Monday, July 22, 2019
'Dr. Smooth' Chasing First Batting Crown
Sweet-swinging Michael Brantley of the Houston Astros has gone from the "player to be named later" in a 2008 trade to perhaps the leading candidate for the American League MVP award this year.
Brantley is riding a current 23 for 52 (.442) hit streak that has moved him to within 1 point of the AL batting average lead currently held by D.J. LeMahieu (.333) of the New York Yankees.
Dubbed 'Dr Smooth' for his easy style of play, Brantley is in his 11th major league season, 10 with the Cleveland Indians. The 3 time All-Star signed a free-agent contract with Houston this past off-season, and has put up MVP type numbers this year with the first place Astros.
With approximately 60 games remaining in the regular season, Brantley is hitting .332 with 15 HR's and 55 RBI's. He is 4th in the AL in hits (122);6th in doubles (26);6th in OB% (.391%) and 6th in OPS (.921%).
Brantley, 32, is the son of former MLB player and coach Mickey Brantley. The Indians acquired the outfielder in the 2008 trade for C.C. Sabathia as "the player to be named later". Suffering thru several injury riddled season with the Indians, Dr Smooth is healthy and showing why he may be the best off-season acquisition by any team in baseball.
Coming off a 3 for 3, two homer game yesterday against the Texas Rangers, Brantley and his Astros play host to the Oakland A's tonight. Brantley will sit comfortably in his familiar clean-up spot in the lineup...baseball's smooth hit man.