Found March 19, 2012 on
Waiting For Next Year:
Until I was about seventeen, I was pretty sure Paraguay was an island nation in the South Pacific. It just sounded so right I never even bothered to check: the Philippines is next to Guam is next to Paraguay. QED. When I found out that I was, in fact, horribly wrong and that I could actually drive to Paraguay if so inclined, I was embarrassed. The moral of the story: It’s never a good thing to be surprised by publicly available facts.
This is sort of how I felt when I was looking at some of Michael Brantley’s numbers the other day, but let me back up before we get there.
The narrative I’ve constructed in my head says that Michael Brantley is one part of the four-piece bust we got in return for CC Sabathia. While he’s not as spectacular a bust as LaPorta, that’s mostly due to the fact that he was never all that highly regarded in the first place. Brantley probably has the skills to be a fourth outfielder on a good team or a centerfielder on a mediocre one, but to expect more than that borders on hallucinatory. To expect him to hit enough to hold down a corner OF spot is downright insane.
But here’s what I found out the other day that made me start rethinking things: Michael Brantley is YOUNGER than Jason Kipnis. I’ve not been so surprised since Paraguay.
Not that I want to carry the Brantley-Kipnis thing to any extreme, but it is interesting to me that while Kipnis was allowed time to develop at his own speed in the Minor Leagues, Brantley was forced onto the Big League roster at the age of 22 because the team had so few viable OF alternatives.
To me then, it would seem possible that the Brantley that we’ve seen so far has been largely a work-in-progress. And that just because I’m tired of seeing him ground out weakly to second base, doesn’t mean it must always be so.
When we acquired Brantley, his skills were said to be twofold: getting on base and speed. In parts of three Big League seasons he has a .316 OBP and 27 stolen bases and thrown in some sub-par defense just for good measure.
But this is where we remember that he’s only 24 years old, and that most players his age don’t have three years of MLB experience to learn from. There’s a reason teams don’t typically rush young players to the majors—even Grade A prospects like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. No matter how much potential a player might have, that potential means nothing until the player learns how to unlock it. Perhaps these last few years have allowed Brantley time to find the key?
We once thought that Michael Brantley could be the next important piece of our outfield. Maybe we just expected it to happen too quickly. Don’t look now, but he’s got a .379 OBP so far this Spring. He’s walked as often as he’s struck out. And more than half of his hits have been for extra bases. This isn’t me saying that you should believe in these numbers.
But maybe we should stop believing so much in the numbers he put up three years ago. There’s a good possibility he’s a different player today, and he’s going to have every opportunity to prove it this season.
BEST OF MAXIM
Of course this happens the day I write about not losing faith in him.
According to Nick Camino of WTAM, Brantley was unexpectedly pulled from today’s Spring Training game against the Dodgers in the third inning.
Ryan Spilbourghs on deck. Not sure why? He is taking Michael Brantley’s spot in the lineup. #Indians
Just watched #Indians OF Michael Brantley leave Goodyear...
The elephant in the room has reared its ugly head in Wahooland once again.
During yesterday’s 4-3 Spring Training win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Tribe’s slated opening day center fielder, Michael Brantley, left the game with what has been described as “mild tightness in his right hamstring.” Manager Manny Acta said taking Brantley out of the game was “a precaution...
In an interview with 850AM WKNR, Cleveland Indians team president Mark Shapiro discussed the future of several key individuals within the organization, including chairman and chief executive officer Paul Dolan.
With a bevy of players signing one-year, arbitration-avoiding contracts, the Indians have recently been viewed as a team ripe for the having due to perceived financial flexibility...
The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has reduced the roster by five (5) players.
Today the Indians optioned OF Ezekiel Carrera, INF Juan Diaz and RHP Corey Kluber to the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. The club also re-assigned RHP Hector Ambriz and CA Michael Hernandez to minor league camp.
There are currently 49 players remaining in Major League spring training camp (32...
The Indians started off the 2011 season like a house of fire, and were quickly in control of the AL Central. As the season went on, their tight grasp of the division lead started fading and fading, until they completely lost it, and ended up finishing under .500 for the season in second place. There was a lot to build on, but there were still plenty of holes on this Tribe team that...
Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera and four others were sent to the minor leagues by the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.
Carrera, right-hander Corey Kluber and infielder Juan Diaz were optioned to Triple-A Columbus. Catcher Michel Hernandez and right-hander Hector Ambriz, who missed the entire 2011 season recovering from elbow-ligament replacement surgery, were reassigned to the minor-league...
Cleveland Indians reliever Chris Perez went through a successful bullpen session Saturday and hopes to be in action as early as next week. Perez, who has been nursing a strained left oblique suffered in training over a month ago, threw 20 pitches – all of which were fastballs – and didn’t feel any pain in his side. He’s scheduled to throw another bullpen session Sunday and...
The Indians have placed oft-injured center fielder Grady Sizemore on the 60-day disabled list and finalized their roster for Opening Day.
Sizemore, who underwent back surgery last month, will not be eligible to come off the DL until June 3. He has been in Cleveland doing his rehab. General manager Chris Antonetti said the three-time All-Star has been working on his stability and...
Everyone in the baseball universe has essentially said the same thing about the chances for the Indians to compete with the Detroit Tigers for the AL Central crown. They will not be able to hang unless Ubaldo Jimenez finds his old form and pitches like the the top of the rotation starter that Chris Antonetti thought he was getting last summer. Not that anyone has forgotten, but the...
There are few conversations that are more potentially productive than conversations about the idea of the Cleveland Indians finally ditching the disgusting, embarrassing, and profoundly damning red sambo, Chief Wahoo, and just such a conversation is taking place at one of the finest sites (with one of the finest commenting communities) on the web, Uni Watch.
Ki Yi Waugh Woop...
GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) -- Clayton Kershaw pitched into the sixth inning on his 24th birthday for the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 4-3 loss Monday to the Cleveland Indians.
The NL Cy Young Award winner allowed one run -- his first this spring -- and three singles over 5 1-3 innings. The left-hander walked two and struck out four. He got eight outs on grounders and has a 0.79 ERA in 11...
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) -- Eric Hosmer went 3 for 3 with a two-run homer as the Kansas City Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 6-4 Sunday, a win dampened by an elbow injury to closer Joakim Soria.
Soria, a two-time AL All-Star, left in the fifth inning with soreness in his right elbow after retiring only one of the five batters he faced and yielding three runs. Soria, who missed the...
While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at email@example.com.
A profile of new Cavalier Donald Sloan from a few months back- “Those 38 games of “running the show” were enough to get Sloan invited to training camp to play for the...
If there is one thing I learned from spending the week talking to media members at Spring Training, it’s that Buster Posey hates answering questions about his ankle.
He shut us up a little bit by getting his first hit of the spring, an opposite-field home run off Tony Sipp in last Wednesday’s exhibition game against the Indians. Still, this type of injury and required rehab...
Herbert Jude Score
Rookie of the Year 1955, 2 Time All-Star (1955-1956), Top 20 MVP (1956)
Best Season (1956...