Outside of Cleveland, Michael Brantley may be best known as the “Player to Be Named Later” in the July 2008 trade that sent CC Sabathia to Milwaukee for purported “can’t miss prospect” Matt LaPorta.
With the Indians, he’s shown flashes of solid play, but leaves a lot to be desired. Is he a true lead-off hitter? Will he ever demonstrate the speed that made him a solid minor league player? The tools all appear to be there, but will Brantley ever put them all together to turn himself into a solid major leaguer?
While watching the STO broadcast of the Indians-A’s weekend series, the Tribe commentators remarked on how Brantley has fallen victim to bad luck at the plate (in fact, they probably mentioned it at least five times). Indeed, Michael has hit the ball hard as of late, but has been unable to find the holes in the defense. Furthermore, he’s continued to show patience at the plate, working the count and fouling off tough pitches. Despite his plate approach, Brantley’s at-bats aren’t translating to getting on base.
Here are five areas where Michael is going to need to improve if he deserves to hold onto his spot as the Tribe’s leadoff hitter.