(The Spread) – Last year, the San Francisco Giants brought up top prospect Buster Posey at the end of May and the 2010 Rookie of the Year propelled them to a World Series title. This year, the next Buster Posey might not have to wait until May to contribute.

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Brandon Belt, the top prospect in the Giants’ organization has had himself quite a spring. After finishing the 2010 season with a .352 batting average in the minors, Belt came into camp this year expecting to eventually be sent back down to Triple-A Fresno. But after ripping the cover off the ball this past month, the Giants are actually considering leaving him on the big league roster for Opening Day.

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle hears that management is leaning towards starting Belt at first base when the Giants play the Dodgers on Opening Night this Thursday. With outfielder Cody Ross (calf) likely to start the year on the disabled list, Aubrey Huff could move to the outfield and Belt could assume first base duties.

The dilemma that the Giants face, however, is Belt’s service time. If they send him to the minors, they can delay his service time and therefore, save money in the long run. Even though GM Brian Sabean will say otherwise, that’s mostly why they had Posey start off in the minors last year. The club knows that they have another outstanding prospect and eventually, everyone will be looking to cash in when they become free agents.

But the Giants also know that Belt makes them a better club now. Granted, the regular season is a different animal than spring training, but Belt has all the makings of a big leaguer and he has already had a great deal of success in the minors. He’s no fluke.

We’ll find out soon enough if the defending champs decide that this year’s Buster Posey is too good to send down. Oddsmakers from online sports book Bodog.com have made the Giants 15/1 to win this year’s World Series.

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