Thursday, July 31, 2014

Goodbye Cabby

today the Indians sent shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and cash to the Washington Nationals for infielder Zach Walters. it's another move that i have no problem with, but again, it is somewhat sad. Cabby was having a rough year, that's no secret. and it came at the worst time for him considering he was to become a free agent at the end of the season. he was making so many errors and struggling at the plate, and there was no way we were going to retain him after the year ended, so it's good that we got something for him now. but the guy was still trying hard every day and was a dedicated player. for that, i have respect.

after Cabrera heard the news he was traded. photo courtesy of Brian Dulik on twitter

Asdrubal had this to say after hearing the news. "i had fun here, you know. this is the team that gave me the opportunity to play at this level. those guys, my teammates, i'm leaving good guys. it's hard, but this is what it's about. that's the game."

i have fond memories of Cabby. i only got his autograph once, and currently have 4 unsigned Cabby baseball cards =( but i have taken tons of photos of him throughout his time in Cleveland when i was at games. i remember so many times when i'd catch Cabby looking into the crowd in between innings before the game would resume, and we definitely had some eye contact on more than one occasion. i like when that kinda thing happens with a player, i'm all about making a little connection lol Cabby's not a bad guy, he's just having a rough stretch, including a bad year this year. i truly believe the potential for him is still there. i've seen it, we all have. i watched him turn a lot of impressive double plays over the years. i was proud of him when he was named to the All Star team in 2011 and 2012, and of course i'll never forget how important of a role he played in getting us to the playoffs in 2007. it wasn't all bad with Cabby, and i'm thankful for the memories.

so good luck to Cabby with the Nats. maybe the change in scenery will help him turn things around and end his year on a high note. i wish him, his wife Lismar, his son Asdrubal Jr, his second son Meyer (he was the cutest kid of all the players' kids btw), and his daughter Ashley nothing but the best. and maybe someday the Indians will be drafting his son and it will be a happy reunion.

Walters is headed to the Columbus Clippers for now. he mostly plays short but he can also play 2nd and 3rd with potential to play the outfield. he's also a switch-hitter, just like Cabby. the plan is for Mike Aviles and Jose Ramirez to fill Cabby's spot at short for the time being. some fans i'm sure will be pissed that Francisco Lindor is not coming up yet, but i don't see any reason to rush the kid. the Indians' plan for him all along was to let him play a little bit in Columbus, and then bring him up in September. that wasn't going to change even if Cabby was traded. but if you know Tribe fans as well as i do, you can guess that there's a group of them who aren't pleased. some people will find anything to complain about even if something good just happened.

we were not going to acquire a top of the rotation starting pitcher for Cabrera after the way he played this year. think about it. at the end of the day, the 2 deals made in the past 2 days were done in order to get something for 2 free agents now, instead of nothing for them at the end of the year. no, these deals are not going to help us surge to the playoffs this season, but that's why there's still the August 31 deadline. chillax people.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Goodbye Nasty Masty

so news broke a little while ago that the Indians traded Justin Masterson to the St. Louis Cardinals and got prospect OF James Ramsey in return. this was a good move by the Indians. Masterson was not going to get re-signed with the Tribe after this season and at least now we got something in return for him. and this Ramsey guy has gotten some good reviews and high praise by baseball media. with the lack of OF depth in our farm system, this is a welcome addition. Ramsey will go to the Columbus Clippers and then if another one of our OFs gets hurt, he could get a call up to the Tribe.

but back to Masty. when Mickey Callaway lead Masterson into an office with the blinds closed and Terry Francona, Chris Antonetti, and Mark Shapiro waiting for him, he knew what was coming. "i said, 'uh oh. either i'm going to get beat, or i'm getting traded somewhere,'" Masterson said. "i was surprised it took place, but i understand and see it. it's bittersweet. i'm forever grateful for all that they've given me the chance to do within my career. i'm sad to leave the fellas and the fight that we're making here in Cleveland, but excited to get to St. Louis and be a part of what they have going on there."

i'm happy with this move, but it's sad at the same time. Masterson did not pitch well this year. we lost a lot of games in the beginning of the season thanks to his non-quality starts. i felt like something was wrong with him for a few months before it finally came out that he had been experiencing a knee problem since the 2nd game of the season. when the team put him on the DL and he did his rehabbing in Columbus, he still wasn't pitching well. despite the fact that he's shown in the past that he can pitch like an ace, i just didn't believe that he would turn things around and pitch well enough for us in the final 2 months of the season. so i don't view this as a loss to the team whatsoever. but it is a loss of a nice human being. he was such a polite person, always smiling no matter the situation. he was very positive, almost to a fault.

Masterson was the best Indians player when it came to fan interaction. he always signed autographs for fans. and he didn't just sign for a few people. he'd sign for every single person who wanted an autograph, no matter how many people were there. he'd go all the way down the fence in the players parking lot and sign, then he'd take more time and pose for photos. he'd go all down the 3rd baseline and sign for everyone who had something for him to sign. he was a great man. i've gotten his autograph several times while he was here and i'm happy that i did.

Nasty Masty was part of a lot of good times for the Tribe and he did do a lot of positive things in the past. so i'm sorry to see Justin go in that regard. but he hasn't been Nasty Masty in a while. he was too inconsistent for the team to keep putting out on the mound every 5 games. and that is unfortunate because i know a lot of fans really wanted him to perform better, but it just didn't happen. so thank you Justin for the memories. and i wish nothing but the best for him, his wife Meryl (the team's DEFINITELY gonna miss her free cookies lol), his daughter Eden Joy, and his baby twins, Nadia and Cruz. good luck in St. Louis!

one thing that Indians fans need to realize is that this trade is not the Indians giving up on the season or being "sellers." all Justin did was hurt the team this season to be frank. and with the way Tito was loyal to him, that didn't help either. so getting a team to trade something to us now instead of just letting him walk at the end of the season was the way to go. losing Masterson does not put our playoff hopes this year to an end. and honestly, i think the Indians would be wise to do the same thing with Asdrubal Cabrera, if any team can offer us anything of use. dealing Masterson and Cabrera now, at this point in time, as odd as it sounds, does not label the team as sellers. this isn't even close to a fire-sale. remember that. this season is far from over, and dropping the dead weight now does no further harm.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Brantley Named Indians Recipient of MLBPAA's 2014 Heart & Hustle Award

in another first of his career, it was announced today that Michael Brantley is the Cleveland Indians' recipient of the 2014 MLBPAA Heart & Hustle Award! congratulations! =D

like many of you, i'm sure, i didn't know much about this award when i heard this. so i had to do a little research to find out that the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association created the Heart & Hustle Award in 2005, and it is given annually to active players who demonstrate a passion for baseball and best embody the values, spirit, and traditions of the game. that sounds like Michael to me. this honor is awarded to 30 preliminary winners, one player on every team. it is the only award in baseball that is voted on by former players.

the MLBPAA has 30 committees made up of alumni players with established relationships to each major league team. these committees choose one player from each team based on his passion, desire, and work ethic both on and off the field. then at the end of the season, fans, alumni, and active players will vote to select the final winner from the 30 team winners. that final winner will be announced on November 18, 2014 at the 15th annual Legends for Youth dinner in NYC.

Michael will be recognized for his Heart & Hustle Award prior to a future Indians home game. and good luck to him in the final vote. Tribe fans better actively participate to make him the definitive winner! =D

a list of the other 2014 team recipients can be found here. past Indians recipients include Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, and Grady Sizemore. Sizemore won the overall award in 2008.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Brantley's Career High 67 Runs Scored

this is going to be a season of career highs for Michael, as he just set another career high in the runs scored category. his previous high was 66 runs, and tonight on July 21, he broke that record. here's how it happened.

Michael was in dire need of a day off, so Terry Francona did not put him in the starting lineup against the Minnesota Twins. but when the Indians were down 3-2 in the top of the 8th inning, Tito decided to pinch hit Michael for Ryan Raburn in the 5th spot in the order. with 1 out already in the inning, Michael came on to face right-handed pitcher Casey Fien. after a 2-0 count, Michael hit a double to deep right-center field. he advanced to 3rd base on Nick Swisher's groundout to 1st, then scored a run when Roberto Perez hit a 2-out single to center field. that tied the game at 3, and Michael got his 67th run, a new career high.

screenshots cropped from a video on

but, for the record, the Indians ended up losing the game, 4-3, after Bryan Shaw gave up a home run in the bottom of the 8th inning to Josh Willingham.

now i know some people may not think this is a big deal category, and i think those people are kinda right. this is not necessarily a facet of the game that oneself can control. the number of runs a player scores is mainly dependent upon how well the hitters behind him do, in order to drive him in. but of course it's also important that a hitter get himself on base for the chance to score a lot of runs. so it's good to see that despite some of his teammates' offensive struggles, Michael was still able to set this new career high. and to do it with 2+ months left in the season is pretty phenomenal. every other run he scores from tomorrow until the end of the year will only add to his new career high. at this rate, i think he might finish up with close to 90 runs scored. wow!

so what career high will Michael achieve next? it's almost like a race now, so i don't know for sure lol but one thing is certain--he's most definitely setting the bar high this season.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Brantley's 1st All Star Game Experience & ASG #s

Michael Brantley was part of the 85th annual All Star game on July 15, 2014 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. it was his first big league All Star experience. and i've got all the deets.

Michael did a lot of press on Monday, July 14. again, he said this is something he's dreamt about as a kid and feels blessed and honored to be a part of it.

photo from @Indians twitter account

before the Home Run Derby later that night, he did a preshow interview.

screenshots cropped from a video on

in his interview, he once again said that this is an experience he'll never forget. he's happy and feels honored to be part of Derek Jeter's final All Star game. since he's not at the game with any other current Indians players, he's been talking with former Indian Scott Kazmir. he mentioned how his role on the team has changed in that he's batting 3rd now and has more opportunities to drive in guys. he worked hard in the offseason and takes advantage of good pitches. he worked hard with his dad in the offseason and it's paying off.

he gives a lot of credit to his father, saying he is the biggest influence on his career. "he's here to have this with me, this experience. without him, i don't know if i could be here right now at this level. he taught me a lot of what i know. i still use him for information today."

Michael came into the All Star break batting .322. he's put up some incredible numbers and career highs in this 1st half of the season. "i'm getting older and getting smarter. the game of baseball is changing. i'm making the changes at the right time. every day i have a good game plan. the pitchers, i've faced more than one time and i'm using that to my advantage."

on Tuesday, July 15, before the All Star game, Michael and his family took part in the pregame All Stars parade.

photo from @SliderTheMascot's twitter

"i'm just having fun, enjoying it," said Michael. "my mom, my father, my wife, my kids, my sister, and my in-laws are all here. i think when you go through an experience like this, the people that helped you get here should be here to enjoy it, too."

what does he hope to take away from being on the All Star squad? "to make sure i soak it all in. that was my only expectation. make sure i enjoy this experience, keep my eyes open, my mouth shut, and just soak it all in."

but that's not the only thing he wanted from this experience. "i want to have a couple memories to put up on the wall. a Derek Jeter autograph is up there on the list."

Michael also spoke highly of Derek Jeter. "he's been a great person in this game for so many years. the way he's played the game and handled himself every year, i think it's phenomenal. he always treated with me the utmost respect, even as a rookie. that meant the world to me."

later in the day, Michael took part in batting practice before the game.

photos from @Indians twitter

shortly after 7:30 pm, it was time for the players to be announced before the game started. i gotta admit, my eyes welled up when Michael was introduced as an American League All Star team player. that made me so happy and proud. he looked cool, calm, and collected. i'm not surprised that he didn't get much applause, this game did take place in Minnesota after all, but Michael's just gonna be Michael regardless of the haters hatin'.
screenshots cropped from a video on

Michael had to wait almost 3 hours before finally getting into the All Star game. he came in the game as a defensive sub in the top of the 6th inning. he played center field behind Scott Kazmir for a few outs, just like the old days lol

then in the bottom of the 6th inning, Michael had his first career All Star game at bat in the 8th spot in the lineup. he faced Milwaukee Brewers' right-handed pitcher Francisco Rodriguez. with the American League up 5-3 and Adrian Beltre on 1st base and 2 outs in the inning, Michael grounded out to 2nd base after a 1-0 count to end the inning. he was robbed of a hit when LA Dodgers' 2nd baseman Dee Gordon made a diving stop and threw Michael out at 1st by a step.

photo from Getty images
screenshots cropped from a video on

this was his only at bat of the game, but he did remain the center fielder until the game was over. and for the record, the American League beat the National League, 5-3, so the Indians will have home field advantage in the World Series this year! lol

after the game, Michael said, "this is the All Star game. the players are good at every position. it was a great game and i'm proud to be a part of it. Derek Jeter is a Hall of Famer. to be at his last All Star game is something you can't make up. it's something i'll tell my kids about and hopefully they'll tell their kids about."

"it was probably one of the best experiences i've had in a long time. this field's going to mean so much to me when i look back on my career. we had our first playoff berth here. i had my first All Star game here. it's just exciting."

Michael was also excited that his father was there to share this experience with him. "he taught me everything i know about baseball, from when i was born to now. i'll always lean on him. he's seen way more than i've seen. he taught way more players, and i just cherish the memories that we're going to share together throughout this baseball process."

now i am going to break down his All Star game #s and the 8th spot #s, as well as the center field #s and overall outfield #s.

2014 All Star Game batting average: .000

OBP: .000

SLG: .000

OPS: .000

Michael played in the 2014 All Star game on July 15, 2014. he came in as a defensive substitute in the top of the 6th inning and played 4 innings in center field in this 1 game.

Michael bat 8th.

Michael played center field. (defensive substitute: 4 innings)

Michael bat .000 (0-for-1) against right-handed pitchers in the All Star game, .000 (0-for-1) with runners on base in the All Star game, and .000 (0-for-1) with 2 outs in an inning in the All Star game.

Michael played errorless defense in center field for 4 innings, giving him a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. he recorded 1 putout in the game, the 1st out in the top of the 9th inning.

in the 2014 All Star game, Michael had a total of 1 plate appearance and 1 at bat. here is how he fared:

0 hits

1 left on base

1 putout

4 innings, 1 game

2014 All Star game batting average: .000 (0-1) (1 game)

now let's break down his numbers based on where he hit in the lineup.

when Michael bat 8th in the 2014 All Star game, he had a total of 1 plate appearance and 1 at bat in 1 game. breaking down the numbers are as follows:

0 hits

1 left on base

1 putout

4 innings, 1 game

2014 All Star game batting average in the 8th spot: .000 (0-1) (1 game)
2014 All Star game batting average in the 8th spot while playing center: .000 (0-1) (1 game) (4 innings)

now let's break down his numbers based on where he played in the outfield.

when Michael played center in the 2014 All Star game, he had a total of 1 plate appearance and 1 at bat in 1 game. breaking down the numbers are as follows:

0 hits

1 left on base

1 putout

4 innings, 1 game

2014 All Star game batting average while playing center: .000 (0-1) (1 game)

overall 2014 All Star game #s while playing center: 1 putout, 0 assists, 0 errors, 1.000 fielding percentage (4 innings, 1 game)

overall 2014 All Star game #s while playing the outfield: 1 putout, 0 assists, 0 errors, 1.000 fielding percentage (4 innings, 1 game)

now my game numbers and notes.

2014 All Star Game, July 15: 0-1. AVG: .000

in the 2014 All Star game, Michael had a total of 1 plate appearance and 1 at bat in 1 game (4 innings). in total, he had 0 hits, 1 left on base, and 1 putout.

career All Star game batting average: .000 (0-1)

OBP: .000

SLG: .000

OPS: .000

i know Michael will never forget this experience, and neither will i. and hopefully he has many more All Star appearances coming in his future (so we can get those ASG numbers up! lol). he easily could have been a starter in this one, but, there's always next year... =P

Monday, July 14, 2014

Brantley's 2014 First Half #s

this is the second blog i've done calculating Michael's numbers at the All Star break. and while i still think it's somewhat silly to call this the 1st half of the season because the Indians have already played 94 of 162 games thus far, you can't fight City Hall. so i'm going to do this minimally (haha) just like i did it last year.

Michael is batting .322 at the break. that's the 2nd highest average on the team, 6th in the American League, and 9th in the majors. he did have the highest batting average on the team until very recently, when Lonnie Chisenhall became a qualifier and then passed Michael on July 11. anyways, last year at this time Michael was batting .279, and the year before that he was batting .288. so this is clearly the best Michael's ever done at this point in the season. he's already set several career highs before the break and is on pace to set even more. he's done outstanding and was rightfully rewarded for his hard work by making this year's All Star team.

Michael had a hit in 72 of the 90 games he's played in so far. during these 90 games, Michael had many significant hitting streaks, including

--an 11-game hitting streak from April 29 - May 11.

--a 15-game hitting streak, longest on the team and 3rd longest in the American League at that time, from May 14-30.

--a 10-game road hitting streak from May 14, May 22-28, and June 6-7.

--a 9-game hitting streak from June 9-20 (over 12 days).

--5-straight multi-hit games from June 11-15.

--a 9-game road hitting streak from June 9-15 and June 24-25.

--a 9-game hitting streak from July 4-12.

--and for the second time this season, 5-straight multi-hit games from July 4-8.

additionally, Michael set a new franchise record with his 19-game home hitting streak (Progressive Field/Jacobs Field), longest in the major leagues at that time, from April 20 - May 30.

Michael reached base safely in 81 games and had quite a few reached base streaks as well. he

--reached base in 15 straight games from April 9-24.

--reached base in 12 straight games from April 28 - May 11.

--reached base in 15 straight games from May 14-30.

--reached base in 16 straight games from June 1-20 (over 20 days).

--reached base in 20 straight road games from May 14, May 22-28, June 6-15, and June 24-25.

--reached base in 11 straight games from July 1-12 (over 12 days).

at the All Star break, Michael is batting .343 (83-for-242) against right-handed pitchers and .275 (30-for-109) against left-handed pitchers.

he's batting .361 (66-for-183) with 39 RBI at home and .280 (47-for-168) on the road. his home BA is one of the best in the league.

Michael's also batting .360 (31-for-86) with runners in scoring position, producing 47 RBI. he's hitting .375 (6-for-16) with 0 outs and runners in scoring position, .441 (15-for-34) with 1 out and RISP, and .278 (10-for-36) with 2 outs and RISP and 16 RBI.

Michael has a batting average of .363 (53-for-146) with 51 RBI with runners on base and .600 (6-for-10) with 17 RBI when the bases are loaded. he is also batting .289 (35-for-121) with 22 RBI with 2 outs in an inning.

Michael currently leads the team with: 113 hits, 38 extra base hits, 182 total bases, 22 doubles (tied), 15 home runs, 63 RBI, 63 runs, 90 games, 390 plate appearances, 351 at bats (tied), and .519 SLG. he also leads the outfielders with 10 assists.

he's 2nd on the team with 10 stolen bases, 6 hit by pitches (tied), .322 BA, .382 OBP, and .901 OPS. he is 3rd with 30 walks. he has the least amount of strikeouts with 32 as well.

(these rankings include qualifiers only.)

Michael's already had an unbelievable season and there's still 2 and a half months left to go. but so far, Michael set career highs for himself in the 1st half of 2014 with the following: 113 hits, 38 extra base hits, 182 total bases, 75 singles, 15 home runs, 63 RBI, 63 runs, 6 hit by pitches, 0 caught stealing in 10 attempts, 10 outfield assists, 390 plate appearances, 351 at bats, .322 BA, .382 OBP, .519 SLG, and .901 OPS.

he was also named American League Player of the Week for June 9-15 for the first time in his career.

Michael is the first Indians player to have at least 60 RBI in a 1st half since Victor Martinez in 2007. dating back to 1914, Michael is now only the 2nd Indians player to have hit .300 or more with at least 35 extra base hits, 60 RBI, and 10 stolen bases in the 1st half of the season. Roberto Alomar previously did it in 1999.

additionally in this 1st half, Michael's hit safely in 39 of 46 home games overall. he now has 31 multi-hit games and 15 multi-RBI games. he has 18 go-ahead hits and 19 go-ahead RBI as well.

among American League outfielders, Michael ranks 1st in batting average, 2nd in runs, 3rd in RBI and innings, tied for 3rd in hits and extra base hits, 4th in doubles and total bases, and 6th in home runs. his 3.7 WAR number is ranked 3rd. in addition, Michael's 8.2% strikeout rate in 390 PA is the lowest among AL outfielders and 4th lowest in the league. Martinez currently leads the league with a 6.2 strikeout percentage.

Michael played both left and center field before the break, but mostly left. he was charged with one error while playing center field and has a .994 overall fielding percentage. his fielding percentage in left field is a perfect 1.000 and his fielding percentage in center is .982. he currently has a total of 155 putouts, 10 outfield assists, and 1 double play. he also started a triple play, his first, on July 1. his 10 outfield assists are not only a season high for him, but they tie him for 2nd most in the American League and in the majors.

it is also noteworthy that Michael played 247 consecutive games in the outfield without an error. his streak spanned from June 5, 2012 to April 2, 2014 and is a franchise record.

1st Half batting average: .322

OBP: .382

SLG: .519

OPS: .901

March/April BA: .255

May BA: .345

June BA: .341

July BA (so far): .365

Michael played in 90 (of 94) games, 86 complete, before the All Star break.

he started and played left in 70 games, completing 62 of those games. he left 1 game early with mid-back tightness and played 4 innings. he left 1 game early after a blow to the head/neck and played 4 innings. he was subbed out of 1 game after 7 innings because the Indians were winning a blowout.

he started and played center in 18 games, completing 17 of those games.

he was part of a defensive switch in 6 games, moving from left to center in 5 games and moving from center to left in 1 game. he played 15 innings when moved over to center with 6 official at bats. he played 1 inning when moved over to left with no official at bats.

he started and was the DH for 1 complete game.

he came in to PH in the bottom of the 9th inning for 1 game.

he missed 3 games due to injury. he missed 1 game with mid-back tightness from playing on astroturf and he missed 2 games with a mild concussion.

he had 1 game off.

Michael bat 5th in 18 games.

Michael bat 6th in 10 games.

Michael bat 3rd in 61 games.

Michael bat 9th in 1 game. (PH)

Michael played left field in 71 games, for a total of 605.1 innings. (62 complete, 5 started: 31 innings, 1 defensive switch: 1 inning, 2 left early w/ injury: 8 innings, 1 subbed out: 7 innings)

Michael played center field in 23 games, for a total of 176.1 innings. (17 complete, 1 started: 8 innings, 5 defensive switches: 15 innings)

Michael was the DH in 1 game.

Michael was the PH in 1 game.

Michael played in 86 complete games.

in the first half, Michael had a total of 390 plate appearances and 351 at bats. here is how he fared:

113 hits

75 singles

22 doubles

1 triple

15 home runs

63 RBI

3 sac flies

63 runs scored

30 walks

6 hit by pitches

10 stolen bases


32 strikeouts (24 swinging, 8 looking)

28 first at bat hits

182 total bases

126 left on base

155 putouts

10 assists

1 double play

1 error

781.2 innings, 90 games

(86 complete games)

1st Half batting average: .322 (113-351) (90 games)

now my game-by-game numbers and notes.

Game 1, March 31: 2-4, double, double. AVG: .500
(batting 5th/LF/CG9)

April 1: game postponed, to be made up April 2.

Game 2, April 2 (Day Game): 1-3, single (first at bat). AVG: .429

^^Michael sets new franchise record with 247 consecutive errorless games in the outfield^^
**Michael's 247 consecutive errorless games streak ends**

Game 3, April 2 (Night Game): 1-4, walk, RBI groundout, 2-run single. AVG: .364
(5th/LF - 5 innings, CF - 4 innings/CG9)

Game 4, April 4: 1-4, reached on fielder's choice, 2-run single. AVG: .333

Game 5, April 5: 1-4, single, run scored. AVG: .316

Game 6, April 6: 3-5, single (first at bat), run scored, RBI single, single. AVG: .375

April 7: game postponed, to be made up April 9 in a traditional DH.

**Michael's 6-game hitting streak ends**

Game 7, April 8: 0-4. AVG: .321

Game 8, April 9 (Game 1): 1-3, single (first at bat). AVG: .323
(6th/CF - 8 i, LF - 1 i/CG9)

Game 9, April 9 (Game 2): 0-3, walk. AVG: .294

Game 10, April 10: 1-4, double. AVG: .289

Game 11, April 11: 1-4, walk, run scored, RBI single. AVG: .286

Game 12, April 12: 1-3, 2-run single (first at bat), walk, walk, run scored. AVG: .289

Game 13, April 13: 1-3, walk (first at bat), home run, run scored, reached on fielder's choice, reached on fielding error, run scored. AVG: .292

April 15: game postponed due to cold, to be made up July 19 in a day-night DH.

Game 14, April 16: 0-3, hit by pitch, stolen base. AVG: .275

Game 15, April 17: 2-5, 2-run single, 2-run home run, run scored. AVG: .286

Game 16, April 18: 1-5, single, stolen base. AVG: .279

Game 17, April 19: 0-3, walk. AVG: .266

Game 18, April 20: 2-3, home run (first at bat), run scored, RBI double, walk, run scored. AVG: .284

Game 19, April 21: 1-4, 2-run home run, run scored. AVG: .282

Game 20, April 22: 2-4, single, stolen base, run scored, single. AVG: .293

Game 21, April 23: 1-3, single, stolen base, run scored, walk. AVG: .295

Game 22, April 24: 1-3, RBI single, run scored. AVG: .296

**Michael's 15-game on base streak ends**

Game 23, April 25: 0-4. AVG: .282

Game 24, April 26: 0-3, walk. AVG: .273

Game 25, April 27: 0-3. AVG: .264

Game 26, April 28: 0-4, reached on fielder's choice. AVG: .253

Game 27, April 29: 1-3, double, RBI sac fly. AVG: .255

April 30: not in lineup.

Game 28, May 2:
3-5, single (first at bat), run scored, home run, run scored, 2-run single. AVG: .272

Game 29, May 3: 1-4, single (first at bat). AVG: .271
(3rd/LF – 3 i, CF – 6 i/CG9)

Game 30, May 4: 1-5, single, run scored. AVG: .268

Game 31, May 5: 1-4, double (first at bat). AVG: .267
(3rd/LF – 8 i, CF – 2 i/CG10)

Game 32, May 6: 1-3, RBI single (first at bat), run scored, walk. AVG: .269
(3rd/LF – 7 i, CF – 2 i/CG9)

Game 33, May 7: 2-4, 2-run double, single. AVG: .276

Game 34, May 8: 3-5, double (first at bat), run scored, single, 2-run home run, run scored, RBI fielder's choice. AVG: .289

Game 35, May 9: 1-5, reached on fielding error (first at bat), home run, run scored. AVG: .286

Game 36, May 10: 1-3, walk, single. AVG: .287

Game 37, May 11: 1-4, walk (first at bat), single. AVG: .286

**Michael's 11-game hitting streak and 12-game reached base streak end**

Game 38, May 13: 0-4. AVG: .278

Game 39, May 14: 1-3, double. AVG: .279

^^Michael left the game after the top of the 5th inning with mid-back tightness and is day-to-day^^

May 15: precautionary day off, should play tomorrow.

Game 40, May 16: 1-4, single. AVG: .278

Game 41, May 17: 1-3, walk (first at bat), single, run scored. AVG: .279

Game 42, May 18: 2-3, walk (first at bat), single, home run, run scored, RBI walk. AVG: .287

Game 43, May 19: 2-4, double, walk, hit by pitch, home run, run scored. AVG: .292

^^Michael hits first career walk-off home run^^

Game 44, May 20: 1-4, single (first at bat). AVG: .291

Game 45, May 21: 4-7, 2-run single, stolen base, run scored, double, single, stolen base, run scored, RBI single. AVG: .302

Game 46, May 22: 2-6, RBI triple, run scored, single, run scored. AVG: .303

Game 47, May 23: 1-4, single, run scored. AVG: .302

Game 48, May 24: 1-3, walk (first at bat), stolen base, RBI hit by pitch, single, run scored. AVG: .303

Game 49, May 25: 1-4, single. AVG: .302

Game 50, May 26: 2-3, RBI single, walk, stolen base, run scored, single. AVG: .307

Game 51, May 27: 1-4, single. AVG: .306

Game 52, May 28: 2-4, single, single, run scored. AVG: .310

Game 53, May 30: 1-4, reached on fielder's choice (first at bat), run scored, double, run scored. AVG: .309

^^Michael sets new franchise record with 19-game home hitting streak^^
**Michael's 15-game hitting streak and 19-game home hitting streak end**

Game 54, May 31: 0-4. AVG: .303

Game 55, June 1: 2-4, RBI single (first at bat), run scored, double, run scored. AVG: .307

Game 56, June 2: 0-3, walk (first at bat), run scored. AVG: .302

Game 57, June 3: 1-4, RBI single (first at bat), run scored. AVG: .301

Game 58, June 4: 3-5, RBI single (first at bat), single, single, run scored. AVG: .308

Game 59, June 6: 1-4, walk (first at bat), single. AVG: .307

Game 60, June 7: 1-5, double, run scored. AVG: .305

**Michael's 10-game road hitting streak and 10-game road on-base streak end**

Game 61, June 8: 0-5, reached on fielder's choice. AVG: .298

Game 62, June 9: 3-3, walk (first at bat), run scored, walk, run scored, home run, run scored, single, run scored, single, run scored. AVG: .307

Game 63, June 10: 1-3, double (first at bat), hit by pitch, hit by pitch, run scored. AVG: .307

Game 64, June 11: 2-4, single (first at bat), single. AVG: .310

Game 65, June 12: 2-4, single, double, run scored. AVG: .313

Game 66, June 13: 2-4, single (first at bat), RBI double, reached on fielding error. AVG: .316

Game 67, June 14: 2-4, hit by pitch, stolen base, single, run scored, single. AVG: .319

Game 68, June 15: 2-4, home run (first at bat), run scored, single, walk. AVG: .322

^^Michael sets new career high in home runs with 11^^

Game 69, June 16: 1-2, RBI single. AVG: .323

^^Michael was removed from the game after the top of the 4th inning for precautionary reasons after taking a blow to the head/neck from John McDonald on slide into 2nd base while trying to break up a double play^^

June 17: scratched from lineup at 4 pm. went through his pregame baseball activities and felt stiffness in his neck and pressure in his head. went to Cleveland Clinic for further evaluation and is currently day-to-day with head/neck soreness.

June 18: has mild concussion, passing tests each day, hit off tee and played catch. might be back on field tomorrow, hopes to play June 21. game postponed, to be made up September 8.

June 19: ran on the field and threw before game, plus hit in the cage. tentative return still June 21.

June 20: ran the bases at full speed and took batting practice on the field. no ill effects. he was cleared to play in the 3rd/4th inning tonight, so…

Game 70, June 20: 1-1, single (first at bat). AVG: .326

**Michael's 9-game hitting streak and 16-game reached base streak end**

Game 71, June 21: 0-5. AVG: .320

Game 72, June 22: 3-5, single (first at bat), RBI double, 2-run double. AVG: .325

Game 73, June 24: 1-5, single, run scored, walk, walk, run scored. AVG: .323

Game 74, June 25: 2-4, single (first at bat), RBI groundout, home run, run scored, walk, run scored. AVG: .325

**Michael's 9-game road hitting streak and 20-game road reached base streak end**

Game 75, June 27: 0-3, RBI sac fly. AVG: .322

Game 76, June 28: 1-4, RBI single (first at bat), run scored. AVG: .321

Game 77, June 29: 0-3, walk (first at bat). AVG: .318

Game 78, June 30: 0-3. AVG: .314

Game 79, July 1: 2-5, RBI double (first at bat), run scored, single. AVG: .316

^^Michael starts triple play with his 10th OF assist^^

Game 80, July 2: 0-4, reached on fielding error (first at bat), walk, stolen base, run scored. AVG: .312

Game 81, July 4: 2-4, single, home run, run scored. AVG: .312

Game 82, July 5: 3-5, single (first at bat), single, run scored, RBI single. AVG: .319
(3rd/LF – 8 i, CF – 1 i/CG9)

Game 83, July 6: 2-4, single, RBI single. AVG: .321

Game 84, July 7: 2-4, single, single. AVG: .323

Game 85, July 8: 3-4, RBI double (first at bat), RBI double, home run, run scored. AVG: .328

Game 86, July 9: 1-6, single (first at bat), run scored, walk. AVG: .325

Game 87, July 10: 2-4, single (first at bat), RBI sac fly, RBI single, run scored. AVG: .327

Game 88/July 11: 1-4, single, run scored. AVG: .327

Game 89/July 12: 1-4, home run, run scored. AVG: .326

**Michael's 9-game hitting streak and 11-game reached base streak end**

Game 90/July 13: 0-4. AVG: .322

Michael's 1st half went beyond my wildest dreams. he's doing great in every facet of the game. but if i had to pinpoint a few areas that i'd like to see him improve in, i'd say his BA with 2 outs and runners in scoring position and his left-handed pitching BA. and i want him to work the count more, and maybe draw more walks and steal more bases. other than that, he's doing absolutely amazing and as long as he remains healthy, i expect nothing short of the same after the All Star break.

Michael is not getting much of a break this year, though he really deserves one. but he will be participating in the All Star festivities because he was selected to the 85th annual All Star game in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the first time in his career. i hope he has a great time and can keep his momentum going in the 2nd half of the season. i'm so proud of my boy. Go Brantley! Go Tribe!

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Retrospective of Michael Brantley's Career Thus Far

in honor of Michael Brantley being named to this year's American League All Star team for the first time in his career, i want to take this opportunity to recall how Michael got here. once again, words can't explain how happy i am that Michael is finally being recognized around the league as a strong player. he deserves this so much and i'm so proud of him.

i think this would also be a good time to talk about how i became the ultimate Brantley fan, because i realize i've never publicly explained it. i can honestly say i've been Team Brantley almost from the day we acquired him in the CC Sabathia trade as a PTBNL from the Milwaukee Brewers in October 2008.

i have been there during Michael's struggles and triumphs, through the good times and the bad, the hitting streaks and the slumps. from his first career home run to his season ending injury to his first career walk-off home run, oh yes, i have been there. actually, i have not missed any of Michael's 39 big league home runs. and i have been there for every plate appearance Michael has had dating back to late 2010.

from this walk up song, to this, and currently this. (btw, yuck! lol not my taste, sorry.)

i stuck by him and defended him when he was sent down to Columbus and when he played through injuries that hurt his overall numbers.

i kept supporting him when he got moved out of the leadoff spot and when he got moved out of center field. i expressed my anger when he was forced to take a backseat to Grady Sizemore.

and then Johnny Damon, and then Shin-Soo Choo, and then Michael Bourn.

when writers called him a mediocre/replaceable player, i had about 100 reasons as to why that was false. and i was right, bitches! lol he has become a major asset to the team offensively and defensively. i've watched him grow and develop as a player throughout his time in Cleveland. i've taken pride in documenting his game numbers for the last 3 years. and now, this year and this All Star selection, makes it all worthwhile.

so let's take it back. Michael practically grew up in the clubhouse, because his father Mickey Brantley was a baseball player for the Seattle Mariners from 1986-1989. Mickey continued playing ball for several Triple A minor league teams through 1993 before he got into coaching and managing in the minors. Michael idolized Kenny Griffey, Jr. as a child. he worked hard, played harder, and was an astute student of the game. he had a maturity about him and a certain respect for the game that not every potential ballplayer has. baseball was in Michael's blood. he was always meant to do this and it shows.

Michael was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 7th round of the amateur draft (205th overall) and signed with the Brewers on June 7, 2005. he first played with the AZL Brewers and Helena Brewers in 2005.


in 2006 and part of 2007, Michael graduated from the rookie league and played Single A ball with the West Virginia Power.

later in 2007, Michael was promoted to the Double A Huntsville Stars, where he also played in 2008.

Michael is 19 years old here, he looks so young lol

on October 3, 2008, Michael was traded from the Brewers to the Indians as the final piece (the player to be named later) of the CC Sabathia deal. the Indians had previously acquired Matt LaPorta, Rob Bryson, and Zach Jackson for Sabathia on June 7. because the Brewers made the playoffs that year, the Indians got to choose the player to be named later, and thankfully, they chose Michael over Taylor Green.

Michael got a 2009 spring training invite with the Indians,

but he started the 2009 season in Triple A with the Columbus Clippers. while he was playing for the Clips, all i kept hearing from the announcers was how this guy was going to be the next Kenny Lofton, a speedy leadoff center fielder with a nice swing. so i decided i was going to start supporting this kid.

screenshot cropped from a video on Scott Leo's facebook

during the Indians season, i heard Michael was racking up some good stats in Columbus and i was so excited when he got called up and made his major league debut on September 1, 2009.

in his short time with the Indians, he bat .313 with 11 RBI in 28 games. not bad for a rook.

in 2010, Michael went to spring training with the Indians and continued to play hard.

then Michael made the opening day roster in 2010, partially due to injuries, let's be real. but it was still very exhilarating. he started the opener batting 9th and playing center field.

alas, Michael's stay was short lived. he struggled, and after less than 2 weeks and 9 games he was sent down to Columbus. in his 9 games with us, he bat 9th in 7 games and 2nd in 2. when he was demoted, i did not stop supporting him.

i kept an eye on his Columbus numbers and from the day he was sent down, i added "call up Brantley!" to the signature part of my online profile on the Cleveland sports message board i belonged to at that time. and i didn't remove it until he was surprisingly brought back up on July 4, 2010 to take Choo's roster spot after he went on the DL. this is when Michael began hitting in the leadoff spot. but before his promotion, he played 59 games in Columbus, batting .315 with 9 doubles, 3 homers, 26 RBI, 47 runs, 29 walks, and 11 stolen bases.

then came July 8, 2010. Cleveland sports fans remember this as the day LeBron James shit all over the Cavaliers and its fans. i remember it for 3 reasons. that was one of course. the 2nd was that it was the day of my cousin's funeral, so needless to say i was extra emotional and not happy. but the third thing i remember this date for is what happened during the Indians game that night. i remember exactly where i was, what i was wearing, and every detail about the at bat. the Indians were playing down in Tampa Bay and facing Rays starter Wade Davis. after a 1-1 count in the top of the 1st inning, Michael Brantley hit a leadoff home run, his first home run in the major leagues. and because the Indians were in Florida, Michael's family was able to attend the game, making it extra special for him.

Michael's actually waving to his family in the stands in this pic

i jumped up and down on my bed and screamed. it was the only thing that made me happy that day, the only thing that brought a smile to my face. i've said before that i don't think athletes and famous people truly understand how they can make someone's day just by doing what they do, and this is a prime example of that. thank god for that home run, that momentous occasion for Michael, because i really needed it.

the Indians still lost that game, and 2 hours after Michael's home run, the asshole #23 of the Cavaliers made his decision to leave Cleveland. my anguish over the LeBron debacle, combined with the memory of being at my cousin's funeral and being extremely upset about that whole situation remains. but Michael's triumph of the night adds a little bit of joy to what otherwise would have been a miserable day in my life. thank you, Michael.

after the big HR, Michael continued to have some struggles. his BA got down to .118 at one point, but i did not leave his side. if memory serves, on July 27 he was briefly sent down again for 8 games to make room for Choo to come off the disabled list. while back in C-bus, he bat .344 with 4 doubles, 1 homer, 3 RBI, 7 runs, and 5 walks.

the Indians brought him back up as soon as they could, on August 6 after the 10-day roster move requirement, and his career with the Clippers was over forever. the call up was perfect timing because i was going to the August 7 game, and was thankful that i'd be able to see him play. but he went 0-for-4 that day lol typical.

i also remember Michael suffered a minor ankle injury in August that year. August 19, to be exact. he had to leave the game early and be assisted off the field.

i was very upset and concerned about it because i didn't want him to be hurt and miss a lot of time. plus i thought i wouldn't get to see him play when i went to the game on August 28. but he only sat out 4 games and resumed play on August 25. so i did get to see him and it was amazing. i brought the MICHAEL BRANTLEY'S #1 FAN sign that i made with me and that's when i got my first autograph from him. first of many lol (i currently have 10 autographs and am always seeking more every time i go to another game. i want as many as i can possibly get. and i don't think most fans have his autograph 10 times, so i always use that as another big reason as to why i am his #1 fan.) i continue to hope that that was a special day for Michael and that he remembers it, because i'm pretty sure not a lot of Indians fans were making #1 Brantley fan signs and declarations back in 2010.

from the time he was brought back up in August, he finally started seeing the ball better and hitting consistently. he racked up a 19-game hitting streak from August 30 - September 19, the longest by a rookie since Larry Doby's 21-game hitting streak in 1948. but i'll never forget the game on September 20, when he went 0-for-5 against the Minnesota Twins. though he claims he was simply upset due to the Indians loss, i think there was more to it. a picture is worth a thousand words.

during Michael's streak, he bat .286 with 26 hits and 5 stolen bases. additionally, he had a .292 batting average with 12 extra base hits and 15 RBI from August 6 through the end of the 2010 season. it should have been apparent to everyone then that Michael was on his way to becoming the hitter that everyone said he would one day be. defensively, he played the majority of his games as our center fielder, while playing left in only 7 games.

in 2011, Michael was poised to have a great year. in our opener, he was our leadoff center fielder.

he played both center and left in 2011, appearing in left in 66 games vs. 52 in center. he mostly led off, but by year's end he had bat in every spot in the order except for 9th.

Brantley's first game in left field in 2011

his batting average for the months of April and May were the 2nd highest on the team, and in July he had the highest, batting .294.

however, shortly after the All Star break in July, he developed a wrist injury that later turned out to be a broken hamate bone, but he continued to play sparingly. it ended up bringing down his batting average for the year because he was unproductive in the majority of his at bats.

eventually, on August 26, he had to be shut down and put on the DL for the first time in his big league career. he had season ending surgery on August 31. i must confess, i did admire his desire to keep playing hurt. he was determined to help the team and i like that attitude. but people tend to forget that fact when looking back on his year, and that irks me. did you really think Michael was a .266 hitter? no. i approximated that had he stopped playing right when the injury first came up, he would have finished the year batting .281. you can see my reasoning for that in the blog i wrote here.

in an offseason interview with Nick Camino, Michael admitted that he played for a month and a half while injured, confirming what i previously deduced. he said he wanted to battle through and learn about himself as a person, to see what he could take and what he could do. Michael wanted to be out there with his teammates until he couldn't do it anymore. his goal once he starts the season is to finish it to the end no matter what gets in the way. he tried to fight through his injury, as he believed the team needed him as much as he needed them. but he was limited in what he could do, so he had to make adjustments and pull back. ultimately, the training staff makes the call as to when to shut down a player, and they finally did that with Michael in late August. but his teammates saw what he went through and how he was willing to give it all he had each and every day.

Michael's offseason routine was not his usual routine due to his rehab. but it did not seem to impact his 2012 season. he began the year again as our leadoff center fielder.

photo cropped from a video on

but he did start out slow, most likely because of his irregular offseason preparations. sadly, that made Manny Acta think twice about Michael batting so high in the order and on May 2 he was moved down to 7th. conversely, when June came around, he never had a batting average lower than .276. from June 1 to the end of the year, he had a .294 batting average, with 22 doubles, 2 triples, 6 homers, 39 RBI, and 43 walks. he also had a career high 22-game hitting streak from May 20 - June 15, where he bat .337 with 29 hits, 6 extra base hits, and 16 RBI. he passed his father's RBI total with a career high of 60 during this season as well. and he finished the season batting .288, highest on the team.

this was also the season that the nickname "Dr. Smooth" started floating around the internet, thanks to Dennis Manoloff of The Plain Dealer.

so you see that Michael had a great year despite being demoted from the leadoff spot, which i maintained was a big mistake. Michael was moved all around the batting order, contradicting Manny Acta's claims that he wanted regularity in his lineup. but thankfully, he let Michael stay in center all season.


when Manny decided to give Michael a crack at the cleanup spot, pitchers were "unintentionally" pitching outside to him and walking him out of fear of giving up a big hit. i took that as a compliment, but was angry too because i wanted to see him get the big hits.

unfortunately, Michael once again had a few health issues towards the end of the year. first on September 13, he injured his left pectoral muscle in batting practice and missed a few games. but that wasn't nearly as serious as the sore left groin he developed on September 23 when he was attempting to stay out of a rundown. the injury caused him to miss 6 of the final 9 games of the season. he did somehow play 1 full game in October, pinch hit in 1, and then sat out the entire last game. so he couldn't finish the year the way i wanted him to, but i understood that his health was more important, especially since the Indians had no chance of making the playoffs. he ended up having sports hernia surgery on October 11 and it was revealed that Michael was playing with pain for the entire second half of the season. for a guy playing hurt, he did unbelievably well. but again, this caused Michael to not be able to have a proper offseason from a training standpoint.

2013 was the first year he played in full and he put up some career highs for himself, particularly in home runs (10) and RBI (73). he played left field for the whole season except in 1 game when he was moved to center for 4 innings. he only bat leadoff when Bourn, who was our final offseason acquisition, was out hurt. he spent the majority of the year batting 5th.

however, on May 21, just 45 games into the season, Michael had already bat in every spot in the lineup. i didn't like it, but he handled it well, never complaining.

this was the season Michael finally became fully appreciated by the fan base.

he worked very hard, some days harder than others.

and he finished the season with the highest batting average on the team (.284) for the 2nd year in a row.

he played in the first postseason game of his career when the Indians played in their wild card game against Tampa Bay, and he recorded one hit, a single. he proved himself as a leader to me after that game, which we lost, when he was seen publicly consoling Jason Kipnis in the dugout, who was visibly upset and crying.

i was so proud to see that, so much so that my sadness over our loss almost completely went away.

before spring training 2014 officially got underway, Michael signed a 4-year contract extension with the Indians. it was very exciting, but i firmly believed Michael's agent undersold him. (and based on his numbers so far this season, it looks like i was right.)

and now here we are in 2014. Michael's opportunity as a leadoff hitter seems to be gone, at least for the time being, but he's now found a home in the 3rd spot and is doing amazing. the only dark cloud on his year so far was when he ended April with a bad stretch in San Fran. but he's more than made up for it since then, confirmed by his selection to this year's All Star team. oh, and there was also this mishap. don't get me started lol

screenshot cropped from

Michael's already set 2 new franchise records this year, with a 247 consecutive game errorless streak in the outfield and a 19-game home hitting streak.

then there was his first career walk-off home run on May 19.

he was also named American League Player of the Week for the first time in his career back in June of this season. he doesn't play for the individual accolades, he's very much a team first player. but with all the talent he has, he can't help but set new records. and getting yourself in the Tribe record books is certainly not a bad thing.

screenshot cropped from a video on

Michael currently the leads the team in batting average, RBI, runs scored, and stolen bases.


and he's tied for the team lead in home runs.

all of these leader photos were cropped from

additionally, Michael is the team leader with 103 hits, 34 extra base hits, 164 total bases, .385 OBP, .511 SLG, .896 OPS, 358 PA, and 83 games.

he's a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen bases, also tops on the club. he's tied for 2nd with 20 doubles and 3rd with 29 walks. plus, he has only 30 strikeouts among all the regular players.

Michael currently ranks 4th in batting average, 5th in OBP, 7th in hits, tied for 3rd in runs, and tied for 9th in RBI compared with the rest of the American League. among American League outfielders, Michael is 1st in batting average, 3rd in RBI, 3rd in OBP, 4th in SLG, 4th in OPS, 4th in hits, 5th in total bases, 6th in extra base hits, 6th in doubles, and 7th in home runs. in the race for the major league batting title, Michael ranks 8th. defensively, he's tied for the major league lead with 10 outfield assists.


the fact that Michael's doing so well this season verifies that his .500 batting average in spring training, highest out of everyone in the league, was no fluke. he attributes his success to finally being able to train for a full offseason the way he wanted, without having to rehab any injuries.

Michael is on pace to set career highs for himself in all the major categories this season. any home run he hits for the rest of the year is a new career high. and he's going to crush his RBI career high as long as other Indians continue to get on base ahead of him. can he sustain his hot hitting and continue batting over .300 in these final 2 and a half months? idk, but i'm gonna be keeping a close eye on it, as i always do.

watching Michael develop as a player, offensively and defensively, and go from being a quiet kid to a leading man, has been a real treat. he's a great all-around ballplayer, a great teammate, and great to his fans. and i am very grateful that he's a Cleveland Indian.

so congrats again Michael on your first All Star nod. i have no doubt this is just the beginning for you. and i will continue to be there as you continue to flourish as a ballplayer. "i'll be there for you..." ;D

disclaimer: all the photos here that were not cropped screenshots were found using google image search, from's photo gallery page, or on various Indians writers twitter accounts. i do not claim to have taken any of the photos used in this blog.