Friday, March 25, 2016

Brantley Ranked 4th in Baseball Tonight's Top 10 Left Fielders

now that Baseball Tonight's Top 100 list is complete, it's time for them to name their annual Top 10 players at each position going into the 2016 season. once again, the way in which this was revealed differs from last year.

today, on March 25, ESPN's Baseball Tonight unveiled all of their Top 10s in one day and at the same time online. the panel of MLB writers, analysts, and contributors who ranked the Top 100 also ranked the Top 10s, and some players who didn't make the Top 100 list did make it onto their respective position lists. my blog, however, is solely going to focus on the Top 10 Left Fielders.

this year, BBTN ranked Michael as the 4th best left fielder going into 2016. last year, he was ranked as the best left fielder going into 2015. so clearly their opinion of Michael has gone down, most likely due to the shoulder injury he suffered towards the end of the season. (although, if you've been keeping up with all my Brantley update blogs, then you already know there's now a chance that Michael could open the season with the Tribe.) whatever the reason, i disagree immensely.

here is BBTN's entire Top 10 LF list, featuring both American and National League players:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Brantley's March 2016 Hitting Advancements (Soft Toss to ON THE FIELD BP!)

so um, i don't know if you've heard...but i figure i should probably blog about the fact that...Michael Brantley is now playing in spring games! i repeat, Michael Brantley is now playing in spring games! how awesome is that?! bravo to a man who absolutely killed it in his rehab and crushed his original timetable.

when news of Michael's shoulder surgery broke back on November 9, 2015, i questioned whether or not he would be able to play in any games this spring, and if so, would he even get to play with the Indians in the big league camp? while the latter remains to be seen, hearing this good news is still very exciting and i'm extremely grateful for Michael's swift progress.

note: Terry Francona spoke with the media yesterday and officially announced that Michael would make his game debut on March 17 in a minor league game, but i wanted to wait and be sure it actually happened before i went ahead and posted this blog.

despite the month of March not being over, i didn't like the idea of combining Michael's hitting program updates with his spring training/rehab game info. therefore, this post will simply consist of Michael's continued hitting advancements in March up until today, his "game activation" point. then,

Brantley Ranked 80th in Baseball Tonight's Top 100 Players

i wasn't expecting Baseball Tonight to start its Top 100 countdown so soon. usually, they do that over two days at the end of spring training, both online and in a TV special. now, the Top 100 reveal is taking place over 10 days, from March 15-24. every morning, a new set of 10 players, beginning with #100-91, is posted on and when it's time for the Top 10 to be announced on March 24, that will occur on a special edition of Baseball Tonight at 10 pm EST on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.

much like the change in the publication of this list, the way in which it was constituted differs from last year as well. a panel of 70 ESPN experts (vs. 60 previously), including MLB writers, analysts, and contributors, was polled in February and March after being given a list of more than 350 MLB players (vs. 600 last year). these experts evaluated the players by assigning them a number from 0 to 10 based on player projections for 2016.

a year ago, Michael Brantley made his debut on this list when he ranked 43rd on BBTN's Top 100. knowing that Michael's 2015 season was not as strong as his All Star 2014 season, and knowing that projections don't take into account the fact that Michael played hurt a lot in 2015 (which consequently hindered some of his stats), i presumed Michael wouldn't top last year's rank.

so where does Michael fall on this list?