Tuesday, May 1, 2012

19 Games Played and Now the Adversity Begins

so i just wrote an April wrap-up for Brantley and his numbers and his progression. and i felt pretty good about things. but then today i read he will not be the leadoff man anymore when Johnny Damon is in the lineup. and now i'm disturbed. i really shouldn't have been surprised though. the Indians clearly aren't serious about letting Michael develop as a leadoff man. this is technically his 4th season as part of the Indians, and up til this point, he's really only been the leadoff man by default.

who remembers in 2009, before Michael's September call up, all the writers and scouts and others who said Brantley was going to be like a Kenny Lofton, our future leadoff center fielder? even after that, people continued to say he would be our future leadoff man. i cannot forget that and it ticks me off because i believed it and now it just doesn't seem to be true. guess these people didn't know that Mr. Manny Acta would view things differently. after all, this is a manager who makes very questionable decisions at times. and this specific quote from him makes me angry because it is hypocritical:
"Listen, I just want to put the best team on the field that gives me a chance to win," said Acta. "I'm not here trying to keep people happy or fulfilling people's agendas."

but i digress. i'm upset and sad for Michael. he always says he loves leading off, he likes to set the table and wreak havoc on the basepaths. but apparently the Indians do not feel that he's earned that right indefinitely. and he's not going to be happy about this (he wasn't last year), nor should he be.

in the past, he's had to take a backseat to (a broken down) Grady. i was so happy when we did not pick up Grady's option in the offseason. i was so happy for Michael because i knew he was finally going to get his chance to shine. and it should have happened a lot sooner than this. i was excited for the season that was to come. but then i was devastated when we re-signed Grady because i knew it meant Michael once again was not going to bat leadoff or play center. literally my heart dropped when i saw that bit of info on the Plain Dealer site. can't lie and say i wasn't selfishly glad when Grady got hurt again. (i didn't like bringing him back also because i just don't think he's got anything left in the tank. waste of 5 million in my book.) so then Brantley was guaranteed the leadoff and center field spot, once again by default and not because he earned it. but i was willing to accept that. just take it however you get it.

then the Beltran rumors began. and there was speculation that if he signed with us, Michael was going to either be on our bench, or they would send him back down to Columbus to get regular playing time. i can't even process how i would have handled that had it happened. thanks Carlos for thinking we're too crappy a team and not wanting to play here.

then we acquired Damon. i thought this was going to be a great thing. and then Manny drops the bomb today that he will leadoff every time he's in the lineup. give me a break. he may have good numbers as a leadoff man, but he's got more power than Michael, so he's the better candidate to bat lower in our weak order. Brantley won't serve any purpose down there. he's not going to hit many home runs. let Damon bat down there and drive in runs.

aside from being angry that Michael again is taking a backseat to an older guy, my other concern is this is going to hinder Brantley's progress. he said he sees different pitches when he bats lower in the order. he has to make adjustments. and i think this is going to mess with the nice flow he seemed to recently get going. he was getting leadoff hits and hitting well as of late. now he'll need time to readjust and i imagine his batting average will waver. this puts him in a difficult spot if he's going to be leading off one day and then the next day he's batting 7th or 9th. that would be hard for anyone i'd imagine, having to change your mindset and approach at the plate every other day. and again, considering he is not new to the team/majors, i don't think that's right.

i just want the Tribe to commit to Brantley, kind of like how they've committed to Kipnis. doesn't matter what that kid does, he's guaranteed to be our 2nd baseman and has his place on the team. and he doesn't even have a full year here yet. i don't wanna hear stuff like 'if we bring in this guy, Brantley's the 4th option off the bench' or whatever. it's not fair. if he's our future, that's ridiculous. he has the skills to be a great leadoff man, but he has yet to be the leadoff hitter because they believe he's the best one for the job. by now he should have had a full year leading off, but he does not. they don't give him a chance to play consistently and show everyone what he's got. if Grady's not hurt and Damon's in the lineup, Brantley's now the 3rd option. i don't like that they treat him this way and if it continues, he will be gone the first chance he gets. and i wouldn't blame him.

how much longer can you refer to someone as "your future" when he's been in the organization now for a few years? makes no sense. the future should be now. not "well maybe next year." what's he gotta do to earn anyone's respect? how can he prove himself if other guys will always be put ahead of him? i feel so bad that this keeps happening to him. and as his self-proclaimed #1 fan, of course i would feel that way and have these concerns. i don't expect anyone to agree with me or really even care, but my point here should be pretty clear and i'm not changing my opinions and won't apologize for my feelings on this matter. some of the people who know me very well have joked that i should just be Michael's manager with the way i always talk about him and his career like i do. well believe me, if i was his manager i would not tolerate this.

so that leaves us with the question, when Grady comes back, who is going to bat leadoff then? Grady feels most comfortable batting leadoff, and despite what Manny said in the quote above, Manny has always catered to his needs to make him happy. 30 year old G and 38 year old Damon will probably have to battle it out lol and poor 25 year old Michael, the youngest potential candidate with the most upside, will be the backup backup option. and he's the only one of those three who will still be on this team next year. really makes ya think, doesn't it? smh.

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