Astros’ Michael Brantley Done for the Season, Leaving Many Questions
Houston Astros slugger Michael Brantley has been declared out for the remainder of the season the Astros announced on Friday.
Did GM James Click do enough at the deadline to fulfill the needs the Astros now have as a result of Michael Brantley being declared out for the rest of the season? There is no doubt in my mind that Click knew well before the deadline that Brantley was possibly done (despite saying otherwise), and perhaps that was the reason they acquired both Trey Mancini and Christian Vazquez, as opposed to just one of those players.
Is that enough? The Houston Astros just announced that Brantley underwent arthroscopic labral repair on his right shoulder and since he hasn’t played a game since June 26, Astros brass had to know they needed a plan to replace him.
Brantley was a solid defender and, more significantly, a very consistent bat in the Astros’ lineup. The two-hole since has seen a bevy of replacements, including Yuli Gurriel, Jeremy Peña, and Aledmys Diaz. Gurriel seems to be the current placeholder for the position and has done reasonably well in the prime lineup spot between All-Stars Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez.
Michael Brantley has been a big boost to the Astros lineup since being traded from the then-Indians and although this season is ending on a bad note for him, he still produced at the plate. He ends the season with a .288/.370/.416 slash line and an OPS at .785, which is still above average but it was his lowest performance for a season since 2013. He finished with five home runs and 26 RBI, which had him on pace to surpass his numbers from the 2021 season, and his veteran leadership will be missed as well in the Astros outfield.
The area where Brantley will arguably be missed most is his postseason play. Last postseason, he finished with nine runs driven in and a .319 average and in the strange 2020 postseason, he dominated the opposition with at least one RBI in seven of the thirteen games he played. This included a game that featured 2 home runs and 3 RBI. In the meantime, it seems like it is up to a platoon of outfielders to fill the void in left field. A combination of Yordan Alvarez, Chas McCormick, and possibly Trey Mancini will look to fill the defensive gap, and McCormick has recently stood out as the best defensively of that group.
Brantley is a free agent next year and in his 13 seasons, he has been the consummate professional. Next season he will turn 36 and I have to speculate whether or not he will be in an Astros uniform next year given his expiring contract. Either way, we will miss you this season, “Uncle Mike”, and we wish you the best in your recovery.