Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Brantley Predictions

the more i think about things, the more i realize that my expectations for Michael this season will probably not be possible. when Grady comes back, if he's really healthy, then Brantley becomes the 4th or maybe 5th OF option. (i say maybe 5th because it's possible they put Duncan or Cunningham--if he's still here--in the lineup instead of Michael on certain days.) so after thinking things through and as i'm referencing my preseason expectations blog, i am going to make new predictions and lower my expectations a bit.

Brantley was 1-5 in his first game batting 7th last night, with a single and run scored. he had 2 very quick at bats when his first 2 opportunities came. (and it was funny that he ended up leading off both innings with those 2 at bats lol) i didn't need to actually watch him at the plate to know that he was basically "lost." he will need time to adjust to the pitches he's now going to see in that spot. and he will need time to get his mind right as i call it. can't blame the guy for being upset, but at some point he'll have to turn the switch because going up to bat being all pissed off is not going to be good for anybody, least of all himself.

(and this is how much i really think about the life of a baseball player... you tell someone that they're not going to be leading off anymore, and you do it on a road trip, so the guy is all alone in his hotel room and can't even go to his own home to his normal support system and vent and be comforted, that has got to be hard.)

i don't expect him to have a great average for May. that's just not realistic. it was going to take time to get his average up from last month even if he continued batting leadoff, but now i can see it stay around .240 for a little bit. and for the people that already don't have any confidence in Michael and think he's a bad player/bad center fielder/shouldn't be a starter/shouldn't be in the majors, that is not going to instill anymore confidence in the guy for them.

Michael is probably not going to have as many at bats now that he's lower in the lineup. there will be games where he only gets to bat 3 or 4 times, as opposed to 5. or if we're on a hitting tear, then he could potentially miss out on a 6th at bat as well. and as i said earlier, when Grady comes back, there will be a lot more off days for him. (anyone wanna disagree with me now that that isn't a hindrance in his development? in the development of a 24 year old who will be the only one of the three that's still here next year, so then people can start complaining that he's 25 and "still not a very good player" when he hasn't been given enough of a chance yet? =P) so based on that, and if Brantley stays healthy, i am going to predict his average for the season to be around .265.

i'm also gonna guess that he's not going to have as many opportunities to steal bases being that low in the order either. he will probably steal 10-15 max.

he can probably still hit 8-10 home runs.

the RBIs are the trickiest to predict. you would think that being lower in the order, when he goes up to bat that more people would be on base and he'd have more of an opportunity to drive guys in. but because Manny's order so far has been changing on the daily and is extremely odd at times, that may not be the case. therefore, i again am going to lower my original guess to 40-50.

as the season goes on, i am just envisioning Brantley's playing time becoming less and less. how can someone get better and reach his potential if other guys are continually put ahead of him? letting Grady play center when he was healthy last year was one thing, because Michael can man left field like nobody's business and i came to realize he was very valuable there. i complained, but i got over that. but pulling him out of the leadoff spot this year after only 17 games, (i say 17 because he only started in 17 games and the decision to demote him was made before the May 1st game), and thinking he's a bad leadoff man/assuming he would hit poorly all season, is illogical.

and i don't want anyone to misinterpret me here. i am all about the Tribe and doing whatever it takes to win. but as a huge Brantley fan, you know this saddens me. and i will proudly 'go to bat' and stick up for him. it doesn't sound like we'll ever get to see him be the leadoff center fielder he was projected to be. nobody ever should have said that. cause if they hadn't, i probably would not be as enraged about things. right now he's simply a backup. maybe that's all they really wanted from that CC deal in 2008 =/

maybe i'm wrong though. and if he does better than all my guesstimates, that'd be great. maybe now that he's batting 7th, he can eventually view it not as "they have no faith in me," but more like "the pressure's off me now." maybe he will relax and start hitting more and get that average right back up to where i think it should be.

at least i got him to autograph my baseball card right out the gate. that was the easiest call to make; no way i wouldn't get it at some point this year. the next game i go to (in 2 days), if he's in the lineup, i really want to make him smile at the baseline before the game. i've done it before, so here's hoping i can do it again.

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