Can the Return of MLBbro Michael ‘The Professional’ Brantley Jumpstart Houston Astros’ Offense?

Can the Return of MLBbro Michael ‘The Professional’ Brantley Jumpstart Houston Astros’ Offense?

After winning the World Series beating the Philadelphia Phillies last year in six games, the Houston Astros have had issues putting together that chemistry from last year. With a 16-15 record and a two-game losing streak as of May 5th, the easy observation is that ineptitude on the offensive end is leading to losses. 

 

Houston Astros Bats Have Disappeared

 

The team is at the bottom of the Major Leagues in slugging percentage hovering around .370. To put this in perspective, the only teams with worse percentages are last place teams in the Oakland A’s, the Kansas City Royals and the Washington Nationals. 

 

But help is coming in MLBbro, Michael Brantley who is currently tearing up his rehab assignment with the Sugar Land Space Cowboys. Based on this tweet here, the Astros might have to fight to get him back…

 

 

 

Brantley has been impressive in his first action in ten months after undergoing arthroscopic labral repair on his right shoulder that kept him out of the Houston lineup since June 26th.

 

In six games with the Space Cowboys, our MLBbro had a batting average of .333. 

 

Astros general manager Dana Brown provided some insight on his timeline that Brantley could return to the parent club and possibly be in the lineup by Monday when Houston starts the Anaheim series.   

 

The ultimate goal for our MLBbro is getting back to the Astros…but at 100 percent. 

 

“I want to be healthy, I want to be able to contribute at a high level once I go back,” said Brantley. “There is a lot of hard work from a lot of good people to get me to this point and I am appreciative of being here and even having this opportunity, and all is going well so far.”

 

“The Professional” should hit the ground running upon return. Brantley stated recently that the competition in the minor leagues has gotten tougher since he came up the ranks years ago.

 

 

If Michael Brantley does return for the Anaheim series, then what?

 

Where will Michael Brantley fit in when he returns and more importantly…the future?

 

Our MLBbro has a shining reputation of being a professional hitter thanks to a disciplined eye at the plate and solid mechanics to make consistent contact. With that in mind, look for Brantley to fill the designated hitter spot when he returns. His career performance shows that Michael should be fine in the short term.

 

  • Brantley has topped the .300 mark in five of his last eight seasons.


  • He’s never struck out more than 60 times in any season of his career.


  • His OPS+ (On base Plus Slugging Plus) is at least 19 percent above league average the last five seasons. 

 

 

Michael Brantley made a positive contribution to the Astros offense before the team shut him down. His numbers were still solid ( .288/.370/.416 with an OPS of .785). Numbers like these along with veteran leadership in the locker room will suit the Astros just fine in the short term.

But what about the long term?

 

Could Michael Brantley be moving to first base ?

Throughout his career, Michael Brantley has been a defensive anchor in the outfield. But could a return from shoulder surgery prompt a move to the infield? According to MLBbro manager Dusty Baker, Brantley could be moving to first base when he gets his rhythm back.

 

 

 

Brantley has been seen working out at first base working on footwork and throwing mechanics. Even though our MLBbro hasn’t played first base in the minors in 2007, it’s all about the team and how he can help via MLB.com.

 

“We’ll see how it goes, Brantley said. “At the same time, it’s a team-first approach always. I’ve always been like that. If I can help the team out in any way, I’ll be available. It’s a lot of hard work. I’m learning a lot very quickly, but it’s all been going smoothly so far.”

 

“I’m just trying to learn and do the best of my ability and get the footwork down, make accurate throws, find new arm slots,” Brantley said. “It’s an adjustment period, but it’s kind of fun. I always enjoy taking ground balls. I get to do it a little more often.

 

With this season just starting basically 30 games in, the Astros see the season as a marathon and not a sprint. The team wants to see our MLBbro settled in for the postseason where he really can help the team repeat as champions.

The postseason is the end game for Michael Brantley’s rehab and position change.

 

When the Astros discussed their long term plans this season for Brantley, his postseason performance in 2020 was on the minds of many. Michael Brantley showed up and showed out with a .319 batting average with at least one RBI in seven of the 13 games he participated in. One of those games he deposited two homers with three RBI.   

 

Michael Brantley’s In A Class By Himself | ‘The Professional’ Masters The Art Of Hitting

 

 

But for any postseason talk to commence, the Astros have to start generating offense, which is where Brantley helps. To start this season, there have been ten Astros players with at least 50 plate appearances. Out of those ten, only Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker have OBPs of .340 or better. After signing a one-year deal last December, here’s hoping that Michael Brantley returns to reward the Astros loyalty despite surgery last season.

MLBbro Michael Brantley: Return Of “The Professional”, Season 14

MLBbro Michael Brantley: Return Of “The Professional”, Season 14

Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley is the true definition of a hard worker. And that is why he continues to be a success on the field in his 14th season. The five-time All-Star is in his fourth season with the Astros and has quickly become a fan favorite.

The 34-year-old looks to be in good physical condition and has not lost a step out there. Through seven games this season, he’s hitting just .241 with two RBI and two runs scored, but his track record indicates that he’s sure to pick it up. 

Last season, Brantley had one of the best seasons of his career as he helped the Astros to a World Series appearance. He finished the 2021 regular season with a .311 batting average with eight home runs and 47 RBI. During the postseason, he posted a .319 batting average with nine RBI. Brantley will look to continue to have that success at the plate this season.

 

 

 

 

This man is well respected amongst his teammates and opponents. In an article from the Houston Chronicle, Brantley’s teammates talked about the type of player he is and how he continues to impact the game.

“Professional is something that I think maybe gets thrown around a little bit haphazardly in this business, and while we’re all professionals, I think Mike epitomizes what being a professional baseball player is all about,” catcher Jason Castro said.

“I always knew he was a very good hitter just from playing against him. But when you see the way he goes about his work and he’s very methodical about everything he’s doing and trying to feel on a daily basis, it’s probably one of the most impressive things I’ve seen.”

Watching Brantley hit is a sight to see and the way he’s able to make adjustments at the plate is remarkable.

 

 

 

 

“Facing him, I hated it. Love/hate. You know you’re always going to get an unbelievably professional at-bat, and that is the best compliment I can give. He knows what he’s doing, I know what I’m doing, and it’s going to be a battle. He never gives in. It’s a lot of fun but frustrating as hell. Over the years, I loved to hate him,” Justin Verlander said.

“Being his teammate, I think he’s remarkably even-keeled and does a great job of helping those around him be even-keeled. Which seems easy. But in this game, it’s one of the most difficult things you could do, especially as a hitter, because it’s so hard to be successful. It’s a game of failure for them. He’s imparted some of that in me as well, just whether it’s through the way you think about things or your routine or the attention to detail. All of those little things matter, and he does and teaches all of those things extremely well.”

The Astros have a special and talented player in Brantley. Having the .298 career hitter in the middle of the Astros order makes them one of the more offensively-efficient teams in baseball. The Professional continues to show why he’s one of the best hitters in the game today.

Michael Brantley Trying To Get His Knee Right For MLB Playoffs

Michael Brantley Trying To Get His Knee Right For MLB Playoffs

According to reports, Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley resumed baseball activities on Sunday for the first time since being placed on the 10-day injury list for knee soreness, retroactive to September 11.

After watching him swing the bat and get in some glove work, Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker spoke to the media on Sunday and gave an informative declaration for the 2021 all-star opt-out. Baker told Mark Berman of Fox 26 that Brantley is coming along pretty good. 

He said, “We miss Brantley. The other guys have been doing a good job, but we miss Michael Brantley. He is a quality player, (a) quality defensive player who adds balance to our lineup with another lefty because you know we are right-handed strong right now. You don’t know how much you miss a guy until he is gone.”

Brantley traveled to Anaheim for a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels yesterday. Although the timetable for his return isn’t exact, the earliest he could be activated is Wednesday, September 22.

 The 34-year-old has a long history of injuries dating back to his days in Cleveland; Before this stint, he spent 15 days on the IL earlier this season with some hamstring discomfort. Besides that, with the Astros, he’s been relatively healthy. 

Brantley is still hunting the American League batting crown with a little over 10 games remaining as he is ranked second in votes behind Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

To qualify for the batting title, a player must make at least 502 at-bats. The big-league outfielder posted an average of .315 at the plate with an on-base percentage of .367 and a .441 slugging percentage in 493 plate appearances. 

Baker indicated to the Houston Chronicle that Brantley’s return would come into play when he regains his pro form as Sunday was the first time, he swung a bat since he sustained the initial injury.

Baker implied, “It is a matter of communication when you talk to (Brantley). At this point in your career, you know yourself, and you know what it feels like to have your act together. Some guys get it quickly, and some guys, it takes a long time. Some guys never lose it. That is rare. So, we will see.”

 

 

#HIGHFIVE | Top 5 MLBbros (Week 12)

#HIGHFIVE | Top 5 MLBbros (Week 12)

The MLBbros decided to turn Week 12 of the season into a seven-day Home Run Derby.  They hit a pair of grand slams while mixing in a few game-winning homers in between.

Michael Brantley, however, takes the top spot on our High Five list after batting .500 during the Houston Astros’ current 10-game winning streak and taking the top spot in the race for baseball’s batting title.

 

1.Michael Brantley

If the season ended today, Michael Brantley would take home Major League Baseball’s batting championship, and right now it’s not even close.  His .356 average is .16 higher than the closest player.

On June 8, he returned to play after missing time with an injury and he’s lived up to his nickname, “The Professional” at the plate since. 

In his last seven games, he is batting .400 with a.500 OBP, 12 hits, nine RBI, six runs and three walks.

 

 

Brantley has been the main catalyst in the resurgence of Dusty Baker’s Astros this season.  During their four-game sweep of Tim Anderson and the White Sox last weekend, Brantley was 5-for-16 with six RBI, a double, triple and a three-run home run.

 

 

Brantley is also the American League leader in doubles and heads to the Motor City this weekend for a four-game set against the Tigers.

2. Tony Kemp

 

Tony Kemp played a lot bigger than his 5-foot-6 frame this week, earning the second spot on our High Five list.

In 35 games since May 8, when Kemp was hitting .190, he is 34-for-95 with a .358 batting average.  He has seven doubles, two triples and four home runs in that span.

Two of those homers came last weekend in the Bronx.  In the sixth inning of Friday night’s game, he hit what would end up being a game-winning three-run home run.  He would then follow up with a first-inning shot the next day.

 

 

He has hits in seven of his last eight games and has worked him into an everyday spot in a dangerous Athletics lineup. 

 

 

This weekend, he takes on the first-place San Francisco Giants in a battle for the Bay Area.

3. Shed Long Jr.


Two game-winning home runs have Mariners’ second baseman Shed Long Jr. in the third spot on our High Five list.  It’s going to be hard to find someone who gave a better Father’s Day gift than Shed did.

His first home run of the season came by way of a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning against the defending American League champion Tampa Bay Rays.

 

 

He proved lighting strikes twice on Tuesday when he launched a game-winning solo home run in the 8th inning against the Colorado Rockies.

 

 

Long has eight RBI in his last seven games with a .609 Slugging Percentage.  Injuries have played a major role in the Mariners’ season, including to Shed but he’s getting playing time now and making the most of it.  Seattle will have a fun matchup this weekend as they play on the South Side of Chicago.

4. Cedric Mullins

 

I may never watch baseball again if Cedric Mullins is not an All-Star this season.  He’s been doing everything he can to climb up the top of the fan vote, but with a few outfielders currently sidelined with injury, he could easily find himself starting the game in center.

In a weekend series against May’s American League Player of the Month Marcus Semien and the Blue Jays,  Mullins added to his legend in the Charm City.  He hit four home runs and had six RBI in a two-day span.

 

 

This month, Cedric is 26-for-73 with a .356 batting average, five doubles, seven home runs and 12 RBI.  He now sits ninth in the Majors in batting average.  His O’s will get their shot at revenge against Semien and the Blue Jays after they lost last weekend’s series.

 

5. J.P. Crawford

 

The Gold Glover takes the five spot on this week’s #HighFive list, but it has everything to do with his performance at the plate.

Last week, he was named our Home Boi Highlight after riding an eight-game hitting streaking with a .351 average with seven RBI, six runs and two home runs including a grand slam Saturday night in the Mariners Seattle Steelhead Negro League throwback jerseys.

 

 

Crawford’s hitting streak reached 10 games after going 2-for-4 with a double Wednesday night.  During that span, he has four multi-hit games and eight runs batted in.  All signs are beginning to point to him being named the Mariners’ representative for this year’s All-Star game in Denver.

 

 

Last year’s Gold Glove award winner at shortstop deserves his shine and his chance to showcase his talents on one of the biggest stages in baseball.

This weekend’s Mariners vs. White Sox matchup will feature two of the most exciting shortstops in the game, J.P. and former batting champion Tim Anderson who just celebrated his 28th birthday on June 23.

Michael Brantley Remains “The Professional” | Check The Stats, Strictly Factz

Michael Brantley Remains “The Professional” | Check The Stats, Strictly Factz

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. 

 

 

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.

 

 

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). 

 

 

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.