We are always hearing about top prospects like Jay Bruce, Evan Longoria, Justin Upton, etc. These guys are superstars in the making, however sometimes they overshadow other great ballplayers that go unrecognized. One in particular is the current center fielder for the Huntsville Stars; A double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. His name is Michael Brantley, however his numbers make you think Tim Raines. In 68 games in 2008, Brantley is hitting .319 with 4 home runs and 32 RBI's. What stands out is his superb plate discipline. His walks double his strikeouts (35 BB's to 17 K's) and has an OBP of .400. Although he was not ranked as one of the 10 prospects in the Brewers organization according to Baseball America, he was recognized as the player with the best plate discipline.
In recent years we have been swept away by the speed of Carl Crawford and Jose Reyes, however their patience at the plate has always been somewhat non-existent. Don't get me wrong, these guys are great ballplayers, however OBP and patience along with taking pitches is a quality which an ideal lead off hitter should have. Michael Brantley has this important tool along with speed and will have a huge impact on the Brewers sometime in the near future.