I’ve been grilled by some really smart people about my belief that Michael Brantley should be starting everyday for this team for the foreseeable future—preferably at the top of the lineup. These smart people make good points: Brantley’s line this season is not lead-off material; his bat isn’t quite ready for the big leagues; he needs more seasoning, so we might as well delay his service time in Columbus while he gets it. These are, in my mind, totally legitimate points that some highly respected Tribe Scribes have suggested.
But I’m kinda dumb and obstinate, so I’m going to stick to my guns, and suggest that when the Indians break camp next spring, Michael Brantley, Grady Sizemore, and Shin-Soo Choo should be our three starting outfielders. Further, I would suggest that Brantley leadoff for the rest of this season, and probably to start next season as well. I’ll take my lumps for that if I turn out to be wrong, but like I’ve said many times before: I believe in his ability to get on base, and I take some comfort from his good play since rejoining the team earlier this month. So for the purposes of what I’m going to do today, I will project Brantley as a .290/.360/.410 (.770 OPS) hitter. That may be wildly optimistic. So be it. The site is called Waiting For Next Year, after all. We live on freaking optimism. [Read more...]