Michael Brantley is red hot and currently on the must-have list in the fantasy baseball market.
But from a fantasy baseball standpoint, expectations for the 24-year-old right fielder weren't very high coming into this season. He had a career batting average of .264 with just three home runs and 33 RBI in his short career (2008-10).
Then again, nobody knew Grady Sizemore would be battling injuries throughout 2011. This has placed Ezekiel Carrera in center, giving Brantley more opportunities on the field than anticipated.
And it turns out that the Indians have found a darn good right fielder.
More than halfway through the baseball calendar, Brantley has proved his case for why he should be in the starting lineup day in and day out. His numbers have exploded as of late, and his availability in fantasy baseball leagues is quickly disappearing.
The time is right; you need to pick up Michael Brantley if you can, and here's why.
So far, Michael Brantley has a .281 batting average this season, six homers and 39 RBI. His on-base percentage is at .337 (fifth-best among AL lead-off hitters), and he's hitting .313 with runners in scoring position.
Good numbers, right? Well, he's just getting started.
Since the All-Star break (six games), Brantley is 12-27 (.444) at the plate with four RBI. He has three doubles during this span.
And if that's not enough, he has a career .289 batting average, 29 RBI and three home runs against AL Central opponents—and will have 45 more opportunities to continue these great statistics in 2011.
Will he fall out, you ask? You be the judge. Brantley is a career .300 hitter through the months of August and October.
A week ago, he was owned by just 60.2 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. 78.8 percent has now claimed him—an 18.6 percent increase in just seven days.
It's time to act quick, fellow fantasy baseball members.