Fantasy Baseball Sleeper: Michael Brantley

Fantasy Knuckleheads@_knuckleheadsCorrespondent IFebruary 27, 2011

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 07:  Michael Brantley #23 of the Cleveland Indians receives high fives in the dugout after scoring on a sacrifice fly by Shin-Soo Choo in the third inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on September 7, 2010 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Michael Brantley’s 2010 curse may be your 2011 blessing.

The young speedster had a hell of a time getting into any sort of rhythm last season. He struggled out the gate and battled a string of ailments, including shoulder, hamstring and ankle injuries.

And to rub salt in the guy’s wounds, the Cleveland Indians demoted the kid twice. His April and July numbers were deplorable.

However, all of that could be a good thing for fantasy savvy GMs.

The Indians handed the 23-year-old the role of leadoff hitter and center fielder in August, and Brantley closed out the season by hitting .290 down the stretch and stealing eight bags in nine attempts.

Brantley is a contact hitter with solid plate discipline, but the best part is he could very well swipe 30 bags in 2011, making him a very legitimate 2011 fantasy sleeper.

He has more athleticism than Juan Pierre, if that gives you any indication of what his blossoming potential could become. 

He reminds me of a former Indian—a young Kenny Lofton. I’d certainly rather take a shot on Brantley’s upside than waste a bench spot on Nyjer Morgan‘s one-category upside.

He’s currently only owned in about one percent of leagues at this point.