Michael Brantley was becoming one of those guys who looked like he was never going to reach quite his potential. Brantley was drafted in the 7th round out of high school by the Brewers in 2005 and was then traded to the Indians as a key part of the C.C. Sabathia trade back in 2007. Brantley was regarded as one of the top prospects in both the Indians and Brewers system and posted very impressive numbers throughout his minor league career. Over 6 seasons in the minors, he hit .303/.388/.425.
He started off his major league career with a lot of promise back in 2009 when he debuted at the age of 22 with the Indians. In 121 plate appearances he hit .313/.358/.348. Those numbers would drop in 2010 and 2011 as Brantley really struggled with his patience at the plate. The strikeout numbers weren’t necessarily high but he did not take a lot of walks. Between 2010 and 2011 his OBP was only .310 in 821 plate appearances. People were still hoping he’d come around and his name came up a lot this off season as a player who may breakout in 2012. Well he has done just that.
Brantley started off the season hitting .250/.321/.355 but once May came around, he began to post some of the best numbers of his career. In May he hit a solid .296/.308.391 and kept things up in June hitting .286/.345/.400. Come July though and Brantley has been scorching hot.
Brantley is currently one of the hottest players in all of baseball. In the month of July he is hitting .435/.536/.783 with 3 homeruns and a 17.9% BB%, the best he has ever posted. His BB/K ratio is a very good 3.33 which is the best in all of baseball for the month of July. His 1.318 OPS this month is the third best in the league behind only Andrew McCutchen and Mark Teixeira. He has a 1.2 WAR this month, ranking 4th in all of baseball.
Over the last week he has been scorching hot. He is hitting .526/.654/.947 with a .421 ISO and a homerun. He has a 0.8 WAR over the last week which is tied for the best in that span with Mike Trout and Josh Willingham.
Cleveland has had a solid month of July and Brantley has been a big part of that. Cleveland now sits 3 games back in the division which should make for an interesting second half of the season with them the White Sox and the Tigers battling for that division championship. Brantley is now hitting .301.357/.439 and looks to be developing into a solid center fielder for the Indians.