(Photo courtesy cleveland.com)
I said it last year and I will say it again. Michael Brantley is going to be the leadoff hitter for this team. He has quick hands which he can use to turn on the ball or he can wait on the ball and hit it the other way. The thing I admire about Brantley’s play and that sticks out to me is his befuddling ability to work pitchers to the very best of his potential. For how young he is, he sure does make me want to see more of him.
I don’t think that the Indians should keep him down in the minors for long. If Laporta struggles, Brantley should be brought up immediately and placed in the one spot. This makes the whole idea of Grady hitting second which in my opinion is regrettable better. He can be moved maybe into the third or fourth spot and Asdrubal can be moved back into his spot in the second spot.
Brantley came into the majors last year and hit an astonishing .313 in 28 games. Yes he didn’t have all of the time in the world to show us what he has, but so what. The kid got into the majors but still showed what he could do. He kept the team alive and I think he was the real deal. He does need more time for grooming as the Indians and Manny Acta call it. Sometimes he gets himself out too easily and can be atrocious against lefties at times.
But Brantley has shown me something. He has shown me what I thought that was in him the whole time. He has a young Kenny Lofton brewing inside him. No I’m not saying he is going to be as good as Kenny ever was, but he has the potential to become a player like Kenny. He could possibly steal 40 bases, hit .310 while scoring 90 runs in a season. Now this could not happen this year, but I think if Brantley keeps on driving to work on his swing and mechanics, this isn’t out of the question…
(Image courtesy sportsgrumblings)
But my question is “Are the Indians belittling Brantley?” For heaven sakes, the guy almost hit for the cycle against the D-Backs. He only needed a homer to complete it. Do the Indians have full faith in Brantley like I do? I want an answer from Acta. He needs to make up his mind in whether Brantley is going to be the every day left fielder, or if he will be playing in the minors for three fourths of the year.
He can’t afford to spend his season in the minors this year as he did last. The problem is and I will say this loud and clear: There are no spots for him to fill. Matt Laporta is expected to hit 20 or more homers this year and is really depended on to pump out 70 RBI or more. The Indians are counting on him to produce. And then you know who we have in center. And right now, no one is going to beat him out. Then you got Choo in right who can’t be beaten.
(Image courtesy CNN)
There is just no where to go. Which is why this “tuning” might be taken place. It could be the Indians excuse of saying “Your not good enough and we don’t have a spot for you.” This I will agree is the main point and argument. Is Brantley good enough to play in front of Laporta? I think it will take a little bit of this year to figure out. And it will be interesting in what Acta decides.
Brantley is young as is Laporta. It’s hard to compare a power hitter and a speed guy. But in my utter opinion, I would have to say that I agree with the Indians that Laporta should be the number one while giving Brantley a “tune up.” But when this tune up is over, where shall he go? If there is no spot in the roster for him to go, then what is his purpose for the Indians?
It will all play out during the year. You will see moves being made with either Laporta and/or Brantley. It’s going to be a dogfight in my opinion for the role unless Laporta comes out and wow’s the majors in the first two or three months. But are the Indians belittling him? He is very talented but also very young. I think in fact that Indians are belittling him due to the fact that he is a young and inexperienced player.
(Image courtesy lebrownstown)
And I think he knows that the Indians think of him as that. Frown upon it or not, it’s a true fact and he needs to play more mature. He needs to lay off pitches that he doesn’t want and polish his game off. When he comes back to the majors after his tuning we could see a different Brantley, maybe one with a better game.
But this all depends on where a spot opens up. Possibly many players could change position at once just for Brantley to come into the opening. He will definetely be up during September call ups, you can count on that. But if he’s not up before that, than that will be a shame. The Indians will have belittled little Brantley to the expiration point..
All of our teams have players that can consistently hit well or players that don’t make a single error. But to face the facts, we all have liablities somewhere in our lineups. You can’t deny it either. Every single team has a liablity throughout them. It just so happens that the Indians have well… in lack of a better phrase A TON! Baseball is a game of liabilities and the team with the least throughout the season wins.
Grady Sizemore just came off an injury infested season. His shoulder bothered him throughout his swing, and all he could do is pull the ball. If Sizemore doesn’t get back to normal, the Indians will be getting a chunk bit out of them this season. Grady needs to be the best he can be as a leadoff hitter, but in Acta’s case the 2 hitter. (more on this later) If he can’t produce, than the Indians offense I predict will slump with him.
(Photo via cleveland.com)
It seems as though when Sizemore is going good that the Indians offense follows I guess its like monkey see, monkey do, but that’s just me. Grady is definetely a leader in the clubhouse and really helps out the young guys. He steps up when needed and when he is healthy can give pitchers fits. But the liability behind the whole “package deal” is the fact that he strikes out too much, and no one knows where to put him in the lineup. At times he can go with little striking out, but in some circumstances he can strike out far too much which doesn’t seem promising.
When you put Grady in the leadoff spot, he is comfortable there and it seems as though he is more of a hitter. He takes the first pitch of the game so that he can see what the pitcher has and can feel better standing in the box than he would in any other spot in the order. I don’t like the 2nd spot though. Yes Grady can put a bunt down when needed to move a runner, and can also get things started, but he can’t hit the ball the opposite way. The biggest factor in this whole baffling process is that Grady can’t hit for contact. So the 2 spot is not for him.
But oh Manny Acta would like to differ. He thinks that Grady is a shoe in for the two spot and that Asdrubal Cabrera should be the leadoff hitter. Which brings me to another liability,… coaching. I don’t see why Acta thinks that Grady is such a wonderful 2 hitter. He strikes out way to much and like I said can’t go the other way while Cabrera can hit all fields and strikes out a miniscule number of times. I don’t understand the thought process.
(Image via fangraphs.com)
It’s almost like he’s thinking backwards. Already on my bad side, which is not good counting that we’re not even through the first Spring Training game this year. If anything at all Grady should be at the 3 or 4 spot but 2? What the heck is this guy thinking? Maybe he’ll figure it out during the season when the Indians aren’t producing like he “figures” they will.
I think the biggest liability in Cleveland right now is there young arms. Yes, Jake Westbrook is feeling healthy. And yes I am excited. But it all comes down to the same questions, “Will he produce?” and “Will he play through the injury?”. I would have to say he will produce for the pitching staff, but he’s not going to turn them into a team that is the top pitching staff in the league. Of course, he could come into the season and just stink it up. We don’t know what he is and isn’t going to do yet.
I think that Westbrook has a good chance of being the two guy in the rotation. Maybe others disagree, but until Westbrook proves me wrong, I think he should be glued into that spot. Acta probably disagrees, and that’s why I hate em. As long as Westbrook fights for a good season and gives us 9 or 10 wins, I will be proud to bring him back. And no I won’t bash on him if he doesn’t do so well, the guy is injured give him a break.
(Image via bostonbaseballheadshow.com)
Fausto Carmona also makes me wonder… where did this guy go? Now two bad years after almost being the Cy Young award winner in 07. I just wanna know how a guy can go from so good to so bad. His control was amazing during 2007, and during the offseason he got into some bad habits. He walks too many people now, and his sinker is finding it’s way up in the zone. He’s a huge liability and could be the difference in finishing last in the Central or 2nd (I’m thinking it’s gonna be close).
Suppose David Huff continues to pitch well as he did last year, and our bullpen does not let us lose an extra ten games, then I think that we’ll be okay. But these things are all liabilities and they could go in either direction. As you can see the Indians have many liabilities, suprise suprise. Let’s just try and cut back on a few heading into 2011. I might have a better attitude. Just put on your headresses and paint your faces like chief wahoo cause the seasons a’comin. Good luck, and until next time…