Michael Brantley may play 1B for the Astros in 2023
Michael Brantley spoke to the media at Spring Training today, giving updates on his health, and maybe even a new position for 2023.
"I'm right where I need to be. I'm right where they asked me to be. I'm happy."- Michael Brantley
He shared that he is currently hitting in the tunnels and making some adjustments and fine tuning on his swing, and will ease into playing Spring Training games.
In a surprising turn of events, Brantley has been taking reps fielding ground-balls at first base, working with Omar Lopez.
"We’ll see how it goes, but at the same time, team-first approach always. I've always been like that, so 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"- Michael Brantley
It's hardly a surprise that it's going smoothly for the man they called "Dr. Smooth." As clips circulated, intrigue peaked through the Astros fanbase about the possibility of Brantley playing first this year. He and Jose Abreu would give the Astros a deadly combo of high-contact, .300 hitters on the corner.
Astros first basemen hit .236 with a .656 OPS last season. It's easy to get excited at the production that would come from the position with Brantley and Abreu, though according to Dusty Baker, it's unlikely we see Uncle Mike there unless it's an emergency.
"We’re not seriously considering it. How much first base can he play with Abreu? It just gives us another option. It gives him another option.”"- Dusty Baker
Realistically, it's likely David Hensley will spell Abreu at the corner on days off. But if Brantley does pan out at first and Hensley scuffles, maybe we see Brantley there after all. If nothing else, this goes to show how deep the Astros will be in 2022.