One of the more overused cliches not only in baseball, but all professional sports is teams talking about establishing a strong culture and a family atmosphere. While it’s a sexy soundbite for every MLB team during spring training, only the championship contenders understand how to build one and ride it to the top of the standings.
The Houston Astros are one of those teams that understand this concept to the point that they are sitting comfortably at the top of the AL West.
While the Astros’ manager has set the overall tone of the ball club, it has been MLBbro, Michael Brantley that has provided the veteran leadership that has trickled down to the young players on the roster.
Brantley is riding a nine-game hitting streak. During this period, he has slashed .400/.475/.543 with a home run and 5 RBI.
Michael Brantley launches a solo shot to center field in the bottom of the first, cutting the Marlins’ lead to just one. We’ve got ourselves a HOME RUN PARTY in Houston. Marlins 2, Astros 1. #LevelUp #MakeItMiami #Astros #Marlins #MLB pic.twitter.com/WryCY7OL4j
— Baseball Today (@dailymlbtweets) June 11, 2022
Our MLBbro is offensively playing the game in an old school manner, sacrificing himself by driving in runs and putting the ball in play on groundouts.
But moments like this show Michael Brantley’s effect on the Astros.
Yordan Alvarez chases Michael Brantley around the bases after a two-run shot to right field. #LevelUp
— SportsRadio 610 (@SportsRadio610) June 8, 2022
How many times have you seen a player jokingly chase down a teammate after a home run? But it’s an occurrence that comes with having fun and keeping things light during a very long baseball season.
After Yordan Alvarez hits a two-run homer against the Seattle Mariners, he speeds out of a normal home run trot to chase down our MLBbro to home plate.
But that’s the story of Michael Brantley this season.
The 14th year veteran was not on the 2017 World Series roster, but you would never know it with all of the respect he has earned since joining the team in 2019. With the losses of Carlos Correa and fellow MLBbro, George Springer, it seems that Houston hasn’t lost a step in their contention to get back to the World Series.
The Astros two World Series runs in the last four seasons can be attributed to the team’s attention to detail and hustle. Nothing was more evident than last month when the Astros were playing the Detroit Tigers with a winning streak on the line.
Brantley not only hits a rope down the right field with his team trailing 2-1, he has the presence of mind to get to third base when the throw goes home.
Brantley spoke to Paper City Magazine about his effort after the game.
“Oh absolutely,” Brantley says when he thinks he has a chance at a triple when he hits the ball. “Put your head down and keep going. I know Jose’s at first and he can run very well. My job’s to get to third base with one out.
“And obviously a lot of things can happen from there.”
Brantley has always been a .300 hitter, but our MLBbro’s mental aspect of the game is slowly getting the recognition that it deserves.
Michael Brantley is with his son at the ballpark today.
Astros owner Jim Crane and GM James Click came up to meet him pic.twitter.com/TcEODw8Jjp
— Ari Alexander (@KPRC2Ari) June 8, 2022
For the Astros’ to continue to thrive in the post George Springer and Carlos Correra era, they will need Brantley to continue to mentor players to their highest level much like he did Springer before he left to go to Toronto.
Brantley’s newest mentees, Kyle Tucker, the aforementioned Yordan Alvarez and Jeremy Pena are the new blood of the franchise and their growth is buoyed by our MLBbro’s ability to show them how to perform in big time moments.
But don’t get fooled by the “mentor” moniker believing that Brantley is not a major part of the Astros offense. He has stayed healthy and has put together a streak of .300 seasons since 2014 when he played 100 games or more in a season.
Our Mlbbro, Michael Brantley has kept the American League’s most winning team the last few seasons relevant by being the heart and soul of the team starting in the dugout up through the front office.