Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Safe or Short Leash: Michael Brantley

Starting Outfielder 3:

Michael Brantley:

Pros:

Brantley is approaching the late 20s age where players start to hit their peak and his performance has improved incrementally over the last few seasons. He was part of the haul of prospects that the Brewers sent to Cleveland to get CC Sabathia and help get the Brewers to the playoffs for the first time since I was alive. He looks to contribute a little bit of everything (average, steals and even the occasional home run).

Cons:

While he will fill up the fantasy scoring sheet somewhat, he's not exactly a star. While there is a possibility of a breakout season around the bend, nothing in this game is guaranteed.


Comparative Analysis:

His most similar player through age 26 is Frank Welch. In his age 27 season he only played 85 games and hit .277/.373/.401. Brantley appears to be on a different trajectory and this projection is likely weighed down by earlier seasons where he underachieved. While Brantley is probably on a short leash as the season starts, there are things that seem promising.

He's stayed healthy the last couple seasons (playing about 150 games a year), he's posted two above average seasons offensively and he's coming off his first season of hitting double-figure home runs (albeit at 10). If he can hold steady on the average and stolen base totals and push his home run total towards 15 he could be a good lower end option for fantasy owners.