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Predicting the future for Michael Brantley

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Look into Bill James' crystal ball and see Michael Brantley's future...

David Maxwell/Getty Images

Bill James created his Favorite Toy projection system as a quick way to predict a player's career numbers based on his current age and previous production, with weighted emphasis placed on more recent performance. It will also give (as a percentage) a player's chance of reaching whatever milestone number you might be interested in. The system doesn't strike me as especially scientific, yet every year when I get my copy of James' new annual, the new Favorite Toy projections are the first thing I look at. They're fun.

As we make our way through the early weeks of spring training, slowly getting closer to having real baseball to discuss and real results to analyze, I thought I'd run through what the Favorite Toy system has to say about various members of the Tribe lineup.

Today, I kick off that series with the Michael Brantley, who surely boosted his future projections quite a bit with his monster 2014 season.

Here is the Favorite Toy prediction for Brantley's final career numbers in some key categories:

  • 2088 hits
  • 425 doubles
  • 36 triples
  • 158 home runs
  • 222 stolen bases
  • 930 runs
  • 930 RBI

If Brantley were to tally those numbers and spend his entire career with the Indians, he'd break the franchise record for most hits, and rank 2nd in doubles, 3rd in RBI, and 5th in runs. It wouldn't be enough to get him into the Hall of Fame, but he'd have a strong case for deserving to have his uniform number retired.

Here are Brantley's Favorite Toy chances of hitting various milestones:

  • 1,000 RBI: 40%
  • 1,000 runs: 40%
  • 300 doubles: 97%
  • 400 doubles: 60%
  • 500 doubles: 29%
  • 200 HR: 23%
  • 300 HR: 0%
  • 200 SB: 69%
  • 300 SB: 15%
  • 1,500 hits: 97%
  • 2,000 hits: 57%
  • 2,500 hits: 27%
  • 3,000 hits: 10%

As a point of comparison, Brantley was given a 0% chance of reaching 3,000 hits a year ago, and a 34% chance of ever reaching 2,000.

What a difference a year makes.