Cleveland Indians: Three Players Ready for a Big September

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Aug 25, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder Michael Brantley (23) watches his two-run home run in the fourth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Brantley

When the Cleveland Indians acquired Michael Brantley back in 2008, fans set low expectations for him. As a player to be named later, no one really hoped for much out of the then 21-year-old. A former seventh-round pick, most fans would have been happy if he reached the major leagues. When he went on to become an MVP candidate and an All-Star, it seemed like the Tribe’s front office made a brilliant decision in acquiring him.

A year after his MVP-caliber season, it appears that some of the things that made him so great have regressed back to his career average. His power numbers have fallen as a whole, and his hard contact rate has dropped three points towards. How much of this can be blamed on an achy back remains to be seen, but it is still safe to assume that last season was an outlier in what may amount to be an above-average career.

Still, Brantley has been part of the core of a struggling offensive lineup, and his statistics are still well above average. The twenty-point drop in slugging percentage and ten-point drop in batting average have been somewhat offset by a ten-point rise in on-base percentage, and his wOBA has fallen by only 14 points. All in all, his offense still sits at roughly 42% better than league-average.

There is the reason to believe that he could have a big September, too. His first two big-league Septembers saw him hit with roughly average outcomes, but his last two have been quite special. His lifetime .335 batting average in September is forty points higher than his career number, and his contact quality rates all have increased in the right ways. While the team as a whole may continue to produce meager results, it is safe to assume that Michael Brantley will continue to bat well in the ensuing weeks.

Next up, we look at a player who is returning from injury…

Next: After an injury, he is beginning to heat up