Friday, October 20, 2017

Wrapping Up Brantley's 2017 Season + Postseason

this is gonna be the last blog wrapping up Michael Brantley's 2017 season. it includes some of his final numbers, but focuses mostly on things like my favorite memories and highlights from his year, comparisons to past seasons, consequences of missing so many games, and how my preseason predictions did not pan out. and please be sure to read the end of this post because i took a minute to say thank you to every person whose articles may have contributed to portions of my content, as well as all of the people who visited my blog this year!πŸ–

if you want to see or re-read the previous trio of wrap up blogs i wrote about Brantley's 2017, which consist of his daily game lines, BOP breakdowns, and his situational numbers and league rankings, please refer to these posts:
Brantley's 2017 Game-by-Game Numbers & Notes
Brantley's 2017 Batting Order Position & LF/PH/DH #s
Brantley's 2017 Situational #s & Statistics

i know things have gone up a little out of order and later than i would have liked, but i got backed up when i went to the Indians' final homestand from September 29 - October 1 and then lost another day of writing when i went to Game 1 of the American League Division Series on October 5. then i also had to write a few unexpected blogs because the Indians
were eliminated from the postseason sooner than i planned on. thank you for understanding!πŸ˜‰

now for the last time, here are Michael's final #s for the 2017 regular season:

Michael had a total of 375 plate appearances and 338 at bats in 90 games (731.0 innings). in total, he had 101 hits, 30 extra base hits, 71 singles, 20 doubles, 1 triple, 9 home runs, 52 RBI, 4 sac flies, 47 runs, 31 walks, 3 intentional walks, 2 hit by pitches, 11 stolen bases (9 - 2nd, 2 - 3rd), 1 caught stealing (2nd), 8 GIDP, 50 strikeouts (40 swinging, 10 looking), 24 first at bat hits, 150 total bases, 139 left on base, 135 putouts, 8 assists, 1 error, and 1 double play.

2017 season batting average: .299 (101-338)

OBP: .357

SLG: .444

OPS: .801

overall #s while playing the outfield: 135 putouts, 8 assists, 1 error, 1 double play, 0.993 fielding percentage (731.0 innings, 87 games)

and here are Michael's final #s for the 2017 Postseason/ALDS:

Michael had a total of 12 plate appearances and 11 at bats in 3 games. in total, he had 1 hit, 1 single, 1 walk, 1 GIDP, 4 strikeouts (3 swinging, 1 looking), 1 total base, and 6 left on base. 

2017 Postseason/ALDS batting average: .091 (1-11)

OBP: .167

SLG: .091

OPS: .258

Michael did not play in the outfield this postseason.

good news, guys! Michael's right shoulder is fine. that surgery he had in August of 2016 for his chronic right biceps tendinitis was a success and Michael did not have one issue with his shoulder or biceps this season.πŸ‘ so to the writers out there who claimed they had inside information in the offseason that Michael's surgery was more complicated than the Indians publicized and that he could be out until August, and to all the doubters who wanted Michael gone or to be the team's DH because they didn't think he could still play the field, well, he sure told you!πŸ˜›

the bad news though is that Michael's right ankle decided to be problematic and cost him 60 games in 2017. yes, for the second year in a row, Michael dealt with an injury and it kept him out of about 37% of this season's games. therefore, he did not play enough to be considered a qualifying player and that's why, once again, he does not have the overall numbers and stats that Michael is capable of producing.

he was lucky, however (or not, according to some fansπŸ™„), that his ankle healed to the point that it did at the end of September in order for him to be included on the Indians' ALDS postseason roster. but because of his lack of play in the final two months of the regular season, Michael was rusty at the plate and virtually a non-factor during the Tribe's short-lived playoff run.

all-in-all, 2017 was not the comeback season that i anticipated he would have, and i'm sure Michael would say the same. he really could have used a better year in terms of playing more to make a stronger case for convincing the Indians to pick up his 2018 club option. granted, another wrench just got thrown into the mix when he underwent right ankle surgery on October 18, and now his career as a Cleveland Indian is even more in doubt than it was at the conclusion of the Tribe's campaign, so maybe improved stats wouldn't have mattered anyway.πŸ˜”πŸ˜’

Season Summary

Michael still had a little rehab work to do from his biceps tenodesis recovery when he got to Arizona in February 2017 and was a little bit behind when spring games began. but he was able to play in a handful of Cactus Leagues games with the Indians towards the end and so he opened up the 2017 regular season on time. like i already mentioned, Michael's shoulder was fine. as for his performance, well, it didn't take long for him to get mostly back to his normal self. he resembled vintage Michael in the month of April, aside from an abnormally high strikeout rate, and even set a career high with five home runs.

little did Michael know that his entire season was going to change when he suffered a right ankle sprain on May 7. it didn't seem like a big issue at the time, and he only ended up missing one three-game series because of it, but that ankle was going to continue to be a hindrance for the rest of the year.

in what should have been an exciting time in Michael's life after his wife gave birth to their newest baby boy on June 15, it quickly came to light that his ankle had been bothering him for weeks. apparently he re-injured the ankle in an early June series. in an article on by John Alfes, Michael said, "if i can play through a nagging injury, i'm going to play. i love being out there with this team, this great group of guys in this locker room. it's a long year. you're not always going to be 100 percent healthy, so you have to learn how to play a little nicked up. a lot of guys do it all the time in this locker room. i did it as long as i could." to combat the ongoing soreness, the Indians extended Michael's three-day Paternity Leave into a 10-Day DL to give him an extra week to rest that ankle.

upon Michael's return, he looked like all his problems were behind him, as he put up the kind of stats that only he can when he's healthy. he made the 2017 AL All Star Team and even got his first career hit in an All Star Game.

when the season resumed after the break, Michael started the second half out strong, and i mean that literally because after a 54-game home run drought, he finally began hitting balls out of the park again. he also set a July career high with 19 RBI. unfortunately, we would not get to see what else Michael had up his sleeve. because in the game on August 8, he sprained his right ankle yet again while running towards center to back up a play. the following day, an MRI showed it was just a mild sprain and he was placed on the 10-Day DL. but as we know, sometimes doctors can get things wrong.

Michael was not able to progress from the sprain as quickly as he and everyone hoped. he stayed in his walking boot for the rest of the month. eventually he was cleared to begin running on an AlterG (anti-gravity) treadmill in early September. he finally spoke to the media for the first time during his second DL stint, on September 10. from Ryan Lewis' article on, he admitted, "it's a little bit frustrating. but at the same time, i've got to get right, i've got to get 100 percent healthy, so i can come back here and contribute in a positive way with my teammates. i can't [look at the calendar] or else i'll get really, really frustrated. i've got to take the time that i need to get healed. whenever that happens, every day, i'm getting a little bit better. i'm not regressing. i've got to continue to push forward."

"you can't push this thing too far or i'm going to take a step back," Michael went on in Joe Noga's article. "today was another good day. hopefully i can continue my transition to making it back on the field."

more time passed and he still couldn't run on the field because he continued to feel soreness in one spot. after a few more consults with doctors, he saw ankle specialist, Dr. Thomas Clanton, in Vail, Colorado, on September 19 and was re-diagnosed with a deltoid ligament sprain and ankle synovitis. he was ordered to stop all running activity for 7-10 days and was back in the boot.

in what seemed unprecedented, Michael was doing light running in the outfield after just one week. the Indians offered some hope by revealing that he might be able to play in the last couple games of the regular season. Michael continued to make daily advancements to sprints, cuts, lateral running, and baserunning. then, low and behold, Michael was activated from the disabled list on September 30 and did get a couple ABs in the final two games.

Michael made an almost improbable comeback to the point where Terry Francona wanted him available off the bench in the Tribe's American League Division Series and named him to the 25-man ALDS roster. "personally, it's just great to be back with this team," Michael shared in Jordan Bastian's article on "i've said it before, this is a team effort all the way around, and whatever is best for this team. if i'm on the roster, which i am, i want to be able to help out in the best way i can." he played in only three of the five total games, but really only began to look like himself again in the third game. Michael, as you know if you've been following his career from the start, does not get so caught up in his own personal numbers, but rather just wants what's best for the team. he's simply been bred with that selfless, team-first attitude, a quality that's not necessarily a requirement of a sports player.

as always, Michael worked as hard as he could to rejoin his team. even though he was unarguably rusty at the plate in most of his postseason at bats, his willingness to give it a try shows the kind of player he is. of course, he was probably very motivated to not be left off another postseason roster. i truly believe that if he'd gotten more ABs beforehand, then we see different results numbers-wise, and may i even be so bold as to say possibly a different series outcome.πŸ˜”

yes, it was disappointing that Michael missed a lot of games with injury for the second straight season, but at least he was able to play more than in 2016. i think fans are forgetting in a hurry that when Michael isn't dealing with sprains and tendinitis and such, he's a phenomenal player. and for seven and a half seasons with the Tribe, Michael was relatively healthy. he's grown into a hitter who would not be as easy to replace as some would admit. so if you're looking at his numbers, are unimpressed, and want him gone, let me ask, who's going to replace him? who else on this current Indians team can play left field, lead the team in OF assists, and bat over .300 consistently? better yet, which outfielders aren't strictly platoon players (who can only hit either right-handed pitches or left-handed pitchers) and can do all that? yeah, maybe you'll come over to my side of the bring Brantley back debate now.

we've seen what Michael is capable of when he's not battling a health issue. can somebody give him a break now for 2018 and let him be healthy and show everyone that he is still the amazing player i have to keep reminding people that he is? and can he and the Indians please work out a deal so he returns to the Tribe next season?πŸ™

if you missed any of the 2017 monthly Brantley blogs or want to reference them again, here are those links:
Brantley's April 2017 #s blog,
Brantley's May 2017 #s blog,
Brantley's June 2017 #s blog,
Brantley's July 2017 #s blog,
Brantley's August 2017 #s (w/ DL Updates) blog,
Brantley's September/October 2017 #s blog, and
Brantley's 2017 ALDS #s blog.

and here are all the blogs i wrote throughout the season featuring roster moves involving Michael, including his DL updates and health news in elaborate detail if you'd like to refer back to them:
Brantley Placed on Paternity List (June 16) 
Brantley Moved from Paternity List to 10-Day DL with Right Ankle Sprain (June 19) 
Brantley Activated from 10-Day DL (w/ Right Ankle Updates) (June 26) 
Brantley Placed on 10-Day DL with Right Ankle Sprain (Take Two) (August 9)
Brantley Activated from 10-Day DL, Ankle Updates (August 10 - September 30)

Some Final #s & Stats

if you read my three previous wrap up blogs, then you're already familiar with all of Michael's final #s. i'm going re-post some select things in here, one last time.

this season, Michael played in 90 of 162 games. he had a hit in 70 of the 90 games he played in 2017 and reached base safely in 78 games.

Michael's 2017 season featured a few significant streaks. he had an 8-game, 10-game, and 14-game hitting streak. the 14-gamer was the longest streak by an Indians player this season and tied for the 5th longest in the American League, according to Joe Noga's article on furthermore, Michael finished the campaign with an active 9-game hitting streak on the road.

Michael also had a 10-game, 17-game, and 18-game on-base streak, plus a still active 13-game on base streak on the road.

what's more, he had 3 consecutive starts with multi-hits this year, 3 consecutive games with the go-ahead hit and RBI to break a scoreless tie, 4 consecutive games with an RBI two separate times, 4 consecutive games with a walk two separate times, and a still active 9 consecutive stolen base streak.

in 2017, Michael had 29 multi-hit games, 2 three+ hit games, and 10 multi-RBI games. in addition, he had 10 go-ahead hits and 12 go-ahead RBI. Michael had an RBI in 42.2% of the games he played in this season as well.

Michael got himself in the history books on July 19 when he became the 36th Indians player in club history to acquire 1,000 hits in his career, per Jordan Bastian. more on this historic event can be found in the My Favorite Michael Brantley Memories & Highlights of 2017 section below!

Michael played 87 games total where he was in the outfield/left field. he started 86 games in left field and completed 72 of those games. he was a defensive switch into left field in 1 game for 2 innings after a PH appearance. he was subbed out defensively in 10 games after playing a total of 70 innings. he left 2 games early with injury after playing a total of 7.1 innings. he was lifted for a pinch runner in 2 games after playing a total of 15 innings.

Michael played in 3 games as a PH. he came in to PH in the top of the 8th inning in 1 game, he came in to PH in the bottom of the 5th inning in 1 game and then was subbed out defensively, and he came in to PH in the bottom of the 5th inning in 1 game--as the PH for DH--and then stayed in the game as the DH.

Michael also played in 2 games as the DH. he started and completed 1 of those games.

offensively, Michael saw time in three different spots in the batting order this year. he mainly bat 3rd, but also got one at bat in the 9th spot and two at bats in the cleanup spot in the final two games of the regular season, respectively.

Consequences of Not Playing Much and What Michael Missed Out On

Michael missed a lot of games this year due to ankle issues--10 in the first half and 50 in the second half to be exact. he lost out on the opportunity to set new career highs, boast any offensive team leads, and greatly expand on his overall baseball career resume. and, for the second straight season, he did not finish as a qualifying player and therefore did not have many stats that ranked high around the league.

the major thing i'm sad that Michael missed out on is that he played no part in the Indians' 22-game win streak. from August 24 - September 14, Michael was on the 10-Day DL the whole time with his "mild" right ankle sprain. not only were the 22 straight wins a new franchise record for the Tribe, but it was also an American League record. it's something that will stand for years and years until/unless another team breaks it. and when anybody looks back at the team's incredible run, they will not see Michael's name there or any stats from him. not getting to be in the Indians record books for an accomplishment like this, when even some of the September (Double A) call ups are, seems incredibly unfair. once again, the Tribe made history without him.

in the games that Michael did play in this year, he had no four-hit games. that's pretty significant unfortunately because, and i'm willing to bet most fans don't even know this but, coming into 2017, Michael had a streak of eight straight seasons with at least one four+ hit game. that's one or more four-hit games in each of the years he's been in the majors. and now, that streak is over. granted, he had a considerable amount of time to get four hits in a game since he did play in 90 games, 73 of which he completed. but considering he was essentially still getting re-acclimated to Major League pitching in a lot of those contests due to missing most of 2016 and over half of spring training in 2017, i'd like to think he would have acquired a four-hit game in the second half of 2017 had his ankle been okay. as it stands, Michael has 11 four+ hit games in his career.

another side effect, if you will, of Michael being unable to play much in the second half of this year is that he was very rusty at the plate when he did play in those three playoff games. his 1-for-11 performance in the ALDS did his postseason career stats no favors. true, it was his first ever American League Division Series, as he missed all of last year's postseason, and so we have no previous ALDS showing to compare it to. but no one, not even Michael, can think that that was a job well done.

the doctors assured the team that Michael's ankle was good enough to go in order for him to be included on the ALDS roster and he was elated to be a part of it, but it wasn't until his third and final game that he began to look more like himself in the batter's box. (i would have LOVED to have seen what he did in the Championship Series, had the Indians advanced, because i just know he would have hit better with more ABs under his belt.) some are now praising Michael and complimenting him for being a beast because he wanted to play knowing his ankle was not necessarily 100%. they are in the minority here. despite Michael's never say die attitude, it's not debatable that playing when he was a shell of himself made his numbers look paltry. the worst of it is knowing that maybe a healthy Brantley gets the Indians a win in one of the games they lost and helps get them to the next playoff round.πŸ˜•

was there anything else Michael missed out on this year that i didn't mention that you are particularly upset about? have your say in a comment below!

My Favorite Michael Brantley Memories & Highlights of 2017

alright, now that the sad stuff is out of the way, let me talk about some of the good stuff, aka, my favorite memories and highlights from Michael's season!

i'm gonna get right to the most exciting thing--Michael's walk-off double in the Indians' Home Opener on April 11! with the game versus the Chicago White Sox tied at 1, Michael came to the plate in the bottom of the 10th inning with Francisco Lindor at 1st base and 2 outs. right-handed reliever Tommy Kahnle, who started the season on the White Sox but is now a damn Yankee, was on the mound and after a full count, Michael hit a line drive double into the left field corner that scored Lindor. as Tom Hamilton triumphantly exclaimed on the WTAM 1100 radio broadcast, which was played throughout the season during commercial breaks, "welcome back, #23!"😁

photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer

in this contest, his first home game since May 8, 2016, Michael got his second go-ahead hit and go-ahead RBI of the season and his second straight game of both kinds. this was a significant hit for Michael because it also marked his first extra base hit of the season, his first walk-off hit of the year, his fifth career walk-off, his fourth career walk-off hit and the Indians' first walk-off win of 2017!

furthermore, the victory was also just the second Home Opener win for the Tribe in the last nine years via Paul Hoynes' article, as well as only the fourth walk-off win in a Home Opener in Progressive Field history. 

"i'm just happy and thankful and blessed to be back," Michael stated on the field after the game in this FOX Sports Ohio youtube video. "it's been a long road, like i said before. we're home with a win, your home opener, smile on my face, it's a great day."

Michael did a postgame presser in the media room, too. from a video on's youtube channel, he maintained he was "just excited that we won the home opener in front of own fans that all came out. it was getting cold, our fans hung in there for us and we were able to get a win in front of them.

"we got a win, that's all that matters. a lot of hard work goes into this offseason, a lot of time away from my kids and family, but they're my support. they kept me going and motivated and i just thank my family so much for always being there for me."

i have a lot more information about the at bat, pictures of Michael's celebration, and quotes from interviews in the separate Brantley Wins the Indians' 2017 Home Opener with a Walk-off Double! blog i wrote.

going in chronological order, my next favorite memory is Michael's team-high 14-game hitting streak. it started on his birthday, May 15 and ended on May 30. he was hitless on May 31, yet still reached base on an error. that at least kept his on-base streak intact, and he wound up with an 18-game on-base streak (May 15 - June 3).

photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

i love good defense, so when Michael committed a fielding error in the game on June 10 versus the White Sox, i was pretty bummed out. he made up for it fairly quickly, however, when he later threw out two runners to give him his first career two-assist game. Michael was the first Indians outfielder to acquire two assists in one game since June 9, 2016. he got his first assist in the top of the 2nd inning when he threw the ball to shortstop Lindor, who took the relay and threw it to catcher Yan Gomes to nab a runner at home plate. Michael's second assist came in the top of the 5th inning when he threw the ball to 2nd baseman Jason Kipnis, who tagged out the runner trying to stretch a single into a double.

additional specific details regarding Michael's assists can be found in the Brantley's First Career Two-Assist Game blog post.

i can still remember the moment i found out that Michael had made the 2017 AL All Star Team. the Indians actually announced it on twitter before it was revealed on the All Star Selection Show on July 2, but that was fine by me. i was so proud of him and very happy that he was voted in as an OF reserve by his peers. i voted my ass off and did all i could, but Michael finished in 4th place on the fan ballot after eight weeks of voting. when one of the starting outfielders was deemed unable to play, i was hopeful that Michael would get that starting spot, but that didn't happen because MLB goes by the player with the highest number of votes on the player ballot for the replacement. 

"i'm very appreciative," the two-time All Star declared in Hoynsie's article on "getting voted in by your peers means a lot. i'm very happy. i'm blessed to be going.

"hopefully, people know how hard i worked to get back. it wasn't an easy road. two shoulder surgeries. not knowing whether you're going to be able to play again. to be able to represent at the All Star Game, represent the Cleveland Indians, it means a lot of hard work paid off."

i have several other quotes from Michael and his weekly ballot rankings here.

it was even more thrilling when Michael got a hit in the Midsummer Classic on July 11, another career first of his. if you'd like to read about that and what else he did in the All Star Game, check out the Brantley's 2017 All Star Game Experience & #s (w/ Pics & Quotes) post.

photo courtesy of @Indians on twitter

Michael reached an incredible milestone in baseball when he collected the 1,000th hit of his career. it occurred on July 19 in the game against the San Francisco Giants, with 1 out in the top of the 8th inning and the Tribe up, 3-2. Michael faced left-hander Steven Okert and sent a line drive double into the right field corner after an 0-1 count.

photo courtesy of @Indians on twitter

for more details about this monumental accomplishment, you can refer to my Brantley Reaches Milestone with 1,000th Career Hit! blog.

i know there are a lot of skeptics out there when it comes to Michael's ability to play left field, but he certainly held his own on July 25 in the game versus the Los Angeles Angels when he made two incredible catches. i'm gonna spotlight his diving catch in particular, because that was a thing of beauty. it came to be in the top of the 8th inning with the game tied at 7 when Ben Revere hit a line drive to left field off Andrew Miller on a 1-0 pitch. Michael raced towards the foul line and dove to catch the sinking liner, which Statcast rated as a five-star catch.★★★★★

photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

Michael was surprised upon hearing of the rating, and then he explained the play in William Kosileski's article. "really? wow, that's awesome. it was a difficult catch at the time, for sure. i had to dive or else i wasn't going to catch the ball. but i'm just glad that i got to do it to save Andrew Miller some pitches. [i was] just trying to get to the ball. it was fading down and away from me, and i was just trying to get there to make a catch for my pitcher."

if you want to read about Michael's other running catch earlier in the contest, scroll down to the In The Field section of the Brantley's July 2017 #s blog post.

when Michael at long last returned from his right ankle woes on September 30 and got an at bat in the bottom of the 5th inning versus the White Sox as a pinch hitter, the fans at Progressive Field went crazy and gave him a standing ovation. Michael walked up to the plate against right-hander Carson Fulmer with Gomes on 1st base, 1 out, and the Tribe down, 1-0. on the 10th pitch of a 2-2 count, in his first AB since August 8, Michael hit a line drive single into right field.

photo courtesy of @Indians on twitter

"it was great," Michael commented in Kosileski's article. "i've played my entire career here. i love these fans. i appreciate their support. it gave me goosebumps. it was a long at bat. i noticed about halfway through they weren't sitting down yet. i thought that was pretty cool. i was just glad to have that moment. it was nice."

a detailed breakdown of each pitch of the at bat is listed in the Brantley's September/October 2017 #s blog under the September/October Standout Games, Spotlights, & Quotes section, along with additional quotes and photos.

lastly, i was very happy for Michael when it was announced on October 3 that he was going to be on the 25-man American League Division Series roster and, after missing the entire postseason in 2016, was finally able to participate in some playoff baseball with the Tribe. he may not have performed at the superior level that he may have liked, because he was still essentially in rehab mode, but i'm just glad that he got to experience it from the batter's box and not solely the dugout. 

"any time you get hurt, you're always concerned whether you're going to get back," Michael confessed in an article by Kosileski. "especially when there's a time crunch. i'm just excited that so many doctors and so many trainers have helped me to get back to this situation to be a part of this. it's very special."

Michael obtained his one and only hit in the postseason in his 11th plate appearance of the series, in Game 4 against the New York Yankees on October 9. with the Indians trailing, 7-3, in the top of the 7th inning, Michael came to bat for the third time against Yankee starter Luis Severino. he hit a 1-out, ground ball single off the right-hander and into right field following a 3-2 count. Jordan Bastian brought to light that it was the first hit by a designated hitter for either team in the ALDS after an 0-for-26 drought. it would also prove to be the only hit by a DH for the Indians, as Edwin Encarnacion went 0-for-7 in the series. see Brantley's 2017 ALDS #s for more about his and the Tribe's playoff performance.

do you agree with my highlights? do you have one that i didn't include here? let me know in a comment below!

Past Season Comparisons

this is the section where i make comparisons to Michael's past seasons. normally, i comment on how his most recent performance stacked up against previous years. however, since he was not a qualifying player in 2017, there isn't a whole lot for me to draw fair and accurate comparisons to. that said, i went back and pulled his stats from seasons 2011-2015. i eliminated 2016 from the chart because Michael only played 11 games and didn't acquire any relevant stats to discuss.

Category 2017* 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011

Batting Average .299 .310 .327 .284 .288 .266^

OBP .357 .379 .385 .332 .348 .318
SLG .444 .480 .506 .396 .402 .384
OPS .801 .859 .890 .728 .750 .702

Plate Appearances 375 596 676 611 609 496
At Bats 338 529 611 556 552 451
Games Played 90 137 156 151 149 114

Hits 101 164 200 158 159 120
Singles 71 104 133 119 112 85
Doubles 20 45 45 26 37 24
Triples 1 0 2 3 4 4
Home Runs 9 15 20 10 6 7
RBI 52 84 97 73 60 46
Sac Flies 4 5 5 8 4 5
Runs Scored 47 68 94 66 63 63
Walks 31 60 52 40 53 34
Intentional Walks 3 8 4 1 12 2
Hit By Pitches 2 2 8 4 0 3
Stolen Bases 11 15 23 17 12 13
Caught Stealing 1 1 1 4 9 5
Sac Bunts 0 0 0 3 0 3
Strikeouts 50 51 56 67 56 76
Total Bases 150 254 309 220 222 173
Extra Base Hits 30 60 67 39 47 35
First At Bat Hits 24 34 51 42 36 DND**

Innings 731.0 1034.2 1304.1 1297.1 1237.0 971.0
Putouts 135 212 271 257 336 236
Assists 8 8 12 11 5 5
Double Plays 1 1 2 1 3 2
Errors 1 2 1 0 1 3
Fielding % .993 .991 .996 1.000 .997 .988

*not a qualifying player
**i did not document this number at this time
^if he hadn't played injured, i calculated a .281 BA
blue bold denotes a career high or low

a fast glance of the chart shows that Michael didn't have any career highs this season, nor should he have since he played considerably less than most of the other years i've listed. regardless of any high marks, i want to comment on a few specific stats.

this season, Michael hit his first triple since 2014. i've always felt that triples are kind of a trivial stat because they just aren't that common for most players. still, i think it's pretty impressive that Michael hit more triples this year than he did in 2015 in less games.

speaking of extra base hits, let's analyze the rest of them. i was surprised that Michael didn't hit more doubles. it seemed like he went through a period where the majority of his hits were ground ball singles. then there's also the power issue. he hit a lot of home runs in April, then went through a 54-game drought, then hit four more in his last 14 games before going back on the DL. that was strange. i'll give him a pass on the home run count, but again, i'm somewhat disappointed with the doubles and can only attribute that to his continued work to get his swing back.

Michael had a lower stolen base total this season, but for someone who had the ankle issues that he did, attempting as many steals as he did is admirable. i'm also quite pleased with his SB:CS ratio. clearly it's not a career best, but when you only get caught one time out of 12, that's an excellent rate.

so you're looking at Michael's strikeouts and thinking that's a career low, right? well no, it's really not because he didn't play a full enough season for that particular statistic to count in the rankings. and with the way Michael had difficulty getting a good read on pitches for a large portion of the games he did play, it's safe to assume he would have added several more Ks to his record if he had played more. it was an unfortunate situation for Michael this year, having not faced big league pitching regularly since 2015, so he was understandably swinging and missing at an abundance of pitches high and low outside the strike zone a lot more than usual. it's no wonder why his 13.3% K rate and 0.62 BB/K for the year were so abnormal for a high contact hitter such as Michael.

Michael's OPS in 2017 did not meet the "very good player" criteria, according to statistician Bill James. for that, it must fall between the .833-.899 range. he was close to the lower end, however, but again, more games played could have resulted in a higher OPS. and by referencing the chart, you can see that in earlier seasons, he played more and had a lower OPS than this year. so i guess it's not all that bad.

argue this with me if you want: Michael may have set a new career high in outfield assists if he'd played those 50 games he lost in the second half due to his right ankle sprain recurrence. even without that additional time in left field, for Michael to total eight assists in 87 games was outstanding. his eight tied him for the team lead among all outfielders. in fact, Michael has led the Indians' outfielders in assists in four of his past five seasons, minus 2016. it's a point that should be stressed heavily when ownership or any fans insist that Michael needs to move to 1st base because he "can't play" left.πŸ™„

Recalling My Preseason Predictions

now it's time to remind myself of my preseason predictions for Michael and go over just how incorrect i was. don't misinterpret that though--i made my guesses going on the assumption that even if Michael received extra days off, he would still play enough to qualify this year, and that ended up not being the case due to his lingering ankle sprain. i'm going to paste italicized excerpts of my predictions in here and then analyze why they didn't pan out.

--it's not practical for me to expect him to set any new career highs or team highs if i already know going into this year that he's not going to have as many chances to bat as others or as he's had in the past when he wasn't returning from surgery.

reality: no new career highs this season, but he did lead the outfielders in a few categories because he was the most regular, full-time left fielder when he played.πŸ₯‡

--i know the team is going to rest him a lot more than the other starters. my prediction: 125 games played in the regular season. (then it's full speed ahead in the playoffs!)

reality: 90. this prediction was going to be wrong either way. take away all the time Michael missed because of his ankle and he plays way more than 125 contests.πŸ™

--if Michael is truly healthy, then he's definitely going to hit. therefore, i have to predict a batting average between .300-.305. honestly, it's probably gonna be higher than that, but that's what i'm going with this year. oh and i do think he will have just enough plate appearances to be a qualifying player, so he should be in the running to lead the team in BA this year as well and possibly reclaim his title. 

reality: .299. i was certainly wrong on the reclaiming the batting title front and the plate appearances. still, Michael bat .299 in 90 games while playing with an ankle sprain for some of that, so he's most definitely proven himself as a minimum .300 hitter no matter what.πŸ’ͺ 

--if he no longer has any pain in the extension of his swing, then his power should be back to what it was in 2014 when he wasn't playing with any injuries. hell, he might even have MORE power now because he's been doing SO much conditioning over the past two years. so i'm going to guess that he hits 15 home runs minimum this year.

reality: 9. there was something weird going on with Michael's power this year--he had a lot of it in the beginning of the season, then it disappeared, and then it came back just before he went down with his second, more severe ankle sprain. if he hadn't lost those last 50 games to his deltoid ligament sprain, i think he would have had 15 homers for sure.⚾

--because i don't know if Michael will be moved around in the batting order or have a steady spot whenever he plays, that makes it a bit difficult for me to try and surmise how many runs he's gonna drive in. regardless of that, i'm hopeful that Michael can still acquire a minimum of 70 RBI. realistically though, it could be more towards the 80s... 

reality: 52. do you think Michael could have gotten 18 more RBI if he never hurt his ankle and played a full second half? i'd bet on it.πŸ’°

--doubles: 38

reality: 20. not even close here. no need to analyze it.😞 

--runs: 66 (this is the toughest to predict because we don't know if his BOP will change throughout the duration of the season and we also don't know how the guys who bat behind him will perform.)

reality: 47. Michael was getting left on base so much that i can't even feel confident in saying that him not being out hurt would have gotten him to 66 runs.😳

--walks: 42

reality: 31. i feel like if he'd been a little less aggressive he might have drawn a couple more walks this year, but i wouldn't change his aggression at the plate for anything. there were also a few ABs where he swung and missed at ball 4 though, but i will chalk that up to rust once again.πŸ‘€

--stolen bases: 17

reality: 11. Michael had the team lead in stolen bases for a bit until he went out on the DL for the first time in June and then he couldn't get it back. on the other hand, he was only caught stealing one time in 12 attempts so i'm not gonna be mad about this.😐

--total defensive errors: 1

reality: 1. nailed it, but that doesn't make me happy. Michael rarely makes gaffes in the outfield but when it comes to predicting errors, i always say one because expecting perfection is not realistic.πŸ˜›

--outfield assists: 9

reality: 8. and you know it would have been more had he played more. eight assists in only 87 games in left field is pretty damn good.πŸ‘

one final comment i want to make. if you recall, from 2012-2015, Michael led all the qualifying players on the team in batting average. last year and now this year, he was not a qualifier, so technically, his streak as a qualifier still has not ended. if he averages 3.1 plate appearances per game in 2018 and leads the Indians in BA, then he can claim having owned the highest average on the team in the last five seasons that he qualified. it won't be five straight seasons, mind you, but it'll count. and of course, he'll also have to remain a Cleveland Indian for this to be true, too... so good luck.🀞

no matter what Michael did or didn't do this season, i once again did not miss any of his plate appearances. i live tweeted most of them as well, except for when i went to games in Cleveland. i documented his stats in both a notebook and an Excel spreadsheet on my laptop, as per usual. so if you ever doubted that i know what i'm talking about, that should prove that my calculations are correct.

Countdown to Opening Day 2018

this offseason is going to be slightly longer than the last, unfortunately. however, 2018 opens up at the end of March this year so we're really just about five months away. then Michael (hopefully🀞) and the Tribe can blow through the regular season, get back to the playoffs, and get vindication for their too early postseason exit this year and heartbreaking Game 7 World Series loss last year.

as of this post on October 20, we've got 160 days until the Indians start their 2018 season on March 29 against the Seattle Mariners, and 168 days until the Home Opener on April 6 versus the Kansas City Royals. Go Tribe!πŸ“£


as always, i wouldn't be able to get all the detailed information about Michael that i do without my favorite Tribe Scribes. so now i'm going to give a big THANK YOU to the following--Jordan Bastian, Paul Hoynes, Ryan Lewis, Zack Meisel, Bill Kosileski, and the person or persons who run the Indians & SportsTime Ohio twitter accounts for being my main sources for Brantley news this season. all your articles, tweets, stats, photos, quotes, and videos were very much appreciated! i also want to give honorable mentions to Terry Pluto, Joe Noga, T.J. Zuppe, and WTAM 1100 radio broadcaster Tom Hamilton for providing me with info here and there as well.

without all of these guys, my blogs would be a lot less interesting and contain only numbers. i both recognize and respect how good they all are at their jobs and how hard they work. part of my process is to read everything, then round up all the various MB news and put it here in one convenient place for my viewers; they are the reason i can do that. i strive to deliver as much quality content as possible, and they help make that possible. those that i named who are writers in particular, inspire me to do my absolute best and i hope to keep learning from them all. thank you again!πŸ‘

but the people who work for, around, and behind the scenes of the team are not the only people i am indebted to. i additionally must thank those who took the time to read my blog over the past year. if you liked any of my posts, shared them, or retweeted them, thank you so very much! no matter if you're a new or regular reader, i'm happy to have you here. i noticed a little different audience this season and it always amazes me whenever i see new viewers from countries so far and away from the United States. Michael has a fan base all over the world and the fact that you all come to my blog for information is such an honor.πŸ—Ί

share your country in the comments below and let everyone know where you're representing for Michael from!🌎🌍🌏

coming up next:
Analyzing the Tribe's 2017 Season + Postseason

What Went Wrong for the Cleveland Indians in the 2017 ALDS

the news on whether or not the Indians pick up Michael's 2018 club option and/or negotiate a new contract should be coming out soon, in the next 7-10 days probably. you already know i'll be tweeting everything i find out so make sure you're following me on twitter @clevelandgirl23 for that. i'm also going to write a blog with all the details about the Tribe's decision. i hope he's preparing to play with the Cleveland Indians in 2018 and not another team.😟

and in case you haven't heard, Michael recently had right ankle surgery on October 18 and will need four to five months before he can fully take part in baseball activities. so sadly, just like last offseason, i'll be compiling all his post-surgery updates into a blog whenever i get enough information to post. if you want to be notified by email when that and other blogs of mine get published, enter your email address in the box underneath the Blog Archive sidebar over on the upper right side of the page to join my subscription list.πŸ“§

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