Michael Brantley, slowed by a sore back for part of the season, has been tremendous during the second half, batting .347/.408/.583 since the All-Star break, with a wRC+ of 172, which ranks 9th among all MLB hitters during that time. On Sunday Brantley hit his MLB-leading 45th double of the season. Brantley also hit 45 doubles last year, and he is now only the fourth player in franchise history to hit at least that many in back-to-back seasons.
45+ doubles in consecutive seasons for the Indians:
Tris Speaker: 1920 (50), 1921 (52), 1922 (48), and 1923 (59)
George Burns: 1926 (64) and 1927 (51)
Lou Boudreau: 1940 (46) and 1941 (45)
Michael Brantley: 2014 (45) and 2015 (45)
To be the first Indian since before the U.S. joined World War II to accomplish something is quite a thing, especially considering some of the tremendous hitters the team has had in the last twenty years or so.
Another way of looking at Brantley's work during the last couple years is to add the two seasons together. Brantley's 90 doubles over the last couple years are by far the most of any MLB player. Jose Altuve and Miguel Cabrera are a distant 2nd with 80 two-baggers apiece. Meanwhile, in franchise history...
Most doubles in back-to-back seasons for the Indians:
- 1. George Burns: 115 (1926-27)
- 2. Tris Speaker: 110 (1921-22)
- 3. Tris Speaker: 107 (1922-23)
- 4. George Burns: 105 (1925-26)
- 5. Tris Speaker: 102 (1920-21)
- 6. Tris Speaker: 95 (1923-24)
- 7. Lou Boudreau: 91 (1940-41)
- t8. Nap Lajoie: 90 (1903-04)
- t8. Albert Belle: 90 (1995-96)
- t8. Grady Sizemore: 90 (2005-06)
- t8. Michael Brantley: 90 (2014-15)
Because Brantley has hit the minimum number of doubles needed to qualify on the first list, he falls behind the other players on it, but this season isn't over. The Indians have 13 or 14 games left (they'll only make up a postponed game against Detroit if it has postseason implications, which unfortunately seems unlikely. Given his pace so far this season, Brantley might be expected to hit another four doubles, which would put him at 49 on the season and 94 for the last two seasons combined, which would be the Tribe's highest two-year total since before the Great Depression.
If Brantley can find his way to five more doubles on the year, he'd join Grady Sizemore and Albert Belle as the only Indians to reach 50 doubles in a season since 1936.