Offensive Surprise – Michael Brantley
You would have a hard time convincing me there was a better free agent signing this past offseason than Michael Brantley. Yes, there were the huge multi-year contracts of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but they may be on their team’s disappointment lists.
Everyone knew that Brantley was a good player and would most likely be an asset as a regular fixture in left field. But nobody would have predicted that he’d be having the type of year he’s enjoying with the Astros, and by looking at the photograph above, he’s having a blast in the process.
Brantley is sporting a slash line of .340/.390/.603 and a .992 OPS, all career bests. That batting average is tops on the team and 2nd in the American League. His 48 hits on the season lead the league. Like Springer, he ranks in the top ten of the league in many other offensive categories.
The three-time All-Star also is seeing an uptick in his power numbers this season. Just 38 games into the season, Brantley has hit nine home runs, well on pace to eclipse his season high of 20 dingers. He also looks to hit a career-high in doubles if he keeps hitting them at his current rate, he’s hit ten to date.
A. J. Hinch has been utilizing Brantley at DH more than he’s accustomed to and it’s something he says takes some getting used to. But looking at his numbers, .428/.520/1.000, I’d say he doesn’t seem to need too much adjusting.
Brantley is having a career year and may give Springer a run for his money seeking MVP votes, and White has some obvious work to do. But at this juncture of the season, these are my current MVP, letdown and surprise players on the Astros’ offense. There’s a lot of season ahead and this will definitely be revisited later in the year.