Michael Brantley isn’t a power hitter. He isn’t a base stealer.
But what he is, is a professional hitter.
And right now, he’s in orbit.
The Houston Astros have gone 4-2 over their last six games, taking road series from the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins. Houston scored 45 runs in those games, and while the entire Astros offense has been blasting off, Brantley has been in another stratosphere with it.
The 34-year old veteran outfielder is on pace to have his best season since 2017 and has a solid chance of being named to the American League All-Star team for the fourth time in five seasons when lineups are announced.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) April 2, 2021
Brantley’s .337 average leads Houston and is second only to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. among American League hitters.
In five games in the month of June, he’s had three games with at least three hits, and two four-hit performances, producing a .600 average. His OPS is an astronomical 1.502, with five of his 12 hits going for extra bases.
Michael Brantley 4-5, three doubles, four RBIs, scored two runs. pic.twitter.com/CJSVkyDUsD
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) June 13, 2021
Through 46 games, the exact number he played last season, Brantley has already bettered nearly every statistic he posted in 2020. Houston manager Dusty Baker has done a fantastic job of providing enough rest for Brantley to remain impactful, even without being available every day.
At times, Injuries have been as much a part of Brantley’s career as has his steady hitting. It’s part of why he was available in 2018 after 10 seasons with the Cleveland Indians, where he was an All-Star in 2017 and hit .295.
Brantley returned from the 10-day injured list on June 8 after dealing with tightness in his hamstring and has been able to pick up right where he left off.
When healthy, Brantley has been one of the most consistent hitters in all of baseball this season. He’s hit safely in 35 of 46 games and has yet to go consecutive games without a hit. In fact he has more multi-hit games (16) than hitless ones (11).
Michael Brantley is beyond underrated pic.twitter.com/10rqAvN5MZ
— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken) June 10, 2021
Brantley trails only Cedric Mullins in percentage of games with at least one hit and has the highest percentage of multi-hit games among the top five hitters in the American League.
He’s also in the top ten in OBP and top 20 in slugging and OPS.
He’s proven that with six seasons with at least 150 hits, and his career .298 batting average puts him alongside such greats as Cecil Cooper, Jim Rice, Barry Bonds, and Mookie Betts in the record book.
As Houston continues its pursuit of the Oakland Athletics in the AL West standings, consistency is key; and there is no one on the Astros roster any more consistent than Michael Brantley.