Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Brantley Wins the Indians' 2017 Home Opener with a Walk-off Double!

welcome back, Dr. Smooth! during the Cleveland Indians' Home Opener versus the Chicago White Sox on April 11, 2017, Michael Brantley reminded everybody just how vital a piece the Tribe was missing in 2016 when he won today's game at Progressive Field in walk-off fashion.

photo courtesy of @Indians on twitter

let me set the scene. the Indians took an early lead in the bottom of the 1st inning after Francisco Lindor hit a solo home run off James Shields. later, the White Sox evened the score in the top of the 5th inning on Todd Frazier's home run off Carlos Carrasco. from there, the game remained tied at 1 through 9, forcing the Tribe's first extra innings of the season.

Indians lefty reliever Boone Logan started off the top of the 10th inning by

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Brantley's Cactus League 2017 Rehab #s and My Predictions

this is the second part of Michael Brantley's Cactus League Rehab information. this blog contains Michael's numbers, statistics, and game lines from his rehab game appearances. i've also included a section at the end with my predictions for his 2017 regular season. the main focus here is on the spring numbers, but if you're interested in all of the details of Michael's daily hitting progressions during spring, or more specific information about his individual rehab game at bats and plate appearances, or pictures and videos of him, then please read my previous blog: Brantley's Cactus League 2017 Rehab & Game Details.

the format of this post will be easily recognizable to those of you who are longtime readers of my blogs. i've basically set this up like a monthly post by sectioning it into an overview, situational stats, fielding information, number breakdowns, and game lines. on the other hand, if you're new and unfamiliar with my typical layout, you can now begin to get accustomed to how i write my Brantley blogs.

note: Michael played in two minor league rehab games during spring and, just like last year, i could not get all the usual details and data that i like to document. for games of this kind, fans have no access to what's going on unless they physically go to the field that the games are played on. there's no way to watch them on TV or online, there's no way to follow along pitch-by-pitch on a Gameday, and there's no way to listen to Gameday audio because it doesn't exist. the only avenue to get info, if you're not in Arizona, is by

Brantley's Cactus League 2017 Rehab & Game Details

Brantley fans! i have the best news for you all on this, our Indians' baseball eve! it was just formally announced today that we will see Michael Brantley open up the season on the 25-man roster and bat 3rd in the Indians' starting lineup tomorrow, April 3! Happy Day Before Opening Day, indeed! i could not be more ecstatic!😁

when i last left off in my previous updates blog post, Michael was starting to take live batting practice in the indoor batting cages. since then, he's taken live BP on the field, played in some simulated games, advanced to playing in minor league games, and then received clearance to play in Cactus League spring games with the Indians. he hit every benchmark that he needed to and now he's ready to start the regular season.

making it to this point took a lot of hard work on Michael's part; it was such a long road back. i'm sure nobody wants the 2017 campaign to get underway more than him so he can finally join his teammates on the field again instead of watching and coaching them from the dugout. lead by example this year, boy!

i'm going to do this similarly to how i did it a year ago, by splitting Michael's Cactus League rehab information into two separate blogs so that there's not an overwhelming amount of stuff in one huge post. this first blog contains his daily rehab updates, quotes, pictures, and videos throughout the duration of Indians spring games. all of Michael's hitting progressions are included here, as well as

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Indians Spring 2017 Recap, Player Evaluations, and Predictions

hello there, Indians fans! how happy are you that Cactus League play is finally over? i know a lot of us have been very anxious for the 2017 season to get underway ever since things did not end how we wanted them to on the night of November 2, 2016. and now, after a shortened offseason and a longer spring training, we are just TWO DAYS away from meaningful game action and Indians Opening Day! this may arguably be the toughest weekend of the year for Tribe fans. so while everyone's waiting, let me present a recap of the Tribe's spring, including a review of player performances, as well as some predictions about how the reigning American League Champions will do this season!

before i start with this though, i want to acknowledge all the new readers who discovered my blog over the winter. so here is a special welcome to the viewers in the following countries: Netherlands, Indonesia, Brazil, India, Croatia, Singapore, Finland, Georgia, Portugal, Venezuela, and Turkmenistan. many thanks to each one of you for reading, and i hope you enjoy the blogs i post this year! and if i left you out, let me know you were here by telling me where you're from in a comment below!


Spring Training 2017 Overview

Indians Cactus League games took place from February 25 - March 31, consisting of three split-squad days and only two

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Is This Michael Brantley's Final Year as a Cleveland Indian?

it's not a question i wanted to pose and i hate being a Debbie Downer, but i haven't been able to get this off my mind for some time now. i do NOT want to see this happen under any circumstances but, unfortunately, there are many reasons that support this as being a real possibility. so i figured i should just write a blog and list out exactly why 2017 could be Michael Brantley's final year as a Cleveland Indian.😟

before i get started though, i want to discourage any smart-aleck remarks that this blog might produce. i am fully aware that a lot of fans at this point in time don't think Michael is ever going to get healthy and be able to play baseball again. and i've seen the "Michael should hang up his cleats" comments and tweets from fans. those people probably wouldn't think twice if Michael wasn't playing on the Tribe past this season, but i didn't write this for them. i wrote it because, as much as i don't want it to be true, i know that it could be and i felt compelled to acknowledge that. and i'm certain that Michael has other fans out there like me, who believe in him, have stuck with him through his difficulties, want him to come back, and would be genuinely upset if he were to leave the Indians any sooner than he has to contractually. so please save the "who cares?" utterances because some people still do.

note: i read the strangely similar rant article published by Paul Hoynes on February 19 on cleveland.com comparing Michael to

Friday, February 24, 2017

Brantley's February 2017 Hitting Progressions (Pre-Spring Games)

Indians spring training games begin tomorrow! finally, the boys are back in action! well, all except one. sadly, Michael Brantley is not ready to play in spring games yet because the team is being extra careful with him and taking his rehab slowly. so as we wait for Michael to get the all clear, i thought i'd post an updates blog with details about his February hitting progressions--from tee work to batting practice!--prior to Cactus League games. there are a lot of photos of Michael in here, too!👍

and, in an unprecedented twist, FIVE different baseball writers published false information regarding Michael this month. not on purpose, of course, but it's quite astonishing that so many people would make mistakes within a similar time period and in relation to the same player. for three of these guys especially, that's a rarity because they are typically some of my most credible sources when it comes to all things Tribe. nevertheless, i called attention to those faux pas, as you would expect, and then corrected them, as you will soon discover.

before i get started though, if you'd like to see any of the updates between Michael's biceps tenodesis surgery on August 15, 2016, and Tribe Fest on January 28, 2017, check out

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Brantley Ranked 74th in MLB Network's Top 100 Players Right Now

spring training games are set to start in just over a week, which is a little earlier than usual this year due to the World Baseball Classic. so for some of us, Indians fans especially, this baseball offseason flew by very quickly. but before the games get underway, it's time for MLB Network to reveal their annual list of "Top 100 Players Right Now." Greg Amsinger, Bill Ripken, and Ron Darling once again hosted the three-day countdown of the Top 100 Players currently in Major League Baseball going into the 2017 season. the list was unveiled from February 15-17 in five one-hour installments featuring 20 players per show. tonight, on February 15, the second part of the series aired at 10 pm ET.

photo courtesy of @MLBNetwork on twitter

MLBN's Top 100 list is assembled by their research staff and based on

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Save the Chief! Revised

i posted a blog about this at the end of 2014, but because i didn't have a lot of viewers back then, not many people ever read it. now, after the January 27 announcement that the Cleveland Indians are set to host the 2019 All Star Game, fans are suspecting that the terms and conditions of the Tribe winning the bid were that they'll have to get rid of the Chief Wahoo prior to the event. so i figure this would be a good time to revisit this topic and write up a revised version of my initial post.

talks about the Wahoo are currently ongoing between the Indians' owner and MLB's commissioner. from Paul Hoynes' article on cleveland.com, Commissioner Rob Manfred said, "i think we'll produce a result that will be good for the Indians and good for baseball. but what exactly that is, i don't want to speculate." that certainly doesn't sound like he plans on just leaving the Wahoo alone. i'd guess there's a high probability that it be will completely abolished within the next two years. i strongly believe this change would be a mistake, however, and i'm going to support my pro-Wahoo position right now.

the following contains excerpts from my Where Are You, Chief Wahoo? Save The Chief! blog, published back on December 15, 2014, combined with corresponding thoughts and updates of how things are today in 2017. i've also included some brand new sections that address subjects that most people don't usually bring up when referring to this hot button issue.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Brantley's January 2017 Hitting Progressions + Other News & Pics

hello there, Brantley fans! spring training is right around the corner and that's when we'll start to get a much better idea of where Michael is at physically and how he can handle the day-to-day activities that baseball requires of him. but for now, i have accumulated every bit of news that came out about Michael in the month of January, including his hitting progressions, rehab information, quotes, and pictures. so let's get into it!


January 3: Jordan Bastian tweeted that Michael began some non-contact swinging over the holiday break while back home and will continue his rehab in Cleveland this week.

January 4: in his first Indians Inbox of 2017 on indians.com, Bastian addressed Jonah Keri's statement on Michael--"this is a horrific, horrifically bad injury and there's some problems"--from December 23, 2016. Bastian sensibly pointed out that nothing else yet thus far supports Keri's claim and because this is the middle of the offseason, everything right now should be treated as speculation. he also remarked

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Brantley Ranked 5th in MLB Network's Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now

it's that time again, baseball fans! time to rank the best of the best in Major League Baseball by position. MLB Network began airing their annual Top 10 lists last Sunday, which was oddly changed from Thursdays in past years, i might add. and tonight, on January 22 at 10 pm ET, their "Top 10 Right Now: Left Fielders" show premiered.

screenshot cropped from a video on m.mlb.com

Brian Kenny, who was joined by Eric Byrnes, hosted the reveal of this year's Top 10 Left Field players currently in baseball going into the 2017 season as ranked by MLB Network's Shredder. an analytic methodology known as The Shredder, which operates without emotion or bias, assembles these rankings based on