Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dissecting Brantley's 2011 Season

after reading some things about Brantley's season being "mediocre" at best, i decided to put the facts out there that clearly disprove that. i'm sure people have forgotten how in April and May, Michael had either the 2nd or 3rd highest batting average in the lineup every game. but that's okay, let me remind you.

here are Michael's official final #s for the 2011 season:

in 114 games, and 451 at bats, he had a .266 batting average, 63 runs scored, 120 hits, 7 home runs, 24 doubles, 4 triples, 46 RBIs, 34 BBs, 13 SBs, .318 OBP, and .702 OPS. his fielding % was .988 and he committed 3 errors.

it's time to dissect his season fairly, so i'm going to break it down month by month up until he started playing injured. (again, how do people not love a player like that, with the attitude that "i know i'm hurt, but i'm going to play every day until they tell me i can't play anymore." so selfless. can't ask for much more than that as a fan.)

April 2011 batting average: .297, 2nd highest on the team for the month. nothing mediocre about that.

May 2011 batting average: .278, 2nd highest on the team for the month.

June 2011 batting average: .231. up until June 6, he had a solid .290 average. this was his slump month. but that happens to every player at some point and as you will see, he does get out of it.

July 2011 batting average: .294, highest on the team for the month. hell of a way to bounce back. and according to his interview on January 18, 2012, he said he was beginning to experience his wrist problems during this month. so let's break this down further.

July 19, his batting average was .281. on July 25, also .281. after that point, his average dropped, so it's easy to conclude that his injury was really starting to bother him then. at the end of July, his overall average was .274.

now let's talk about August. he only played 14 games and his batting average was .211. he was officially shut down on August 26. he so desperately wanted to play through his injury, hoping that it would eventually go away, but surgery derailed his plans. bless his heart for pushing through as much as he could, which unfortunately brought his batting average down to .266 before they realized he was going to need surgery. this was something he had no control over and it was so unfortunate not to be able to see him finish out the year and bring his numbers back up.

his other August #s: in 57 at bats, Michael still managed to have 12 hits, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 6 RBIs, and score 7 runs.

the injury really took its toll on his stats, 19 games/78 at bats with a messed up wrist can do some big damage to your final numbers, but the fact that he so badly wanted to be on the field and sacrifice his body to help the team win makes up for those lowered #s in my book. but let's look at his numbers if we remove the games in which he played while injured.

the 14 games he played in August, he was definitely hurt. i will also take out the last 5 games in July. and if you do that, that gives Michael a .281 batting average for the 2011 season when he was healthy. that's real good for him. does that not equate to a good player? is .281 when healthy still mediocre? had he remained healthy and played a full August and September, who's to say his batting average wouldn't have gone up a little bit? based on how he played in the early months, i think he could have finished between .285-.290. hard to say. i don't believe he would have finished with a .266 though.

it's not like Michael is an injury-prone player. this was his first DL stint. he's not one of those guys who spent more time on the DL than the baseball field in the past 2 years. this is not a trend that's going to continue. he's got nowhere to go but up. and i cannot wait to see him (hopefully) get a full year in in 2012, so the non-believers can finally get on his side about him being a good player and important part of our team.

in conclusion, calling Brantley a mediocre player simply because he ended up with a .266 batting average and didn't finish out the final month of the season is a tad on the ignorant side. i didn't even get into how he was still performing stellar defense in the outfield during the latter part of his year. no, he's not perfect, but who (especially on our team) is? who would you rather see in left field other than Michael on a daily basis? cut this kid some slack people and get on the Brantley train.

bonus "fun" fact: at the end of our 2011 season, the person with the highest batting average on the team was A-Cab, with a .273. think about that for a second... .273, playing all year and not missing significant time, vs. .266 while playing injured and ending his season early. i'm not picking on Cabby at all, i'm just saying and making a point. there's no need to be so hard on or dismissive of Michael. absolutely no need.