Michael Brantley
Michael Brantley
31-Year-Old OutfielderOF
Houston Astros
2019 Fantasy Outlook
It was a long road back for Brantley, who battled injuries the prior few seasons, most notably missing nearly all of 2016 following shoulder surgery. However, last season he nearly matched his 2014/2015 form, back when he helped win fantasy championships for a lot of folks. He lacked a little power and saw a modest drop in steals, but Brantley is now on the other side of 30 years old so that's understandable. Heading his skill set is a tiny 9.5 K%, second lowest in the league among qualified hitters. He cracked 17 homers, his second most ever, fueling a .160 ISO, behind only the levels attained in 2014 and 2015. Brantley ran less, but a 12-for-15 stolen-base success rate shows the cagey vet still know when to pick his spots. Home venue is less important for a contact-driven hitter like Brantley, so while he landed in a pitcher's park in Houston, that shouldn't affect baseline expectations much. The injury risk will be baked in. Don't hesitate to invest. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a two-year, $32 million contract with the Astros in December of 2018.
Will bat fourth against righties
OFHouston Astros
March 20, 2019
Brantley batted fourth Wednesday in a lineup manager AJ Hinch said was a "pretty good example" of the batting order against right-handed starters, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Brantley could knock in 100 runs hitting fourth with on-base machines Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman hitting in front of him. Hitting behind Brantley will be Carlos Correa, which is pretty good protection. This could be a big year for the 32-year-old outfielder.
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Batting Stats
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2017
No Stats
Since 2017vs Left .689 296 34 5 33 10 .282 .321 .368
Since 2017vs Right .878 709 102 21 95 13 .315 .379 .499
2019vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018vs Left .684 169 20 3 16 5 .277 .320 .365
2018vs Right .889 461 69 14 60 7 .321 .380 .509
2017vs Left .696 127 14 2 17 5 .288 .323 .373
2017vs Right .857 248 33 7 35 6 .305 .375 .482
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2017
OPS at Home
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OPS at Home
OPS at Home
Since 2017Home .880 542 83 15 87 15 .328 .379 .501
Since 2017Away .751 463 53 11 41 8 .278 .341 .410
2019Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018Home .886 328 53 9 51 11 .333 .379 .507
2018Away .774 302 36 8 25 1 .281 .348 .426
2017Home .871 214 30 6 36 4 .319 .379 .492
2017Away .710 161 17 3 16 7 .272 .329 .381
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Stat Review
How does Michael Brantley compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
No one is shocked Brantley only played 90 games last season. However, it is surprising the reason was a pair of right ankle injuries, the last sending him to the DL on Aug. 9. He returned for the last two games of the regular season plus three playoff tilts. Once the Tribe was eliminated, Brantley had surgery to stabilize the ligaments in his right ankle with an estimated return coinciding with the beginning of spring training. When healthy, Brantley was productive, but he fell a little short of 2014-15 levels with a .299/.357/.444 slash line. He may have been playing hurt most of the season. Even so, Brantley popped nine homers and was 11-for-12 stealing bases, providing hope he can run effectively when healthy. Still just 30 years old, Brantley remains a health liability, but the chance for double-digit homers and steals in a solid lineup with a plus average is worth the risk, especially with an injury discount.
Brantley's 2016 season should serve as a cautionary tale for injury optimists. The initial hope for Brantley, who was coming off shoulder surgery, was that he might be ready following a brief, backdated DL stint. Unfortunately, his timetable was pushed back to late April, and Brantley only played in 11 games upon his return before he landed right back on the shelf. From there, reports of incremental progress would trickle in, leading many owners to hold tight. However, he experienced several more setbacks and never ended up returning to action. Brantley underwent another shoulder procedure in August, with his rehab projected at four months. There was some fear that his recovery could actually push well into 2017, but the Indians say he should be good to go for spring training. Brantley began taking dry swings right around the end of the calendar year.
Doctor Smooth wasn't in his best form in 2015, but he was still very good. A balky back limited him early in the season, and the discomfort lingered until near the end of July. Once the back got in order, Brantley was operating with surgical precision at the plate and ended the season with a .332/.383/.549 line over his final 200 plate appearances. He has always been a high-contact hitter, but reached a new level in 2015 when he walked more times than he struck out, which helped him keep his OBP above .375 for a second consecutive season — a feat only five other players have accomplished. Despite being on base so often, he didn't score 70 runs or steal 20 bases due to his back issues in the first half of the season. There has been some uncertainty regarding his timetable for a return from offseason shoulder surgery, and 2014 may forever represent his upside.
Arguably the biggest breakout player of 2014, Brantley doubled his power output and was a 20-20 player for the Indians en route to finishing third in the AL MVP voting. Prior to last season, Brantley had never slugged above .402 as a big league player, which will undoubtedly lead to questions about his ability to sustain his new level of production. Handling fastballs better than he did in the past, Brantley's HR/FB rate climbed from 6.8% in 2013 to 12.7% last season. That he was able to significantly increase his home-run production without selling out in his approach bodes well for his chances of another strong season in 2015 (his strikeout rate was a career-best 8.3%). Even if he's more likely to hit .300 with 15 homers and 15 steals than repeat the .327 average with another 20-20 effort, Brantley has all of the tools necessary to remain a steady five category player in the heart of the Cleveland lineup.
Brantley enjoyed a breakout season in 2013, with career highs in runs (66), homers (10), RBI (73) and steals (17). His ability to at least tread water against southpaws (.276/.325/.339) keeps him out of a platoon situation, which certainly helps his counting stats. Brantley will turn 27 in May, but there are no signs of additional power on the horizon, as his three-year ISO has ranged from .112 to .118, with very little fluctuation, and he hits a steady supply of balls on the ground (47.0 percent groundball rate in 2013). He'll be back as the team's everyday left fielder, barring a major offseason addition.
Brantley enjoyed his finest season since breaking into the big leagues, hitting .288 with 60 RBI and 12 steals in a full-time role for the Indians. He'll be back in a full-time role again for 2013 and figures to post similar numbers though there could be some upside to be found in the stolen-base department. In terms of power, it seems unlikely that he will provide much more than 10-12 long balls at his peak, as his ISO (.114) last season was right in line with 2011 and at the high end of his range during his stops in the minor leagues.
Brantley's season was cut short by a wrist injury in August that eventually required surgery, but he is expected to make a full recovery. He's not a huge fantasy contributor in any single category but chips in some value in most categories in nearly all formats. Of some concern is that his contact rate slipped from 87 to 83 percent last season, while his career struggles against lefties (.230/.294/.278) may ultimately lead him to sit depending on the composition of the Cleveland bench. Entering his age-25 season, he's a good bet to improve on last year's totals in what will be just his second full season in the majors, so look for Brantley to slot in as Cleveland's leadoff hitter and regular left fielder if Grady Sizemore is healthy enough to play center.
Brantley got off to a slow start, was demoted to Triple-A Columbus, hurt his shoulder upon his recall, got demoted to Triple-A again, and was called back up again only to deal with ankle and hamstring injuries in August and September in a whirlwind season for the 23-year-old. He did hit .284 with 10 steals after his second promotion from Triple-A after a dismal showing (.118 average) in the season's first half even though the underlying skill set didn't appear to change much thanks to a near 200-point jump in his batting average on balls in play. He's the Indians' everyday left fielder and likely leadoff hitter heading into spring training and he offers you speed on the basepaths, but limited power.
Brantley parlayed an injury to Grady Sizemore and the Indians' woeful season into a nice audition in September that saw him hit .313 with four steals for the Tribe as the team's everyday leadoff hitter down the stretch. He has nice instincts on the basepaths (46 steals in 51 tries at Triple-A last year) and a solid approach (59 walks and just 48 strikeouts in 457 at-bats at Triple-A) for a leadoff hitter but has to develop some power or pitchers will just pound the strike zone on him without fear. He's been one of the younger players at each of his minor league stops but a .369 career slugging percentage just isn't going to cut it. He'll have a chance to win an everyday role with the Indians this spring, especially with the talk of moving Sizemore down to the middle of the order.
Brantley, who was acquired as part of the package for CC Sabathia, hit .319 and swiped 27 bases as a 21-year old in his first full season at Double-A. He's got an excellent batting eye but will need to develop some more power as he matures or advanced pitchers will simply pound the strike zone against him as he moves up the minor league chain. There's certainly room on his frame (6'2") for some additional pop but we'll see if it ever develops.
Michael Brantley is the son of former major league outfielder Mickey Brantley. Michael has speed and good on-base skills, but not much in the way of power.
More Fantasy News
Collects three RBI
OFHouston Astros
March 16, 2019
Brantley went 3-for-3 with one run scored, three RBI and one walk in Saturday's exhibition game against the Phillies.
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Bats cleanup Wednesday
OFHouston Astros
March 7, 2019
Brantley went hitless in two at-bats Wednesday against the Marlins.
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Complements order
OFHouston Astros
February 11, 2019
The Astros view Brantley as an ideal complement to their lineup, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
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Headed to Houston
OFHouston Astros
December 17, 2018
Brantley has agreed to a two-year, $32 million deal with the Astros, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sport reports.
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Not expected to receive qualifying offer
OFFree Agent
November 2, 2018
The Indians are not expected to extend a $17.9 million qualifying offer to Brantley before Friday's deadline, Buster Olney of ESPN reports.
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