in 2018, Michael had
631 plate appearances and 570 at bats in 143 games (1136.1 innings). in total, he had 176 hits, 55 extra base hits, 121 singles, 36 doubles, 2 triples, 17 home runs (2 grand slams), 76 RBI, 6 sac flies, 89 runs, 48 walks, 5 hit by pitches, 12 stolen bases (11 - 2nd, 1 - 3rd), 3 caught stealing (2 - 2nd, 1 - 3rd), 7 reached on fielder's choice, 2 reached on forceout, 4 reached on fielding error, 1 reached on throwing error, 1 reached on catcher interference, 1 reached on passed ball, 1 sac bunt, 15 GIDP, 60 strikeouts (46 swinging, 14 looking), 39 first at bat hits, 267 total bases, 204 left on base, 221 putouts, 6 assists, 1 error, and 2 double plays.
2018 season batting average: .309 (176-570)
Michael's .309 batting average was the highest on the team out of all the qualifying players in 2018. he finished 32 points ahead of Francisco Lindor, who was 2nd on the team with his .277 batting average.
|screenshot cropped from indians.com|
this is the first season since 2015 that Michael has led the team in batting average. reclaiming the batting title this year means that Michael has now owned the highest Indians BA in his last five seasons as a qualifying player. his record spans over 2012-2015 and 2018. congratulations, Michael!👏
Michael made one hell of a comeback after having had right ankle surgery in the offseason due to a deltoid ligament sprain and ankle synovitis, wouldn't ya say? he was still rehabbing during spring training and didn't get to play in as many games as he would have liked. the result was he opened up the 2018 season on the 10-Day DL so he could continue building up endurance in extended spring. he wasn't gone long and only missed the first road trip, or two series, aka six games. Michael was activated on April 6 and in the starting lineup for the Indians' Home Opener. while he received some games off here and there to ease him back into the grind, Michael, unlike many of his teammates, was swinging a very hot bat right out of the gate and looked poised for a fantastic season. he did not disappoint.
in May, Michael created some very special memories. he hit his first career grand slam on the first of the month before hitting his second granny on May 11. that date was significant also because it was when manager Terry Francona decided to move Michael up from the 4th and 5th spots to the 2 hole in the batting order. since Michael was swinging such a hot stick, the BOP alteration really seemed to positively impact the entire top of the lineup. granted, there was a quick 0-for-13 slump in there after his first slam, but that did not last long. on the same token, Michael went 0-for-9 in 11 plate appearances with runners in scoring position at one point in May, too. but when it was all said and done, he acquired a career high 26 RBI and hit a career high seven homers in May. Michael strung together a very impressive 19-game hitting streak from May 9-30 in which he bat .366 during the month as well.
if what goes up, must come down, then i guess that would explain why June gave Michael so much trouble. this was his worst full month of the campaign, as his production was way down due to only batting .250, and worst month in a season since 2013. probably the best thing that happened in June was that he set a career high 24-game on-base streak at home, further extending to 27 in July.
despite his June struggles, his peers voted for him on their All Star ballots and Michael was named to the 2018 AL All Star Team as an outfield reserve on July 8. he hit a single and got his first RBI in an All Star Game on a sac fly. but the month as a whole was a tale of two halves. he did a terrific job before the break, acquiring his 500th career RBI on July 4 and scoring his 500th career run two days later, but had a challenging time coming out of it. he ended the month in an 0-for-13 slump overall and an 0-for-11 with RISP, plus he was just 1-for-9 against lefties. he did reach a big milestone, however, when he played in his 1,000th Major League Game on July 28.
thankfully, things turned around for him in both August and September when he had the highest monthly batting average on the Tribe consecutively. while some players began to look very tired and fade out, Michael got back to his hitting ways. on August 9, he hit his first walk-off of the year. not only that, but he was being very aggressive on the basepaths, a part of his game that had been lacking for much of the year, perhaps due to him wanting to be cautious with his surgically-repaired ankle. in addition, Michael's performance on the road in August was superb, unlike the previous three months. it was a welcome change. conversely, Michael had another slump with RISP, going 0-for-9 in 11 PA in the second half.
Michael received some extra days off in September in preparation for the postseason, but he also got time off due to minor injuries. and i do mean minor. and they were both self-inflicted. he fouled a ball off his left ankle on September 5 and got the next day off. then he fouled a pitch off his right calf on September 25 and was removed from the game as a precaution. nothing major and nothing to panic over. yet again, Michael's struggles to drive guys home reared its ugly head. this month, his skids included an 0-for-7 with RISP and an 0-for-11 in 12 PA with runners on in the middle of the month. sadly, he also concluded September in an 0-for-8 funk with runners on in nine plate appearances. in addition, Michael racked up an abnormally high number of strikeouts because he was swinging and missing at a lot of pitches outside the zone.
in better news, Michael hit a big RBI single on September 22, good for his second walk-off this season. it emerged in the 11th inning with the bases loaded and seeing as though it came against the Boston Red Sox, it was very exciting. and it shouldn't have been too surprising because one of Michael's strong points was batting with the bases loaded this season. he also dominated southpaws so frequently in September that it didn't even matter that he went hitless in his last seven at bats against them. moreover, Michael really excelled on the road this month, concluding the year with a 9-game hitting streak on the road as well as an overall 9-game hitting streak. that's how you end on a high note.
and there you have it, Michael's 2018 in a nutshell. i'm glad it was a good one because it was likely his last with the Cleveland Indians. but at least he stayed healthy, played a full year, and looked a lot like the Brant we saw in 2014 and 2015. was it enough to win the AL Comeback Player of the Year award though? we'll find out in late November or early December. what do you think? leave a comment below if you think Dr. Smooth should win!
in 2018, Michael led the team with 121 singles and .309 batting average. he was tied for the team lead with 2 grand slams and 2 walk-off hits. also, among six qualifying players, he had the least strikeouts with 60.
Michael was 2nd on the team with 176 hits and .364 OBP. he was tied for 2nd with 6 sac flies.
Michael was 3rd on the team with 55 extra base hits, 36 doubles, 89 runs, 267 total bases, 631 plate appearances, 570 at bats, and .832 OPS. in addition, he was tied for 3rd with 2 triples.
he led the outfielders with 221 putouts, 6 assists, 2 double plays, 1136.1 innings, and 134 games played.
upon review of my personal documentation of Michael's numbers from past seasons, i found that he only set one career high in 2018 and that was with his 2 grand slams.
HR:RBI Ratio, K Rate, LOB, and Outs
Michael finished his 2018 campaign with 17 home runs. i admit, after he got over 15, i began to get greedy and was really hoping for 20. that was my bad lol considering how this was his first full season since 2015, i think 17 bombs is excellent. Michael will never be a team leader in homers and that's why he gets overlooked as being a good ballplayer, which totally sucks. but i say it all the time, that's not his game and he's never needed to be a power hitter in order to be productive. this year, the team leader in home runs was Jose Ramirez with 39. Francisco Lindor was right behind him with 38 homers. Edwin Encarnacion had 32, Yonder Alonso had 23, and Jason Kipnis had 18. Michael ranked 6th with his 17 and Yan Gomes had 16. no other Indian had more homers than that.
in 2018, Michael tallied 76 RBI vs. 204 men left on base. now this is where i have a realistic complaint. Michael had difficulty driving runners in during September, so much so that he only acquired six ribbies for the month and that not only had an affect on his RBI total, but it added greatly onto his LOB numbers. i wish he would have at least gotten up to 80 runs batted in, especially since he had plenty of opportunities to reach that tier. so this is a bit sad. the team leader in RBI this season was Encarnacion with 107 (the same total from 2017, btw). Ramirez was also in triple digits with 105. Lindor had 92 and then there was a drop--Alonso had 83, Kipnis had 75, and Michael was sandwiched in between them to rank 5th on the team. these six were the only Indians to make it over the 50 RBI mark.
here's the final HR:RBI ratio for Michael this year: 12 of Michael's 17 home runs were solo, three were 2-run bombs, and two were grand slams. therefore, 15.8% of his 76 RBI have come from his solo homers, while 34.2% of his 76 RBI have come from all 17 of his home runs. so over a third of his ribbies in 2018 came as a result of his home runs, which is more than usual, but that's largely in part due to the two grannies he hit.
Michael's K rate in 2018 was 9.5% (60 K/631 PA). he averaged 1 strikeout for every 10.5 plate appearances. his irregular high number of strikeouts in September really mucked up his final percentage because it would have been under 9% for sure if not for Michael's struggles laying off balls low and outside the strike zone. that said, in the grand scheme of things, this is still very good and Michael remains one of the toughest players in MLB to strike out.
for the year, Michael had 184 groundouts, 66 flyouts, 61 lineouts, and 23 pop outs versus 60 strikeouts. nothing new here, Michael is mostly a ground ball hitter as opposed to hitting balls up in the air. the important thing is that he's a high contact hitter, so the majority of his outs will always come after making contact with the ball.
(reminder: the sortable player stats section on indians.com denotes outs differently from me in four distinctive ways. first, despite the site specifically stating that the flyouts total does NOT include line drives, it absolutely does. (it also includes pop outs.) second, when Michael grounds into a double play, that is counted as two groundouts on the site, due to two outs being recorded in an inning. however, in my personal documentation, i only count a GIDP as one out, because for Michael, it is only one out/one at bat/an 0-for-1 in his game line. and third & fourth, likewise with the GIDPs, i do not count sac flies as flyouts or sac bunts as groundouts here. even though they are outs in a game [a sac fly is even counted in a slump!], they don't count against Michael in his game line because sac flies and sac bunts are considered plate appearances and not at bats.)
Reached Base vs. Left Stranded
in 2018, Michael reached base a total of 245 times via hits, walks, hit by pitches, fielder's choices, forceouts, fielding errors, throwing errors, catcher interference, and passed balls (after striking out). he scored 89 runs total, 17 of which came from his own home runs. so he was driven in by others 72 times and left stranded 140 times. (he was lifted for a pinch runner eight times, caught stealing three times, caught in a rundown once, thrown out at 3rd base once, hit a walk-off single twice--when he technically was not stranded even though he reached, and thrown out trying to advance to 2nd base once, so i had to subtract 16 from the total count here.) sure looks to me like Michael did his part in getting on base, but he didn't come around to score nearly as much. the main hitters that came after Michael this year include Jose Ramirez, Edwin Encarnacion, and Yonder Alonso. considering those are three guys with power, it's odd that they wouldn't be able to drive him in more and seemed to struggle when Michael was on base versus if he wasn't.🤔
according to Michael's baseball reference page, Ramirez and Encarnacion drove Michael home 20 times each, and Alonso drove him in 15 times this year. so do you think the players batting behind Michael did a good job or should he have scored more runs this season? leave your opinions in the comment section!
Streaks & Situational Statistics
Michael had a hit in 111 of the 143 games he played in 2018 and reached base safely in 127 games. he had 32 hitless games, but still reached base in 16 of those. Michael had 51 multi-hit games, 13 three+ hit games, and 15 multi-RBI games. he had at least 1 RBI in 56 games. in addition, he had 14 go-ahead hits and 16 go-ahead RBI. the Indians were 83-60 in games that Michael played in and 8-11 in the games he sat out/missed.
Michael had several noteworthy streaks in 2018, including:
--an 18-game on-base streak on the road between July 1 - August 1, 2017, and April 16-22, 2018. it spanned over July 1-2, July 14-19, July 28-29, and July 31 - August 1, 2017, and April 16-17 and April 20-22, 2018.
--a 14-game hitting streak on the road between July 15 - August 1, 2017, and April 16-22, 2018. it spanned over July 15-19, July 28-29, and July 31 - August 1, 2017, and April 16-17 and April 20-22, 2018.
--5 consecutive multi-hit games between April 11-20. they spanned over April 11-12, April 17-18, and April 20.
--a 9-game on-base streak between April 8-22. it began on April 8, then continued over April 10-12, April 17-18, and April 20-22.
--a modest 7-game hitting streak between April 11-22 (over 12 days). it spanned over April 11-12, April 17-18, and April 20-22.
--a 9-game on-base streak at home between April 8-29. it began on April 8, then continued over April 10-12 and April 25-29.
--a 7-game hitting streak at home between April 11-29. it spanned over April 11-12 and April 25-29.
--a 9-game hitting streak on the road between May 9-23. it began on May 9, then continued over May 14-16, May 18-20, and May 22-23.
--a 19-game hitting streak, in which he bat .366, between May 9-30 (over 22 days).
--a 21-game on-base streak between May 8-31. it spanned over May 8-9, May 11-16, May 18-20, and May 22-31.
--an 11-game on-base streak on the road between May 8-31. it spanned over May 8-9, May 14-16, May 18-20, May 22-23, and May 31.
--a 16-game hitting streak at home, in which he bat .394, between May 1 - June 6. it spanned over May 1-3 (including a doubleheader on May 3), May 11-13, May 24-30, and June 5-6.
--a 15-game on-base streak between June 11-27. it spanned over June 11-13, June 15-20, and June 22-27.
--a career high 27-game on-base streak at home between May 1 - July 7. it spanned over May 1-3 (including a doubleheader on May 3), May 11-13, May 24-30, June 5-6, June 15-20, June 22-24, and July 6-7.
--a modest 7-game hitting streak between June 30 - July 7. it spanned over June 30 - July 4 and July 6-7.
--a 7-game on-base streak between June 30 - July 7. it spanned over June 30 - July 4 and July 6-7.
--a 9-game on-base streak at home between July 25 - August 17. it began on July 25, then continued over August 3-9 and August 17.
--a 15-game on-base streak between July 31 - August 17. it began on July 31, then continued over August 3-15 and August 17.
--a 9-game on-base streak on the road between July 31 - August 21. it began on July 31, then continued over August 10-15 and August 20-21.
--a 7-game hitting streak on the road between August 11-21. it spanned over August 11-15 and August 20-21.
--an active 9-game hitting streak on the road between September 8-30. it spans over September 8-11, September 25-26, and September 28-30.
--an active 9-game on-base streak on the road between September 8-30.
--an active 9-game hitting streak between September 20-30. it spans over September 20-23, September 25-26, and September 28-30.
--an active 9-game on-base streak between September 20-30.
he will start the 2019 season with a 9-game hitting streak on the road, 9-game on-base streak on the road, 9-game hitting streak, and 9-game on-base streak.
in 2018, Michael bat .321 (132-for-411) against right-handed pitchers and .277 (44-for-159) against left-handed pitchers. i know the average against southpaws doesn't look great, but Michael actually went on a tear in September when facing lefties and raised his BA by 33 points in one month's time. it would have been even more had he not gone 0-for-7 to end the year. still, all things considered, the recent improvement was impressive and i think he proved to everyone that yes, he can hit left-handers.
Michael hit .333 (100-for-300) with 51 RBI at home on the season, which ranked 5th in the American League among qualifiers. he totaled 23 doubles, 1 triple, and 9 home runs (33 extra base hits) at Progressive Field, along with 3 sac flies, 53 runs, 20 walks, 4 hit by pitches, 11 stolen bases (10 - 2nd, 1 - 3rd), 1 caught stealing (3rd), 1 sac bunt, 6 GIDP, 27 strikeouts (19 swinging, 8 looking), and 152 total bases while playing 76 out of 81 total home games. he reached base on 4 fielder's choices, 2 forceouts, 4 fielding errors, 1 throwing error, and 1 passed ball (after striking out) as well. he hit safely in 61 of the 76 home games he played in and safely reached base in 69 of them. he had 15 hitless games at home, reaching base in 8. he had at least 1 RBI in 35 home games.
Michael hit .281 (76-for-270) with 25 RBI away from Progressive Field. he had a tremendous performance on the road in September, but because of previous season struggles, his batting average only went up by 11 points. this is still not his typical output here, but i guess down years can happen even to the best of 'em. he totaled 13 doubles, 1 triple, and 8 home runs (22 extra base hits) on the road, along with 3 sac flies, 36 runs, 28 walks, 1 hit by pitch, 1 stolen base (2nd), 2 caught stealing (2nd), 9 GIDP, 33 strikeouts (27 swinging, 6 looking), and 115 total bases while playing 67 out of 81 total road games. he reached base on 3 fielder's choices and 1 catcher interference as well. he hit safely in 50 of the 67 road games he played in and safely reached base in 58 of them. he had 17 hitless games away from home, reaching base in 8. he had at least 1 RBI in 21 road games.
for the year, Michael bat .254 (36-for-142) with runners in scoring position and produced 53 RBI. thanks to continued troubles in September, his average went down 10 points from the end of August. breaking it down, he hit .333 (12-for-36) with RISP and 0 outs, .255 (12-for-47) with RISP and 1 out, and .203 (12-for-59) with RISP and 2 outs. well, at least he was consistent, tallying 12 hits in each category. but aside from no outs, he was not very good with RISP this year. even worse, his 2-out struggles have been ongoing since 2015 and that's sad to see.😟
let's check out some of his past batting averages with runners in scoring position.
2013: .375 BA, ranked 3rd in the AL.
2014: .376 BA, team high and 1st in AL.
2015: .324 BA, 10th in AL. note: Michael dealt with a shoulder ailment towards the end of this year and it affected his production.
2016: .385 BA. note: he barely played this year before being shut down with more shoulder/biceps issues.
2017: .277 BA. note: not a qualifier, as he again missed a lot of time, this year with right ankle issues.
so he's been on a downward trend with RISP for a while now. as someone who used to be one of the best clutch hitters in the league, i think he can get back to that. maybe he just needed this first full season in three years to get back into the habit and swing of things, and perhaps we will see big improvement in 2019.
Michael ended his 2018 campaign batting .272 (41-for-151) with 2 outs in an inning. just a five point increase here from last month. sadly, this was another struggle area for Michael this year, as he never could manage to reach his full potential. he tallied 9 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 23 RBI, 14 walks, 2 hit by pitches, and 12 strikeouts (10 swinging, 2 looking). according to my notes, Michael has not done well with 2 outs since 2014. even without playing full seasons in 2016 and 2017, that's a long time to be so ineffective in one situation. i always thought maybe it was a mental thing, where he put more pressure on himself to keep the line moving, but i don't know. he did have some big hits with 2 outs this year, ie. his two grand slams, but for the most part, he was an inning-ender yet again. blah.😞
additionally, Michael bat .310 (74-for-239) with 64 RBI with runners on base and .583 (7-for-12) with 18 RBI with the bases loaded for the season. both excellent. however, Michael did end the season going 0-for-8 in nine PA with runners on, so that average and his RBI totals could have been a bit higher. but here's what i really don't understand: how can Michael be so good at hitting with runners on, yet not when runners are in scoring position? does placement of the runners really have that much of an affect on him?
furthermore, Michael hit .308 (102-for-331) with the bases empty in 2018. he acquired 17 doubles, 2 triples, 12 home runs, 12 RBI, 30 walks, 4 hit by pitches, and 42 strikeouts (34 swinging, 8 looking) when nobody was on base this season. no qualms here.
finally, Michael's 2018 season resulted in a 3.5 fWAR (wins above replacement), a 124 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus--the ability to create runs compared to the league average), a 1.4 BsR (baserunning runs above average with stolen bases and caught stealings), a 0.5 UZR (ultimate zone rating), and a -3 DRS (defensive runs saved). each of these numbers was an improvement from the end of August. his wRC+ ranked tied for 1st, his WAR ranked 2nd, and his BsR ranked 5th among 10 qualifying American League left fielders in 2018. his UZR ranked 5th and his DRS ranked 7th among 7 qualifying AL LF. [these stats all came courtesy of fangraphs.com.]
what do you think about Michael's situational numbers for this year? comment away down below!
Versus AL Central Division Teams
vs. the Minnesota Twins, Michael bat .260 (19-for-73) in 18 of 19 games--8 of 9 on the road and 10 at home--in 2018. (he had 1 scheduled day off during the August road series.) the Indians went 9-9 in the games he played in and won the game he did not play in. overall, Michael had 13 singles and 6 extra base hits, including 4 doubles and 2 home runs, as well as 6 RBI, 1 sac fly, 8 runs, 7 walks, 1 hit by pitch, 3 stolen bases (2nd), 2 first at bat hits, and 29 total bases. he also reached base on 2 fielder's choices, reached base on 1 fielding error, grounded into 3 double plays, had 4 strikeouts swinging, and left 34 men on base. furthermore, he had a .329 OBP, .397 SLG, and .727 OPS. in left field, Michael recorded 37 putouts and acquired 1 assist while playing 151.1 innings, but only 14 complete games. he was subbed out defensively after 8 innings in 1 game in March/April because the Indians were winning and Michael had done more than enough in the game, he was subbed out defensively after 8 innings in 1 game in June because the Indians were losing, and he was lifted for a pinch runner in the bottom of the 7th inning in 1 game in August because the Indians were winning. he was the DH for 1 game.
final thoughts: this year's Minnesota team was Michael's Achilles heel in the division and if the batting average didn't tip you off that something was awry here, then the number of runners he stranded definitely did. it wasn't until the final two series in August that he really figured out how to hit their pitching. better late than never i suppose.
vs. the Detroit Tigers, Michael bat .329 (23-for-70) in 17 of 19 games--8 of the 10 at home and 9 on the road--in 2018. (he had 1 scheduled day off during one March/April home series and he had 1 scheduled day off during one September home series--the day after the Indians clinched the division.) the Indians went 12-5 in the games he played in and 1-1 in the games he did not play in. overall, Michael had 17 singles and 6 extra base hits, including 3 doubles, 1 triple, and 2 home runs, as well as 7 RBI, 10 runs, 6 walks, 1 hit by pitch, 2 stolen bases (2nd), 6 first at bat hits, and 34 total bases. he also reached base on 1 fielder's choice, reached base on 1 forceout, grounded into 1 double play, had 7 strikeouts (5 swinging, 2 looking), and left 21 men on base. furthermore, he had a .390 OBP, .486 SLG, and .875 OPS. in left field, Michael recorded 16 putouts and acquired 1 assist while playing 112 innings, but only 9 complete games. he was lifted for a pinch runner in the bottom of the 6th inning in 1 game in March/April because the Indians were winning a blowout and Terry Francona wanted to give him some extra rest, he was lifted for a pinch runner in the top of the 9th inning in 1 game in May because the Indians were winning, he was subbed out defensively after 7 innings in 1 game in June because he Indians were winning, he was subbed out defensively after 7 innings in 1 game in July because the Indians were winning, and he was subbed out defensively after 5 innings in 1 game in September because the Indians were winning a blowout. he was the DH for 3 games.
final thoughts: Michael dominated Detroit with his bat, as usual, and he may have done even more damage against them had he not been taken out of so many games early due to comfortable leads and blowouts. but this is the type of showing i expect from Michael, so i am very pleased.
vs. the Chicago White Sox, Michael bat .343 (23-for-67) in 17 of 19 games--9 at home and 8 of the 10 on the road--in 2018. (he had 1 scheduled day off during one June road series and he had 1 scheduled day off during one September road series.) the Indians went 12-5 in the games he played in and 2-0 in the games he did not play in. overall, Michael had 16 singles and 7 extra base hits, including 3 doubles and 4 home runs, as well as 7 RBI, 1 sac fly, 16 runs, 6 walks, 1 hit by pitch, 2 stolen bases (2nd), 1 caught stealing (3rd), 6 first at bat hits, and 38 total bases. he also reached base on 1 fielder's choice, reached base on 1 fielding error, reached on catcher interference once, reached base on 1 passed ball (after a swinging strikeout), grounded into 3 double plays, had 8 strikeouts (6 swinging, 2 looking), and left 33 men on base. furthermore, he had a .400 OBP, .567 SLG, and .967 OPS. in left field, Michael recorded 24 putouts while playing 137 innings, but only 12 complete games. he was subbed out defensively after 5 innings in 1 game in May because the Indians were winning, he was lifted for a pinch runner in the bottom of the 7th inning in 1 game in June because the Indians were winning, he was lifted for a pinch runner in the top of the 8th inning in 1 game in August because the Indians were winning, he was removed as a precaution after 5 innings in 1 game in September because he had fouled a ball off his right calf in an earlier at bat and it stiffened up, and he was lifted for a pinch runner in the top of the 7th inning in 1 game in September because the Indians were winning a blowout.
final thoughts: Michael had a nice number of extra base hits when playing Chicago and i like how he still managed to reach base in multiple situations that could have easily ended up as outs. not to mention his teammates did a really great job bringing him home after he got on. although he personally did leave a lot of guys on base, this was yet another solid performance against another division team.
vs. the Kansas City Royals, Michael bat .290 (20-for-69) in 17 of 19 games--8 of the 9 at home and 9 of the 10 on the road--in 2018. (he had 1 scheduled day off during one September home series and 1 scheduled day off during one September road series.) the Indians went 11-6 in the games he played in and 1-1 in the games he did not play in. overall, Michael had 16 singles and 4 extra base hits, including 2 doubles and 2 home runs (1 being a grand slam), as well as 14 RBI, 1 sac fly, 10 runs, 4 walks, 1 hit by pitch, 1 stolen base (2nd), 8 first at bat hits, and 28 total bases. he also reached base on 1 fielder's choice, grounded into 4 double plays, had 9 strikeouts (5 looking, 4 swinging), and left 23 men on base. furthermore, he had a .333 OBP, .406 SLG, and .739 OPS. in left field, Michael recorded 30 putouts, acquired 1 assist, and turned 1 double play while playing 131 innings, but only 12 complete games. he was subbed out defensively after 7 innings in 1 game in July because the Indians were winning a blowout, he was subbed out defensively after 6 innings in 1 game in September because the Indians were winning a blowout, he was subbed out defensively after 6 innings in 1 game in September because the Indians were losing and he had played enough, and he was lifted for a pinch runner in the top of the 7th inning in 1 game in September because it was the final game of the year and he had played enough. he was the DH for 1 game.
final thoughts: Michael hit Kansas City well and thanks to his grand slam, he had an excellent RBI total against them this year. he put some nice defense on display in left field when facing the Royals, too. thumbs up from me again.
other than the Twins, Michael's divisional play was just as i expected it to be. do you feel the same? let me know in a comment below!
the Indians played a total of 20 games against five National League teams this year. Michael played in 19 of those games. the Indians went 12-7 in the games he played in and lost the game he did not play in. overall, Michael bat .310 (22-for-71) in Interleague Play in 2018. normally, IL play has been one of Michael's few weaknesses, but this year he made a big improvement from seasons past and put on an impressive performance against NL pitching.👌
vs. the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field and Wrigley Field (no designated hitter allowed), Michael bat .385 (5-for-13) in 3 of the 4 games--1 of the 2 home games in March/April and 2 road games in May. (he had 1 scheduled day off during March/April home series.) the Indians went 3-0 in the games he played in and lost the game he did not play in. overall, Michael had 5 singles, 1 RBI, 2 runs, 1 walk, 1 caught stealing (2nd), 1 first at bat hit, and 5 total bases. he also had 1 strikeout swinging and left 6 men on base. furthermore, he had a .429 OBP, .385 SLG, and .813 OPS. in left field, Michael played 26 innings, but only 2 complete games. he was subbed out defensively after 8 innings in 1 game in May because the Indians were winning and Michael had done more than enough in the game. he recorded 6 putouts and acquired 1 assist and 1 double play as well.
vs. the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park (no designated hitter allowed) and Progressive Field, Michael bat .286 (4-for-14) in 4 games--2 road games in May and 2 home games in June. the Indians went 3-1 in the games he played in. overall, Michael had 3 singles, 1 extra base hit--a double, 2 RBI, 2 runs, 2 walks, 1 first at bat hit, and 5 total bases. he also reached base on 1 throwing error, had 1 strikeout looking, and left 4 men on base. furthermore, he had a .375 OBP, .357 SLG, and .732 OPS. in left field, Michael played 35 innings/4 complete games and recorded 6 putouts.
vs. the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium (no designated hitter allowed), Michael bat .200 (2-for-10) in 3 road games in June. the Indians went 1-2 in the games he played in. overall, Michael had 1 single, 1 extra base hit--a double, 2 runs, 3 walks, and 3 total bases. he also had 1 strikeout swinging and left 2 man on base. furthermore, he had a .385 OBP, .300 SLG, and .685 OPS. in left field, Michael played 24 innings, but only 2 complete games. he was subbed out defensively after 7 innings in 1 game because the Indians were losing a blowout. he recorded 4 putouts and committed 1 error as well.
vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates at Progressive Field, Michael bat .222 (2-for-9) in 3 home games in July. the Indians went 1-2 in the games he played in. overall, Michael had 2 singles, 1 sac bunt, and 2 total bases. he also had 1 strikeout swinging and left 1 man on base. furthermore, he had a .222 OBP, .222 SLG, and .444 OPS. in left field, Michael played 20 innings, but only 2 complete games. he was subbed out defensively after 5 innings in 1 game because the Indians were losing a blowout. he recorded 2 putouts as well.
vs. the Cincinnati Reds at Progressive Field and Great American Ball Park (no designated hitter allowed), Michael bat .360 (9-for-25) in 6 games--3 home games in July and 3 road games in August. the Indians went 4-2 in the games he played in. overall, Michael had 7 singles, 2 extra base hits--doubles, 4 RBI, 7 runs, 3 walks, 2 first at bat hits, and 11 total bases. he also reached base on 1 fielding error, had 3 strikeouts (2 swinging, 1 looking), and left 5 men on base. furthermore, he had a .429 OBP, .440 SLG, and .869 OPS. in left field, Michael played 48 innings, but only 4 complete games. he was subbed out defensively after 4 innings in 1 game in July because the Indians were winning a blowout, and he was subbed out defensively after 8 innings in 1 game in August because the Indians were winning a blowout. he recorded 12 putouts as well.
how did you feel about Michael's IL play in 2018? leave all your thoughts in a comment!
a lot of Michael's final stats fell within the Top 10 among qualifying players around the American League and MLB in 2018, especially when comparing them to AL left fielders. note: a couple of NL teams played a Game 163 on October 1, ultimately changing some of Michael's MLB rankings, particularly among LF. here they all are (per mlb.mlb.com/stats and fangraphs.com):
among qualifying left fielders in the American League, Michael ranked 1st in singles (121); 2nd in hits (176) and batting average (.309); 3rd in doubles (36) and OBP (.364); 4th in OPS (.832); tied for 4th in stolen bases (12); 5th in at bats (570); 6th in runs (89), total bases (267), and plate appearances (631); tied for 6th in sac flies (6); 7th in SLG (.468); 8th in extra base hits (55) and RBI (76); 9th in home runs (17) and games played (143); tied for 9th in hit by pitches (5); and tied for 10th in sac bunts (1). Michael also ranked 10th out of 10 players in strikeouts (60), meaning he was the hardest qualifying AL LF to strike out in 2018.
among qualifying outfielders in the American League, Michael was 1st in singles; 4th in hits and batting average; tied for 7th in sac flies; 8th in doubles and at bats; and 9th in plate appearances, OBP, and OPS. besides that, out of 28 players, he was 28th in strikeouts, or the toughest qualifying outfielder to strike out in the American League this year.
among qualifying players in the American League, Michael ranked tied for 4th in singles, 5th in batting average, and 7th in hits. in addition, he ranked 66th in strikeouts out of 68 qualifying players, so was the 3rd hardest AL player to K in 2018.
among all qualifying left fielders in the Major Leagues, Michael was 2nd in singles; 3rd in hits and batting average; 4th in doubles and OBP; 7th in at bats and OPS; tied for 7th in sac flies, runs, and stolen bases; 8th in plate appearances; 9th in total bases; and tied for 10th in sac bunts. he was also tied for 22nd of 22 qualifying players in strikeouts, or tied for the toughest left fielder in MLB to strike out this season.
among all qualifying outfielders in the Major Leagues, Michael ranked 4th in singles, 5th in batting average, 7th in hits, and 10th in doubles. he additionally ranked tied for 56th out of 56 players in strikeouts, meaning he was tied for the hardest qualifying MLB OF to strike out in 2018.
among all qualifying players in the Major Leagues, Michael was 8th in batting average and tied for 10th in singles. his strikeouts were also tied for 138th out of 140 qualifying players, making him tied for the 3rd hardest player to strike out in all of Major League Baseball this year.
what did you think of Michael's league rankings? leave a comment below!
In Indians History📕
Michael hit two grand slams in one month this year, on May 1 versus the Texas Rangers and May 11 versus the Kansas City Royals, and became the first Indian to hit two consecutive home runs in the form of grand slams since Ben Broussard did it in 2004, according to Joe Noga's article on cleveland.com. Michael was also the first Indian with two slams in the same month since 2006, when Travis Hafner hit two in both May and July of that season. in addition, Pronk and Shin-Soo Choo were the last Indians to hit at least two grannies in one season (2006) before Michael did this year.💪💪
on July 28, when Michael played in the game against the Detroit Tigers, he became the 30th Indians player in franchise history to play 1,000 MLB games with the club, per WTAM 1100 radio broadcaster Tom Hamilton. you can read all the details about the milestone in my special separate Brantley's 1,000th Major League Game! blog post.
In The Field & League Rankings
when Michael played in the outfield in 2018, he was always in left field only. overall, he had 221 putouts, 6 assists, 1 error, and 2 double plays in 228 total chances. he finished the season with a .996 fielding percentage in 134 games and 1136.1 innings played. despite many people being unsure that Michael could still play in the field, he played the most games and most innings out of all the Indians' outfielders this season. he also made several impressive catches in left, including over-the-shoulders, dives, and at the walls. not only that, he threw out six runners this year and turned two double plays, proving he's still got a dangerous arm.
he did commit one error when a ball bounced off his glove as he ran in to field it on June 26, but after that, Michael put together a nice 74-game errorless streak in the outfield to close out the season. this streak will continue into next year when he will aim to get closer to his career high 247 consecutive errorless games in the outfield, regardless of what team he's with. the 247 games are also an Indians franchise record and if he doesn't stay with the Tribe, i think it will be a long time before any other Indian breaks his record.
now here are the league rankings of Michael's defensive stats for 2018:
among AL left fielders, Michael's 6 assists in 2018 ranked 7th. Andrew Benintendi of the Boston Red Sox had the most assists with 11. in addition, Michael's 2 double plays ranked tied for 1st with 5 other players. he also played the 2nd most games (134) and 2nd most innings (1136.1) of all AL LF.
among all MLB left fielders, Michael's 6 assists ranked tied for 11th with Marcell Ozuna of the St. Louis Cardinals and Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
among all AL outfielders, Michael's 6 assists ranked tied for 23rd (with 3 other players).
among all MLB outfielders, Michael's 6 assists ranked tied for 38th (with 11 other players).
the 2018 MLB OF assist leaders are Benintendi, Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds, and Mitch Haniger of the Seattle Mariners with 12.
what's coming up next:
Brantley's 2018 ALDS #s
previous wrap up posts:
Part 1: Brantley's 2018 Game-by-Game Numbers & Notes
Part 2: Brantley's 2018 Batting Order Position & LF/PH/DH #s
keep following me on twitter @clevelandgirl23 for all the latest news about Michael and live tweets of his playoff plate appearances. (note: i won't be live tweeting the games i go to, one per round, fyi. though it doesn't look like the Indians will be advancing after this one so...) i'm also going to continue #CelebratingMichaelBrantley every Monday throughout the postseason. you know the drill, search back through the hashtag to see all the best moments from Michael's career and add whatever memories you have to the thread, too!🎉
i have a bunch of blogs planned for this month, so you might want to join my subscription list to get notifications when those go up. just enter your email address in the box underneath the Blog Archive sidebar over on the upper right side of this page! so simple!📧
did you make your postseason predictions yet? i know the ALDS is already underway, but you can leave your guesses in a comment below anyway because i wanna know!
who do you think will win the American League Division Series, Houston or Cleveland, and how many games will it take?
what will Michael's ALDS batting average be, how many HR will he hit, and how many RBI will he acquire?💭