Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wrapping Up Brantley's 2018 Season + Postseason

hi again, Brantley fans. i'm back with a final blog to wrap up Michael's year. this was extremely hard for me to write, knowing in my heart that 2018 was his last season with the Cleveland Indians. a lot of tears have been shed since October 8 and i'm not afraid to admit it's been difficult looking back on things that we're not going to see Michael do with the Tribe ever again, so i needed extra time to put this together and i apologize that i didn't get it published sooner.πŸ˜”

the culmination of my wrap up series features a selective set of Michael's final numbers, but it mostly contains a season sum-up, my favorite moments from the year, comparisons to past seasons, and a review of my preseason predictions vs. what really transpired. and at the very end, i also included countdowns to 2019 and personal thank yous to all of my top Tribe sources that i look to for news on Dr. Smooth, as well as the people who visited, read, and shared my posts in 2018!πŸ‘

before i get started, here are the previous Brantley wrap up blogs i wrote earlier this month, detailing things like Michael's daily game lines, BOP breakdowns, situational #s, career highs, team leads, league rankings, and
other stats:
Part 1: Brantley's 2018 Game-by-Game Numbers & Notes
Part 2: Brantley's 2018 Batting Order Position & LF/PH/DH #s
Part 3: Brantley's 2018 Situational #s & Statistics

now for the last time, here are Michael's final #s for the 2018 regular season:

Michael had a total of 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)

OBP: .364

SLG: .468

OPS: .832 

overall #s while playing the outfield: 221 putouts, 6 assists, 1 error, 2 double plays, .996 fielding percentage (1136.1 innings, 134 games)

and here are Michael's final #s for the 2018 Postseason/ALDS:

Michael had 12 plate appearances and 10 at bats in 3 games (25 innings). in total, he had 2 hits, 2 singles, 1 RBI, 1 sac fly, 1 walk, 1 strikeout swinging, 2 total bases, 7 putouts, and 1 assist.

2018 Postseason/ALDS batting average: .200 (2-10)

OBP: .250

SLG: .200

OPS: .450 

overall #s while playing the outfield: 7 putouts, 1 assist, 0 errors, 0 double plays, 1.000 fielding percentage (25 innings, 3 games)

what a year our boy had, huh? those numbers certainly look AL Comeback Player of the Year-worthy to me.πŸ₯‡ that's right, in case you missed it, Michael was nominated for that very award earlier today and you can read all about it in my Brantley Named Finalist For 2018 AL Comeback Player of the Year blog. but i am so happy that Michael didn't have to deal with any recurring injury issues, that his right ankle fully recovered from offseason surgery and there were no setbacks, and that he put experienced a typical amazing Michael Brantley type season.

flashback: a week after the conclusion of the Indians' season last year, we were all surprised with the news that Michael had surgery. in 2016, Michael had season-ending surgery on his right biceps, and in 2015, Michael had offseason surgery for his torn labrum. what do all of those procedures have in common? they altered the way Michael normally prepares in the offseason for his upcoming season. now, unless we're going to find some breaking news online later this week, i think he's finally in the clear and won't be going under the knife. therefore, Michael can, at long last, have a regular winter and do his offseason regime properly and without restrictions. (if you never read that blog from spring 2015, i highly recommend you do. it brought back some nice memories of Michael.) with all the usual batting practice he'll be able to do in December and January ahead of spring training, i think he's going to have an outstanding 2019. too bad it's not going to be with us.😞

i never lost faith or stopped believing in Michael, that was well documented here. on the contrary, a lot of fans did, which was also well documented here. it's absolutely hilarious to me how SO MANY INDIANS FANS COMPLAINED when Michael's club option for 2018 was picked up last November. so let me take a minute or two to apologize to those who were against the decision to bring Michael back. okay, i am sorry that you had to be subjected to watching "injury-prone" Michael play 143 games and bat .309 for the Tribe this year. i also apologize that Michael took a spot away from MVP-candidate Jay BruceπŸ™„ and took money away from the Indians being able to bring Carlos Santana back, because that's all it would have taken--Brant's $12 mill option was the missing link to get Santana to reject the deal from the Phillies and stay in Cleveland, don't y'all know? i'm sorry you had to suffer through Michael's terrific 2018 comeback performance, where he didn't battle any injuries and was named an All Star for the third time in his career. that must have been terrible for you.πŸ’©

i'm not even going to address the "fans" who additionally wanted Michael to move to 1st base and/or be relegated to the team's designated hitter. **shakes head** he sure showed all you people.πŸ–• haven't you learned yet to never doubt Michael Brantley? oh and i have to get this in once more: IπŸ‘TOLDπŸ‘YOUπŸ‘SO!πŸ‘

and remember, Michael came right out and admitted that he read all those negative posts from people who turned their backs on him. (another reason i figure he won't consider working out a deal to return to Cleveland in 2019.😟) now, SO MANY INDIANS FANS are singing a completely different tune, saying how the Indians need to find a way to re-sign Michael for 2019 and/or beyond because he's the only consistent hitter the team has. facepalm.

but enough about all that. it's time to revisit Michael Brantley's 2018 campaign one last time.

Season Summary

Michael played a full season for the first time since 2015, but that occurrence wasn't a given based on how his year began. when he reported to spring training in February, he was still in the process of rehabbing his right ankle. he was only able to play in a few Cactus League games before the Indians broke camp, so Michael stayed behind to keep playing in extended spring and build up the endurance for a full workload. and so he opened the 2018 season on the 10-Day DL.

after missing the first week of the season/two road series/six total games, Michael was activated on April 6, which just so happened to be the Indians' Home Opener. batting 5th in the lineup against a left-handed starter, he went 1-for-4 in the contest versus the Kansas City Royals, hitting a critical go-ahead, 2-run single to give him his first hit and RBIs of the campaign. sure looked like Dr. Smooth was back!

photo courtesy of Tony Dejak via Associated Press
photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via the Plain Dealer

despite the cold temperatures, Michael continued to swing a hot stick all throughout April. he received a day off here and there, but he felt good and started the season out strong. the only real disappointment was the loss of Michael's 3rd spot in the order. he was now alternating between hitting 4th when a right-hander was starting and 5th when a lefty was on the mound.

the month of May was magnificent for Michael. he hit two grand slams, both of which were the first two he'd ever hit, and became the first Indian with two grannies in one month since Travis Hafner in 2006. (source: Joe Noga's article on cleveland.com.) the month was also highlighted by a 19-game hitting streak and a career high 26 RBI and seven HR for the month. based on that, i thought Michael was going to have a monster season stats-wise. and of course i already began envisioning Michael at the 2018 All Star Game and being named the Comeback Player of the Year.πŸ‘‘ lol maybe it had something to do with Michael getting promoted up to the 2nd spot in the lineup on May 11 (thanks to Jason Kipnis' problems hitting), or perhaps that was just a coincidence. another coincidence was Michael became a qualifying player following the May 11 game and officially led the team with his (.327) batting average. Michael's May .333 average, strange as it may seem, was not the highest on the team for the month, as teammate Francisco Lindor bat .373. Lindor won AL Player of the Month for May, but Michael did receive votes for the honor as well. (source: Joe Noga's article on cleveland.com.)

everything seemed to change, however, after Michael's hitting streak ended on May 31. his performance in June was the complete opposite of his first two months. he really struggled at the plate, going hitless in eight of the 25 games he played in. his situational hitting was poor, not to mention he only bat .250 (25-for-100) for the month, which brought his season average down 31 points! yikes.😲 the best thing to come out of Michael's June was that he set a new career high by getting on base in 24 straight home games, which expanded to 27 later in July. oh and he also played well in the Interleague series with the Milwaukee Brewers, going 3-for-8.

many exciting things transpired for Michael in July, especially before the break. he acquired his 500th career RBI on July 4, a few days before he scored his 500th career run on July 6, and a few days before he was selected to the 2018 AL All Star team on July 8.⭐ it was his second straight All Star nod and third overall. Michael was chosen by his peers to be an outfield reserve in each ASG. in this year's Midsummer Classic, he not only got a hit but also obtained his very first All Star Game RBI, by way of a sac fly. Michael reached another career milestone when he played in his 1,000th Major League Game on July 28.

conversely, Michael got off to a very slow start coming out of the All Star break, batting .200 (9-for-45) in the second half of July. after July 30, Michael's average on the season dropped under .300 for the first time since April 12 (which was Game #6 for him). sadder still, Michael lost the team lead in BA on July 21 after holding it for 71 days. he regained the lead on July 23, but lost it again on July 31. he also finished July in the midst of an 0-for-13 slump at the plate.

his final two months of the regular season looked like the Mike we know and love. he briefly took the team lead back in batting average on August 7 before losing it again on August 8. but he was the hero of the day on August 9 when he hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 9th inning versus the Minnesota Twins. then, at long last, Michael's batting average after the game on August 20 led the team again and he continued to hold that team high for the rest of 2018. in fact, once he became a qualifier (on May 11, remember), Michael boasted the highest batting average on the Indians for all except 21 days (including three days when he didn't even play). what's more, Michael put together a .333 average for August, leading all Indians' qualifiers.

he had a great month of August on the road and with RISP, too, which had been some struggle points for him this season. another positive change was the he was more aggressive on the basepaths and in left field, whereas early on in the year, many commented that his gait was visibly off. i think knowing that his ankle was fine and that no issues had recurred gave him a bit of confidence and so he was running more and unafraid.

while Michael got some extra time off in September ahead of the playoffs, he remained a qualifier and had a .341 BA for the month, highest on the Tribe for the second month in a row. Michael saw major improvements in a couple categories in September, specifically against left-handed pitching, on the road, and with 2 outs in an inning. i mean, he really excelled in those areas compared to past months.

on the other hand, Michael wasn't delivering much with runners in scoring position. not only that, but he also had difficulty getting hits with runners on base in general. and that's the main culprit for him only totaling six RBI in September, which i admit was dissatisfying. he went 0-for-7 in eight plate appearances with RISP and 0-for-11 in 12 PA with runners on at one point this month. his season concluded with him going 0-for-8 with runners on in his last nine plate appearances.

Michael definitely had some large slumps that came and went at different times this season and that explains why he finished the season batting .254 (36-for-142) with RISP. so this was a down-season for Dr. Smooth, but hey, it happens. bright side, he went 7-for-12 with the bases loaded with two grand slams and 18 RBI so... that's pretty good.

the last thing i want to comment on is Michael's September strikeout rate of 16.8%. that was his highest of any month in 2018 and he looked like he was getting fooled by a lot of the pitches he saw. he swung and missed at several balls that were low and outside the strike zone and therefore, racked up a high total of strikeouts in his final month. Michael struck out at least once in each his last four games of the year, totaling five. that's very atypical for him.

moving on to some better news, for the first time in his career, Michael was healthy and actually played in the AL Central Division clinch game on September 15, going 2-for-3 with his 16th homer of the year!

photo courtesy of David Maxwell via Getty Images

"i'm savoring every moment of this. this never gets old to me. this is a lot of hard work that this group has put in to get to this point. it's all well-deserved, well-earned, and i'm glad to be a part of it." (source: Jordan Bastian's article on mlb.com/indians.)

Michael hit his second walk-off RBI single of the season and 7th walk-off of his career on September 22, this one coming against a tough Boston Red Sox team in the bottom of the 11th inning. he went 3-for-6 in the game actually. Michael also ended his 2018 campaign riding a 9-game hitting streak as well!

a big concern for many Tribe writers and fans was if Michael was going to be healthy and play in a significant number of games to warrant the team's decision to pick up his $12 million club option. well, let me tell ya, Michael's right ankle was a non-issue this year, thankfully. the man did his rehab the right way, like he always does, so i'm not sure why there would have been any doubt that he wouldn't be capable of not only making a comeback, but playing to his highest abilities. he was the perfect bill of health this season except for a few minor self-inflicted injuries. Michael fouled a ball of his left ankle on September 5 and got one game off to rest it. then on September 25, he fouled a ball off his right calf and was removed from that game as a precaution. neither became a hindrance, though i'm sure both left a bruise.⚾

when the calendar flipped over to October, Michael was ready for the postseason. "very excited," Michael exclaimed ahead of ALDS Game 1 against the Houston Astros on October 5. "um, i'm excited to go out there with these, this great group of guys that worked hard, you know, this whole season to get to this point and uh, go out there and, you know, see what we can do. uh, this is what you work so hard for in spring and throughout the year to, for this postseason and we're all looking forward to it." (source: FOX Sports Ohio's youtube video.)

unfortunately, Michael was rendered mostly ineffective (as most of his teammates were) in the three-game series sweep. he played all three games in left field and went 1-for-3 in Game 1, 0-for-4 in Game 2, and 1-for-3 in Game 3 with an RBI sac fly, marking his first career RBI in the postseason. (considering the team scored just six runs in the series, i wouldn't knock that his ribbie came via a sacrifice.) prior to Michael's 0-fer in the second contest, he actually had a 2-game hitting streak and 3-game on-base streak in the postseason dating back to the 2017 ALDS versus the New York Yankees. as for his situational hitting, Michael came to bat twice with runners in scoring position and he drew one walk and then his the sac fly. that's better than what some players did, or didn't do. Michael also got a hit in his final at bat of the series, which i thought was a perfect way to end what was probably his career with the Indians. in addition, defensively, Michael acquired one outfield assist for his first postseason assist.

i'm saddened that the Indians' playoff run was so quick and that Michael didn't get more time to try and better his numbers and make a real impact. a Game 4 or four more at bats and his postseason numbers could have wound up very different.

Michael spoke with the media at his locker after the loss to express his gratitude for his time with the Tribe. "i'm very thankful for putting on a Cleveland Indian uniform, one. i'm very thankful for every player that i played in, played with in this organization that helped me get to where i'm at in this point. uh, it'll never be forgotten and i'll always be very appreciative for whatever everybody has ever done for me, including the fans. thank you, guys. i thank everybody."

then a reporter asked if Michael thought he would be back. "uh, we'll find out together. uh, i'm not sure, i mean, the game just ended. i got, i gotta sit down with my family and we'll make a decision and then we'll see what happens. i don't know." (source: a video on mlb.com/indians.)

before i shut the book on this, i want to leave some thoughts from Terry Francona about having Michael back in April. "i think our team is different when he's here. not just his bat, his presence in the lineup. but his steadiness in the outfield, the teammate he is. the way he competes. i think he makes everybody better. myself included. i know it's a nice feeling during a game when he's here." (source: Chris Assenheimer's article on chronclet.com.)

it's certainly looking like there will be an unfamiliar feeling around the team next year when he's no longer a part of it.😭

share any comments or thoughts you might have from Michael's 2018 campaign in the comment section.

here are all the links to every monthly Brantley blog i wrote in 2018 if you missed any of them or care to look back on something specific:
Brantley's March/April 2018 #s blog, 
Brantley's May 2018 #s blog, 
Brantley's June 2018 #s blog,

Brantley's July 2018 #s blog, 
Brantley's August 2018 #s blog,
Brantley's September 2018 #s blog, and
Brantley's 2018 ALDS #s blog.

and here are all the special occasion blog posts i wrote throughout this season if you'd like to revisit them:
Brantley's First Career Grand Slam!!! (May 1)
Brantley's Career High 24-Game On-Base Streak at Home! (June 23)
Brantley Acquires 500th Career RBI! (July 4) 
Brantley Named to MLB's 2018 AL All Star Team! (July 8)
Brantley's 2018 All Star Game Experience & #s (w/ Pics & Quotes) (July 17)
Brantley's 1,000th Major League Game! (July 28)
Brantley's 6th Career Walk-off! (August 9)
Brantley's 7th Career Walk-off! (September 22)

Some Final #s & Stats

my previous trio of wrap up posts has all of Michael's final #s for 2018, but i want to include some of them in here as well.

this season, Michael played in 143 of 162 games. he had a hit in 111 of the 143 games he played in 2018 and reached base safely in 127 games.

Michael's 2018 season contained numerous streaks in the form of both hitting and on-base. he had several 7- and 9-game hitting streaks, as well as a 14-game hitting streak on the road (dating back to 2017), 19-game hitting streak, 16-game hitting streak at home. furthermore, Michael finished the campaign with an active 9-game hitting streak and 9-game hitting streak on the road.

Michael also had multiple 9-game on-base streaks, as well as an 18-game on-base streak on the road (dating back to 2017), 21-game on-base streak, 11-game on-base streak on the road, two 15-game on-base streaks, and a career high 27-game on-base streak at home. plus, he has a still active 9-game on-base streak and 9-game on-base streak on the road.

what's more, Michael had 5 consecutive starts with multi-hits this year, three streaks of 3 consecutive multi-hit games, four streaks of 4 consecutive games with an RBI, and a still active 8 consecutive stolen base streak.

in 2018, Michael had 51 multi-hit games, 13 three+ hit games, and 15 multi-RBI games. in addition, he had 14 go-ahead hits and 16 go-ahead RBI. Michael had an RBI in 39.2% of the games he played in this season as well.

Michael entered the history books on July 28 when 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. more information can be found in the subsequent section, My Favorite Michael Brantley Memories & Highlights of 2018!

Michael played 134 games total where he was in the outfield/left field. he started 134 games in left field and completed 105 of those games. he was lifted for a PR in 8 games after playing a total of 54 innings. he was subbed out of 20 games after playing a total of 136 innings. he was removed as a precaution from 1 game after fouling a ball off his right calf after playing a total of 5 innings.

Michael played in 2 games as a PH. he came in to PH in the bottom of the 7th inning in 1 game and he came in to PH in the top of the 10th inning in 1 game.

Michael also played in 7 games as the DH, starting and completing all 7 of those games.

offensively, Michael saw time in four different spots in the batting order this year. after hitting 4th in 21 games and 5th in 4 games early in the season, his BOP changed on May 11, when he bat 2nd in every game he started (116) for the rest of 2018. he also got two at bats in the 6th spot when he came in to PH in two games.

My Favorite Michael Brantley Memories & Highlights of 2018πŸŽ‰

i've already noted most of these highlights in my Season Summary section up above, so here i will provide more details of and some photos from what my favorite memories were from Michael's 2018 season--his last with the Indians.😒

i'm going to start this by talking about Michael debuting in 2018 at the Indians' Home Opener versus the Kansas City Royals. he'd just been activated from the 10-Day DL on the morning of April 6 and met with the media ahead of the game, admitting that he was nervous. "last night, i couldn't sleep. absolutely. i enjoy this game. i couldn't sleep last night. i'm nervous right now speaking to you guys. i've got that nervous energy. it's fun. it's exciting. playing the Home Opener in front of your fans is something you look for. you work all offseason to get to this moment. and to be able to do it, and hear the crowd roar when they hear your name, it's special. you just can't forget it. these are special memories." (source: Paul Hoynes' article on cleveland.com.)

Michael made a positive contribution to the team immediately in his very first at bat of his year. the Indians were down, 2-1, in the bottom of the 1st inning when Michael stepped to the plate. the bases were loaded with Jason Kipnis at 3rd base, Jose Ramirez at 2nd, Edwin Encarnacion at 1st, and no outs. first pitch swinging, Michael sent left-hander Danny Duffy's two-seam fastball into right field for a 2-run single into right field. and so Michael, after a mere one pitch and one at bat, already had his first hit, first two RBI, first go-ahead hit, first go-ahead RBI, and first multi-RBI game of his campaign. that's how you make your presence known and show your importance to the team! it also should have been a sign for the excellent season that was to come from #23.

photo courtesy of Joshua Gunter via The Plain Dealer
photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer

the Indians would not score again in the game and the 3 to 2 score held up, giving the Tribe the victory! after the game, Michael did an on-field interview with Andre Knott, in-game reporter for SportsTime Ohio. why was he aggressive in the 1st inning when he's not an overly aggressive hitter? "first at bat jitters, i guess. i wanted to be aggressive, i wanted to hit a fastball early. it was a perfect pitch, it was right on the inside corner of the plate, i was lucky enough to get just enough barrel to get it over 2nd. it wasn't perfect, but i'll take it any day of the week. ...it's gonna look great in the paper, looks like a line drive to right but uh, hey, it helped us get a victory tonight." (source: FOX Sports Ohio's youtube channel.)

"usually, it's take some pitches and make sure he gets in the zone, but for myself personally, i had a lot of at bats against Duffy in the past and i was just trying to get a fastball early and just trying to put a good swing on it. like i said before, i had some nervous jitters in my first AB of the year. i was excited. so uh, he made a great pitch. i was able to just get enough of it just to get over 2nd base. i'll take it all day." (source: a video on mlb.com/indians.)

i have more quotes and pictures in the Michael's Final Home Opener with the Indians section of the March/April #s blog here.

the first really exciting thing that i think happened for Michael this year was when he hit his first career grand slam on May 1 at home versus the Texas Rangers. it came in the bottom of the 9th inning with 2 outs, Bradley Zimmer at 3rd base, Francisco Lindor at 2nd base, Kipnis at 1st base, and the Tribe trailing, 6-2. after an 0-2 count from right-handed closer Keone Kela, Michael hit a high fly ball to deep right field for a game-tying grand slam!

photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer
photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

after the game, which the Indians went on to lose 8-6 in 12 innings, Michael had this to say about his slam: "it was great. it was awesome to do it at home, in front of your home fans, so you get the cheers and not the boos. it came at a good time, where it got us back in the ballgame and gave us a chance to win the ballgame. i think that was most important."

what was he thinking once the count got to 0-2? did he change his approach? "the same thing i'm thinking anytime. get a good strike to hit. i don't change my approach with two strikes. i'm still trying to see the ball up and trying to get a good pitch to hit. nothing changes with me."  (source: Jordan Bastian and Andrew Mearns' article on mlb.com/cut4.)

for more details, you can read the separate blog i wrote about Michael's granny here.

to keep these in chronological order, let me next talk about the results of the first game of a doubleheader on May 3 versus the Toronto Blue Jays. at the conclusion of the contest, Michael went 3-for-6 with two doubles, two runs, one walk, and one reached (2nd) base on a fielding error. on May 8, however, it was announced that the error was changed to a game-tying RBI double. so Michael ended up with a four-hit game, going 4-for-5, with three of the hits being doubles and all of the doubles coming in his final three ABs of that game.

yeah that was kind of an "unfun" way to get a four-hit game, not actually obtaining it during the game but... the scoring change was a big deal too because that four-hit game--the only one Michael had in the season--gave Michael at least one four+ hit game in nine of his 10 seasons in the majors. from 2009-2016, Michael had a streak of eight straight seasons with at least one four+ hit game. his 2017 campaign was the lone one of his career that he did not manage to have a four-hit game. Michael now has 12 four+ hit games in his MLB career.

Michael's longest hitting streak this season spanned from May 9-30. in this 19-game hitting streak, three shy of his career high, he bat .366 (30-for-82) with five 2-hit games and three 3-hit games. offensively, he hit three doubles and six home runs, one of which was a grand slam (the second of his career), to give him nine extra base hits and 51 total bases. Michael also had 19 RBI (vs. 33 LOB), 21 runs, six walks, one hit by pitch, one stolen base (2nd), one caught stealing (2nd), four GIDP, and seven strikeouts (5 swinging, 2 looking) in 89 plate appearances and 82 at bats. furthermore, he had a .416 OBP, .622 SLG, and 1.038 OPS over these 19 games. defensively, Michael played 148 innings in left field in 17 games and recorded 23 putouts, acquired one assist, and turned one double play. he was the DH in 2 games during this time period as well.

a very special moment occurred in Michael's career on July 4 when the Indians played the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. in his first at bat in the top of the 1st inning with Lindor at 2nd base (after stealing it on the 0-1 pitch), no outs, and no score, Michael hit a go-ahead, line drive double to right field on the 5th pitch of a 1-2 count from right-hander Trevor Oaks. the significance here lies in the fact that this represented the 500th RBI of Michael's career! please refer to the separate blog i wrote about the milestone here for more deets. 

Michael set a new record for himself in the game versus the Oakland Athletics when he reached base in his first at bat. in the bottom of the 1st inning with Lindor at 1st base, no outs, and no score, Michael faced righty Edwin Jackson. Michael sent Jackson's 2-1 pitch into left field for a double. that gave him a career high 27-game on-base streak at home! prior to this, Michael's longest home on-base streak was a 23-gamer, which he originally obtained in 2012. this year, Michael broke that record by reaching in his 24th straight home game on June 23. then he extended his streak to 27 games before he finally went hitless and reached base-less on July 8. the overall streak took place from 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.

i wrote a separate blog when Michael first set his new record this year on June 23, which you can revisit here.

on July 8, the ESPN All Star Selection Show revealed that Michael had been named to the AL All Star team! for the third time in his career, Michael was going to the Midsummer Classic after being chosen as an outfield reserve by his peers!

"it's great," Michael said. "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." (source: cleveland.com's youtube video.)

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." (source: Jordan Bastian's Pregame Minutiae blog on bastian.mlblogs.com.)

i thought it was also really sweet when Lindor acknowledged the impact Michael's had on him. "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." (source: T.J. Zuppe's twitter photo.)

and i loved Michael's response. "is that good or bad? ...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." (source: Jordan Bastian's Pregame Minutiae blog on bastian.mlblogs.com.)

photos courtesy of @Indians on twitter

during the game on July 17 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Michael went 1-for-2. he got his hit in the top of the 7th inning with the AL led the NL, 2-1. after an 0-1 count from lefty Felipe Vazquez of the Pittsburgh Pirates, when he hit a high fly ball to left field that dropped in for a 2-out single.

photo courtesy of @Indians on twitter
photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

Michael's last trip to the plate in the top of the 10th inning was my favorite of the night. the AL was leading, 7-5, at that point and Michael came to bat with Jean Segura of the Seattle Mariners at 3rd base, Mitch Moreland of the Boston Red Sox at 1st, and 1 out. he swung at right-handed LA Dodger Ross Stripling's first offering and hit a sacrifice fly to left field. that marked Michael's first career RBI in an All Star Game! 

"this was my first RBI in an All Star Game and i've got a couple of hits already, so it was nice to check that box. it was great to play in front of these fans. they were electric. i was blessed to be here.

"when i sit back and think about all the hard work it took to get back to this level, i want to thank my teammates for helping me get here and all the players who voted for me. that's why i embraced it." (source: Paul Hoynes' article on cleveland.com.)

i have a lot more information in the separate blog i wrote about Michael's ASG experience here.

Michael reached another big moment in his career on July 28 when he played in his 1,000th Major League Game! it just so happened to be against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, which is where Michael made his Major League debut with the Indians back on September 1, 2009. the results were the same too, as he went 2-for-4 at the plate in both. in achieving this feat, Michael became the 30th Tribe player in club history to play in 1,000 games with the team!

check out my separate blog with breakdowns of all his at bats from this game here.

now comes some really fun memories! let me first recollect Michael's walk-off RBI single on August 9 versus the Minnesota Twins! it was his first walk-off hit of the season and the 6th walk-off of his career! it materialized in the bottom of the 9th inning with the game tied at 4, 1 out, and Greg Allen on 3rd base. Michael was up against righty Addison Reed and after a 2-1 count, he hit a ground ball single into right field! the Indians won, 5-4, and Michael was the victim of a walk-off celebration mobbing! lol

photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer
photo courtesy of Jordan Bastian via bastian.mlblogs.com
photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer

"i just gotta get the job done for my team. uh, Greg Allen did a great job leading off the inning, getting on base, stealing 2nd. Francisco Lindor put me in that opportunity by getting the guy over and, that's a team effort all the way around to win that, win that game right there." (source: a video on mlb.com/indians.) 

"i'll take the celebration as long as we're winning. it's tough. you get some Gatorade, get some powder, you name it, it's coming at you. it's a win, everybody gets to celebrate. we get to have a happy flight." (source: Jordan Bastian's article on mlb.com/indians.)

there are a lot more quotes, pictures, and facts in the separate blog i wrote about walk-off #6 here.

one walk-off is hard enough for a player to achieve, so what about when one guy delivers two walk-offs in a season? that's right. Michael got his second walk-off hit in 2018 and 7th walk-off of his career in the game versus the Boston Red Sox on September 22! it came in the bottom of the 11th inning with the game tied at 4, no outs, and the bases loaded. Rajai Davis was at 3rd base, Allen at 2nd, and Lindor at 1st when Michael stepped into the batter's box to face right-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz. after a 1-1 count, Michael hit a single that dropped into left field! Davis scored and the Indians won, 5-4!

photos courtesy of @Indians on twitter
photo courtesy of David Maxwell via Getty Images
photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer

at this time, Michael led the team with two walk-offs on the year. the following day, however, Allen would hit his second walk-off of 2018 and so they ended up tying for walk-off leader of the year.

what was going through Michael's mind as he comes up with that at bat? "really just not try to do too much. you know, the whole goal is to get that runner in from 3rd any way i can and, you know, he has a good breaking ball, you know, a great fastball as well so i was just trying to get a pitch out over the plate and, you know, get it in the outfield somehow, some way."

"yeah, it's great. uh, you know, it was a full house tonight. uh, the fans are into it. it was a, it was a, it was a playoff atmosphere at times, you know, them standing on their feet. uh, we did a great job right there just working some good at bats and, you know, lucky enough to come in a big spot for the team." (source: a video on mlb.com/indians.)

i was at this game and got the whole at bat recorded on video and i can't tell you how ecstatic i was and grateful that i witnessed this all in person.😍

again, there are numerous other quotes, pictures, and videos in the separate blog i wrote here.

this is a bit out of order, but i wanted to keep the two walk-offs together. a video, courtesy of the Indians' twitter, was posted on August 25 with Michael and Josh Tomlin telling dad jokes and it is so funny, i had to include it here.

lastly, i can't not mention the playoffs. while the American League Division Series may not have ended the way Tribe fans wanted it to, and it may also have ended way too quickly thanks to the sweep, it did leave a mark on Michael's postseason resume. in Game 3 of the ALDS/the first (and only) Indians' home game of the series, Michael was in the starting lineup and announced pregame, unlike the 2017 ALDS. that was a special moment.

photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer

Michael was healthy this time around, but the Houston Astros' pitching was so tough that he wasn't able to make much of an impact. the only real highlight for him came in this one home game. i'm talking about what happened in his plate appearance in the bottom of the 3rd inning with Yan Gomes at 3rd base, Kipnis at 2nd, 1 out, and the game still scoreless. after an 0-1 count from southpaw Dallas Keuchel, Michael hit an RBI sac fly to center field to give the Tribe a 1-0 lead! that also gave him his first ever postseason RBI, not just in an ALDS, but the postseason as a whole, and his first go-ahead RBI in a postseason series as well!

photo courtesy of Gregory Shamus via Getty Images

after the loss, Michael offered this explanation: "well, we didn't get a lot of hits, plain and simple. uh, Houston came out and threw the ball really well and uh, we didn't get, we didn't string enough hits together and they beat us fair and square."

"this is a veteran team. uh, we knew what we had to do going into this series and we knew how, you know, we're facing a good team, this is the postseason. uh, you give credit where credit's due. they came out there and pitched the ball well and hit well and, you know, tip your hat. they beat us."

Paul Hoynes then inquired, if this was Michael's last game with the Indians, what does he take away from it? "what do i take away from it? just that it's been an honor. it's been an honor to wear that uniform. it's an honor to, you know, every player that i played with in this organization, for all the help everybody gave me. it was always appreciated and it'll never be forgotten." (source: FOX Sports Ohio's youtube video.)

for more specifics from the game and the rest of the playoff series, please read my separate ALDS blog here.

this was another game that i was at and i took so much video and a ton of pictures of Michael because going into it, i knew the Indians were not going to beat Houston three times and so this was gonna be my final time seeing Michael play as an Indian. even though right now it makes me very sad still to look back at those photos and watch the videos i took of him, because he looks sad in a few videos as well, someday i am going to be happy that i can pull these up on my computer and remember just how good a player the Indians once had in Michael Charles Brantley, Jr.πŸ’—

what were some of your favorite moments from Michael's season? tell me in the comments!

Past Season Comparisons

this section is going to take a look back at some of Michael's past seasons in comparison to 2018. i've included numbers from 2011-2015 and 2017. i cut out 2016 due to Michael having played a mere 11 games and not leaving much to discuss.
Category 2018 2017* 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011

BA .309 .299 .310 .327 .284 .288 .266^

OBP .364 .357 .379 .385 .332 .348 .318
SLG .468 .444 .480 .506 .396 .402 .384
OPS .832 .801 .859 .890 .728 .750 .702

PA 631 375 596 676 611 609 496
AB 570 338 529 611 556 552 451
Games 143 90 137 156 151 149 114

H 176 101 164 200 158 159 120
1B 121 71 104 133 119 112 85
2B 36 20 45 45 26 37 24
3B 2 1 0 2 3 4 4
HR 17 9 15 20 10 6 7
Slams 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
RBI 76 52 84 97 73 60 46
SF 6 4 5 5 8 4 5
R 89 47 68 94 66 63 63
BB 48 31 60 52 40 53 34
IBB 0 3 8 4 1 12 2
HBP 5 2 2 8 4 0 3
SB 12 11 15 23 17 12 13
CS 3 1 1 1 4 9 5
SH 1 0 0 0 3 0 3
SO 60 50 51 56 67 56 76
GDP 15 8 14 16 11 7 11
TB 267 150 254 309 220 222 173
XBH 55 30 60 67 39 47 35
1st ABH 40 24 34 51 42 36 DND**

INN 1136.1 731.0 1034.2 1304.1 1297.1 1237 971
PO 221 135 212 271 257 336 236
A 6 8 8 12 11 5 5
DP 2 1 1 2 1 3 2
E 1 1 2 1 0 1 3
FPCT .996 .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

if your eye goes right to the blue stats, then you'll see Michael only set one career high this season and that was in the grand slams department. now that's something i wasn't sure i'd ever see from Michael since he'd gone so long in his professional career without hitting any. so it was very impressive that he got not only his first granny, but a second one as well. as for more meaningful stats, Michael didn't notch any career numbers in the traditional categories. that doesn't necessarily equal a bad year, however. i personally think he had a very good all-around season, being that it was his first full one since 2015.

here are a few more remarks on some of his other stats:

this year, Michael hit the second-most home runs of his career in one season. i thought he had a shot at 20 again, but it didn't work out. maybe next year.

fun fact: Michael was the first Indian to hit a triple in 2018 and he led the Indians with that triple through May. bet ya didn't see that coming lol but triples aren't generally a big part of Michael's game (nor most players, to be honest), but it was nice to see him get a couple this season.

speaking of speed, Michael's stolen base total was down compared to his more recent qualifying seasons. it is understandable considering he was coming off ankle surgery and i could tell he was erring on the side of caution for the first half of the season and may not have been getting all the best jumps and could have been slower. in the three months, he went 5-for-8 in steals, getting caught three times, whereas in the last three months, he went a perfect 7-for-7. so you see the improvement. he totaled his most caught stealings since 2013 this year, but again, i get it. i doubt he'll be caught that much in 2019...

RBI is really the only stat i was disappointed in this year. i know there were a lot of times when Francisco Lindor cleared the bases ahead of Michael, but Brant had his fair share of opportunities to drive in runners as well. he especially struggled with this task in the second half when his situational hitting/average with RISP was exceptionally and atypically bad. so it's really all on Michael that he didn't get more ribbies. i admit, despite my preseason prediction (which you will see in the next section), as the season got going and i saw that Michael was healthy and playing regularly, i thought he would end up with at least 85 RBI. he had the chances, that's for sure.

Michael almost set a career high in runs scored in 2018. his 89 came very close to his 2014 total. a measly six more runs and he'd have had the record. Jose Ramirez's struggles at the plate over the last six weeks of the regular season directly affected Michael because he couldn't bring him home when he got on base. between he and Edwin Encarnacion batting behind him, it's very shocking that Michael was left stranded 140 times. on paper, you'd think Michael would have scored at least 100 but, no. still, 89 is a great number compared all of his other seasons. who knows if he'll ever get that many in one season again.

Michael's walks were a little low because he didn't become more patient at the plate until the second half of the season. and there were several instances that i can remember when Michael either swung and missed at ball 4 or connected with a pitch while in a hitter's count and his contact resulted in an out. that's bound to happen throughout the course of a year though. furthermore, Michael didn't have any intentional walks for the first time since 2010. and i figured as much once he was moved up into the 2 hole and began batting in front of Ramirez, because what manager is going to put Michael on base so they can willingly face Josey with traffic on the basepaths? no one.

before September, it looked like Michael had a chance to set a career low in strikeouts. what happened with that was Michael had his highest strikeout total in the final month of the season and that messed that whole thing up lol but yeah, he was swinging and missing at a lot of pitches that were low and outside the strike zone, to my surprise. his K rate for that month was abnormally high too, obviously, at 16.8%. for the year, however, it was 9.5%. anything under 10 i consider excellent. additionally, his BB/K for 2018 was 0.80. that's not quite where it should be, a little on the lower side, but not terrible.

Michael also had one sac bunt this year. it was the first time he'd had one since before he became an All Star player and i think he was actually trying to bunt for a hit, but it didn't work out. it's not something Michael usually does, giving himself up but he did it after he was moved up into the 2 hole, where sac bunting can be fairly common. he only did it the one time though because, again, that's not a part of his game.

like i always say, a healthy Michael Brantley is going to bat .300 and he did just that this year. his .309 BA ranked 3rd best among his past seasons. and on the team, well he led all the qualifiers by over 30 points. i don't know who the Indians are going to get to make up for that in 2019 but good luck cause Michael is one of a kind.

Michael also concluded his season with an .832 OPS. that's not his best but nowhere near his worst. he just missed and i mean JUST missed being a "very good player," according to statistician Bill James. his criteria is an OPS falling in the range of .833-.899. so Michael literally could not have been closer. this was his lowest OPS as a qualifier since 2013 and it seems strange because he had a good year hitting-wise. maybe one more game, four more at bats would have increased his final number, but considering he's not a big home run hitter, i still think this was a satisfactory performance.

now let's talk about defense. those damn sabermetric guys think Michael is not a good defender and many people made it known this season that Michael lost the range he once had in the outfield. but get to this, if we're looking at it in terms of his importance to the team, Michael is at the top of the list. just like last year--when he wasn't even a qualifier--Michael played the most innings out of any Tribe outfielders, and this year, he was the only regular who didn't deal with a major injury. besides that, he led the outfielders with two double plays and six assists. the latter lead means that Michael has now led all Indians' outfielders in assists in five of his last six seasons (2013-2018 minus 2016). i've also posted this in a couple other previous blogs, but Terry Francona has praised Michael's ability in left numerous times, citing his accurate arm and quickness with which he gets the ball back in to the infield. and Paul Hoynes, who's been covering the Tribe for decades, proclaimed that no one has played Progressive Field's 19-foot wall better than Michael since the park's opening in 1994. and Hoynsie would know. so i don't really care what the other numbers say, Michael is a fantastic left fielder and the Indians are definitely going to miss the production they used to get from that spot in the field.

does anything from Michael's season stand out to you when comparing his numbers to past years? let me know in a comment below!

Recalling My Preseason Predictions

now i'm going to look back on my preseason predictions for Michael and see just how wrong i was. this oughta be fun lol i took into consideration that Michael was probably going to get extra days off and not play as much as the regulars, though i did assume he'd acquire enough plate appearances to be a qualifying player--an assumption that turned out to be correct!πŸ‘

note: the italicized parts of this section are what i copy and pasted here from my original post that contained my predictions. 

i'm not putting any expectations on Michael to set career highs (though it's certainly possible he could if his ankle is fully healed and nothing else goes wrong) since i'm figuring that he won't be getting as many at bats as most of the other regular starting players in the lineup.

--yeah so that was almost completely dead on, as Michael did not set any career highs in the regular categories. what i never saw coming is that he hit a couple grand slams for the first time in his career, but i'm not complaining.πŸ’ͺ 

i believe the Indians are going to err on the side of caution and give Michael some games off that the other regulars are not getting, especially early on in the season. i'm predicting 135 games played in 2018.

--Michael exceeded my prediction by playing in 143 games this year. truthfully, he could have played in a couple more, but Terry Francona held him out of a few games simply due to pitching matchups and wanting someone else's bat in the lineup. i was just very happy that he didn't miss any games due to an ankle setback or other serious injury.πŸ‘Œ

when Michael is healthy, he's a .300 hitter AT LEAST. so i can't put anything under a .300 batting average here. and honestly, if he does play the 135 games i presumed, his average should be higher than that.

--this is the easiest thing to predict nowadays because he is a consistent .300 hitter when healthy, and probably one of only a few players in the league that you can count on to do that. his .309 BA* this year was par for the course.πŸ‘

he's never been a guy who's going to hit 30 bombs every year, and he's never needed to be because he's such a consistent and productive overall hitter. i'll go minimal here and say Michael hits 14 home runs this season.

--Michael finished the year with 17 home runs. i started to have higher expectations after he hit seven long balls in the month of May alone, but that little outburst of power was not sustainable. still i can't complain because this is really good for a guy who hasn't even played a full season since 2015. i'm happy. congrats, Brant!πŸ’£ 

with Terry Francona now relegating Michael to the 4th and 5th spots, i had to curtail my guess to 55 RBI in 2018.😲 ouch. that's not because i see Michael struggling there, but because i can't see the bases being full for Michael much anymore. here's hoping i am very wrong, but i fear i'm right. (should Michael reclaim his 3 BOP, then that number could easily jump up to 75-80. just wanna put that on record.)

--this was interesting because Michael did get moved into the 2nd spot in May, but i can't say if that really had much of an affect on his RBI total. he concluded the season with 76 and he should have had more. Michael either came to bat with the bases empty and then would get a hit to get on, or he'd come to bat with someone(s) on and then on several occasions couldn't get that clutch hit to get a ribbie. two months in particular stand out--his career high 26 RBI in May and his six runs batted in for September. one's excellent and one's low. sorry, but i will admit this number disappointed me a bit. he should have had upwards of 80 i think.😢

hits: 140

--because i wasn't sure how many games he was going to appear in, i had to keep this guess on the lower end of the spectrum. Michael actually wound up with 176 hits, 2nd highest on the team and only 7 less than Francisco Lindor had, who played 15 more games than Michael. i bet Michael would have finished with more hits than Frankie had he played the same numbers of contests...πŸ˜‰

doubles: 38

--i was pretty close here because Michael really had 36 two-baggers. he could have had 38 to be honest but he surprisingly acquired two triples this year as well lol😁 

runs: 58 (this is always the hardest stat to predict--even more so if he does bat lower in the order--because we don't know how the guys behind him will perform.)

--i couldn't have been more wrong and i am glad that that was the case. Michael scored 89 runs for the year, the second highest total for a season in his career. but he was left stranded a lot, too--140 times, to be precise. it's largely the fault of the #3 hole hitter, Jose Ramirez, who was struggling at the plate for the last six weeks of the year. that unfortunately hurt Michael's stat here.😑

walks: 40

--i know Michael has developed more of an "attack" approach during his ABs, thanks in part to his hitting coach father who tells him to swing at more pitches. but Michael totaled 48 walks in 2018. we saw an increase in his patience at the plate over the last three months of the season moreso than in his first three. that said, Michael, who normally has a great eye, got fooled by numerous pitches and swung and missed at ball 4 a handful of times in September.πŸ‘€

stolen bases: 16

--Michael only stole 12 bases this year and was caught stealing an uncharacteristically high three times. i think he was hesitant to run in the early portion of the season due to be cautious with his ankle. however, as time went on, i noticed a more aggressive Michael on the basepaths, particularly in the final two months of the year.πŸ’¨

total defensive errors: 1

--this is a standard guess. i don't think it's fair to put a prediction of perfection on Michael because it's really hard to be perfect. only one error in the outfield in as many innings as he played is very commendable.😎

outfield assists: 10

--i overshot here because Michael only acquired six assists. all i heard from people this year was how Michael's range "isn't what it used to be." again, i think his cautiousness to really run on that ankle in the early going of 2018 perhaps took away from assist opportunities. and then there were a few bang-bang plays that i think Tito should have challenged but he did not. so Michael didn't finish with that many assists this year.🀷

if you made any predictions for Michael this year, how did you do?πŸ€”

in addition, i also wrote this at the end of my Extended Spring Rehab Details blog:

it's been another long road of rehab for Michael. he followed all his orders from the doctors and trainers and worked his tail off to be able to run pain-free again.😀 fingers crossed the outcome now is a very strong and healthy ankle that doesn't give him any more problems.🀞 

i hope he never has to go through another rehab stint in his life. here's to wishing him GOOD HEALTH for the rest of his career, wherever it may lead him.😟 

i of course also want to wish him the absolute best of luck this year. may he go out there and have another All Star campaign⭐ and put up numbers similar or better to his best career year (2014), so that when he becomes a free agent at the end of 2018, he can get the big contract i know he deservesπŸ’° (that the Indians won't pay himπŸ˜’). here's to a memorable season! kick ass, Brant!πŸ‘ŠπŸ™ŒπŸ™πŸ’ͺπŸ˜€πŸ˜ŽπŸ’—

--Michael achieved everything i wanted for him this year. he stayed healthy and didn't have any issues with his ankle, he made the All Star team, and he had one of his better MLB seasons. i couldn't be any prouder.πŸ‘πŸ˜€πŸ’—

*i have one last thing to note here regarding his batting average. Michael concluded 2018 with the highest batting average on the Indians out of all the qualifying players. Michael also led all Tribe qualifiers in BA from 2012-2015. that streak ended because he did not play enough or acquire enough plate appearances in 2016 or 2017 to be considered a qualifying player. but, Michael can still claim to have owned the highest batting average on the Indians team in his last five consecutive seasons that he qualified. and i'm very proud of him for that.πŸ˜€

i can also proudly boast that i did not miss any of Michael's plate appearances this season. and for every game that i was home and sitting in front of my computer for, i live tweeted the results. as always, i wrote down all Michael's numbers in a notebook and input them into an Excel spreadsheet as well. my documentation was thorough and accurate.πŸ““

Countdown to Opening Day 2019

it's going to be another long offseason due to the Tribe not even making it out of the American League Division Series in postseason October. the 2019 season opens up at the end of March, but that's still a very long five months away. and our team is going to look quite different after several free agents sign with new teams. (and i'm betting Michael is one of the players who won't be with us next spring.😞)

as of this post on October 16, there are 163 days until the Indians start their 2019 season on March 28 against the Minnesota Twins, and 167 days until the Home Opener on April 1 versus the Chicago White Sox. Go Tribe!πŸ“£


this is the part where i take a minute to recognize the Tribe Scribes and others who helped me become so knowledgeable about Michael this season in ways that i couldn't have otherwise. i want to say a big THANK YOU to the following--Jordan Bastian, Paul Hoynes, Terry Pluto, Joe Noga, Ryan Lewis, Hayden Grove, Anthony Castrovince, Zack Miesel, Andre Knott, Tom Hamilton (radio broadcaster on WTAM 1100), and the person or persons responsible for posting on the Indians and SportsTime Ohio twitter accounts. your articles, quotes, facts, stats, tweets, pictures, and videos were of great importance and very appreciated!

for those who don't regularly follow the above mentioned members of the media, let me just confess that without the inside info that they provided, my posts would be like they were when i first started out blogging--filled with numbers and not much else. over time my writing has evolved and some of these beat writers and journalists are a big reason for that. they have inspired me to provide a more comprehensive account of Michael's daily doings/game play and as much content for my readers as possible. i do that by religiously reading what these incredible men write and tweet and then i take all the pertinent Brantley news and include it in my blogs, giving credit where its due, of course. i've tried to be as dedicated, detailed, and hard working as they all are in my own personal documentations and research so that everything is not only up-to-date, but also accurate. i thank those guys once again for being such reliable sources who are so amazing at their tough (and sometimes thankless) jobs!πŸ‘

the people who spend their days covering the Tribe are not the only ones that i owe my gratitude to. i have to give a very special thanks to you, my readers! thank you so very much for taking the time to read my blogs. a lot of them are quite long, i know, and even if you only partially read them, i'm grateful. thank you for supporting me and Michael! and it was so surprising to see where some of the support was coming from. i can't even put into words how happy it makes me feel when viewers from new countries visit my site for the first time. i get especially excited when my audience stretches to places so far from the United States. Michael has fans everywhere and i love it! i appreciate all of your views and that you chose to check out 216clevelandgirl.blogspot.com to get all your Michael Brantley news!

furthermore, i need to extend thanks to everyone who retweeted or liked any of my tweets this year and/or shared my blog posts on any social media platform! thank you for spreading the word and believing that my work was worthy of the attempt to get other people to check it out!πŸ”ƒ✋

let me and everyone else know where you're from by leaving your country/state/city in the comments below! Brantley fans unite!🌍🌎🌏

what's coming up next...
i'm not sure in which order these will be posted, but my next two planned blogs will be:
My Final #s for the Cleveland Indians' 2018 Season
Brantley News from October 2018

normally i would also write an Analyzing the Tribe's Season + Postseason blog, but i have to admit, right now i am just so sad and uninspired and i don't know if i will be writing this one at all this year.πŸ˜”

the decision on whether or not the Indians extend a one year, $17.9 million qualifying offer to Michael for 2019 will be announced five days after the World Series ends. you guys know i'm gonna be stalking social media like crazy for that breaking news, so make sure you're following me on twitter @clevelandgirl23 cause that's where i'll be retweeting everything i see. i'll also be writing a blog with all the details about how or why the Indians came to that decision and/or explaining what happens next.

i spent the entire season #CelebratingMichaelBrantley on twitter, too. every Monday, along with other special anniversary dates, i tweeted out major moments from Michael's career with the Indians, dating all the way back to 2009, ranging from career highs and franchise records he set, and awards he won. and i've decided to continue tweeting memories until the 2018 postseason is complete. you can search the hashtag and browse back through the thread to reminisce if you want, or add your own comments and memories from Dr. Smooth's time in Cleveland. i don't know how 10 years went by so fast, but they did.πŸŽ‰

since i don't know exactly what my blog schedule is going to be, it might be easier for you if you're on my subscription list, because that way you will receive notifications every time i post something new. to join, just enter your email address in the box underneath the Blog Archive sidebar over on the upper right side of this page.πŸ“§

thanks for reading!πŸ“–

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