In pretty shocking news, the Giants have elected to keep Brandon Belt on the major league roster to begin the 2011 season.
That's per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, who predicted on Tuesday night that Belt would end up making the roster.
As we've detailed over the course of spring training, this wasn't expected in the least -- having Belt on the roster right now gets his service time rolling.
But it also means they really do think that he can produce at a major-league level from day one; there's even an argument to be made that he could be the best first baseman in the National League West.
Belt's spot on the roster was opened up by the calf tear that Cody Ross' suffered during a spring training game, and although it's logical to see the youngster in the bigs from a talent standpoint, it's still surprising from a management standpoint.
The primary reason why this move is surprising is that the Giants are the defending world champions -- so no pressure -- and have enough depth -- albeit perhaps not talented depth -- in terms of hitters that they could have waited until either Belt's service clock was delayed or Cody Ross recovered from his spring training injury.
So in that respect it's a very interesting move and one that's indicative of an organization not willing to rest on its laurels and become complacent after a championship. (Read: fan-friendly, particularly in the short term.)
This (likely) keeps the Giants from doing what they did with Buster Posey in 2010, when they waited until mid-May to bring the catcher to the bigs, because if Belt plays like everyone expects, he'll easily cross the plateau for service time in his first year.
It looked likely that Belt could end up making the roster after Shea dropped the possibility Tuesday, and speculation ramped up on Wednesday when Bruce Bochy kept him out of the lineup.
But it's official now, and Giants fans can feel free to get excited to see another top hitting prospect perform at the big-league level.
Oh, and no, the fact that he has one of the best baseball names ever doesn't hurt things at all either.