Friday, October 12, 2012

Wrapping Up Brantley's 2012 Season

i'm going to do this Brantley wrap up blog differently from how i did it last year, reason being i blogged his numbers per month this season and don't need to repeat all that again. those monthly blogs can be found here: April, May, June, July, August, September, and October.

now for the last time, here are Brantley's final #s for the 2012 season:

Michael had a total of 609 plate appearances and 552 at bats in 149 games. in total, he had 159 hits, 112 singles, 37 doubles, 4 triples, 6 home runs, 60 RBIs (4 sac flies), 63 runs scored, 53 walks (12 intentional), 56 strikeouts, and 12 stolen bases (9 caught stealing).

2012 batting average: .288 (159-552)

OBP: .348

SLG: .402

OPS: .750

other overall #s while playing center: 336 putouts, 5 assists, 1 error, .997 fielding percentage (144 games)

Michael played in 149 of 162 games. he had a hit in 111 of 149 games that he played and reached base safely in 126 games, including his final 10 games of the year. he played 132 complete games. he subbed into 6 games, by way of PR, PH, and/or late innings defensive replacement. he was subbed out early in 8 games. he was the DH for 3 games. he did not play at all in 13 games. he missed 10 games due to injury.

this year provided many highlights for Michael. he had numerous hitting streaks throughout the season, including a 13-game, 9-game, and 8-game streak. but probably the biggest highlight of his season was his career high 22-game hitting streak in May and June. no other Indian came close to that streak. in 2010, he had a 19-game hitting streak, so i knew he was more than capable of achieving another long streak. once he passed 19 games this season, i was beyond thrilled and so proud.

another highlight for Michael was his batting average. he started the year out slow and was really struggling to relax and find an approach that worked for him. but all that was behind him by the time June rolled around, and his BA remained very respectable from then on. July was easily his best month this season, when he peaked at .302. after that, he never got below .281. who else on the team can say that? not to mention Michael hit both righties and lefties very well, and was our best and most consistent left-handed hitter against left-handed pitching. another display of his consistency comes from the fact that Michael's BA was exactly .288 in both the first and second half of the season. Michael maintained the highest batting average of all the regulars on the team several times and, as of August 5, he took sole possession of that honor for the rest of the season. congratulations to Michael for finishing the year at .288, his best year yet.

i know Michael was excited when he tied and then passed his father's career high RBI total in a season. he said when that feat happened, he would have to make the nightly phone call to his father, because his father would not be calling him lol some of Mickey Brantley's numbers from 1988, when he also played a total of 149 games, are very similar to Michael's this season. like father, like son, right? i anticipate that Michael will beat all his father's career numbers, except maybe for the home runs, at some point in his career.

Michael also finally proved to every doubter that he is a legitimate center fielder. he prefers playing center, and because the Indians had no other reliable CF on the team, every game he played in the outfield this year was in center. he made some web gem highlight worthy catches against the wall, taking a couple of home runs away from the opposition. more importantly, in 144 games, he only committed 1 error. he also had 5 assists and turned 3 double plays, the latter being another career high.

when looking at his numbers for 2012, a few things stick out to me, mainly his runs scored and stolen bases. i believe not leading off took away a lot of his opportunities to try and steal bases. being lower in the order, many times when we he came to bat, someone was on base ahead of him. it's also clear that most of the players batting behind Michael were not necessarily the strongest hitters, so Michael didn't cross home plate as much as he could have had he been leading off with stronger clutch batters behind him.

however, batting lower in the order did give Michael more RBIs for the year, so there's a bit of a tradeoff there. his .444 batting average with the bases loaded is not too shabby. then again, there were times when nobody was on base ahead of him, a big disadvantage to the team when he hit his doubles. and later in the season, when Michael started becoming recognized as a good hitter, he was being intentionally walked by opposing pitchers, disallowing him to get the big hit and even more RBIs.

now let's compare his 2012 numbers to his 2011 numbers.


Batting Average

Plate Appearances
At Bats
Games Played

Home Runs
Sac Flies
Runs Scored
Intentional Walks
Stolen Bases
Caught Stealing
First At Bat Hits


Double Plays
Fielding %

*if you remove the 19 games he played injured, he has a re-calculated .281 batting average for 2011

**i did not document this number last season

red denotes he did better last year in that category

Michael had a better year in almost all categories. his batting average, no matter which one you go by from 2011, was an improvement. he played 35 more games this year. last year he missed a lot of August and all of September due to the hamate injury. this year, he missed 10 games due to injury, most in September and October because of his groin.* even so, 149 games is a pretty full year, so i'm happy he finally had what can be considered a full season.

one area that Michael did not particularly excel in this year was the home run category. in 35 more games this year, he had 1 less home run than last season. now we all know Michael will never be a power/home run derby type hitter, but with over a month's worth more games and all those extra at bats, it is a bit odd that he couldn't hit a few more balls out of the park. he did miss a couple home runs by mere inches though, so he could definitely stand to gain a little more muscle during this offseason. and Michael is always talking about getting better, so maybe we can expect to see that come spring training.

Michael's runs scored remain the same from a year ago. and again, with playing 35 more games this year, you'd think he would have scored more. but, as i touched on earlier, that probably has to do with the fact that he wasn't batting leadoff all season and the batters behind him were not the greatest when it came to clutch hitting with Michael on base and in scoring position. unless Michael hits more home runs and drives himself home, he really can't do much to control his overall runs scored.

another issue is the stolen bases/caught stealing ratio. this year Michael was 12-for-21, while last year he was 13-for-18. so he made three more attempts to steal this year, which i like, it shows more aggression from him, but he still had 1 less stolen base this season and got caught stealing 9 times. now, one or two of those calls may have been sketchy due to blind umps, but Michael is one of the more speedy guys on the team and should probably be up in the 18-20 stolen bases range. part of the blame, once again, could also be put on his batting order position as stated above. or maybe that abdominal/groin issue in the second half of the season attributed to him holding back some. at the end of the day though, i'd rather have a healthy, cautious Michael than see him make one bad slide and take himself out of commission for a few months. still, this is something else for him to try and improve on in 2013.

before this season began, i wrote a blog about what i expected and hoped to see from Michael in 2012. to refresh everyone, here is exactly what i wrote:

my expectations for Brantley, assuming he stays healthy and plays a full season, are that he maintain a batting average between .280-290. will that be enough for Tribe fans to be content with his production and not consider him a mediocre player? i think he's got a chance to hit 10-12 home runs this year and drive in 50-60 runs. i love him in the leadoff spot and think he will get on base and set the table plenty. i wanna see him steal around 20 bases, because i believe he can. i also expect to get his autograph on my baseball card this year too lol

so i got a few things right and a few things dead wrong.

--Michael did stay relatively healthy (that we knew of anyways*) and played a full season. and he did end up with a .288 batting average. that's great. that's good progress. (i'm not going to let any ignorant comments about Michael irk me this time. i just don't care that some people are so negative about the Indians as a whole that they can't even give Michael props for a much improved season.)

--as for the home runs, no go. i will probably hope for 10-12 once again for 2013 though. i think he's got at least that in him somewhere.

--he did drive in 60 runs, so i nailed that one. really happy about that.

--the leadoff spot situation didn't work out for him this year, but maybe he will get more of a shot at it in 2013 now with a new manager.

--the 20 stolen bases may have been a little too ambitious, although he did attempt to steal 21 times. i know he set a goal of at least double digits for himself this year. next year i want 20 for real though lol

--and yes i did get him to sign my baseball card. both of them actually =D

after Michael was taken out of the leadoff spot, i recognized that that would probably affect his numbers, so i made a few new predictions. i reduced them all considerably due to the fact that i believed he would lose at least 1 plate appearance every game from then on. to curtail those revised predictions, i said: .265 BA, 10-15 SB, 8-10 HR, and 40-50 RBIs.

--well i guess i underestimated Michael's ability to hit lol or i was just thinking worst case scenario. either way, i'm happy to be wrong in this case.

--lowering the stolen bases helped me be correct. he definitely lost opportunities to run.

--even lowering my home run hopes, Michael still couldn't reach my minimum of 8. hopefully next year.

--and, as with the batting average, i worried that he would struggle not leading off and therefore not drive in as many runs. glad that wasn't so.

overall, i really can't complain about his numbers for this year. he finally played a full season, even though he did miss some time at the end with the left groin injury*, but i am happy that he was not seriously hurt at any point during the year and was not shut down like last year. it's also encouraging to see that he didn't let where he hit in the batting order affect his game. i like that he proved he can hit and hit well in other places in the lineup besides leadoff. he turned into one of the most consistent reliable hitters on the team and improved in almost every category from a year ago. he really did incredibly well this season and i am very happy for and proud of him. i can't wait to see how he does in 2013; i expect nothing less than what he accomplished in 2012.

you did good kid. you made these blogs enjoyable for me to write. it was a pleasure to document, analyze, and break down all your numbers all year long. you make me proud to be your #1 fan. have a fun, relaxing offseason, stay Smooth, and i'll see you again next year at the opener.

*Brantley just had sports hernia surgery today, October 11, and i learned that he had in fact been playing with some pain for the entire second half of the season. sigh. okay, first, i'm not happy that he once again played through pain and that it was kept under wraps. second, i am very grateful that he was even able to keep playing through the pain, that he wasn't shut down during the season, and that he still managed to hit well and put good swings on pitches this time around. (but if this left abdominal pain did hinder him in any way, imagine how much higher his BA/OBP/SLG numbers could have been…) and third, because he's had injuries in the second half of the season two years in a row, and as he now recovers from surgery during the offseason for the 2nd year in a row, there's the fear that he might be starting to become injury prone. hopefully that's not the case. but i am very thankful the surgery went well and i hope next year he can really be injury free and continue to build on his great 2012 season going into 2013 and beyond.

for even more Brantley details, be sure to read my other blogs:

Brantley's 2012 Game-by-Game Notes & Numbers

Brantley's 2012 Batting Order Position & CF/DH/PH #s

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