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Indians 2014 preview and predictions: Michael Brantley

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With a newly signed contract in his back pocket, Michael Brantley will look to justify the deal in 2014.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

This post is part of a contest in which you could win a free Let's Go Tribe t-shirt. In order to enter, just copy and paste the template at the bottom of this post into the comments, then fill in each category with your own prediction for how this player will do in 2014. Position players and pitchers will be featured as two separate contests. You need not submit predictions for every single player in either contest in order to win, but doing so will increase your chances, as points will be awarded separately for each player.

For position players, you'll be asked to predict each player's plate appearances (PA), home runs (HR), stolen bases (SB), batting average (BA), on-base percentage (OBP), and slugging percentage (SLG).

Find every previous entry in the series here.

The comments on each post in this series will remain open through Saturday, March 29.

Michael Brantley

2013 Recap

Michael Brantley may be the perfect baseball example of being "Jack of All Trades, Master of None," and I mean this in the most positive way possible. There is nothing in Brantley's statistical profile that jumps out at you. In 2013, he hit .284/.332/.396, with 10 HR and 17 SB. He added 26 doubles and 3 triples, and played solid if not particularly great outfield defense. But while none of that screams "all-star," there isn't really a weak spot on that resume (well, maybe the .396 SLG). Add in a penchant for big hits in clutch situations, and you have 26-year-old coming off a pretty solid all-around season.

Recent Stats
Year Age Tm G PA H 2B 3B HR SB BB BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2011 24 CLE 114 496 120 24 4 7 13 34 .266 .318 .384 .702 97
2012 25 CLE 149 609 159 37 4 6 12 53 .288 .348 .402 .750 112
2013 26 CLE 151 611 158 26 3 10 17 40 .284 .332 .396 .728 107

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com

2014 Preview and Projections

Indians fans will be watching Brantley closely this year, looking for a step forward from the man who will be holding down an outfield spot for the next four years. If you are looking for progress from Brantley, there are a couple possibilities. Over his career, he has posted walk rates as high as 8.7% and strike out rates as low as 9.2%. While he is unlikely to repeat either, but if he did, it would likely come with a nice jump in his OBP. The other place to look would be a jump in his batted ball distance, leading to a higher HR/FB%. But the projection systems don't see any big changes in his future.

Here are a variety of projections for Brantley's 2014 season, all of which are available on his player page at FanGraphs, where you can find more detail, if you're so inclined:

System

PA

HR

SB

BA

OBP

SLG

Steamer

538

8

12

272

332

385

Oliver

600

10

15

283

335

400

ZIPS

619

9

15

278

331

391

My Two Cents

Brantley is who Brantley is, according to the systems. Steady almost across the board. And really, I see no reason to rock the boat. Brantley has been solid-but-not-great for a while now, and he'll likely be about the same next year. I see a little hope for an improved OBP, and maybe a tad more pop, but I wouldn't bank on it. I'd go with a .281/.341/.407 line, 11 HR and 18 SB. Just slightly more optimistic than the projection systems, but more or less in line with what we've come to expect.

Your Turn

You're welcome just to pull numbers out of thin air, but if you want to commute the rate stats more scientifically, here are some easy to use links that will help you with batting average, with on-base percentage, and with slugging percentage.

To submit your entry, simply copy-and-paste the text below into a new comment, then fill in your predictions:

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