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Friday, August 15, 2014

Sullivan: Going inside Michael Brantley’s dramatic, MVP-like improvement

On the other hand, Matt LaPorta is opening up a pizza place, so I think the Brewers are ok with it.

Used to be, in terms of performance, [Michael] Brantley was consistently, exactly average. Now, take a trip through the Wins Above Replacement leaderboard. You see Mike Trout at the top, naturally. Then there’s Alex Gordon, and Josh Donaldson, a previous breakthrough. Hanging out with the likes of Giancarlo Stanton is Brantley, who this year has become a fringe MVP candidate…

Brantley is pulling the ball more, especially against fastballs… By and large, against non-fastballs, Brantley hasn’t been that different. He’s been better, but only slightly… he’s looking for a fastball to drive, and he’s willing to swing at the fastball hard… Brantley’s seeing fewer fastballs than ever, and he’s seeing fewer strikes than ever, because now he’s more often punishing fastballs and punishing strikes. This is what happens when players adjust in the major leagues—the major leagues adjust back, in response. Brantley’s been excellent in the second half, so he’s still coming out ahead…

Brantley has gotten more and more aggressive within the strike zone, but he hasn’t lost any of his discipline. He’s not swinging at more pitches out of the zone than he did in 2010. He’s making the same amount of contact… There’s nothing dramatic here. There’s no swing overhaul. There’s no adjusted stance. Brantley always had the skills. Now he’s just figured out how to put them all together in the right way.

The District Attorney Posted: August 15, 2014 at 05:43 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, jeff sullivan, michael brantley, sabermetrics

 

 

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