you wanted to do it.
On a more personal note, from a fan, I happen to know that Pill has a really big thing about being nice to kids and signs autographs for them whenever they ask.
The story goes that when Brett was a Little Leaguer, his team was allowed on the field with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The boys were so excited for the opportunity and none of the Dodgers would even sign autographs. So it is really important to Pill to make the fans and especially the kids feel welcome and he takes pictures with all of them and signs autographs whenever they ask.
Pill never turns down an opportunity to do special events for Children with Special Needs. Brett and his wife, Chip, feel it is important to give back to the community, and sacrifice the time to do it.
I'm not a professional sports analyst (my qualifications for writing this article are that I'm a Giants fan, was a Sports Reporter for the Daily Universe in college at BYU, have a degree in Mass Communications, kept Baseball Stats at HHS, and still do for my son's Little League team), but Pill is hitting above .400 BA now in Triple A, and I think he can certainly use that as an audition for other MLB Teams.
I know a lot of people that are predicting we will be hearing a lot more from Pill in the future at the Major League level and, personally, I'm hoping it will be for the SF Giants again soon.
Sources: Baseball-Reference . com and Wikipedia
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