Michael Brantley
Michael Brantley
31-Year-Old OutfielderOF
Cleveland Indians
2018 Fantasy Outlook
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. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a four-year, $25 million extension with the Indians in February 2014 that includes a fifth year team option at $11 million.
Homers, steals base in loss
OFCleveland Indians
September 20, 2018
Brantley went 3-for-6 with a home run, a stolen base and two runs scored in Thursday's loss to the White Sox.
ANALYSIS
Brantley's wonderful comeback 2018 campaign continues, and he's now up to 17 long balls and 11 stolen bases with an .834 OPS. He's batting .333 (18-for-54) in the month of September with three home runs and nine runs scored.
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Batting Stats
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
 
 
+23%
OPS vs RHP
2018
 
 
+28%
OPS vs RHP
2017
 
 
+23%
OPS vs RHP
2016
 
 
+63%
OPS vs LHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2016vs Left .697 284 33 5 35 9 .282 .317 .380
Since 2016vs Right .855 718 101 20 97 13 .308 .372 .483
2018vs Left .691 149 19 3 15 4 .277 .315 .376
2018vs Right .883 435 63 13 58 6 .317 .378 .505
2017vs Left .696 127 14 2 17 5 .288 .323 .373
2017vs Right .857 248 33 7 35 6 .305 .375 .482
2016vs Left .821 8 0 0 3 0 .286 .250 .571
2016vs Right .504 35 5 0 4 1 .219 .286 .219
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
 
 
+21%
OPS at Home
2018
 
 
+15%
OPS at Home
2017
 
 
+23%
OPS at Home
2016
 
 
+227%
OPS at Home
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2016Home .881 536 83 14 91 14 .329 .381 .500
Since 2016Away .726 466 51 11 41 8 .268 .328 .398
2018Home .888 302 49 8 49 10 .331 .379 .509
2018Away .773 282 33 8 24 0 .280 .344 .429
2017Home .871 214 30 6 36 4 .319 .379 .492
2017Away .710 161 17 3 16 7 .272 .329 .381
2016Home .894 20 4 0 6 0 .389 .450 .444
2016Away .273 23 1 0 1 1 .095 .130 .143
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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.
BB/K
0.85
 
BB Rate
7.7%
 
K Rate
9.0%
 
BABIP
.314
 
ISO
.166
 
AVG
.308
 
OBP
.363
 
SLG
.473
 
OPS
.836
 
Advanced Batting Stats
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Additional Stats
Games By Position
Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Upcoming Pitchers
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Indians Depth Chart
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2006
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
Hits bench Sunday
OFCleveland Indians
September 16, 2018
Brantley will be on the bench Sunday against the Tigers.
ANALYSIS
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Out vs. left-hander
OFCleveland Indians
September 12, 2018
Brantley is not in the lineup against Tampa Bay on Wednesday, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports.
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Homers in return to lineup
OFCleveland Indians
September 8, 2018
Brantley went 2-for-4 with a two walks and a two-run homer in Saturday's win over the Blue Jays.
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Returns to lineup Saturday
OFCleveland Indians
September 8, 2018
Brantley (foot) will start in left field and bat second against the Blue Jays on Saturday, Hazel Mae of Sportsnet.ca reports.
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Held out Friday
OFCleveland Indians
Foot
September 7, 2018
Brantley (foot) is not in the lineup against Toronto on Friday, Hazel Mae of Sportsnet.ca reports.
ANALYSIS
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