- Full name Michael Charles Brantley
- Born 05/15/1987 in Bellevue, WA
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 209 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Fort Pierce Central
- Debut 09/01/2009
- Drafted in the 7th round (205th overall) by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005 (signed for $150,000).
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Indians picked Brantley over third baseman Taylor Green as the player to be named in the 2008 deal that sent C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee. While Green stagnated last year in Double-A, Brantley had a solid year as one of the Triple-A International League's youngest players. The son of former major leaguer Mickey Brantley, he hit .313 during a September callup. Brantley is a career .300 hitter with a .387 on-base percentage in the minors because he has excellent plate discipline and plus speed from the left side. He has an easy, compact swing and a good two-strike approach. He pairs his speed with good instincts on the basepaths, tying for the IL lead with 46 steals while getting caught just five times, including a perfect 33-for-33 against righthanders. His speed is also an asset in center field, where he improved his reads and routes to become a solid-average defender with a chance to get better. Brantley has well-below-average power, though he has the size to develop more pop. He doesn't use his legs much in his swing, but more power could come once he learns to work his lower half, leverage the ball more consistently and learn what pitches he can drive. His arm is below-average. Brantley won't start in center field for Cleveland as long as Grady Sizemore is around, so he'll try to win the left-field job. He could make up for his lack of power with his on-base ability and defensive value.
The son of former big leaguer Mickey Brantley, Michael ranked second in the minors in plate appearances per strikeout (17.7) in 2008. At the end of the season, the Indians selected him over infielder Taylor Green as the player to be named in the C.C. Sabathia trade. Brantley has outstanding barrel control and contact-hitting ability, spraying the ball to all fields. He has walked more than he has struck out in each of his four pro seasons. He has a quick bat and a fundamentally sound swing, and he was able to generate more loft in his swing in 2008 than he had shown in previous years. A good athlete, he has plus speed and good instincts on the bases. Brantley has shown very little power in his career, though at 6-foot-2 and with broad shoulders he has the potential to develop some pop. Despite his speed and feel for other aspects of the game, he has received mixed reviews in center field, where he doesn't get the best reads off the bat. His lack of power doesn't play as well in left field or at first base. His arm strength is below average. Brantley has proven himself everywhere but Triple-A. He'll need to start driving the ball with more authority to find a regular role in the big leagues, however.
Brantley played so well in his return to low Class A last year that the Brewers jumped him to Double-A at midseason. He had a .321 career average in pro ball to that point, and though he hit just .251 after the double promotion, he was just 20. Brantley is a patient hitter who has a gameplan at the plate and waits until he gets what he wants. He hits balls where they're pitched and doesn't offer at much out of the strike zone. He's a reliable contact hitter who draws walks and is a threat to steal any time he reaches base. The problem for Brantley is that he doesn't profile well at any position. His plus speed doesn't translate well to his outfield play. He often gets bad breaks on balls and has a below-average arm, which makes him more of a left fielder than a center fielder. With just two homers in three pro seasons, he doesn't have the power to play regularly in left. He also handled himself well around the bag when Milwaukee gave him some exposure to first base in 2007, but more power is required at that position. Ticketed for a return to Double-A, Brantley looks like a fourth outfielder who can be a useful pinch-hitter.
Minor League Top Prospects
While the Indians surely could use C.C. Sabathia in their rotation, trading him to the Brewers last year may net them two future everyday players in LaPorta and Brantley. Brantley has yet to show much power, but he's a career .300 hitter in the minors who hit .313 in his big league debut. He excels at getting on base and is a threat once he does, tying Stubbs for the IL league with 46 steals in 51 attempts. "He's disruptive with his speed and what he can do," Sweet said. "He puts a lot of pressure on a defense and pitcher." Brantley has a disciplined approach and has walked more than he struck out at every stop throughout the minors. He makes consistent line-drive contact and fits nicely at the top of a batting order. A plus runner, he has improved his reads and routes on defense to become a solid-average center fielder, albeit with a below-average arm.
Believed to be one of the prospects on the list of players to be named that the Indians can choose from to finalize the C.C. Sabathia trade with the Brewers, Brantley has excellent strike-zone discipline. He ranked second in the minors this year in plate appearances per strikeout (17.7) and has walked more than he has whiffed at every stop in his pro career. Brantley has good bat speed and a pure swing, lining balls to all fields and doing a good job of going the other way against lefties. The drawback to his contact-oriented approach is that he has well below-average power, with his four homers this season doubling his career total from three previous pro seasons. The son of former big leaguer Mickey Brantley, he has a good feel for the game at the plate and on the basepaths. He runs well but gets mixed reviews for his defense in center, because he sometimes gets poor jumps and has a below-average arm. He spent time at first base and left field, but his bat doesn't profile well at either position.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the International League in 2010
- Rated Best Athlete in the Cleveland Guardians in 2010
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Cleveland Guardians in 2010
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the International League in 2009
- Rated Best Athlete in the Cleveland Guardians in 2009
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Cleveland Guardians in 2009
- Rated Best Baserunner in the Southern League in 2008
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Southern League in 2008
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008