As Cleveland Indians’ fans in 2014, we have been presented with a special privilege. Cleveland is bearing witness to the coming out of a superstar. Michael Brantley has been a big part of what the Indians do for some times now. He has a steady and professional approach to his game. Brantley has shown that he is an extremely talented hitter since he started with the Indians in 2011 when he played in 114 games and batted .266. He improved on those numbers in 2012 batting .288 as the teams starting Center Fielder. He drove in 60 runs that season and began an errorless streak in the outfield that would span over two complete seasons. Last season, Brantley was as clutch a hitter as the team had, ranking amongst the league leaders in batting with men in scoring position and men in scoring position with two outs. Brantley batted .273 with 73 RBI’s and 10 home runs in 2013. Along with his terrific year at the plate, Brantley continued his errorless streak as the teams starting left fielder. He also ranked among the league leaders in assists as Michael threw out 11 runners from the outfield. Brantley signed a four year contract extension worth $25 Million and has an option for a fifth year. If Brantley continues the way he has been playing for the past 18 months, his contract extension stands to be a steal for the Indians.
Brantley is a five tool star with a now evident endless potential. He hits both right and left handed pitching with his silky smooth, Griffey Junior-esque swing. The crazy thing is that whatever potential and talent he had displayed up to this point may have been an underestimation of what the Indians left fielder really is and could be. Brantley who once was of very slight build has gotten stronger every year. His noticeable increase in upper body build is a testimate to his work ethic. He is in better shape than ever and his developed strength is paying off as Brantley has added the long ball to his abundance of abilities at the plate. Brantley has gone deep 4 times already this year and is driving the ball with power we haven’t seen from him before. He has continued were he left off last season with his clutch hitting as he is ranked second in the AL with 18 RBI’s already.
Brantley’s talent at the plate has been on full display for all to see and he is finally getting some notice around the league. The truth is that we have stumbled upon a special kind of player that only comes along every once in a while in Cleveland and this summer is going to be his coming out party. As Indians fans this is something too pay close attention to. Brantley will make his first All-Star team in 2014, his first of many to come. We as fans need to enjoy this kind of a rise as he is going to draw a lot of attention towards the Indians and the City of Cleveland. What makes it even better is that Brantley presents himself with a steadiness and class that is uncommon is professional sports. Despite his high level of play, Brantley always remains humble and levelheaded. He is never too high or too low which is what makes it so clear that his success will be not be short lived. Get used to a new star in Cleveland, Michael Brantley will be a household name in baseball by the end of 2014. Along with his first All-Star team, look for Brantley to hit .275, drive in over 100 runs and hit 25 Home Runs. So lets makes sure we appreciate what we have in this #23 and make sure we bear witness to his ascent into baseball stardom.
By: Brad Ward
Follow @CST_BradWard on Twitter