Fantasy Outlook: Michael Brantley
2015 Season Recap
It was not a surprise that Michael Brantley was unable to reproduce the MVP-caliber production of 2014 that saw him outscore all hitters in points leagues except Mike Trout. The Indians’ left fielder got off to a sluggish start in 2015, partly caused by a back stiffness issue that hampered him all year.
He excelled after the All-Star break but was unable to contribute the counting stats expected from a second-round pick. By the end of the year, Brantley had a .310 batting average with 15 home runs, 68 runs, 84 RBI, 45 doubles, 15 stolen bases and 60 walks to 51 strikeouts.
2016 Season Outlook
Brantley had offseason shoulder surgery which could impact his value in 2016. The Indians are reluctant to discuss a return date, but optimistic voices have suggested that he may only miss the first week.
Of course, there is the risk that the left-hander will not return until July or August in which case he should not be drafted in the top 100. Spring Training will give a more accurate timetable for his return.
If Brantley recaptures his pre-injury form, then he will offer double-digit home runs and stolen bases with an elite batting average. He continues to possess the best contact skills in the league (92.6%) and the lowest swinging strike rate (3.2%) which helps protect him against slumps in form. He is the poster boy for players with a high floor.
The fact that he has only been caught stealing twice in two years suggests that there is the potential for many more stolen bases. With his low strikeout rate of 8.6%, Brantley will continue to help you more in points leagues than in roto formats.