Vincent Belnome, 2B San Diego Padres
Height: 5′ 11″, Weight: 205 lbs.
Some players are early round draft picks that don’t pan out. Some players get picked later in the draft and through hard work and talent end up surprising people. That’s what 28th rounder, Vince Belnome has become. Vince holds Coatesville High School’s (Coatesville, PA) record for career average at .490. At West Virginia University, he hit .355 with 40 runs in 39 games before a knee injury ended his freshman season. In his sophomore year, he batted .377 with 58 runs and 66 RBI playing in 56 games. Then, he led the Big East Conference with 84 RBI his junior year.
Belnome was part of the Northwest League All Stars for the Padres short-season Eugene Emeralds. In 65 games, he hit .297 with 10 HR and 44 RBI. In his first full season in the California League (Single-A), Belnome had the opportunity to play everyday for the 2010 South Division champs, Lake Elsinore Storm. He hit .273 Ave, 16 HR, 84 RBI in 135 games. In 2011, he started in the Double-A Texas League with the San Antonio Mission.
Let’s take a look at his production this past season and see what the Padres have as far as prospect projection here. We’ll see why he lands inside our Baseball Instinct 360° at #360.
Belnome makes solid contact and shows good power against righties. In 267 AB, he hit 19 doubles and 17 HR producing a .270 IsoP – the highest of his career. His IsoP is most likely an outlier, but still very impressive. The key here is that almost all of the damage was done against right-handers. He has shown he has a good eye by taking 102 walks in 2010 and 47 in 2011. That’s good for 16.8% and 14.8%. Both elite level walk rates. He drives the ball well and has more than gap power. He is one of the few gems coming along as the Padres continue to rebuild their minor league system. Vince was limited due to an abdominal strain, but he still managed to hit .333 Ave, 17 HR, 62 RBI in the 75 games he played. The injury however, sets him back a bit in terms of development time.
Vince Belnome is a very good hitter. That sentence in itself should tell you that he isn’t a gold glove-caliber player yet. He had 32 errors playing third in 2010, but the errors went down this season after he moved to second base for 52 games and first for 20. Range-wise, he’s a better option at second base than third. He committed a lot of errors at the hot corner. With his lefty/righty splits at the plate, he’ll need the ability to play multiple positions.
Belnome has developed into a valuable San Diego Padres’ commodity that is not really talked about outside of the organization. We could see him as a second base option within the next couple of seasons, especially in a platoon split against righties. He’s had a few injuries already and really trying to avoid the “injury bug” label. Fortunately, none were severe enough to be a chronic issue. A healthy and prosperous 2012 season could be the ticket to seeing him compete for a job in 2013 in the big leagues. One of the main things he’ll need to focus on is his approach against lefties. He did hit .267 with a near .400 OBP against them in 86 AB, so there is some hope that he could do this full time. We think he’s a deep sleeper that will at least be a platoon utility type with the upside of a high OBP, above average power 2B.
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