the happy news came tonight, on July 8 during ESPN's All Star Selection Show. Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees are the starting outfielders for the American League team, which we basically already knew weeks ago. as soon as the very first AL All Star ballot updates came out, it was pretty apparent that those three would be starters.
Michael was in 4th place on the fan ballot for the first two updates before he fell to 5th on the third released update. then, on July 2, MLB Communications posted one last voting update and Michael remained in 5th place. though he'd gained 299,302 votes since June 26, he was 48,285 votes behind George Springer of the Houston Astros and 927,972 votes behind 3rd starter Judge. Betts held a whooping 2,025,730-vote lead on Michael, who was only ahead of 6th place Andrew Benintendi of the Red Sox by 22,241 votes. Brant was never really in the running to start, sadly.
thankfully, Michael was selected by his peers to be an AL All Star reserve player for the third time in his career! he's the only Indians outfielder to
be named an All Star in the past 10 years! previously, the last Tribe OF to go to an All Star Game was Grady Sizemore back in 2008, per TribeVibe's blog on tribevibe.mlblogs.com.
Michael had a fantastic start to the year, playing exceptionally in both April and May. he even received AL Player of the Month votes for May. on the flip side, he had a pretty mediocre month of June and i thought maybe he'd lost his chance to make the ASG because of it. however, it dawned on me that there was a possibility that the MLB players might have started filling out their player ballots at the beginning of June, which was just after Michael's 19-game hitting streak and before his struggles. the fact that Michael has made a comeback from surgery for the second straight season probably didn't hurt and wasn't lost on the players either.
aside from Michael, the other AL outfielders chosen as reserves are Springer, Mitch Hanigar of the Seattle Mariners, and Shin-Soo Choo of the Texas Rangers.
now let's talk numbers. after voting concluded on July 5 at 11:59 pm ET, here are some of Michael's stats that ranked in the Top 10 among 13 qualifying AL LF:
tied 2nd - doubles (20)
3rd - hits (92), batting average (.306), OBP (.353)
tied 3rd - sac flies (4)
5th - total bases (147) and OPS (.841)
6th - RBI (48)
7th - extra base hits (32), at bats (301), and SLG (.488)
tied 7th - runs (45) and stolen bases (5)
8th - plate appearances (329)
tied 8th - home runs (11)
9th - games played (74)
tied 9th - outfield assists (3)
tied 10th - triples (1)
he also had the least amount of strikeouts (29). (Denard Span of the Mariners had the 2nd least with 46, while Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees had the most with 115.)
six of the qualifiers had at least 8 more games played than Michael, so it shouldn't be surprising then that Michael's stats aren't exactly at the top. but when we look at everything in comparison to all the outfielders, well, it's not a pretty sight.
here are Michael's stats that ranked in the Top 10 among 31 qualifying AL OF:
tied 3rd - sac flies
5th - batting average
7th - hits
tied 7th - doubles
9th - OBP
he also had the least amount of strikeouts. (Betts was closest to Michael with 37. Stanton again led the pack here and Judge was right behind him with 114.)
before anyone says Michael shouldn't be an All Star and that other players were more deserving, i have to say that just because Michael isn't one of the league's home run leaders, it doesn't mean he's not All Star material. he still has great overall stats, especially when you remember that he opened the year late due to offseason right ankle surgery. he's a consistent hitter who typically bats over .300 when he's healthy and is one of the toughest players in baseball to strike out. outside of the numbers, he's also a team leader, a consummate professional who works hard and always exhibits a team-first attitude, and he's never let an injury keep him down. so yeah, i consider that to be of All Star-caliber. and his peers obviously recognize and agree with that assessment.
if you want to see the different [AL OF] rankings and voting results on the fan ballot over the three weeks in June when results were published, just go to the All Star Voting Updates section of my Brantley's 2018 #s Through June blog.
according to Jordan Bastian's Covering the Bases blog on bastian.mlblogs.com, manager Terry Francona was happy for Michael. "Brant, all that he's been through, i grabbed him and i told him, 'take a minute and enjoy this,' because he put a lot of work in. so, it's pretty cool."
"it's kind of the same story as last year," Corey Kluber remarked. "he stayed here all winter to rehab and worked really hard and put himself in a position to go out there and be the type of player we all know he can be. to have that recognized is pretty cool, all the stuff that he does behind the scenes."
and Francisco Lindor also noted the impact Michael's had on him. from T.J. Zuppe's twitter photo, he said, "Brant is like a dad. he's like a big brother. when i'm struggling, i go to him, or even when i'm going good, i just go up to him and say, 'hey, give me some knowledge today.' he's very special, i'm glad i get the chance to play with him day in and day out. and seeing how successful he has been even though he's had a lot of ups and downs, he never backs down from anything, he goes out there day in and day out, and i'm very proud of him."
when Michael met with the media on July 9, he talked about being an All Star, going to the game with four other teammates, staying healthy, and the Indians picking up his option. from a video on cleveland.com's youtube channel, he began, "it's great. um, you know, to go out there and represent the Cleveland Indians and the great group of guys that we have going, um, it's a honor, it's a blessing, and uh, i don't take it for granted. uh, i'm very fortunate and very blessed to be in this situation and uh, i'm very appreciative to all the voters."
how much more fun does it make it to go with four of his teammates? "it makes it a lot of fun. uh, my first year i was by myself, you know, i was a lot, i was a lot more quiet. uh, now that, you know, you can joke with the guys and, you know, you have your boys with you, uh, you get to enjoy the experience a little bit more."
when Hoynsie asked what the key has been to him to staying healthy throughout the first half, Michael smiled and questioned, "the key? haha. i don't know if there's no special key, but at the same time, i'm coming in, you know, taking care of my body the best i can just like i did every year. um, doing the same preparations, just making sure that i go out there and, you know, do the best i can for my team as soon as i get on the field."
"thankful that, you know, i'm back here, you know, in front of you guys as well. um, you know, to perform uh, i feel like i'm doing pretty well so far, so hopefully, and they made a good decision, right? but at the same time, but no, it's a blessing just to be out there. um, you know, it's the hard work that i put in. it's the confidence they had, you know, in me that i was gonna be able to come back, stay on the field, produce at a high level and, you know, impact this club to winning ballgames and, you know, so far, so good. we've got a long ways to go still and, you know, we got a postseason to hopefully, you know, run through and we'll see what happens then."
Bastian's Pregame Minutiae blog on bastian.mlblogs.com had more of the session with Michael.
is this selection more special than the other two? "i mean, i don't take it for granted. i think you've got to cherish each one for what it is. there's a lot of bumps in the road, a lot of highs, a lot of lows. you just kind of sit back when it's done and just kind of embrace it. it's not every day you get to go put on an All-Star uniform."
will making the All Star team allow for him to get a break at all? "not really, but at the same time, you don't take it for granted. it's a lot of hard work that goes into it in order to be going to this game. so, it is what it is. but, at the same time, you've got to enjoy it the best you can, especially when you're going with the group of guys that we have in this locker room. that makes it even that much more special."
when told that Lindor thinks of him like a dad, Michael laughed, "is that good or bad?"
does he feel old? "i hope not. i don't feel that old. but, at the same time, he's a young kid that was coming up and i just wanted to do whatever i could to help him out, because veterans did that for me. so, you kind of pass it down--anything that i could. any questions that he has and to tell me or ask me and i give him the best answer i could. but, i hope i'm not a dad, yet. i mean, i have kids, but he's a little old to be my son."
in addition, during Tito's pregame presser, he addressed, once prompted, the team exercising Michael's club option. "whatever he's making, it's really hard to go get that guy and for one year. it's not like somebody's going to come for one year. we were betting on him. if you're going to bet on anybody, [bet on Brantley]. we saw him first-hand, the work he was putting in to be healthy. i pulled him aside [after telling Brantley he made the All-Star team Sunday] and told him, i said, 'you take a minute and take this in, because you spent so much time back there working.' he was miserable and now he's an All-Star again. that's pretty special."
Michael's not the only Indian headed to the Midsummer Classic. Trevor Bauer, Kluber, Lindor, and Jose Ramirez are also going to represent Cleveland in D.C. on the 2018 American League All Star team, too! Ramirez had the most votes on the fan ballot in the 3rd baseman category and therefore will be an AL starter for the second straight year. Lindor is a three-time All Star now, as he's gone to the ASG for three consecutive years. this is Kluber's third nod in a row as well, and Bauer is a first-time All Star. Kluber and Lindor were both selected via the players ballot, while Bauer was chosen by the Commissioner's Office as a replacement for Justin Verlander of the Astros. congrats to every Tribesman!
|photo courtesy of @Indians on twitter|
the complete list of 2018 All Star participants can be found here. the winning league gets to split $640,000, which equals $20,000 per player.💰 (source: mlb.com.) let's go American League!
are you satisfied with this year's All Stars? let me know who you think was snubbed and who shouldn't be on the team, either from the Indians team or other teams, in a comment below!
congrats again, Michael on your third All Star selection! i'm so proud of you and can't wait to see if you get another hit in the game this year like you did last year!😀
the 89th annual All Star Game on Tuesday, July 17, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., airs at 8 pm ET on FOX in the US and Rogers Sportsnet and RDS in Canada.
i want to thank everybody who took the time to vote for Michael, who created burner email accounts to cast extra votes with, and/or who voted with the link from my blog.😉 in the offseason, i made a lot of new emails for this exact reason and when voting opened this year, i spent a half hour a day voting with each and every one of them until the polls closed. when it was all said and done, i voted for Michael 5,460 times.🗹😮
for all the latest news, stats, facts, and live tweets, follow me on twitter @clevelandgirl23. i'm still #CelebratingMichaelBrantley as well. search the hashtag to see which of the best moments of Michael's career as an Indian i've spotlighted so far. i've been tweeting different memories every Monday and will continue to do so until the Tribe season ends. i also occasionally post on anniversary dates of what i consider to be major occurrences for Michael. everything is all in one thread for your convenience, so be sure to check it out! leave comments and your own memories of Michael if you wish, too!🎉
and if you haven't joined my subscription list yet, you can do that by entering your email address in the box under the Blog Archive sidebar on the upper right side of this page. then you'll get notifications sent directly to your inbox whenever i post something new here! never miss a blog again!📧