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Michael Brantley is on fire right now for the Cleveland Indians

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...You might even say he's carrying the team on his back.

Jason Miller/Getty Images

Michael Brantley finished 3rd in the American League MVP voting last year, and deservedly so, because he was awesome. Right now though, Brantley is putting numbers that stand up to his best stretch from 2014.

Since the All-Star break, Brantley is hitting .398/.485/.625, with a wRC+ of 211. His on-base percentage in the second half leads the American League, and his wRC+ ranks 3rd. Factor in his usual good base running, and I think it's fair to say only Nelson Cruz has been a better offensive play since the break. (In case you haven't noticed Cruz's play of... He's hit 13 home runs since the break; he has a slugging percentage of .808 and a wRC+ of 247.)

Brantley has played in 23 games since the break. I went through the game logs for 2014 to find Brantley's best 23-game stretch. It came in September, as Brantley (successfully) chased his 200th hit. In 23 games from September 2 through September 24, Brantley hit .440/.490/.593. His batting average was even more impressive, but his OBP was basically the same as it has been during this current stretch, because in addition to hits, he's been walking a fair amount recently. Meanwhile, because "only" 10 of Brantley's hits went for extra bases during last year's stretch, as compared to 14 of them this time, his slugging percentage was excellent but not quite as excellent.

Brantley's OPS during his best 23-game stretch last year was 1.083. In this current stretch, it's 1.110.

He's having the best stretch of his career, and any concerns from earlier this year that 2014 was some sort of fluke, I think can be put to rest. The 20 home runs he hit will probably always be his career high, and 2014 will probably remain the best season he ever has, but he's a legitimately great hitter.

...A legitimately great hitter who's on fire right now.